The Fukui Prefecture that we know today has an interesting history both geographically and culturally. Records reveal that people have inhabited this area since at least the Jomon Period, 14000 BC.
At the beginning of the classical age of Japan, the Asuka Period brought about a centralized state. Various regions were established and the Koshi Province consisted of present day Fukui (excluding Wakasa), Ishikawa, Toyama, and Niigata Prefectures.
The beginning of the 7th century saw additional reforms known as Ritsuryo as the Asuka Period came to an end and ushered in the Nara Period. The capital was moved and the previous provincial boundaries were redefined. Koshi Province was divided into three areas and the resulting names reflected their proximity to the new capital in Nara: Echizen (front-Koshi), Etchu (middle-Koshi), and Echigo (rear-Koshi).
From the the Asuka Period, Wakasa Province was within the direct control of the Imperial court. After Ritsuryo was established, Wakasa remained an important area through its proximity to the capital, the many shrines and temples, the strategic harbor, and its role as a producer of food which was used to supply the surrounding areas.
In 1871, from the former provinces of Wakasa and Echizen were merged to form Fukui Prefecture. Even though Fukui is centrally located on the island of Honshu, many Japanese, especially those from large cities sometimes do not know what or where Fukui is. If you tell them that you are from Fukui, they might reply with “Huh? Don’t you mean Fukuoka? Fukushima?” Yes, Fukui is definitely on the rural side of things, but that fact hardly detracts from its natural beauty and its importance to the Japanese nation.
In fact, Fukui boasts some rather impressive accomplishments. It’s rice and water are considered some of the best in the country, and what happens when we combine these two? Sake. Fukui’s sake is so good, it’s the Emperor’s favorite. In addition to rice and water you can try other delicacies of the region: Echizen crab, fugu (blowfish), umeboshi, soba noodles, satoimo, and sauce-katsu are all prized dishes. Echizen has a tradition of craftsmanship and you can see, buy and even make all manner of Fukui wares, including knives, pottery, paper and laquerware.
There are many ways to get out and enjoy what Fukui has to offer. Ranging from the cliffs at Tojimbo, to the castle ruins in Obama and Echizen, to the Sengoku Period village in Ichijodani, there are a lot of opportunities to explore the countryside and its beautiful sites. After, be sure to visit one of the nearby onsens or sentos and take a soak to relax yourself after all of your hard work. There is so much to see and do in Fukui, be sure to get involved as much as you can and don’t miss out on the many things that Fukui has to offer!
Check out this comprehensive Fukui City Guidebook made by Fukui City International Cultural Ambassador
Guides by Location
Useful links to Wikipedia sites: