Ichijodani Castle 一乗谷城

Picture Donated by Raymond W.
Founder Asakura Takakage
Asakura
Year 1471
Type Mountaintop
Condition Other Buildings
Alternate Name Asakura Yakata
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Historical Site Special Historic Site
Historical Value Top 100 Castles, Important Cultural Properties
Location Fukui, Fukui Pref.
Map Google Map
Access Fukui Sta. (Hokuriku Line), 25min bus; or, Ichijodani Sta (Etsumihoku Line), walk
Website Fukui City Ichijodani Historical Site
Visitor Info. Museums are open 9am-5pm; closed 12/28-1/4; museum is 100yen admission, reconstructed town is 210yen
Notes Both the train to Ichijodani Sta. and the bus from Fukui Sta. only have 6 and 8 trips leaving Fukui Sta. respectively each day. There are also some travel agent sponsored bus tours and taxi tours leaving Fukui Sta. on weekends, holidays and busy periods such as during the fall colors and cherry blossoms seasons. For details about the best route for you, consult with the tourist information desk (830am-7pm daily) at Fukui Sta. They are very helpful.

The valley with the Asakura Family Historic Ruins are the main attraction but there are also castle ruins on the top of the mountain. To see everything, it is best to plan ahead and spend the whole day.

History Asakura Takakage established his family home and castle at Ichijodani in 1471. During the Onin War, many elite and educated people escaped to Ichijodani making it the cultural center of the Echizen Province. The fifth Asakura lord, Yoshikage sided with the Ashikaga against Nobunaga. Yoshikage failed in an attempt to capture Oda Nobunaga and fled to Ohno leaving Ichijodani open to attack. Nobunaga attacked and burned Ichijodani in 1573. The castle deftly makes use of the long thin valley between two mountains. At both ends of the valley were narrow openings with strong gates that opened up into a flourishing castle town. The castle at the top of the mountain had three main baileys and numerous dry moats and earthen embankments protecting it.
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  • furinkazan on My Page    May 20, 2017 at 09:27 PM
    This morning i took the Thunderbird from Kanazawa to Fukui. There i took the Wanman to Ichijôdani. I first visited the Asakura ruins museum. You can buy a combination ticket for the reconstructed street and this museum for 230¥. I then followed the route indicated on the map in front of the museum. I recommend this, because you'll pass a lot of interesting places. The route brings you to the reconstructed street. The homes are very interesting. I was stunned by the number of wells all over the place. All homes had 1 or 2 of them, even inside. There were canals bringing water everywhere. I went to the Kamikido or entrance defence in the south of the valley. From there i visited the ruins of the several yakata and the Karamon. But i didn’t find a trail to go to the top of the mountain. I went back to the entrance of the reconstructed street and asked how i could get on the top. The lady told me to go to the Hachiman shrine and follow the trail next to it. She asked if i had a 'kumazukuri'(bear repellent or bell). I had seen several warning signs about the bears, but i told her i didn’t had a repellent. She told me to yell at the bear in the event of an encounter. I went to the Hachiman shrine and at its foot is a sign indicating the trail to the mountain top. It's a 1.5km trail. First follow the road, going right of the shrine. Some meters farther you'll see a sign indicating the trail to the left. It's a very small trail and not always easy. I had put my good walking shoes, and i was happy to have done so. I went to the San no maru ato, but the trail goes further. A sign at the san no maru ruin indicates it's the end of the yamashiro. It took me 1 hour to get there and I'm happy to have done it. Do not expect a lot there. Apart of the trail, everything is overgrown. There are only boards telling you where you are and indicating the other locations. After that i went back to the station and i had the train of 15h46. Plan carefully, because like stated in the notes, there aren't a lot of trains passing at this station. I highly recommend to visit this site, but because of the state of the castle i give it only 2 stars.
  • suupaahiiroo    April 07, 2017 at 11:48 AM
    Amazingly rich historical site and highly recommended. Personal highlight for me were the gardens that are virtually intact. It makes sense that even Nobunaga's wrath isn't going to do much to an arrangement of large rocks, but still it was a very nice surprise to me. The three gardens around the area are even designated as a Special Place of Scenic Beauty (特別名勝), the highest possible honour for a garden.
  • Jamie    July 09, 2015 at 08:17 PM
    This place is amazing rich in history and is very friendly to visitors. I will go and climb the mountain fortress tomorow.
  • Eric    April 30, 2013 at 09:21 AM
    Benjamin, that's pretty neat. Is subtitling part of your profession? That Nobunaga drama was the first I ever watched as a HS exchange student. It really fueled my interest in castles and history. Ichijodani is very high on my to-visit list and gets even more interesting, the more I know about it.
  • Benjamin C    April 26, 2013 at 09:08 PM
    Last year I re-subtitled the DVDs for the 1992 Taiga Drama Oda Nobunaga with English subtitles, so I learned a lot about Nobunaga and his campaigns. I never realized how impressive the Asakura were, both in terms of the size of the land and also in the incredible cultural advancements. Visiting Ichijodani was absolutely wonderful and well worth spending a full day exploring the various excavations, ruins, and reconstructed areas. I have visited over 60 Japanese castle over the past 5 or 6 years and found this one to be particularly educational.
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Fukui, Fukui Pref.
Ichijodani Castle views
Shimokido embankment and Moat Shimokido embankment and Moat
Shimokido Masugata-style Gate Shimokido Masugata-style Gate Close Up
Nakano Goten Ruin and embankment above it Terraced Baileys near Nakano Goten Ruin
Stone walls near the Nakano Goten ruins Reconstructed Houses in the town
Inside a reconstructed samurai residence Reconstructed Houses in the town
Asakura Yoshikage Yakata Ruin Dorui South Side Earthen embankment and Water Moat of Asakura Yoshikage Yakata Ruin
Looking down at Asakura Yoshikage Yakata Ruin Stone walls above the Asakura Yoshikage Ruin
Town Ruins Town Ruins
Town Ruins Map