The banks of the Asuwa river
The ruins of Fukui Castle
The city of Fukui is located on the Sea of Japan. With its parks and gardens, historic sites and remarkable temples, the city is well worth a stop before exploring the rest of the region, rich in discoveries.
From Fukui, we could detail the many cherry trees that dot the banks of the Asuwa River when spring comes; the parks, real green lungs of this prefecture city; the various temples and statues located in the four corners of the city; or its historic sites, vestiges of the ancient lives of this city of almost 300,000 inhabitants. But we will come back to this later.
The city that rises from the ashes
To fully understand what distinguishes Fukui from other medium-sized cities that dot Japan, we need to take a closer look at its history and this mythological animal totem, witness to a difficult past: the phoenix. Every summer, the city puts him in the spotlight, during a matsuri, or festival, just to remember the strength that breathes into this city that borders the Sea of Japan.
The former capital of the province of Echizen during the Edo period (1603-1868), which saw, in particular, the development of industry, but also paper mill with washi paper. Fukui is also a bruised city, but which, like its animal totem, always ends up being reborn from its ashes. In 1945, the city was destroyed by the bombing of the war, then 3 years later, in 1948, it was ravaged by a fire. However, when we walk around the city today, it is difficult to see any evidence of these events.
Today, the city is still a city of know-how. In particular, it is the leading producer of spectacle frames in Japan. And also hosts a large harp factory. It is also specialized in fishing and particularly that of Echizen crabs in winter and sea urchins in summer, which can be found on sale in the large hall of the city.
Tours between culture and history
For lovers of cultural visits, do not hesitate to take a stroll within the Asuwa sanctuary, a stone's throw from the sanctuary stands a majestic 370-year-old cherry tree, a true witness to the history of the city.
The castle of Fukui, former home of the Matsudaira clan of Echizen, is also worth visiting. Its park is full of cherry trees, and is one of the main places to celebrate hanami in the spring. But, if there is indeed a breathtaking place to observe the blossoming of cherry trees, it is the banks of the Asuwagawa river. At the end of March, it is no less than 2 kilometers which are adorned with a pale pink petal, which contrasts perfectly with the blue of the river. You can come across the statue of Kimimasa Yuri, the samurai who dedicated himself to the modernization of Fukui, but also of Japan as a whole.
Credit: Yoshihide Fujitani
Credit: Yoshihide Fujitani
For history lovers, the city contains an archaeological site, Ichijodani Asakura, where you can admire the ruins of the city founded by the clan Asakura in the sixteenth century and the oldest garden of Japan, established at the Sengoku period (1450-1573).
Finally, the city is also very famous for its irises, a garden around the Daian-zenji temple is dedicated to them, and for its hydrangeas, which bloom on Mount Asuwayama from mid-May until the end of June.