Ichijodani is a small village outside of Fukui in the foothills of the mountains. Above this village there once was a magnificent castle, built by Asakura Toshikage, leader of the powerful Asakura clan in 1471. This castle was destroyed by Oda Nobunaga a little more than 100 years later in 1573. All that remains of the castle are the foundation stones, a few stone relics, the front gate and gardens.

Castle foundation

While the castle was still there a small town grew next to it within the fortifications protecting the mountain pass where it was located. This town became a population center at once time housing more than 10,000 inhabitants — merchants, samurai, farmers and craftspeople who lived across the river from the castle. After the castle was destroyed the town was buried in mud from the river. The castle itself was burned to the ground and so nothing remains but the foundation stones, but the town was preserved in the river’s mud. Since the 1960’s more and more of the town has been excavated and restored as a historical site. It gives a fascinating glimpse of what life was like 500 years ago in medieval Japan.

Daily life

Here are some more pictures from my trip there in the early spring of 2022.