Wakasa Bay (若狭湾)
Forming the topography of the coast from Fukui Prefecture to Kyoto Prefecture, Wakasa Bay was created by the ground subsiding deep into the Sea of Japan. Wakasa Bay is the sea area surrounded by the coastline from Echizen-misaki Cape (at the western corner in the northern part of Fukui Prefecture) to Kyoga-misaki Cape (at the northern edge of Kyoto Prefecture) and by the straight line on the sea between the two capes above, and the bay is 2,657 square kilometers in area. The characteristic of Wakasa Bay is the large-scale ria coast, which is rarely seen on the coast of Japan Sea.
Wakasa Bay was created by the large-scale subsidence of the ground into the Sea of Japan, resulting in the formation of the ria coast. Within Wakasa Bay, there are some branch bays, such as Tsuruga Bay, Mihama Bay, Obama Bay and Miyazu Bay, and there also exist "Amanohashidate" (one of the three most scenic spots in Japan) and "Kehi no Matsubara" (one of the three most scenic pine groves in Japan). Due to the beautiful topography, the entire coast from Shono-kawa River and westward was designated in 1955 as a major part of Wakasa Bay Quasi-National Park, and a part of the eastern coast was designated in 1968 as a part of Echizen Kaga Coast Quasi-National Park, and in August 3, 2007, the coast from Yura-gawa River and westward was separated from Wakasa Bay Quasi-national Park, and instead, the coast was combined with Oe-yama Mountain Range and became Tango-Amanohashidate-Oeyama Quasi-National Park, so there are three quasi-national parks here now.
Harbors dotting the coastline facing Wakasa Bay have been good ones since ancient times, and are situated near Kyoto, so they are said to be the harbors to unload fish and shellfish including mackerel; here is also the so-called "Mackerel Highway" (the highway on which fish and shellfish - especially the mackerel - are transported) between Wakasa area and Kyoto. Before the Russo-Japanese War, the Imperial Japanese Navy assumed that the landing point of the Russian Navy would be Wakasa Bay, so they established a naval base in Maizuru and gun batteries along the coast from Maizuru to Takahama-cho.
At present, the bay is crowded with swimmers from the Kinki region during the summer, and anglers visit here during other seasons.
In recent years, the coastal area has been developed as the land for electric power supply by the Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc., and the area is well-known for 'Genpatsu Ginza' (an area where a string of nuclear power plants are located). In the southern part of Tohoku region, there is another 'Genpatsu Ginza,' that is, Hamadori District.
Coastal cities, town and villages
Wakasa Bay faces five cities and eight towns below. They are in order along the coastline starting from Echizen-misaki Cape.
Mihama-cho (Fukui Prefecture), Mikata-gun
Oi-cho, Oi-gun/Takahama-cho, Oi-gun
Yosano-cho, Yosa-gun/Ine-cho, Yosa-gun
Peninsulas projecting into Wakasa Bay
On the coast facing Wakasa Bay, there exist Tango Peninsula (in its west end) and many other smaller peninsulas. In order from west to east, they are Oura Peninsula, Otomi Peninsula, Oshima Peninsula, Uchitomi Peninsula, Tsunegami Peninsula and Tsuruga Peninsula. They have many scenic spots, such as "Mikata-goko" (Five Lakes of Mikata) in the central part of Tsunegami Peninsula, "Sotomo" in Uchitomi Peninsula and Otomi Cliff in Otomi Peninsula.
As a division unit of the sea area set by Meteorological Office for indicating marine meteorology, there is 'the eastern part off the coast of Sanin region and the surrounding seas of Wakasa Bay.'
To be more exact, this means the sea area off the coast of Fukui, Kyoto and Tottori Prefecture, and the Sea of Japan off the coast of Hyogo Prefecture, and the surrounding seas of Oki Islands in Shimane Prefecture.