Maizuru (舞鶴市) surrounds an inlet of the Sea of Japan, along the northeastern coast of Kyoto Prefecture. Maizuru in Japanese means 'dancing crane'. As of April 2021, Maizuru had a population of approximately 77,700 people.
Maizuru began developing rapidly from the end of the 1800s as a needed port city on Japan's Sea of Japan side and in Japan's effort in confronting Russia during the Russo-Japanese War in 1904-1905. Maizuru also played a large role at the end of World War II as one of the main repatriation centers for half a million Japanese soldiers and civilians returning to Japan after Japan's surrender. Maizuru is one of the main port cities in Kyoto Prefecture. Ferries to Niigata and on to Tomakomai in Hokkaido leave from here.
Maizuru consists of two parts: Nishi-Maizuru and Higashi-Maizuru.
Maizuru is a key district headquarters for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.
Higashi-Maizuru Station (東舞鶴) is served by 5 limited express trains daily from Kyoto Station, under the name Maizuru Ltd Express. Fares for the 96-minute journey range from ¥3400 for an unreserved seat to ¥3930 for a reserved seat.
It is also possible to use local trains when traveling from Kyoto station for ¥1980. The journey takes around 2½-4½ hours and you need to change trains at Sonobe and Ayabe.
A trip by car takes around 79-80 minutes from Kobe-Sando. The ride from Itami airport takes approximately 90 minutes. It also takes 90 minutes to get to Maizuru from Kyoto City.
The bus company Kyoto Kotsu has buses running from Kyoto central train station to Higashi-Maizuru Station for ¥2300. The journey takes around 2 hours. The same bus company has buses going to Maizuru from Kobe and Osaka.
Maizuru has 2 main train stations, Higashi-Maizuru Station and Nishi-Maizuru Station, which are about 7 km apart and there are taxi stands and bus stops at both stations. The Maizuru Tourist Information Center at Nishi-Maizuru Station has bicycle rentals (9AM-5PM) for ¥300 for one hour, ¥500 for 2-3 hours, and thereafter ¥100 per additional hour. There is also a private bicycle rental place close to Higashi-Maizuru Station.
The city occupies a vast territory and public transportation is not well developed. It is better to have a car if traveling around. There are a handful of car rental places close to Higashi-Maizuru Station and one near Nishi-Maizuru Station. It is also possible to arrange a taxi tour for around ¥5000. Inquire about arranging a tour at the Maizuru tourist information center at Higashi-Maizuru station.
- Maizuru Nature and Cultural Park (舞鶴自然文化園 ''Maizuru Shizen Bunkaen''), 24-12 Taneji, Maizuru (Between Ōura Forest Park & Taneji Temple), ☎ 077-368-1187, . 9AM-5PM, Oct-Feb 9AM-4:30PM. This is one of the most beautiful places in the region which is known among the locals but hardly anyone else including all the tourist guidebook "experts". Every June when over 100 kinds of 100,000 hydrangea come into bloom you can see an explosion of bright colors. You can also see about 30,000 camellia of 1500 different varieties in the camellia garden (blooming usually mid-March to mid-April). It is also nice in November for the autumn colors. Take the Kyoto Kotsu Bus Mihama Line to the Maizuru Shizen Bunkaen bus stop. ¥500 in blooming times. edit
- Maizuru Repatriation Memorial Museum (舞鶴引揚記念館), 1584 Taira, Maizuru, ☎ 077-368-0836 (fax: 077-368-0370), . 9AM–5PM. Holds exhibits on the 500,000+ Japanese who returned back to Japan after the end of World War II to an uncertain future, including many prisoners of war who were locked away in Stalin's gulags. ¥400. edit
- Maizuru Red Brick Park (舞鶴赤れんがパーク), 1039-2 Kitasui, Maizuru, ☎ 077-366-1096 (fax: 077-364-6364), . Several red brick buildings constructed here were the armory for the Japanese navy to hold gun barrels and torpedoes from 1902, and today house restaurants and souvenir shops. There is also a boat cruise you can take in Maizuru Bay. edit
- Red Brick Museum (赤れんが博物館), 2011 Hamamachi, Maizuru, ☎ 077-366-1095 (fax: 077-364-5123), . 9AM-5PM. Since many brick building were built by the Japanese navy at the start of the 20th century, they have become in part a symbol for the city, and this museum explores the use of bricks in buildings, and how they are made. Includes ancient brick displays from Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Italy. ¥400. edit
- Goro Sky Tower (五老スカイタワー), 237 Ueyasu, Maizuru, ☎ 077-366-2582, . 9AM-7PM, Sat-Sun/hol 9AM-9PM, Dec-Mar 9AM-5PM. This tower gives a commanding view over the city and bay when the weather is good, from its observation deck 28 meters up. ¥200. edit
- Japan Marine Self-Defense Force Maizuru Local Corps Kitasui Pier (海上自衛隊 北吸係留所), Kitasui, Maizuru, ☎ 077-362-2250. Maizuru has the biggest navy military installation on the Sea of Japan side for the country, and here you can see several ships moored, as well as some ship tours for the public. Free. edit
- Matsuno-Odera (松尾寺), 532 Matsunoo, Maizuru (3½km NE of Matsuno-Odera Stn), ☎ 077-362-2900. 8AM–5PM. This temple has a history going back over 1300 years, and despite several fires it has always been rebuilt, with the main hall last rebuilt in 1730. The temple still preserves an ancient mountain temple atmosphere, with excellent wood carvings in its main hall. edit
- Port Excursion Boat (海軍ゆかりの港めぐり遊覧船), Kitasui, Maizuru, ☎ 090-5978-8711, . Gives 30 minute cruises around Maizuru Bay, passing Japanese self-defense ships and warehouse areas during weekends and holidays as well as during Golden Week and O-Bon holiday periods. ¥1300. edit
- Kanzaki Beach (神崎海水浴場), 933 Nishikanzaki, Maizuru, ☎ 077-382-5120, . Maizuru has one good beach that is about 2 km long and there is good swimming from July to August. It is surrounded but a large green belt of pine trees, and the area has been designated as a Wakasa Bay National Monument. edit
- Tatebeyama Castle Ruins Hike (建部山登山道), Shimohigashi, Maizuru. Not much remains at the top of Mt Tatebe where there was a castle and cannon battery, but there is a nice 1.5 km hike up the mountain which is peaceful, and there are good views over Maizuru Bay. edit
- Kaigun Shop (海軍御用達おみやげ館), 373 Hama, Maizuru, ☎ 077-362-1423, . 11AM–6PM, Closed Mon-Wed. Offers numerous souvenirs and gifts for sale. edit
The main shopping place in Maizuru is department store LaPort which is located right behind Higashi-Maizuru Station.
- Maizuru Port Tore Tore Center (とれとれセンター), 905 Shimofukui, Maizuru, ☎ 077-375-9945, . 9AM-6PM. This is the largest fish market in Kyoto Prefecture as well as one of the biggest seafood markets on the Sea of Japan. Here you can see freshly caught seafood, as well as try several restaurants and sushi places with the freshest food you can ever eat. edit
There are several izakaya (bar and grill) places north of Higashi-Maizuru Station.
- Superhotel (スーパーホテル東舞鶴), 419 Hama, Maizuru (10 min walk north of Higashi-Maizuru Stn), ☎ 077-363-9000, . checkin: 15; checkout: 10. Nationwide business hotel chain with a natural hot spring, offering rooms that are clean, comfortable and decent, plus free breakfast. ¥6800~. edit
- Hotel Amabile Maizuru (ホテル アマービレ舞鶴), 18 Hama, Maizuru, ☎ 077-365-5000, . checkin: 15; checkout: 10. Inexpensive, simple hotel with both western and Japanese rooms as well as communal bath and morning breakfast. ¥8500~. edit
- Seaside Hotel Palco (シーサイドホテル パルコ), 34-3 Hama, Maizuru, ☎ 077-364-1081, . checkin: 15; checkout: 10. As the name suggests, this small, 3-star hotel is close to the wharf and offers some good inexpensive accommodations. ¥4400~. edit
- Plaza Hotel Maizuru (プラザホテル舞鶴), ☎ 077-378-1200, . checkin: 15; checkout: 10. Spartan, no-frills accommodations that are comfortable, clean, and just a stone's throw from Nishi-Maizuru Station. With free breakfast. ¥4700~. edit
- Hotel Yoshida (旅の宿 よしだ), 139 Hama, Maizuru, ☎ 077-364-6600, . checkin: 15; checkout: 10. Although its outward appearance is more like a traditional Japanese place, the rooms are western style with a large communal bath for guests. ¥12,000~. edit
For the latest info on events and sights, contact the Maizuru Tourism Association (福知山観光協会, Maizuru Kankō Kyōkai) Tel. 077-375-8600 or see the Maizuru Tourist Information Center on the 1st floor at Nishi-Maizuru Station.
- Kyoto - The former capital of Japan for well over a thousand years, together with Nara comprise the traditional soul of Japan.
- Miyazu - Famous for Amanohashidate, traditionally known as one of the three most beautiful places in Japan.
- Kobe - Cosmopolitan port city, with the scenic Harborland and Meriken Park, Chinatown, Sorakuen Garden, Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake Memorial Museum, and sake district with numerous brewers.
- Himeji - Renowned as having the grandest and best original surviving castle in Japan, along with the gorgeous Kokoen Garden and mountaintop temple, Engyoji.
- Osaka - Kansai's biggest urban city, with tons of night life, modern recreation, and a place that never sleeps.
- Toyooka - Famous for Kinosaki Onsen, one of Japan's biggest hot spring resort areas in the country.
- Nantan - Popular for its preserved old town Miyama, keeping alive a traditional way of life from centuries ago.