Wakasa-cho (若狭町)

Wakasa-cho is a town in Fukui Prefecture.

On March 31, 2005, Wakasa-cho was established through the merging of Mikata-cho, Mikata-gun and Kaminaka-cho, Onyu-gun. Wakasa-cho is the only one municipality of Mikatakaminaka-gun, which was established at the time of the merger.

Geography and transportation
National Route 27 runs east-west through the town. National Route 162 runs from Mikata to Obama City via Sekumi, whereas National Route 303 runs from Mikata to Takashima City.

Concerning railways, the JR Obama Line runs east-west. Stations in the town are Kiyama Station, Mikata Station, Fujii Station, Tomura Station, Otoba Station, Wakasaarita Station, and Kaminaka Station.

District
Mikata (eastern part of Old Mikata, Old Hachi-mura)
Nishita (western part of Old Mikata, Old Nishita-mura)
Misomi (Southern part of Old Mikata, Old To-mura)
Toba (Old Toba-mura)
Miyake (Old Miyake-mura)
Nogi (Old Nogi-mura)
Uryu (Old Uryu-mura)
Kumagawa (Old Kumagawa-mura)

History
April 1953: Mikata-cho was established through the merging of Hachi-mura and Nishita-mura. January 1954: Kaminaka-cho was established through a merging of Nogi-mura, Miyake-mura, Kumagawa-mura, Uryu-mura, and Toba-mura. March 1954: To-mura was merged into Mikata-cho. March 31, 2005: Wakasa-cho was established through a merging of Mikata-cho and Kaminaka-cho.

Population

Administration
Town mayor: Chiyokazu SENDA (former Mikata-cho town mayor)
Executor of mayoral duties: Masashi TSUDA (former Kaminaka-cho town mayor) * Out of work as of the start of the mayoral term.

Town Hall

Wakasa-cho has adopted a scheme to assign departments to former government offices.

Mikata Town Office

The address is 1-1 Chuo, Wakasa-cho, Mikatakaminaka-gun, Fukui Prefecture.

It is formally the main hall.
The office accommodates the following:

Town mayor

General Affairs Division

The Election Management Committee

Planning and Information Division

Citizens' Affairs Division

Revenue department

Fixed Property Assessment Examination Committee

Consumer and Environmental Protection Division

Tourism and Fisheries Division

Mikata Town Office Service (Industries Division, Construction Division, Water and Sewer Division and Welfare Division)

Receiver general, chamber

Education Board Mikata Office

Kaminaka Town Hall

Its address is 20-18 Ichiba, Wakasa-cho, Mikatakaminaka-gun, Fukui Prefecture.

The office accommodates the following:

Town council

Secretariat of Town council

Audit commissioner, Secretariat of audit commissioner

Assistant to mayor

Industries Division

Agricultural Committee, Secretariat of Agricultural Committee

Construction Division

Water and Sewer Division

Welfare Division (Parea Wakasa)

Health Division (Parea Wakasa)

Kaminaka Town Hall Service Section (Planning and Information Division, Citizens' Affairs Division, Revenue department, Consumer and Environmental Protection Division, and Tourism and Fisheries Division)

Education Board

School superintendent and Secretariat of Education Board, and Education Board Kaminaka Office

Childcare and Education

Toll Roads

Maizuru Wakasa Expressway
Kaminaka Interchange
Mikata Parking Area
Mikata Interchange

Municipal merger

Background of merger
In Reinan area of Fukui prefecture, where nuclear power plants of Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. are located, a financial difference exists between the municipalities with nuclear power plants (Tsuruga City, Mihama-cho (Fukui Prefecture), Oi-cho-current Oi-cho, Takahama-cho) and municipalities which are not located nearby such plants. Due to this reason, municipalities with nuclear power plants do not actively promote municipal mergers. The two towns without local plants were frustrated by the reluctance from other municipalities possessing nuclear power plants, and launched a movement to initiate a merger that would transcend regions (Nishu and Wakasa) and counties.

Some said that Kaminaka-cho should merge with Obama City, which has close ties in terms of daily life and economic activities; however, many were against the merger saying Kaminaka would not capture the initiative; the majority of voters opposed the merger with Obama City in a referendum.

Although 'Wakasa-cho' has been established, the merger appears to be temporary; even a central person advocating the merger said, 'the merger is only a step to "forming a city in Reinan".'
The results of this merger are the focus of attention due to the weak tie between the two towns.

Effect of the merger
There remain individual Police Stations and Fire Stations.

As for the telephone number, an area code is required to dial between the Old Mikata Towns and Old Kaminaka Town.

Concerning the cable television network, Old Mikata-cho belongs to Mikata Cable Network established for Mikata-gun, whereas Old Kaminaka Town's Cable Network Kaminaka belongs to a CATV network organized mainly by Cable TV Wakasa Obama and other five municipalities in Wakasa district. Local government information is aired from both CATV stations.

Garbage
Old Kaminaka-cho and Old Mikata-cho differ in garbage disposal facilities and separating systems, due to the fact that Old Kaminaka-cho had to transport their waste in Obama City, whereas Old Mikata-cho had started, immediately before the merger, to operate Ecocle Mikata (gasification and fusion furnace facility, and recycling plaza).

The daily life of people in Mikata centers on Tsuruga City, while those in Kaminaka belongs to an area centered on Obama City.

There are only three routes that connect Old Kaminaka-cho and Old Mikata-cho: the JR Obama Line (Tenguyama Tunnel), Wakasa Ume-kaido agricultural road (Wakasa Tunnel), National Route 27 (Kurami-toge Mountain Pass).

Some area names have been changed: from Kuroda Mikata-cho to Higashi-kuroda Wakasa-cho, and from Kuroda Kaminaka-cho to Kami-kuroda Wakasa-cho.

Scenic sites, historic sites, tourist spots
Kumagawa-juku - a post station of the Saba-kaido Road
Designated as a Preservation District for Groups of Historic Buildings. The river running in the town was selected as one of the 100 Exquisite and Well-Conserved Waters of the Heisei Period.

Wakasa Saba Kaido Kumagawa-Juku Shiryokan (archives museum) - a western-style museum that was once Kumagawa-mura Office.
Old House of Kanbe HENMI -- a trader house built in the Edo period
Michi-no-eki Rest Area, Wakasa Kumagawa-juku
Ongami-jima Island, designated as a marine park.
Agari Icho Kannon (Kannon statue carved in a gingko tree)
Tentoku-ji Temple -- established in 723
Uriwari no Taki Waterfall (Wakasa Uriwari Meisui Park) - (one of the 100 Exquisite and Well-Conserved Waters)