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


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


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)


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


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


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


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

The Asuwa River: a river that runs through the central part of Fukui

Asuwa River 1


The Asuwa River (足羽川), which is about 60 kilometers long, is located in Fukui Prefecture, Japan. Mt. Kanmuri (in Ikeda-cho in the prefecture) is the source of the river, which runs through the central part of Fukui.

In my opinion there are three good points about the Asuwa River:

1. Along it there are about 600 cherry blossom trees. read more

I took stylish Japanese trams in Fukui.

Japanese trams in Fukui


Fukui Railway connects Fukui with Echizen. The interesting thing about this railway is that it has trams, which run in the center of the city of Fukui.

In Japan, there are trams in about 15 prefectures. Since there aren’t many, you’re lucky if you can see them. They run on railways on the road, so you can see trams and other cars at the same time. The scenery of trams running alongside other cars on the road is elegant and fun. read more

Echizen Soba no Sato: a village where you can experience Echizen Soba

This is Echizen Soba no Sato.
This is Echizen Soba no Sato.


Echizen Soba no Sato(Echizen Soba Village)(越前そばの里) is in the city of Echizen, Fukui. There, you can eat Echizen Soba, buy souvenirs and gifts, see the soba manufacturing process, and experience making it. (If you want to know more about this, see the official English website.) read more

Miraie: The illumination event at Tsuruga Port

Miraie: The illumination event at Tsuruga Port


Tsuruga, which is in the middle of Fukui Prefecture, is often called a railroad and port city.

In 1902 the direct route between Tsuruga and Vladivostok was opened, and in 1912 the railroad between Tsuruga and Tokyo was built. From 1912 to 1941 this route (which went from Tokyo to Tsuruga to Vladivostok to European countries like France, Poland, and Lithuania, and which made use of both Tsuruga Port and the Trans-Siberian Railroad) was the shortest one between Japan and Europe. read more