Echizen Province「越前国」

Asakura Clan

Echizen Province


Echizen Province was in the Hokuriku Region, an area encompassing provinces in the northeast portion of Honshū along the Sea of Japan.

In current terms, Echizen covered the area to the north of the Kinome Ridge in Fukui Prefecture.  This is an area referred to as reihoku that includes the northwest portion of Gifu Prefecture.  Echizen also included the city of Tsuruga from the southwest portion of Fukui, in an area known as reinan.

During the Sengoku and Azuchi-Momoyama periods, the Asakura clan ruled Echizen Province until their defeat by Oda Nobunaga at the Siege of Ichijōdani Castle in 1573.  Based at Ichijōdani, the Asakura wielded a powerful army under the command of Asakura Norikage (Sōteki), a highly capable commander and chief of staff to three generations of clan leaders.  The Asakura built a castle complex and village that fostered a rich cultural heritage, attracting nobles and artisans from Kyōto and yielding deep and lasting ties between the Asakura and the Muromachi bakufu in Kyōto.


1466-1471: Shiba Yoshitoshi

1471-1481: Asakura Takakage (seventh head of the clan)

1481-1486: Asakura Ujikage

1486-1512: Asakura Sadakage

1512-1548: Asakura Takakage (tenth head of the clan)

1548-1573: Asakura Yoshikage

The daimyō during the Oda reign were:

  • Shibata Katsuie:  Awarded a fief of 49,000 koku and based at Kitanoshō Castle.  In 1575, Nobunaga assigned him governance of eight districts in Echizen after suppressing the opposition by monks from the Ikkō sect.
  • Fuchū-sanninshū: In 1575, three senior retainers of Nobunaga were appointed to govern two capital districts in Echizen under the direction of Katsuie:
    • Maeda Toshiie
    • Sassa Narimasa
    • Fuwa Mitsuharu

The daimyō during the Toyotomi reign were:

  • Niwa Nagahide:  Awarded a fief of 123,000 koku and based at Kitanoshō Castle.
  • Hori Hidemasa
  • Aoki Kazunori
  • Aoki Toshinori
  • Aoyama Munekatsu
  • Akaza Naoyasu
  • Ōtani Yoshitsugu

Lords of military families awarded the title of Governor of Echizen

  • Nagao Masakage
  • Nakajō Fujisuke
  • Honjō Shigenaga
  • Date Masamune (1597-1608)