A town in Tochigi with Japanese history
If you are interested in Japanese history then one of the prime locations for learning about it is the town of Ashikaga in the Tochigi prefecture. Whilst not close to Tokyo, it is not far either at approximately 80 kilometers away. The history of this town dates far back to the 1336. The town was established under the rule of Muromachi Samurai clan which ruled all of Japan until around 1570. Ashikaga has long been noted for its textile industry and producing different types of aluminum products for commercial sale.
Historical locations - museums, temples and shrines
Because of Ashikaga’s strong historical ties, located in Ashikaga are museums, temples and shrines. The Kurita Museum has a wonderful collection of fine Imari porcelains. The word “imari” simply a term for porcelains with pictures engraved on them. The shapes of the porcelains range from falcons crafted in painstakingly detail to plates, tea pots, bowls or any other pieces you would see in daily use.Two of the more famous historical spots in Ashikaga are the Bannaji Temple and the Orihime Shrine. The Bannaji Temple dates back to the Kamakura Period (1192-1333) and still sits beautifully amongst the green trees and cherry blossoms when they bloom. The Temple includes a bell tower, library and what is said to be the oldest gingko tree in Japan!The Orihime Shrine was built in 1704 and located at the top of the Orihime mountain. From the shrine, you have a magnificent view of the lush city below. The large shrine itself is a sight to behold with its light green roof and dark red paint. If you happen to be in Ashikaga on the first week of August you can witness one of the largest firework festivals in Japan. The festival launches over 20,000 fireworks over the Watarase River! The site for this spectacle is only a 10 minute walk from the Ashikaga train station.
The oldest school in Japan – ‘Ashikaga Gakkou’
But, perhaps the most famous and important historical site in Ashikaga is the “Ashikaga Gakkou” which is believed by many Japanese to be the first academic institution in Japan. The exact date of its foundation is debated, but historians can agree it was founded sometime in the 1400s. You can see a statue of Confucius in the school which dates back to 1535. Aside from the oldest school, the fireworks and the shrines, Ashikaga also has one of the largest flower parks in Japan!You can get to Ashikaga Station by taking Yamabiko Bullet train Line to Oyama Station and transferring to the Ryomo Line to reach Ashikaga Station directly.■TEL: 0284-20-2222■URL : http://wikitravel.org/en/Ashikaga