Situated in Wakasa, Fukui Prefecture, almost in the middle of Japan, Wanpaku Crew supports programs for learning about nature for elementary and middle school students around the country.
Situated in Wakasa, Fukui Prefecture, almost in the middle of Japan, Wanpaku Crew supports programs for learning about nature for elementary and middle school students around the country.

Situated in Wakasa, Fukui Prefecture, almost in the middle of Japan, Wanpaku Crew supports programs for learning about nature for elementary and middle school students around the country.


These are some of the questions we most often get asked.
If you have any questions that aren’t answered here, feel free to contact us. We also welcome individual consultations.

Do you speak any foreign languages?
We do. We have staff who can converse at a daily conversation level in English. Please contact us at +81-770-45-0113 (Wakasa Mikata Five Lakes Wanpaku Crew, Wakasa-Mikatagoko Tourism Association) for details.
What sort of place is Wakasa?
Wakasa is a town immensely proud of its countryside landscape, offering seas, lakes, rivers, villages, and mountains. With a population of about 16,000 (as of April 2009), it’s located in the southwest area of Fukui Prefecture. Lake Biwa, in Shiga Prefecture next door, is about forty minutes away by car, while the prefectures of Gifu, Ishikawa, and Kyoto are close as well. The biggest industries here are farming, forestry, and fishing the bounty of Wakasa Bay, along with tourism. We are also home to the Uriwari no Taki (Breaking Waterfall), listed as one of Japan’s 100 Exquisite and Well-Conserved Waters; the Torihama Shell Mound, which tells us how people in the long-distant Jomon period lived; Kumakawa-Juku (Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Traditional Buildings), which flourished as a post-station town along the old Saba Kaido highway as far back as the Middle Ages; and the Mikata Five Lakes, which have been listed in the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat. We’re also the original home of Fukui Plums, and also grow many other fruit such as nashi pears. Visitors are welcome to stay in one of our more than eighty minshuku and ryokan inns.
What is the Wakasa Mikata Five Lakes Wanpaku Crew?
The troop’s a team who host children and offer hands-on experiences of nature in Wakasa, a place proud of its rural landscapes. The office is run by the Wakasa-Mikatagoko Tourism Association.
When did you start hosting hands-on nature experiences?
Back in 1990. Our twenty-year track record has been recognized with awards like All Right! Nippon Prize (MAFF) in 2008, the Green Tourism Award (Merit Award) (Mainichi Shimbun) in 2009, the All Right! Nippon Prize (Selection Committee Chairman’s Award) and the Ecotourism Award (Special Award) (Ministry of the Environment) in 2010, and the JTB Interchange Cultural Award (First Prize) (JTB) in 2011. We want to keep doing our best, with wonder and safety as our key watchwords.
With all these different hands-on menus, how should we come up with a program?
We can put together program proposals for you, making them both educational and in line with what your school or group wants. Based on these proposals, we will work with you to adjust specific timetables. And of course your school can put together its own program. We hope you’ll value the time taken to speak with and interact with the local “uncles and aunts.”
What are your “Recommends”?
We have three.
1. Heading out on the Wakasa-maru fishing ship used for hands-on learning and watch them haul in the triangular set nets!! Experience sunrise from the deck of the boat.
2. Time spent talking and interacting with the fishermen. When children write their reports, they often describe this as “amazing” or “moving.”
3. The sky and the wind, the air. The clear skies, the refreshing breezes, the sparkling stars…. Take a special deep breath.
How early should we apply?
We suggest you apply about a month before your desired date. Most schools apply between half a year and a year beforehand.
What sort of places do these nature experiences take place in?
You can enjoy your experiences of farming, forestry, and fishing in the sea, lakes, rivers, villages, and mountains. Farming and forestry experiences are generally held on fields and rice paddies belonging to Kaminaka Norakusha (an agricultural production corporation) while fishing experiences are hosted by the five villages of Tsunekami, Miko, Ogawa, Umiyama, and Sekumi.
Where will we be staying?
You can stay at farmhouses on working farms, or minshuku lodges/ryokan inns run by fishermen. There are more than 80 minshuku and ryokan along the sea and lake shores. And all of them are immensely proud of their food!
Can we visit to check it out ahead of time?
Of course. Schools who send trips to join our program for the first time always send people to check it out first. One of our office staff will be glad to show you around and explain what we do.
Are there any restrictions on how long we can stay?
None at all. You can stay just overnight, or for two or three nights, or even longer. You can also spend the first night at the National Wakasawan Youth Outdoor Learning Center and the next night or two in a fishing village. (We’ll come and pick you up from the Learning Center in a fishing boat!!)
Do you cater for single-day courses?
Of course. Feel free to experience whatever part of the farming, fishing, or forestry industry you like. Call us for details at +81-770-45-0113 (Wakasa Mikata Five Lakes Wanpaku Crew, Wakasa-Mikatagoko Tourism Association).
Can we help out at the minshuku?
Of course. As our valued guests, we’ll do our very best to ensure your children have a great time. At the same time, staying at a minshuku is a good chance to learn all sorts of things, so the children are asked to do whatever they can themselves, from greeting people, to preparing and cleaning up after meals, to laying out and tidying away bedding, and cleaning rooms.
What if someone gets injured?
Our instructors and office staff have been repeatedly trained in emergency responses, including MFA (Medic First Aid / US first aid and resuscitation methods) and general life-saving skills (Fire Dept. / Japanese Red Cross). Host sites are equipped with AED units and first aid kits for emergencies. If needed, our system allows for quick contact with hospitals, public health offices, fire departments, or the police.
What about food allergies?
We place safety ahead of everything. We can cater to allergies if you let us know exactly what they are ahead of time. We’ll pass this information on to the minshuku, where they will prepare separate meals.
*We may need to ask the parent or guardian to directly contact the minshuku by phone.
What are your health and safety management initiatives?
Nature can be unforgiving. We need to keep safety foremost in mind, experiencing nature while learning what dangers there are. We take extra care for safety management in bad weather. Everybody is given information about where to evacuate in case of emergency. Our minshuku accommodations all regularly check their water quality, are fully insured, and the owners have attended courses given by the fire department and public health office.
What about pre- and post-study?
We want to do whatever we can to maximize the time we spend with your children. Our instructors and office staff can visit your school, as well as provide briefings for parents and guardians. Please contact us at +81-770-45-0113 (Wakasa Mikata Five Lakes Wanpaku Crew, Wakasa-Mikatagoko Tourism Association).
How many can you accept at once?
We can host about 100 people for the farming and forestry experiences. For the fishing experiences, we can host about 180 people in one village.
How many schools can you host per day?
With five fishing villages, we can host five schools. Our general rule is to limit each village to one school, so you essentially have the place to yourselves. However, this can be changed if you want to have an inter-school exchange, for example.
What sort of people are your instructors?
“Masters of the Countryside,” our “uncles and aunts,” farmers and fishermen, are all people who live and work in rural Wakasa and make their living through farming, forestry, or fishing.
What are the costs?
Accommodation costs (about 8,000 yen with two meals) + hands-on experience costs. Costs of experiences vary, so please contact the Wakasa Mikata Five Lakes Wanpaku Crew at +81-770-45-0113 (Wakasa Mikatagoko Tourism Association) for details.
What if it rains?
Rain is part of nature… but still, we place the safety of your children before everything, so if we determine that the rain won’t create any risk for activities, we’ll go ahead with the program even if it rains. In the fishing experience activities in particular, it’s fairly rare for the fishing villages to be sunny, and the most important thing is how high the waves are (how strong the wind is, and its direction).
Do you only cater for elementary/primary and middle schools?
No. In addition to coming as school groups, we also welcome children’s councils, circles and clubs, and social education activities. We also host high school students, university students, and even adults.
Do you accept individuals or small groups?
We do. Even single individuals can board our Wakasa-maru fishing boat in the early morning to see the triangular set nets being used for fishing, one of our top Recommends. This is the only large-scale set net fishing boat available for hands-on learning.
How do I apply?
Use the following steps.
Check our openings via phone or e-mail.

Fill in the application form and send it to us.
*You can also download the Wakasa Mikata Five Lakes Wanpaku Crew Application Form PDF or Excel files from Download Materials, and send it to us via e-mail of fax (+81-770-45-0129).

Once your reservation confirmation materials arrive from the Wakasa Mikata Five Lakes Wanpaku Crew Office, your reservation is complete.