Kiryū, Gunma

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Flag of Kiryū
Location of Kiryū in Gunma Prefecture
Location of Kiryū in Gunma Prefecture
Kiryū is located in Japan
Location in Japan
Coordinates: 36°24′N 139°20′E / 36.400°N 139.333°E / 36.400; 139.333Coordinates: 36°24′N 139°20′E / 36.400°N 139.333°E / 36.400; 139.333
Country Japan
Region Kanto
Prefecture Gunma Prefecture
 • Mayor Toyofumi Kameyama
 • Total 274.57 km2 (106.01 sq mi)
Population (May 31, 2011)
 • Total 124,077
 • Density 451.90/km2 (1,170.4/sq mi)
Time zone Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)
- Tree Sweet Osmanthus
- Flower Salvia
Address 1-1 Orihimechō, Kiryū, Gunma
Phone number 0277-46-1111
Website Kiryū City

Kiryū (桐生市 Kiryū-shi?) is a city located in Gunma Prefecture, Japan, near the cities of Ōta and Ashikaga.

Incorporated on March 1, 1921, Kiryū is considered both a city and part of the Greater Tokyo Metropolitan Area, although it is still widely thought of as a rural area. Its population has been in steady decline since the early 1990s,[citation needed] due to both a national population stagnation as well as a steady migration of young people to metropolitan areas (principally Tokyo).[citation needed]

Name origin[edit]

The characters of the city name translate as "paulownia tree" and "life".


As of May 31, 2011, Kiryū has an estimated population of 124,077 with 50,239 households and a population density of 451.90 persons per km².

On June 13, 2005, Kiryū absorbed the villages of Niisato and Kurohone (both from Seta District), increasing its total area from 137.47 to 274.57 km², and raising its population by almost 20,000. With 50,150 households in 2005, Kiryū's population is divided fairly evenly along gender lines, with 64,157 males and 68,286 females.

Kiryu Gas painted its tanks like soccer balls for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.


For over a millennium, Kiryū's principal industry was textile manufacturing, primarily silk, with records dating silk production as far back as 713. Pachinko manufacturing arrived in Kiryū after World War II, during the period of industrial reconstruction, with the formation of two main companies—the Heiwa Corporation in 1949, and the Sophia Corporation in 1951. Kiryū's factories are responsible for manufacturing 60% of Japan's pachinko machines. However, the decreased demand for silk goods and the closure of several area manufacturing concerns have caused the local economy to suffer.


Kiryū is at 36°25′N 139°20′E / 36.417°N 139.333°E / 36.417; 139.333 in the southeast part of Gunma, near the Tochigi border. It is about 100 kilometers northwest of Tokyo. The city is not far from Mount Akagi, a large but dormant volcano.

Situated at the foot of Mount Akagi, the city boasts one of the most beautiful settings in the Kantō region. Two rivers, the Kiryū and the Watarase, run through the heart of the city and it is likewise surrounded by picturesque mountains to the north. Umeda, a district on the north side of the city, is well known for its cedar trees, while red pines are also common in other areas.


Having been virtually untouched by bombs during World War II, the city boasts one of the greatest concentrations of pre-war architecture in all of Japan.


Kiryū Station is in the city centre, and the Ryōmō Line connects it westward to Maebashi and Takasaki, and eastward to Oyama. With Shin-Kiryū Station at the southern end of the city, Kiryū is served by the Tōbu Kiryū Line that runs between Midori (Akagi Station) and Ōta. Nishi-Kiryū Station, a terminus station on the Jōmō Line, also connects Kiryū to Maebashi.

Kiryū also has the southern terminus station for the Watarase Keikoku Line, which runs north through the prefecture. It ends at Matō Station near Ashio, Tochigi, infamous for the Ashio Copper Mine, a site of severe environmental damage in the 1880s.

International Sister Cities[edit]

Domestic Sister Cities[edit]


Kiryu is also the nickname of Mechagodzilla in the Millennium series of the Godzilla franchise. In Dan Brown's novel The Lost Symbol, Mal'akh wears a robe of Kiryu silk.

External links[edit]