Mt. Hakusan acrossing Fukui prefecture, Ishikawa prefecture and Gifu prefecture brings grace of water to people and it has been an object of worship for centuries. It is said that Hakusan Heisenji Shrine was founded by a monk Taicho in 717 as a base for this Hakusan faith in Echizen. The stone pavement that continues to the precincts is thought to have been tidied up about 1,000 years ago using river cobbles of Kuzuryu River. It is also known as “kokedera” because the precincts are covered with beautiful green carpet of moss (koke).
During the heyday of the Sengoku period, Heisenji expanded to the largest religious city consisting of 48 shrines, 36 temples, and 6,000 living quarters, which became home to 8,000 monks. However, the whole temple was burned down attacked by Ikko ikki uprisings in 1574. Although the temple was partially reconstructed ten years after the uprising, the precincts were reduced to only about one tenth of what they used to be, and many ruins were buried under the forests and fields. By the excavation survey of Katsuyama city began in 1989, an enormous number of living quarters for the monks, and stone path, drainage ditches and such have been found and you can visit a part of the actual excavation site.（http://www.city.katsuyama.fukui.jp/heisenji/course/）
Also, you can see some of the unearthed objects at “Hakusan Heisenji Shrine Historical Museum Mahoroba”, and everyday items and pots are on exhibit. However, only one percent of the 200 hectare site has been excavated so far. The whole picture of the religious city will continuously be revealed little by little. The formal temple name was abolished by Shinbutsu bunri, the separation of Shinto from Buddhism, in Meiji period, and it became Hakusan Shrine now. There are also Mitarashinoike Pond, where the goddess who led Taicho to Mt. Hakusan appeared, and the cedar tree at Wakamiya Hachimangu Shrine is said to have survived from the total destruction by fire and remained.
Heisenji, Heisenji-cho, Katsuyama-shi, Fukui.
You can take a bus from Echizen Tetsudo Katsuyama station, however, there are only a few buses so please check the time table in advance. You can check the time table here.