Fukui originally consisted of the old provinces of Wakasa and Echizen, before the prefecture was formed in 1871.
During the Edo-era, the daimyo of the region was surnamed Matsudaira, and was a descendant of Tokugawa Ieyasu.
The province faces the Sea of Japan, and has a western part (formerly Wakasa) which is a narrow plain between the mountains and the sea, and a larger eastern part (formerly Echizen) with wider plains including the capital and most of the population. The mountain side of the eastern part has much snow in winter.
The Kitadani Dinosaur Quarry, on the Sugiyama River within the city limits of Katsuyama, has yielded the Fukuiraptor kitadaniensis and Fukuisaurus tetoriensis as well as an unnamed dromaeosaurid and a new sauropod. It also shows the coexistence of pterosaurs and birds, in the forms of comingled tracks.