Visit Fukui: Back in Time at Asakura Clan Ruins

Visit Fukui: Back in Time at the Asakura Clan Ruins
Visit Fukui: Back in Time at the Asakura Clan Ruins

If you venture out to the outskirts of Fukui City, not only will you find rice fields and expansive countryside, but you’ll also find a beautifully preserved slice of history. If you take Mino Highway (Rt. 150) towards Ono and come from Fukui Station, you can be at the Asakura Clan Ruins in about 30 minutes. A friend and I ventured out there on a Sunday after a heavy snowfall in Fukui the previous two days.

Visit Fukui: Back in Time at the Asakura Clan Ruins

The Asakura Clan Ruins, a historic relic from the Sengoku Period, features the ruins themselves, a museum, and a swank restaurant that serves food using locally-sourced and fresh ingredients. Although the restaurant is pricey, the museum and ruins are quite inexpensive. If you’d like to get the full package of that area, you can visit all three locations and make a day of it. Together, the museum and the ruins are about ¥310 JPY ($3 USD), and you can expect to spend roughly between ¥7000 to ¥10000 JPY ($65 to $90 USD) on a meal at Ichijyodani Restaurant (一乗谷レスロラント). A reservation is needed at this restaurant, too.

I’ve been to Asakura every season and was lucky enough to take a guided tour from some of the Japanese women in the area who run a local tour group. The ruins spread across acres of the valley and run up against the surrounding mountains. On any given day—sunny or otherwise—it’s usually quiet with few people to make a crowd. When you first pay and enter, you walk through a small path that is nestled next to a clearing. As you pass through the brown walls of the ruins, there’s a long walkway lined with doors to small peasant houses and gates that used to lead to samurai settlements. If you walk into some of the earth-packed houses, you can see what life was like back then with re-creations of common jobs such as ink-making. For only ¥500 JPY, you can even dress in a kimono or shogun suit of armor for about 15 minutes. Before you leave out of the back exit and cross the street to the other half of the ruins, you can stop in to have hot green tea inside the building or outside on the lawn (depending on the weather).

Visit Fukui: Back in Time at the Asakura Clan Ruins
Visit Fukui: Back in Time at the Asakura Clan Ruins

As you cross the street, you see one of the most significant relics of the ruins, the Karamon gate that leads to the shogun’s residences and a small shrine for prayer. Walk up the stairs to the back-left of the shrine and you can cross a bridge to the largest garden on the property. According to history, the garden was built by Ashikaga Yoshikage for his wife during the Muromachi Period. The garden has a pond and a small waterfall, and it overlooks all of the ruins.

Visit Fukui: Back in Time at the Asakura Clan Ruins

I’d say even if you’re not for fancy restaurants or museums, the ruins themselves are well-worth the trip it takes to get out there in any season. I’d recommend seeing the ruins in the spring or summer. In the spring, Cherry Blossoms bloom around the ruins, and in late-summer there is a reenactment by the local residents. Driving to Asakura in the winter is a bit treacherous (I’d like to officially call western Japan snowfall alley), but I’m amazed by it every year and every season.

Want to Read it Again Later? Pin it!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *