National-designated special historical site
This is a city in the medieval period built by Asakura clan, a warring lord. The ruins of the castle gate built by piling up huge stones to prevent invasion by the enemy give a full im-pact on us. Relics discovered by excavation are exhibited in an exposure state, showing us foundation stones of the residences, stone walls, etc. in those days.
Historic site designated by the national government
As the base of Hakusan Worship.Hakusan Heisenji Shrine developed sophisticated technique of utilizing stones for town planning earlier than any other city in Japan and developed into one of the largest religious cities in Japan in the medieval period equipped with stone-paved paths and stone walls constructed in a planned manner. Their technique was introduced to the castle town of Ichijodani by Asakura clan, a warrior family.
This is a drawing depicting the last years of Asakura clan. The drawing describes not only division of the castle town but also a mountain castle located on the mountainside behind the town. This drawing is estimated to have been made after the 4th year of the Kouka era (1848) because explanatory notes on the standing stone found in the ruins of Suwa residence include description of this particular year. Therefore, this drawing is estimated to have been made at the end of the Edo period.
This is the drawing depicting the most prosperous period of Hakusan Heisenji Shrine. In the ruins of 3600 buildings for monks in Minamidani where excavation has been going on, rel-ics of the city constructed in a planned manner have been dis-covered as the drawing shows such as crisscrossing stone-paved paths and stone walls, side ditches alongthe paths, ruins of the buildings for monks constructed at regular intervals.
This is a stone paving relic discovered in Abaka in the excavation survey conducted in 2017. Abaka is said to have prospered as a river port. This stone paving relic which crosses ex-river course is estimated to be connected to the Asuwa River and played a role of a road, a port or a landing place, etc. ※These relics are now being reburied in order to open to the public in the new museum.
Mino-kaido Road, which runs in the east-west direction to Mino in Gifu prefecture through Ono, played an important role for Asakura clan to rule their feudal domain territory by transporting commodities and sending troops outside the territory, etc.
Asakura-kaido Road was the main road that runs in the north-south direction through Echizen area, delivering commodities from Tsuruga, Kyoto, etc. to Ichijodani. It runs mostly along ex-Hokuriku-do Road and it is said to have stretched from present-day Minami Echizen-cho up to the area around Sakai City. Relics of stone pavement and masonry remain in Higashioumi-cho in Fukui City.
This is an old road which played an important role in distribution and strategy in the medieval period by connecting Hakusan Heisenji Shrine and Ichijodani by the most direct way. This road starts from present-day Shikadani-cho, Katsuyama City and leads to Abaka-cho through Saratani in Miyama district of Fukui City, etc. Ruins of Saikouji Castle, which used to be a place of strategic portance, remain near the starting point on the Katsuyama side.
Rivers acted as an important means of transportation which supported prosperity of Ichijodani, Hakusan Heisenji Shrine, and castle town of Fukui Castle by transporting building material for cities and also stones used for material of daily commodities. Stone materials and stone products made with Shakudani stone produced around Mt. Asuwa went down the rivers and were delivered from Mikuni port to various places in Japan even to Hokkaido.
National-designated important cultural property (works of art)
In the excavation survey, besides stone Buddha images and stone pagodas, many relics of daily commodities made of stone such as bandoko to heat a bed and fuuro, a kind of kiln, to boil water were unearthed. Some of them were made with Shakudani stone produced in Mt. Asuwa. They tell us that stones were deeply related to the daily life in Ichijodani.
Relics related to production activities were unearthed such as melting pots and iron slag related to metal processing, tools to make beads, etc. in Hakusan Heisenji Shrine. Besides these, Chinese pottery and the image of Kan-non made of white and celadon porcelain which is rarely discovered were also discovered. This proves extensive trading network. These unearthed articles illustrate that Hakusan Heisenji Shrine was a huge city where production and consumption of goods were actively conducted.
Shakudani stone is green tuff produced around Mt. Asuwa. Since it is tinged with deep green when it gets wet, it is also called “Echizen blue stone”. Since it is soft and easy to process, it was used as a stone coffin buried in ancient tombs in old times. Mining of this stone was re-sumed in the medieval period and it was uti-lized widely for building materials and for daily commodities, etc.
This is a huge citadel built by Katsuie Shibata, who ruled Echizen province after Asakura clan ruined. Luis Frois, a Portuguese missionary, wrote about the beautiful appearance of Kitanosho Castle with roof tiles made of Shakudani stone. A part of excavated stone wall is preserved in the precincts of Shibata Shrine.
This is a bridge built by Katsuie Shibata half of which was made of stone and the other half made of wood. It was constructed at an important point of transportation where Hokuriku-do Road and the Asuwa River intersect. There are various views on why this bridge was built this way. However, it was widely known in the Edo period as a famous bridge or a bridge with an unusual shape in the Edo period.
Fukui Castle was constructed by Hideyasu Yuki, the first feudal lord of Fukui domain. Four moats were surrounded by solid stone wall. Shakudani stone was used for all the stone walls and it was also used for building materials for irrigation canals, underdrains, foundation stones and roof tiles for buildings, etc. The beautiful appearance of the ruins of this castle adds beauty to the townscape of Fukui City even today.
Shibahara irrigation canal supplying clean water was constructed by Yuki Hideyasu when he built Fukui Castle and castle town for the purpose of securing drinking water for the residents of castle town. Water was taken from the Kuzuryu River. Excavation survey found that stonework was partly built inside of Fukui Castle. However, the whole aspect is yet to be confirmed.
Historic site designated by Fukui City National-designated architecture
This is a hermitage Zuian Yamamoto, an in-house doctor of Fukui domain, built at the pit site of Shakudani stone at the foot of Mt. Asuwa. Shakudani stone is used abundantly for paving stones, a bridge, etc. in the passage of a beautiful garden inside the hermitage. It was used as a place for secret meetings for Shungaku Matsudaira, the domain lord, Sanai Hashimoto and other patriotic retainers at the end of the Edo period.
National-designated important cultural property (architecture)
This temple was founded by Mitsumichi Matsudaira, the 4th domain lord of Fukui domain. Approximately 1360 pieces of Shakudani stone plates are used for Senjojiki, a mousoleum where successive domain lords are enshrined, located in the mountain close to the temple precincts. Shakudani stone is also used for gravestones, fences, and gates, creating noble and majestic space.
Shakudani stone is abundantly used for stone steps of Atagozaka, Hyakuzaka, and other slopes leading to the top of Mt. Asuwa. We can see old pit sites at the foot of the mountain. Shakudani stone is also used for garden lanterns, etc. of temples and shrines built at the foot of Mt. Asuwa and their blue stone surface creates solemn atmosphere.
In the city area of Katsuyama City spreads a river terrace of the Kuzuryu River. In the Edo period, "Shichirikabe", stone walls built by piling up river stones at the cliffs of the river terrace, was constructed by utilizing the terrace. Utilizing Shichirikabe as a boundary, a castle town was built by dividing samurai residences and townhouses or temples methodically.
In Katsuyama in the Edo period, Shichirikabe was utilized as the boundary to divide the city areas under the direction of the Ogasawara clan, the domain lord, and beautiful, methodical city streets were built. Even today, townhouses with traditional architectural style and intricate slopes and alleys still remain, creating elegant taste.
Oshozu refers to underflow water that gushes out on the lowest terrace surface of the river terrace spreading in the city area of Katsuyama City. Pure water used to gush out everywhere. Today, however, Oshozu is the only place where spring water comes out. Oshozu is loved by the people of Katsuyama City together with its elegant view created by the stone wall made of round river stone.
National-designated special scenic beauty
Over fifteen ruins of gardens have been discovered in Ichijodani. Some of them have a style of garden that features a path around a central pond and spring with magnificent arrangement of garden stones. Others have simple and refined dry landscape garden, etc. Well preserved stone arrangement tells us the garden style in those days. Out of these gardens, four of them, including the largest one called “Ruins of Suwa residence”, are designated as national-designated special scenic beauty.
National-designated scenic beauty
This is a dry landscape garden that features a path around a central pond and spring in the precincts of Heisenji Hakusan shrine built at the end of the Muromachi period. It is said to be the oldest garden in existence in Hokuriku region. Natural stones are skillfully arranged such as a principal stone image of Buddha, a vertical stone, a leveled stone, stones used for making waterfall called “takiishigumi”, etc. placed in an artificial mountain in front of the garden. They create beautiful landscape harmonized with green moss.
National-designated scenic beauty
This is a garden of a villa of the Matsudaira family, the feudal lord of Fukui domain with a grove that features a path around a central pond and spring. Famous stones produced in Echizen are used in various places in the garden such as a stone bridge made of a huge natural stone with 5 meters in length and 90 cm in width, kageishi, a type of stone used in the landscaping of Japanese gardens, vertical stones, a washbasin set called Tsukubai made of Shakudani stone, etc. We can enjoy beautiful landscape created by water and stones while walking around the garden in a relaxed manner.
National-designated special historical site
Around Ichijodani area remain about as many as 6,000 Buddha images and stone pagodas made of Shakudani stones produced in the Age of Warring States, whose number has no parallel nationwide. Delicate and graceful facial expressions of many Stone Buddha images that remain in the ruins of Nishiyama Koushoji temple, Seigenji temple, etc. tell us deep faith of the people in those days.
In the precincts are the grave of Masashige Kusunoki, mausoleum of Taicho Daishi (Saint Taicho), all night lights made of stone, guardian dogs made of Shakudani stone, etc. Cemetery of Heisenji has a row of stone Buddha images, five-ring pagodas, etc. made over 400 years ago. Ex-precincts is also dotted with stone Buddha images broken and damaged during anti-Buddhist movement in the Meiji period.