Ashiya, Hyōgo

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Clockwise from top, Ashiya River, Ashiya Municipal Museum Art, Yodoko Guest House, Emba Museum of Modern Art, Ashiya Citizen Center, Bell Port Ashiya, Jyunichiro Tanizaki Memorial Hall
Clockwise from top, Ashiya River, Ashiya Municipal Museum Art, Yodoko Guest House, Emba Museum of Modern Art, Ashiya Citizen Center, Bell Port Ashiya, Jyunichiro Tanizaki Memorial Hall
Flag of Ashiya
Location of Ashiya in Hyōgo Prefecture
Location of Ashiya in Hyōgo Prefecture
Ashiya is located in Japan
Location in Japan
Coordinates: 34°44′N 135°18′E / 34.733°N 135.300°E / 34.733; 135.300Coordinates: 34°44′N 135°18′E / 34.733°N 135.300°E / 34.733; 135.300
Country Japan
Region Kansai
Prefecture Hyōgo Prefecture
 • Mayor Ken Yamanaka
 • Total 18.47 km2 (7.13 sq mi)
Population (August 2011)
 • Total 93,868
 • Density 5,082/km2 (13,160/sq mi)
Time zone Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)
- Tree Japanese Black Pine
- Flower Kobano-mitsuba-tsutsuji
Address 7-6 Seidōchō, Ashiya-shi, Hyōgo-ken
Phone number 0797-31-2121
Ashiya seen from Ashiya Station

Ashiya (芦屋市 Ashiya-shi?) is a city located in Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan, between the cities of Nishinomiya and Kobe. The city was founded on November 10, 1940.

As of 2009, the city has an estimated population of 93,094 and a population density of 5,030 persons per km². The total area is 18.47 km².


Ashiya was established in 1871 as a township in Hyōgo Prefecture. In the early 1900s, it was designated as an urban planning area. This led to the building of large single-family homes with tennis courts, swimming pools, and tea houses, etc. along the hills overlooking Osaka Bay.

In 1945, the City of Ashiya prohibited the operation of pachinko parlors, gambling and entertainment facilities as well as small factories. Those laws still stand and there is no other municipal government with similar regulations in Japan.

In 1991, Ashiya residents elected Harue Kitamura (北村 春江 Kitamura Harue, born July 11, 1928) as the first woman to hold the office of mayor of a city in Japan. Kitamura was mayor when Ashiya suffered major damage during the Kobe Earthquake on January 17, 1995.

Culture and people[edit]

Due to the large number of celebrities living within the city limits, Ashiya is known as the Beverly Hills of Japan.[citation needed] Persons of note associated with Ashiya include Jirō Shirasu ("the man who reproached MacArthur"), Ryōji Noyori (Nobel prize winner), Takashi Asahina (conductor), Chitaru Asahina (conductor), Jun'ichirō Tanizaki (writer), Haruki Murakami (writer), Atsuko Suga (writer/scholar of Italian literature), Yuriko Koike (House of Representatives member), Yōko Ogawa (writer), Hiroko Koshino (fashion designer) and Tsumasaburō Bandō (kabuki actor).

The city is the main setting in Jun'ichiro Tanizaki's novel Sasameyuki (細雪) (The Makioka Sisters, Eng. trans. Edward G. Seidensticker).

Yodokō Guest House in Ashiya

A house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright sits on a hill overlooking Hankyu Ashiyagawa Station and Osaka Bay. It was completed in 1924 as a residence for the Yamamura family, founders of the famous sake company "Sakuramasamune" (櫻正宗). It is now known as the Yodokō Guest House and is open for tours. Ashiya also features the house of Hiroko Koshino designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Tadao Ando.


The first railway line to the city was completed in 1905.[1]

Central Ashiya is served by JR West Ashiya Station. Hanshin Electric Railway Ashiya Station and Uchide Station serve the southern part of the city, while Hankyu Railway Ashiyagawa Station is located in the quieter northern area.

Sister city[edit]

A sister city agreement was signed between Ashiya and Montebello, California on May 24th, 1961. Student Ambassadors are chosen to travel to Montebello every year since 1964.[2]


  1. ^ "Ashiya" in The New Encyclopaedia Britannica. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., 15th edn., 1992, Vol. 1, p. 626.
  2. ^ "Montebello, California". Ashiya City. Retrieved August 11, 2013. 

External links[edit]