Echizen, Fukui

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Echizen City Hall.jpg
Echizen City Hall
Flag of Echizencity Fukui.JPG
Symbol of Echizen Fukui.svg
Echizen in Fukui prefecture Ja.svg
Location of Echizen in Fukui Prefecture
Japan location map with side map of the Ryukyu Islands.svg
Red pog.svg
Coordinates: 35°54′12.6″N136°10′7.5″E / 35.903500°N 136.168750°E / 35.903500; 136.168750 Coordinates: 35°54′12.6″N136°10′7.5″E / 35.903500°N 136.168750°E / 35.903500; 136.168750
Region Chūbu (Hokuriku)
Prefecture Fukui
First official record ed91 BC
As city settled for TakefuApril 1, 1948
As mergeed with Imadate town and current city name forOctober 1, 2005
  MayorToshiyuki Nara
  Total230.70 km2 (89.07 sq mi)
 (July 1, 2018)
  Density360/km2 (930/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+9 (Japan Standard Time)
– Tree Cherry blossom
– Flower Chrysanthemum
Phone number0778-22-3000
Address1-13-7 Fuchu, Echizen-shi, Fukui-ken 915-8530
Website Official website

Echizen (越前市, Echizen-shi) is a city located in Fukui Prefecture, Japan. As of 1 July 2018, the city had an estimated population of 83,078 in 20.341 households and the population density of 360 persons per km². [1] The total area of the city was 230.70 square kilometres (89.07 sq mi). The modern city of Echizen was established on October 1, 2005, from the merger of the city of Takefu and the town of Imadate (from Imadate District); although the Echizen Basin has been an important regional center for over 1,500 years. The city is home to the largest number of cultural assets in Fukui Prefecture and has many former castle sites and prehistoric archeological sites.



Echizen is located in central Fukui Prefecture, bordered by mountains on three sides.

Neighbouring municipalities


Echizen has a Humid climate (Köppen Cfa) influenced by its proximity to the Sea of Japan, and is characterized by warm, wet summers and cold winters with heavy snowfall. The average annual temperature in Echizen is 14.3 °C. The average annual rainfall is 2402 mm with September as the wettest month. The temperatures are highest on average in August, at around 26.8 °C, and lowest in January, at around 2.9 °C. [2]


Per Japanese census data, [3] the population of Awara has remained steady over the past 40 years.

Census YearPopulation


Pre-modern history

Echizen is part of ancient Echizen Province, and was the location of the provincial capital and provincial temple of the province from the Nara period onwards. During the Nanboku-chō period, a number of battles were fought, and numerous castles were built during this time. Shiba Takatsune, who supported the Northern during the war, fought with Yoshisada Nitta in the Battle of the Hino River. Shiba lost the battle, and fled north to Asuwa Castle in Fukui. Nitta pursued him but was defeated and killed at the Sieges of Kuromaru. Shiba returned to Echizen-Fuchū and conquered both Fuchū Castle and Ōtaki Castle. The outcome of the war between the Northern and the Southern Courts was decided around Echizen. Today a plaque marking the site of Shinzenkōji Castle can be seen at Shōgaku-ji temple in Echizen, and remains of other castles can be found throughout the city. In the Sengoku period, the area prospered under the leadership of the Asakura clan, based at Ichijōdani, near modern Fukui city. The Asakura were defeated by Oda Nobunaga, who divided the area among his generals Fuwa Mitsuharu, Sassa Narimasa, and Maeda Toshiie. Part of Sassa Narimasa's castle, Komaru Castle, still stands today. Maeda Toshiie took residence in Echizen-Fuchū Castle, on the current location of the Echizen city hall. Fuwa Mitsuharu took charge of Ryūmon-ji Castle, whose stone foundations and parts of the moat can be seen today at Ryūmon-ji temple.

After the Battle of Sekigahara, the victorious Tokugawa Ieyasu awarded all of Echizen Province to his second son, Yūki Hideyasu, who what became Fukui Domain ruled from Fukui Castle [4] He changed his name to Matsudaira, and the Matsudaira remained in control of the area until the end of the Edo period.

At the start of Fukui Domain, Honda Tomimasa, highly trusted by Tokugawa Ieyasu, was appointed as Hideyasu's karō . Honda received a small piece of land and became governor of Echizen-Fuchū. Devastated by years of war, Echizen-Fuchū had lost its castles, roads, and buildings, and Honda is responsible for a major reconstruction of the area. He rebuilt the roads, walls, and buildings, as well as irrigation systems connected to the Hino river. Honda started the industries that still make up Echizen's base economy: blades, textiles, and industrial machinery. The Honda clan ruled the Echizen-Fuchū area for nine generations, until the Meiji Restoration. Their graves can be seen at the temple of Ryūsen-ji in Echizen.

Modern Echizen city

Following the Meiji Restoration, the area of present-day Echizen city was organised into Nanjō District within Fukui Prefecture. With the establishment of the modern municipalities system on April 1, 1889, the town of Takefu was created. It was named after an ancient Min'yō (folk song) called "Saibara", in the area of Echizen-Fuchū was known as "Takefu" during the Nara and Heian periods.

After the Meiji Restoration, the daimyō system was abolished and the former daimyō were merged into the new kazoku peerage. However, the Honda clan, being only a samurai retainer of the Matsudaira and not a daimyō, was moved into the shizoku class with lower ranking samurai. In 1870 the outraged Honda clan rebelled against the Meiji government against this perceived demotion. This riot is known as the Takefu Sōdō, which ended in 1879, and Honda Sukemoto was promoted danshaku in the kazoku system in 1884.

Take was raised to city status on April 1, 1948. On September 20, 1949, an incident known as the Takefu Jiken took place. At around 5 am the District Court and the District Public Prosecutor's Office caught fire. Within an hour, all of the court records and documents were destroyed. The fire was blamed on arson related to gang activity, and scenes from the movie Battles Without Honor and Humanity are said to be reminiscent of this incident. During the next 11 years, Takefu absorbed seven neighbouring villages and greatly increased in size and population.

On October 1, 2005, Takefu and the neighbouring town of Imadate were merged to create the city of Echizen City.


Echizen has a mayor-council form of government with a directly elected mayor and a unicameral city legislature of 22 members.


Echizen has several large electronics and apparel factories, but it is known for the large number of small businesses that flourish. The area is traditionally known for its production of Echizen washi paper, and for cutlery. Agricultural production is centered on rice, with watermelons also being a major crop.


Echizen has 17 public elementary schools and seven middle schools operated by the city government, and four public high schools operated by the Fukui Prefectural Board of Education. The prefecture also operates one special education school. The private Jin-ai University is located in Echizen.



Takefu Station Takefu Station.JPG
Takefu Station


Regular services are provided primarily by Fukui Railway.


Local attractions

Shinto shrines

Otaki Shrine Otaki Shrine.jpg
Ōtaki Shrine



Castles and forts

Remains of Komaru Castle's main gate. Komaru-jou Gate.JPG
Remains of Komaru Castle's main gate.

As an important military center for centuries, Echizen contains the sites of a number of former castles. Some remains, including former gates, sections of moats, and mounds, can be seen in the city. Archaeological digs have also uncovered roof tiles, tools, weapons, and other artifacts at these sites.


An alley in Kyomachi Kyomachi Takefu City 200507.jpg
An alley in Kyomachi

Festivals (matsuri) and events

Kikuningyo Festival's chrysanthemum pagoda Chrysanthemum-pagoda.jpg
Kikuningyo Festival's chrysanthemum pagoda

Specialty products

Local foods

  • Buckwheat noodles soba and oroshisoba (with grated daikon )
  • Echizen crab
  • Habutae maki: sweet bean paste and mochi covered in sponge cake
  • Satsukigase: a Japanese sweet
  • Mizuyōkan : a firm sweet made from azuki beans
  • Kenkera: an old-fashioned Japanese sweet
  • Baigetsu senbei : a rice cracker dusted with sugar
  • Manshō beans

Traditional crafts

Notable people from Echizen


Panoramic view of Echizen from the top of Murakuni mountain Panorama-takefu.png
Panoramic view of Echizen from the top of Murakuni mountain

Sister city relations

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  1. "Official statistics of Echizen City" (in Japanese). Japan: Echizen City. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  2. Echizen climate data
  3. Awara population statistics
  4. Appert, Georges. (1888). "Matsudaira" in Ancien Japon, pp. 70; compare Papinot, Jacques Edmond Joseph. (1906). Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie du Japon; Papinot, (2003). Nobiliare du Japon, pp. 29-30; retrieved 2013-3-26.

Further reading