Located in the Ichijodani valley, approximately 10 kilometers (6 miles) southeast of the heart of Fukui City, in Fukui Prefecture, the Asakura Clan Ruins consist of a ruined castle town from the Sengoku Period (Japan’s Warring States period). For 103 years, from 1471 to 1573, five generations of the Asakura Clan ruled over what was then called Echizen Province from this castle town.
Excavation of the ruins began in 1967 and archeologists quickly uncovered the almost perfectly preserved outline of the entire town, including samurai residences; temples; traditional wooden townhouses called machiya; artisan’s residences; and roads connecting them all. Recognizing the importance of the discovery the Japanese government designated the Ichijodani Asakura Clan Ruins as a “Special Historic Site” in three categories: Special Place of Scenic Beauty; Special Historic Site; and Important Cultural Property.
There are only five places in Japan that have received such a triple designation and the Ichijodani Asakura Clan Ruins have now joined the likes of Kinkakuji Temple in Kyoto and Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima.
Each August, two different exciting events are held simultaneously at the Ichijodani Asakura Clan Ruins: the “Echizen Asakura Mantoya” which is a nighttime festival of light created by candles; and the “Echizen Asakura Sengoku Festival” which recreates the feel of Japan’s Warring States period (Sengoku).
During the day visitors can enjoy a matchlock rifle performance, see a Samurai Procession, and even dress up in period costumes (children’s sizes are also available).
Once properly attired, visitors can wander through the castle town using a free guide application. This app acquires the current location of the user and it allows them to explore the ruins while keeping track of their location on a current map while also juxtaposing it with their location on a period map. Detailed information about important spots in the ruins are displayed through the app, and visitors can even listen to an audio guidance system. Then, at night, over 15,000 candles are placed around the ruins and floated down the Ichijodani River to create a magical atmosphere for all.
For visitors who want to know more information there is also a free guide application.
Kidonouchi-cho, Fukui city.
Take on the Ichijodani Asakura Express Bus from JR Fukui Station and get off at Fukugen Machinami Bus Stop. The bus timetable is here.
Alternatively, take on the JR Etsumi Hokusen Line from Fukui Station, and a 15-minute walk after getting off at Ichijyotsuya Station.
Asakura Ruins / Anytime
Restored castle town / 9:00 – 17:00（Admission until 16:30）
Asakura Ruins / Free
Restored castle town / 210 yen（Junior high school students and below, physically disabled people, and over 70 years old are free）
Museum 100 yen（Junior high school students and below, physically disabled people, and over 70 years old are free）
Museum’s Web site is here.。