Cherry blossoms in Nishiyama Park: One of the best spots to see cherry blossoms in Fukui

April/9/2022

It takes about 40 minutes to get from Fukui Station to Nishiyama Park on the train. You can enjoy seeing the cherry blossoms and azaleas in spring, and the maple trees in autumn there. The park has a long history and has been designated one of Japan’s top 100 historical parks. It’s a major tourist destination in Fukui. read more

Hashimoto Sanai: The eternal teacher for the people in Fukui

He is Hashimoto Sanai. (Source: 福井市立郷土歴史博物館)

February/19/2022

Hashimoto Sanai(橋本左内) (1834–1859) was born in Fukui, Japan, and in his life he was a doctor, a samurai (Japanese warrior), and a politician. He was one of the contributors to the creation of democracy in Japan in the 19th century. His reputation in Japan is high, and he’s especially admired in his home city of Fukui. His teachings and influence are deeply engraved in the DNA of the people there. read more

Seibu Fukui: the only department store in Fukui

December/23/2021

Seibu Fukui (西武福井) is well known locally and a symbol of the prefecture. People in Fukui go to the department store on special occasions. It’s the only department store in Fukui, and it has about a 90-year history.

Department stores are large outlets that sell high-quality daily necessities including food and clothes. There are only about 200 department stores in Japan. I might be wrong, but I think department stores sell expensive and high-quality products, while shopping centers sell cheaper items. When you go to a department store, you have to wear appropriate clothing. read more

William Elliot Griffis: an American who was loved by the people of Fukui, Japan

(Source:福井市立郷土歴史博物館所蔵)

July/3/2021

William Elliot Griffis (1843–1928) was an American who taught physics and chemistry in Fukui. He also wrote a lot of books that presented Japan to the world. Thanks to his great achievements and character, he was loved by people in Fukui.

Griffis was born in America in 1843. In 1865, when he was 22 years old, he got into Rutgers University. At that time Japan was in a turbulent period. The nation had been closed from 1639 to 1853, and during that period it had rarely had diplomatic relations. However, in 1853 Japan had opened its doors and begun rapidly adopting Western culture. It was as part of this trend that Griffis was invited to Fukui when he was 27 to teach physics and chemistry. read more

Maruoka Castle: site of one of Japan’s 12 castle towers that remain from ancient times

March/31/2021

Maruoka Castle(丸岡城, Maruoka-jō) is one of the best-known sightseeing spots in Fukui. Every year about 120,000 people go there. The castle tower there is one of only 12 remaining in Japan, and it’s so precious that it’s been designated as an important cultural property.

(The 12 towers referred to here are ones that were built in the Edo period (1603–1868) or earlier and that still exist. There are a lot of other castle towers in Japan, but they’re mostly restored ones.) read more

Fukui Castle Ruins: site of one of the tallest castle towers in old Japan

March/27/2021

Fukui Castle was built in 1606 by Yuki Hideyasu, who was the lord of the Echizen Fukui domain. Until 1871 the castle was used mostly by the Echizen Matsudaira family, who were the lords of that same domain. Sadly the castle tower was destroyed by fire in 1669.

You might be surprised to find out that the Fukui prefectural government building, the prefectural police headquarters, and the prefectural assembly hall are all within the site of the Fukui Castle Ruins. read more

Happiring: a shopping complex next to JR Fukui Station

(source: Fukui Photo Gallery)

March/7/2021

Happiring is a medium-sized shopping complex next to JR Fukui Station in the city of Fukui. Inside Happiring, there’s Fukui City Tourist Information Center, a convenience store, gift shops, restaurants, and a science museum.

At Fukui City Tourist Information Center, you can get tourist information about Fukui in English from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. read more

Fukui Shrine and what’s a Shinto shrine?

Fukui Shrine1

November/14/2020

Fukui Shrine has three characteristics.

  1. It’s dedicated to Matsudaira Shungaku.
  2. It’s a very modern Shinto shrine.
  3. There’s a ginkgo tree there that’s a symbol of Fukui.

Fukui Shrine, which is dedicated to Matsudaira Shungaku, was built in 1943. Matsudaira Shungaku (1828-1890) was one of the most famous feudal lords of the Fukui clan. He was known as one of the four remarkable Japanese feudal lords of the end of the Edo period(1603-1868). You can see a statue of him to the left of the main building of the shrine. read more

The ginkgo tree in Fukui Shrine: The symbol of Fukui

The ginkgo tree in Fukui Shrine1

December/6/2020

There’s a ginkgo tree in Fukui that, along with the phoenix, is known as a symbol of the city.

The ginkgo has green leaves in spring and summer. Its leaves change from green to yellow in autumn, and it has no leaves in winter.(If you want to know more about the ginkgo, please read my previous post: Hirase Sakugoro: a unique researcher who overturned common conceptions of plants) read more

Tsukumo Bridge used to be unique, and was painted by Katsushika Hokusai.

Tsukumo Bridge and cherry blossoms
Tsukumo Bridge and cherry blossoms along the Asuwa River

October/3/2020

Located in the central city of Fukui, Tsukumo Bridge spans the Asuwa River. I wrote about the Asuwa River once before.(The Asuwa River: a river that runs through the central part of Fukui)

In my opinion, there are four interesting points about Tsukumo Bridge(九十九橋 in Japanese).

  1. It has a more than 400-year history.
  2. Half of the bridge was made of wood, and the other half was made of stone, so it was well known in Japan.
  3. Katsushika Hokusai, a world-famous ukiyoe painter, painted it.
  4. There’s a touching legend about the bridge. (The story of hitobashira(human pillar).)

Tsukumo Bridge was built about 400 years ago by Shibata Katsuie, a military commander who laid the foundations of the city of Fukui. The bridge was a very important entrance to this castle town. The stone used to build the bridge was the Shakudani type, which is a Fukui specialty. read more