5 Recommended Spots to Encounter Dinosaurs in the Dinosaur Kingdom of Fukui

5 Recommended Spots to Encounter Dinosaurs in the Dinosaur Kingdom of Fukui

12 Mar 2021

The KANSAI Guide

Those who are familiar with Fukui Prefecture probably know that it is Japan's "dinosaur kingdom." Fossils of five new dinosaur species have been excavated there, and there are numerous dinosaur-themed spots, such as parks and museums. This article introduces recommended destinations in the Dinosaur Kingdom of Fukui that are great fun for both children and adults.

Why Is Fukui a Dinosaur Kingdom?

In 1982, a nearly complete skeleton of Crocodilia from the early Cretaceous Period (approx. 120 million years ago) was found in Fukui Prefecture. The prefecture has attracted worldwide attention for uncovering five new species of dinosaurs, including Fukuisaurus and Fukuiraptor, both of which were discovered after the Crocodilia. This lead to the establishment of a dinosaur-themed museum and park, cementing Fukui's position as Japan's "dinosaur kingdom."

1. Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum

A dinosaur museum on the grounds of Katsuyama Dinosaur Forest Park. Exhibits include 44 complete skeletons of dinosaurs such as Fukuisaurus and Fukuiraptor, ten of which are real. The museum shop that sells dinosaur figurines and fossil replicas is a great place to look for souvenirs.

【Facility name】 Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum
【Opening hours】 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (last entry: 4:30 pm)
【Days Closed】 Second and fourth Wednesday of the month (following day if it is a national holiday; open every day during the summer holiday), December 29 - January 2
【Price】 Adult: 730 JPY, High school or college student: 420 JPY, Elementary or junior high school student: 260 JPY
【URL】 Official Homepage
【Address】 Katsuyama Dinosaur Forest Park, 51-11 Terao, Muroko-cho, Katsuyama-shi, Fukui
【Google Map URL】 GoogleMap

2. Katsuyama Dino Park

This is an adventurous natural park with life-size dinosaurs dotted around a forest. It is located within Katsuyama Dinosaur Forest Park, and is always crowded with dinosaur fans when open. Be sure to take photos in front of the 13-meter-long Tyrannosaurus and huge 20-meter-long Mamenchisaurus.

【Facility name】 Katsuyama Dino Park
【Opening hours】 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (last entry: 4:30 pm)
【Days Closed】 Second and fourth Wednesday of the month (open every day during the summer holiday), Late November to end of March
【Price】 600 JPY (age 3 and older)
【URL】 Official Homepage
【Address】 Katsuyama Dinosaur Forest Park, 51-11 Terao, Muroko-cho, Katsuyama-shi, Fukui
【Google Map URL】 GoogleMap

3. Katsuyama Dinosaur Forest Park

This is a natural park that houses Fukui Prefecture's dinosaur-related facilities, such as Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum, Katsuyama Dino Park, and Dokidoki Kyoryu Hakkutsu Land. Observation tours offered to discover the woodland plants and animals and the barbecue garden are also recommended.

【Facility name】 Katsuyama Dinosaur Forest Park
【Opening hours】 7:00 am - 8:00 pm
【Days Closed】 December 29 - January 2
【Price】 Free
【URL】 Official Homepage (Japanese only)
【Address】 Katsuyama Dinosaur Forest Park, 51-11 Terao, Muroko-cho, Katsuyama-shi, Fukui
【Google Map URL】 GoogleMap

4. Dokidoki Kyoryu Hakkutsu Land

This is a popular facility within Katsuyama Dinosaur Forest Park where you can experience excavating actual fossils. Participants have the opportunity to crack rocks from the Cretaceous Period (approximately 120 million years ago) to discover fossils! If you find any fossils, each person can take one home. The activity is available from late March to mid-November and requires reservations.

【Facility name】 Dokidoki Kyoryu Hakkutsu Land
【Opening hours】 Max. four times a day (9:30 am - 10:30 am, 11:00 am - 12:00pm, 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm, 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm) (reservation required)
【Days Closed】 Adult: 1,050 JPY, High school student: 850 JPY, Age 4 - Junior high school student: 530 JPY
【URL】 Official Homepage (Japanese only)
【Address】 Katsuyama Dinosaur Forest Park, 51-11 Terao, Muroko-cho, Katsuyama-shi, Fukui
【Google Map URL】 GoogleMap

5. Angel Land Fukui (Fukui Prefectural Science Museum for Children)

This is a unique cultural facility that combines a science museum with a children's center. It is chock full of things to do and see, with an exhibition hall to learn about space and natural science, an outdoor area with athletic playground equipment, and a planetarium with a dome screen that is 23 m in diameter. The dinosaur-shaped "Playsaurus" that children can play on is not to be missed!

【Facility name】 Angel Land Fukui (Fukui Prefectural Science Museum for Children)
【Opening hours】 9:30 am - 5:00 pm (until 6:00 pm from July 1 to August 31)
【Days Closed】 Monday (the following day if it is a national holiday, and open during spring break, Golden Week, summer vacation, and winter vacation), The day after a national holiday, December 28 - January 2
【Price】
Exhibition Area: Adult: 100 JPY, Elementary, junior high, or high school student: Free, Child under school age: Free
Space Theater: Adult: 520 JPY, Elementary, junior high, or high school student: 260 JPY, Child under school age: 100 JPY
*Admission is free for all areas except for the above two
【URL】 Official Homepage (Japanese only)
【Address】 3-1 Higashi Taromaru, Harue-cho, Sakai-shi, Fukui
【Google Map URL】 GoogleMap

How were these five select places to visit in the Dinosaur Kingdom of Fukui? A tour of these dinosaur-related spots will be a great way to enjoy a unique historical trip through the Japan of millions of years ago.

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