Sakai City, Fukui

The townscape of Mikuni-minato (Mikuni Port) was established in the Edo period when it prospered as a port of call for Kitamae-bune. Its unique, old port town atmosphere remains strong. The town developed greatly along the Kuzuryu River, with small-cargo vessel wholesalers who owned Kitamae-bune, a townhouse, a trading house, a storehouse, and an entertainment district. The townscape’s atmosphere, such as town houses with rows of grid doors, and historical buildings with traces of the great merchants, remains in Mikuni-minato. The port is also famous for being the first to introduce Dutch civil engineering technology to the waters of Japan through the engineer Escher.

  • ports of call

Cultural Properties of Sakai City

  • Former Kishina Family House

    A house of the lumber dealer Sosuke Shinpoya (The Kishina Family), who made their wealth through Kitamae-bune.

  • Uoshiro (The Matsuzaki Family House)

    This restaurant located in a hanamachi (entertainment district) was used by Kitamae-bune shipowners and merchants.

  • Takidanji Temple

    A group of structures dedicated by local leaders of the Shinpo District, using their wealth acquired through Kitamae-bune trading. The area produced many shipowners of Kitamae-bune.

  • Mikuni Shrine Zuijinmon (shrine gates)

    This is a tower gate that was donated by the townsmen, who were also powerful Kitamae-bune ship owners when Mikuni-minato reached its peak in Kitamae-bune trade, from the late Edo period to the early Meiji period.

  • Shinbo-Kasuga Shrine

    A main shrine that prayed for marine safety of Kitamae-bune and a stone structure dedicated by the shipowners of Kitamae-bune.

  • Ominato Shrine

    Oshima, where the shrine is located, has been revered by Kitamae-bune shipowners as an island where gods dwell. The shrine has been devotedly worshiped by sailors since ancient times. A directional stone remains.

  • Mikuni Port (formerly Sakai Port) jetty

    A Western-style jetty built at the mouth of the Kuzuryu River to diminish the barrier for entering and leaving Kitamae-bune.

  • Hiyoriyama

    A place where Kitame-bune sailors forecast the weather before departing.

  • Series of old documents on Kitamae-bune

    A group of ancient documents about the shipping business conveyed to the shipowners of Kitamae-bune and wealthy merchants who made their wealth through Kitamae-bune.

  • Series of Funa-ema of Kitamae-bune

    A group of funa-ema on which Kitamae-bune shipowners drew their own ships and dedicated to a shrine to pray for maritime safety.

  • A picture of Mikuniura

    A picture that shows the prosperous state of Mikuni-minato, thanks to Kitamae-bune.

  • Echizen Mikuni-minato landscape view

    A picture depicting the prosperous state of Mikuni-minato, thanks to Kitamae-bune.

  • Mikuni Butudan (Buddhist altar)

    This is a craft from the Mikuni-minato area, which was transported to the shipowner's village Kagahashitate and others by Kitamae-bune.

  • Old documents relating to Shakudani Stone

    Old documents relating to Shakudani Stone, which was distributed by Kitamae-bune. The documents were handed down by a small-cargo vessel wholesaler who had been dealing with the stone.

  • Mikuni Shrine Reitaisai (Mikuni festival) and festival float carts

    A festival where townspeople, who were also powerful boat masters of Mikuni-minato and prospered through trade with Kitamae-bune, dedicated festival float carts, dolls, and boat-shaped portable shrines.

  • Nanboya dance song

    A song that was transmitted from the southern region by sailors of Kitamae-bune.

  • Izaki

    The celabrating song of Kitamae-bune boatman and sailors. It was sung at the ceremony to worship the Funadama (guardian deity of a ship).

  • Mikuni-bushi

    A party song in Mikuni that is said to have originated from a Kitamae-bune boatman song.