Kanto Koshinetsu/ Tochigi Pref.

Ashikaga 

Ashikaga, a Town with Abundant Natural Beauty, History, Culture and Flowers

Ashikaga is known as the birthplace of the Ashikaga clan, a shogun family in the Muromachi Period. Along the stone-paved streets, there are historic sites of the Ashikaga School, which is said to be the foundation of a school for the original Ashikaga family and is designated as a Japan Heritage, and the Banna-ji Temple, whose Main Hall is designated as a National Treasure. Kurita Museum, which possesses a world-famous collection of Nabeshima wares of Imari, and Ashikaga Flower Park, famous for its large wisteria trellis spreading over a large area, are also found here. These attractions are always bustling with visitors. Ashikaga is described as a historic and traditional “Little Kyoto in Eastern Japan” with the pristine Watarase River and abundant nature with green mountains.

Sightseeing Highlights in Ashikaga

Historic Site Ashikaga School

As the oldest school in Japan, it was designated as a national historical site. It was also designated as a Japan Heritage in April, 2015.

Access A 7-min. walk from JR Ashikaga Station or a 15-min. walk from Ashikagashi Station on the Tobu Line

Banna-ji Temple

This temple enshrines Dainichi Nyorai. It retains the atmosphere of an old samurai residence in the Kamakura Period (12-14th century). The Main Hall was designated as a National Treasure in August, 2013.

Access A 10-min. walk from JR Ashikaga Station or a 15-min. walk from Ashikagashi Station on the Tobu Line

Ashikaga Orihime Shrine

This is a shrine which enshrines the guardian deity of Ashikaga which once flourished as a textile town. The shrine is also worshipped as a place for romantic match-making and is the arrival and departure point of the Ashikaga Prefectural Nature Park hiking trail.

Access A 30-min. walk from JR Ashikaga Station or Ashikagashi Station on the Tobu Line

Kurita Museum

The museum exhibits Nabeshima and Imari ceramics. It is the largest ceramic museum in the world.

Access A 15-min. drive by taxi from JR Ashikaga Station or a 20-min. drive by taxi from Ashikagashi Station on the Tobu Line or a 10-min. walk from JR Tomita Station

Ashikaga Flower Park

Famous for its 150-years-old large wisteria trellis spreading over a large area. Many visitors from overseas also enjoy this park.

Access An 18-min. drive by taxi from JR Ashikaga Station or a 20-min. drive by taxi from Ashikagashi Station on the Tobu Line or a 10 min. walk from JR Tomita Station

Nagusa Rocks

There are a number of famous rocks in Ashikaga. One is “Gokuishi or Osonae-ishi”, which is over 11 meters, meaning rocks offered to the deity. “Benkei-no Tewari-ishi” is also famous. It was designated as a National Natural Monument on September 7, 1939.

Important Annual Events in Ashikaga

New Year’s Visit at Banna-ji Temple

January 1-7
Banna-ji Temple

Dainichi Nyorai, enshrined at this temple, is famous. During the New Year Days, the temple is bustling with many visitors making their first temple visit of the year.

Ashikaga Spring Festival

Late April-Early May
Central part of the city

Various kinds of events, such as “Machinaka Walk,” are held in different parts of the city around the first week of May.

Hatsuyama Festival (Petanko Festival)

June 1
Tanakacho Sengen Shrine

This is the festival for opening mountain day held at Otoko Sengen Shrine and Onna Sengen Shrine. Babies who were born during the previous year come to the shrines to receive sacred stamps on their foreheads to pray for their eternal health.

Ashikaga Fireworks Festival

First Saturday of August
Watarase River Bank

This is a traditional event which has continued for over 100 years. It is a representative event of Ashikaga. The large fireworks display continues for two hours making it the biggest fireworks festival in the Kanto area.

Ashikaga Summer Festival

Late July-Early August
Central part of the city

A firework festival is held from late July to the first Saturday of August. Various kinds of events are also held during the festival period.

Ahikaga Takigi Noh

Second Saturday of September
Bannai-ji Temple and Ashikaga Community Plaza

The elegant traditional performance, Noh, originated in the Muromachi Period (14-16th century) is performed with Takigi Noh (firelight Noh) at Banna-ji Temple, which is the former residence of Ashikaga and its family temple.

Ebisko

November 19 & 20
Nishinomiya Shrine

From not only Ashikaga but neighboring cities, many people visit to pray for their prosperous business and buy very gorgeous and colorful treasure charms which symbolize this festival.

Ashikaga School Festival

Mid November
Around Historic Site Ashikaga School

Ashikaga School is said to be the oldest school founded in Japan. Various kinds of events are held during this period.

Seokjeon Daeje (Sekiten)

November 23
Historic Site Ashikaga School

This is a ceremonial rite to honor Confucius and his high-ranked disciples. It is one of the few rare rituals of this kind remaining in Japan today.

Traditional Crafts of Ashikaga

Indigo Dyeing

“Airoza”
This shop and studio has opened a class teaching how to dye cloths with 100% natural indigo (made by an ash liquid fermentation method using Sukumo scum) for people who want to try dyeing with indigo by themselves or to make their own works.
Address: 2-7-5, Ise-cho
Tel: 0284-44-3084

Food & Specialties of Ashikaga

Japanese Sweets

“Koin Monaka”
This is a specialty of Ashikaga. This cake’s motif is based on Koin, an old mark or sign and seal used in Ashikaga School or Banna-ji Temple. Traditional bean-jam-filled wafers with a crispy, good smelling thin wrapping of dough.
Available at: Koun-do main shop
Address: 2570, 4-chome, Tori
Tel: 0284-21-4964

Buckwheat Noodle

“Ashikaga Awase-men Orihime”
This is a new noodle menu developed from an existing Ashikaga brand buckwheat noodle. It was planned by Ashikaga Chamber of Commerce and Industry in order to make a new food of Ashikaga. Enjoy this noodle after dipping in a meat-tasting broth.
Contact: Ashikaga Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Tel: 0284-21-1354

Wine

“Coco & Farm Winery”
The wine is made with a great deal of deliberation and time by students in “Kokoromi School”, a support facility for people with disabilities, who are proud of its quality. The quality is attested to by the fact that the wine was served at the “Okinawa Summit” and “Toyako Summit”.
Address: 611 Tajima-cho
Tel: 0284-42-1194

Access
By train: Ashikaga Station on JR Ryomo Line or Ashikagashi Station on the Tobu Isesaki Line
By car: Kanto Highway Ashikaga I.C. or Tohoku Highway Sano Fujioka I.C.
Contact
Ashikaga City Tourism Association
TEL:0284-43-3000 / FAX:0284-43-3333
URL: https://www.ashikaga-kankou.jp/

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