Ashikaga is a town in south western Tochigi Prefecture, located in the northern part of the Kanto region. The town has a population of approximately 150 thousand people with mountains to the north of the city and the Watarase River flowing through the center. It is the birthplace of Ashikaga the ancestor of the founder of the Muromachi Shogunate, Ashikaga Takauji. It is also the site of Ashikaga Gakko described by Francisco Xavier as ‘the largest and most famous university in Eastern Japan’.
The town once flourished with its woven goods ‘Ashikaga Meisen’ and the beautiful innovative designs at affordable prices were loved by people all over Japan. The textile companies also created the wonderful Ashikaga Orihime Shrine.
Industry of Ashikaga now focuses on aluminum and machine metal works, and plastics.
Currently, Ashikaga city welcomes many domestic and overseas tourists. It is the location of the historic site of ‘Ashikaga Gakko’ school, a national heritage site that was restored in 1990, ‘Bannaji Temple’ the site of Ashikaga Family residence with the main hall a designated national treasure, and the Kurita Museum with the world’s largest collection of Imari and Nabeshima pottery wares.
The ‘Ashikaga Flower Park’ was the only place in Japan chosen by CNN as one of ‘10 dream world travel destinations’ and in spring, during the wisteria season, is popular with visitors from all around the world.
Tochigi Prefecture was chosen as the site to hold the large JR tourism campaign ‘Destination Campaign’ in the spring of 2018, and will develop further as a result of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics to be held in 2020.