Ashiya, a city where dreams can also have a price, is one of the most expensive cities in Japan. There is a chance that you have never heard of this place when you were in Japan. It is a city where some of the country’s wealthiest families live, and owning even a small place could cost you a fortune. Where is this place located and why is it so special?
The Kansai region has been the major cultural and industrial hub of Japan, even before the development of Edo (Tokyo) in the Kanto region. Home to the megacity that is Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto, Kansai accounts for a major share of the GDP of Japan.
As you may have already known, Kansai has two ancient capital cities of Japan – Kyoto and Nara, and several industrial centers such as the Keihanshin Kogyo Chitai, mostly termed in English as the “Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto Industrial Zone,” which is by far the most important economic center in the history of Japan. This industrial region has produced many things and continues to do so, although the Keihin area of Tokyo and Yokohama has slowly taken its place in the last few decades because of the government’s centralist policies concentrated only in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. This has actually led to a sharp decline in the population and popularity of Kansai. However, cities such as Ashiya, a tiny part of the giant Kansai conurbation, proves everyone wrong with more and more success stories emerging every day.
Ashiya, whose foundations have begun somewhere in the late 19th century, has grown from a small township to a symbolic city embodying Japan’s modernism, elite culture, real estate, and progress. With a population of approximately 94,474 people who are mostly wealthy businessmen from around the world, this city near Osaka Bay is an epitome of urban planning in entire Japan. Nestled between Nishinomiya and Kobe Ward Higashinada, this tiny city even has a luxury dock where residents could park their boats, namely Ashiya Marina.
According to Mansion Global, a real estate website, properties facing Osaka Bay in Ashiya such as offices and luxury residential houses start from around 100 million yen targeting only the wealthy. The sizes of these mansions and condos are usually bigger compared to that of any other city in Japan. Most of them come with gardens, terraces, playgrounds, pools, chaya (tea houses), concierge services, golf course access, club memberships, and whatnot!
In fact, Ashiya is the only city in Japan that has banned gambling and gaming centers; and kids go to international schools and universities that are privately owned.
There are many places to visit in Ashiya such as the beautiful Minami Ashiya Beach, the romantic foothills of Mt. Rokko, and the famous Yodoko Guest House (previously called Yamamura House) which belongs to the family owning the liquor company, Sakuramasamune.
There are also many memorials in Ashiya such as the Junichiro Tanizaki Memorial Hall dedicated to one of the most famous prolific writers of all time who wrote “The Makioka Sisters,” Junichiro Tanizaki. Ashiya is also the abode of the family of Asia’s biggest pharma firm, Takeda, who actually contributed to the development of the city a lot.
Apart from the historical places, there are high-end Michelin-starred restaurants that serve soba such as Muragen and luxury stores such as Daimaru in Ashiya. You can also find houses of Nobel Prize winners, Olympians, novelists, futurists, elitists, and other people coming from non-industrial fields in the calm Ashiya-Okuike neighborhood, which is like the creative hub of the city.
Despite the decline of real estate around the world, the property prices in Ashiya seem to continue soaring as many expats and foreigners want to buy land away from Tokyo, which is already crowded.
Anyone who makes it big in the cities of Osaka or Kobe would want to move to Ashiya because of its aura, location, and value. It can be compared to the Azabu area in Tokyo, known for expensive real estate affordable only to the wealthy. Ashiya, whose name sounds similar to how most people pronounce “Asia,” is definitely a symbol of Asia’s unstoppable growth.
Ashiya City Website *Automatic translation available