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Tsuruga, Japan

Located in the Fukui Prefecture of Honshu, Tsuruga has long been a trading hub with continental Asia. Its opulent Kehi Shrine, dating from 702, features a 36-foot-high wooden torii gate ranked among the finest in Japan, while renovated machiya (historic wooden townhouses) along Museum Street now house quaint shops and cafés. Take a stroll through serene Yokokan Garden, go forest bathing among thousands of pines at Kehi no Matsubara, decorate your own washi paper at the Papyrus House, and scale the Tojinbo Cliffs for phenomenal views. Tsuruga was the only Japanese port open to Polish orphans and Jewish refugees during World War II; the Port of Humanity Museum recounts their unforgettable stories. Jurassic Park fans head to the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum in nearby Katsuyama; ranked among the world’s best, it displays more than 40 full-sized skeletons and a number of all-too-real dinosaur robots. Tsurgua is famous for its ramen and excellent sushi; try the Echizen crab, grilled mackerel, and fugu (pufferfish).