Fukuoka: Old Bulwark against Invasion Reborn as Tourist Site

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Iki-no-Matsubara bulwark ruins after fence renovation work in Fukuoka

FUKUOKA — The ruins of a bulwark built in the 13th century to protect against Mongol invasions have been redeveloped as a tourist site in Fukuoka.

The Fukuoka municipal government has made the Iki-no-Matsubara bulwark ruins, located in the city’s Nishi Ward, more accessible to visitors by installing an information board, parking lot and restrooms. Iki-no-Matsubara is the name of a pine forest.

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The Mongol Empire, which once dominated the vast Eurasian steppes, attempted to invade Japan twice in the 13th century. After the first attack in 1274, the Kamakura shogunate built the stone bulwark along a 20-kilometer stretch of the Hakata Bay coast. The Iki-no-Matsubara site is one of 11 sections that have been designated as national historic sites.

Courtesy of Kyushu University
The ruins of a bulwark to protect against a Mongol attack that were found on Kyushu University’s Hakozaki Campus in October 2016

In 2000, the city government restored the 50-meter-long central section of the bulwark to its original height of 2.5 meters, and opened it to the public. Renovation work on the fence that surrounds the bulwark was completed in August, allowing visitors to examine the wall from as close as a meter away.

A transparent board set up near the bulwark superimposes images of Mongolian military ships and Japanese warriors onto the actual scenery, recreating a view of the centuries-ago attack.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A transparent sign depicts a Mongol invasion attempt in the 13th century.

“We want visitors to become familiar with this valuable historical site in Fukuoka,” a city official said.

Following requests from visitors, the city government set up restrooms and a paid parking lot in April, about 200 meters away. The parking area can accommodate one bus and seven standard-sized cars. The municipality initially expected about 450 vehicles a month to use the parking lot, but more than 800 vehicles a month have visited during peak times.

“The novel coronavirus pandemic has subsided, and tourism demand is returning,” a city official said.