Ichijodani Castle

From Jcastle.info



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.

Visit 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.

  • 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

Castle Profile
English Name Ichijodani Castle
Japanese Name 一乗谷城
Alternate Names Asakura Yakata
Founder Asakura Takakage
Year Founded 1471
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition No main keep but other buildings
Designations Top 100 Castles, has Important Cultural Properties, Top 100 Mountaintop Castles, Special Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features gates, samurai homes, water moats, stone walls, walls, castle town
Visitor Information
Access Fukui Sta. (Hokuriku Line), 25min bus; or, Ichijodani Sta (Etsumihoku Line), walk
Visitor Information Museums are open 9am-5pm; closed 12/28-1/4; museum is 100yen admission, reconstructed town is 210yen
Time Required
Website http://www.city.fukui.lg.jp/d620/bunka/iseki/00gaiyo.html
Location Fukui, Fukui Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 59' 58.16" N, 136° 17' 44.02" E
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Added to Jcastle 2013
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed

(7 votes)
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4 months ago
Score 0++

Visited 12th November 2022. I won’t dwell on the valley site proper (including the reconstructed townscape) as there’s nothing to add in that regard, except of course to say that it was all well worth visiting. I’d like to focus a bit on the brand-new 「一乗谷朝倉氏遺跡博物館」 just a short walk from JR Ichijōdani Station. They’ve just opened a month ago (1st October 2022 to be precise) and it’s a real treat to see so many excavated artefacts from the valley assembled in one place, along with supporting exhibits such as a meticulous scale model of one section of the former Asakura capital. Part of the museum also sits on an actual excavation site; walkways around the pit allow visitors to view the remains up close. But the real highlight is a 1:1 (life-sized) partial reconstruction of the Asakura lords’ palatial fortified mansion, including a large reception room and even a replica of the famous rock garden.

Combination tickets covering the museum and the reconstructed neighbourhood up in the valley are available (with an optional add-on for any ongoing special exhibition). A useful new feature is the free shuttle minibus that takes visitors between the museum and the parking lot next to the rebuilt townscape. Regrettably, the railway station is as infrequently served by JR as ever!

I haven’t done a proper blog post on this (I’m still currently travelling in Japan and won’t have time for that until I go home next month), but here are two Instagram posts I’ve put up about the museum. The first link shows the museum as a whole, the second shows the reconstructed palace inside the museum building.




4 months ago
Score 0++
Had no idea. Thanks for the report!


60 months ago
Score 1++
There is so much to see in the valley that I still didn't have time to climb to the yamajiro after half a day. There are many stone-lined terraces stretching up both valley walls, with the east side terraces being many tiered and climbing steeply. A portion of the old medieval town has been reconstructed, providing for an unobstructed historical streetscape. The Asakura Mansion set against the mountain is surrounded on three sides by a 3m deep mizubori (water moat), and 8m wide dorui (earthen ramparts), accessed through a karamon (gabled gate), built for a temple in the Edo Period (formerly there would have stood there the shōmon or go'mon). Several gardens of former mansions on the hillside have been restored. Many ruins of bukeyashiki (samurai homes) are designated. The area itself has many old rural homes and a nature-rich setting. The valley is divided at the bottom and top by huge gate ruins: the lower gate ruin has cyclopean masonry like I have not seen at other castle sites. These defences are referred to as Kido, meaning "door to the castle".


71 months ago
Score 0++

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.


72 months ago
Score 0++
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.


120 months ago
Score 0++
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.