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Matthew Haswell | profile | all galleries >> Japan 日本 >> Chūbu 中部 >> Fukui, Maruoka & Ōno 福井、丸岡、大野 tree view | thumbnails | slideshow | map

Nagoya 名古屋 | Chita Peninsula 知多半島 | Okazaki 岡崎 | Kōrankei 香嵐渓 | Inuyama 犬山 | Meiji-Mura Museum 明治村 | Little World リトルワールド | Gifu 岐阜 | Takayama 高山 | Hida-Furukawa 飛騨古川 | Gokayama and Shirakawa-gō 五箇山と白川郷 | Magome and Tsumago 馬篭と妻籠 | Narai and Kiso-Fukushima 奈良井と木曽福島 | Matsumoto 松本 | Hotaka 穂高 | Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route 立山黒部アルペンルート | Kanazawa 金沢 | Fukui, Maruoka & Ōno 福井、丸岡、大野 | Obama 小浜 | Kakegawa, Hamamatsu & Toyohashi 掛川、浜松、豊橋 | Shizuoka and Mt. Fuji 静岡と富士山 | Kōfu 甲府 | Niigata and Shibata 新潟と新発田

Fukui, Maruoka & Ōno 福井、丸岡、大野

A trio of historic castle towns on the lower end of Japan's Hokuriku region, Fukui, Maruoka and Ōno lie on the northern end of rainy, mountainous Fukui Prefecture. The capital of Edo-period Echizen province, Fukui city was heavily bombed in 1945 and then flattened by an earthquake in 1948. Now an important textile center and rail hub, it is mostly used as a staging post for visiting tourists, though its 2.2km-long row of cherry blossoms along the Asuwa-gawa attracts many visitors in spring. Maruoka - recently absorbed into greater Sakai city - is the site of one of Japan's few remaining original castles, considered by some to have the oldest wooden donjon in the country. Ōno lies an hour's train ride into the mountains southeast of the capital, with an intriguing morning market, reconstructed castle, and atmospheric temple district. Last on my visit in April of 2008 was the eerie basalt cliffs of Tōjinbō, likely the most famous of Fukui-ken's attractions (along with the Zen temple of Eihei-ji) and still a famous site for suicides.
Approaching Maruoka Castle
Approaching Maruoka Castle
Kindergarten children at the foot of Maruoka-jō
Kindergarten children at the foot of Maruoka-jō
Cherry blossoms in the castle park
Cherry blossoms in the castle park
Elementary school trip at the casle
Elementary school trip at the casle
Posing in front of Maruoka-jō's donjon
Posing in front of Maruoka-jō's donjon
View out the lower floor of the donjon with sakura
View out the lower floor of the donjon with sakura
Setting up for a class photo at the top of the tenshu
Setting up for a class photo at the top of the tenshu
View over Maruoka town
View over Maruoka town
Having hanami in Kasumiga-jō-kōen
Having hanami in Kasumiga-jō-kōen
Tenshu of Maruoka-jō from the park
Tenshu of Maruoka-jō from the park
Forked path in Kasumiga-jō Park with sakura
Forked path in Kasumiga-jō Park with sakura
Chuō-ōdōri in central Fukui
Chuō-ōdōri in central Fukui
Walls of former Fukui-jō and surrounding moat
Walls of former Fukui-jō and surrounding moat
Reconstructed Orōka-bashi
Reconstructed Orōka-bashi
Within the ruins of Fukui-jō
Within the ruins of Fukui-jō
Lunch beneath the sakura with a hungry crow
Lunch beneath the sakura with a hungry crow
Viewing the sakura on the old castle grounds
Viewing the sakura on the old castle grounds
Cherry blossom branches, Fukui Castle Ruins
Cherry blossom branches, Fukui Castle Ruins
Posing with grandpa amidst the sakura
Posing with grandpa amidst the sakura
Corner of the walls with adjacent tower foundations
Corner of the walls with adjacent tower foundations
Prefectural Government Building from the ruins
Prefectural Government Building from the ruins
Relaxing and enjoying the cherry blossoms
Relaxing and enjoying the cherry blossoms
Snapping pics beneath a weeping cherry tree
Snapping pics beneath a weeping cherry tree
Cherry blossoms atop the former Ōte-mon
Cherry blossoms atop the former Ōte-mon
Equestrian statue of Yūki Hideyasu
Equestrian statue of Yūki Hideyasu
South road leading out of the castle grounds
South road leading out of the castle grounds
Modern Fukui scenery with sakura
Modern Fukui scenery with sakura
Manicured tree and lantern with sakura
Manicured tree and lantern with sakura
Eki-mae-densha-dōri in Fukui's main shopping strip
Eki-mae-densha-dōri in Fukui's main shopping strip
Remains of Kitanoshō-jō on the site of Shibata-jinja
Remains of Kitanoshō-jō on the site of Shibata-jinja
Shibata-jinja and surrounds
Shibata-jinja and surrounds
Katsu-don and local speciality: Oroshi-soba
Katsu-don and local speciality: Oroshi-soba
Taxi rank out front Fukui Station
Taxi rank out front Fukui Station
Streetcar in central Fukui
Streetcar in central Fukui
Cherry blossoms along the Asuwa-gawa
Cherry blossoms along the Asuwa-gawa
Row of cherry blossoms beyond Sakura-bashi
Row of cherry blossoms beyond Sakura-bashi
Beneath the sakura along the Asuwa river
Beneath the sakura along the Asuwa river
Advertising lanterns under the sakura
Advertising lanterns under the sakura
Hanami party on the banks of the Asuwa
Hanami party on the banks of the Asuwa
Riverside festival food stalls and sakura
Riverside festival food stalls and sakura
Hanami season activity and the city beyond
Hanami season activity and the city beyond
View down the left bank of the Asuwa-gawa
View down the left bank of the Asuwa-gawa
Nighttime along the Asuwa-gawa
Nighttime along the Asuwa-gawa
City lights and illuminated blossoms
City lights and illuminated blossoms
Main street in Ōno
Main street in Ōno
Shrine (柳廼社) at the foot of Kameyama-kōen
Shrine (柳廼社) at the foot of Kameyama-kōen
Main hall of the shrine
Main hall of the shrine
Ascent to the castle through the park grounds
Ascent to the castle through the park grounds
Approach to Echizen Ōno-jō
Approach to Echizen Ōno-jō
Echizen Ōno-jō and its stone walls
Echizen Ōno-jō and its stone walls
Sprawl of Ōno city and snowcapped mountains
Sprawl of Ōno city and snowcapped mountains
View over Ōno below with adjacent tower
View over Ōno below with adjacent tower
Wet rice paddies in the rural outskirts
Wet rice paddies in the rural outskirts
South flank of Echizen Ōno-jō
South flank of Echizen Ōno-jō
Heisei Ōno-ya
Heisei Ōno-ya
Shichiken Asa-ichi Morning Market
Shichiken Asa-ichi Morning Market
Front of a restored machiya on Shichiken-dōri
Front of a restored machiya on Shichiken-dōri
Myōten-ji on the edge of Ōno's Tera-machi
Myōten-ji on the edge of Ōno's Tera-machi
Interior grounds of Daihō-ji, Tera-machi
Interior grounds of Daihō-ji, Tera-machi
Front gate into Chōkyō-ji
Front gate into Chōkyō-ji
Main hall, Chōkyō-ji
Main hall, Chōkyō-ji
Jizō statues in Tera-machi
Jizō statues in Tera-machi
Reflection of a Tera-machi lane
Reflection of a Tera-machi lane
Arrival at Tōjinbō
Arrival at Tōjinbō
The rocks of Tōjinbō with docked tourist boat
The rocks of Tōjinbō with docked tourist boat
A sightseeing boat passing the rocks
A sightseeing boat passing the rocks
Jagged basalt cliff at Tōjinbō
Jagged basalt cliff at Tōjinbō
Uneven levels atop a cliff
Uneven levels atop a cliff
Channel between the precipitous cliffs
Channel between the precipitous cliffs
Pathway down into the rocks
Pathway down into the rocks
Eroded basalt rocks at the water's edge
Eroded basalt rocks at the water's edge
The shallows of Tōjinbō
The shallows of Tōjinbō
By the waterside at Tōjinbō
By the waterside at Tōjinbō
Souvenir shop specializing in seafood
Souvenir shop specializing in seafood
Noodle and seafood donburi display
Noodle and seafood donburi display
Decaying building in Mikuni town
Decaying building in Mikuni town
Remnants of the old harbor town
Remnants of the old harbor town
Old wooden houses in Mikuni
Old wooden houses in Mikuni
Meiji-era bank building and mikoshi vault
Meiji-era bank building and mikoshi vault
Main street of Mikuni town with Ryūshōkan
Main street of Mikuni town with Ryūshōkan