Akō, Hyōgo



Location of Akō in Hyōgo Prefecture

Location in Japan

Coordinates: 34°45′06″N 134°23′35″E / 34.75167°N 134.39306°E / 34.75167; 134.39306Coordinates: 34°45′06″N 134°23′35″E / 34.75167°N 134.39306°E / 34.75167; 134.39306
Country Japan
Region Kansai
Prefecture Hyōgo Prefecture
  Mayor Masaaki Mameta (since January 2003)
  Total 126.88 km2 (48.99 sq mi)
Population (April 30, 2011)
  Total 50,902
  Density 400/km2 (1,000/sq mi)
  Tree Cherry blossom
  Flower Azalea
Time zone Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)
City hall address Kariya 81, Ako City, Hyogo Prefecture (兵庫県赤穂市加里屋81)
Website www.city.ako.lg.jp
Main street in Sakoshi
Remnants of Ako Castle
Ako Chushingura Festival in December 14, 2009

Akō (赤穂市 Akō-shi) is a city located in southwestern Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan.

As of April 30, 2011, the city has an estimated population of 50,902, with 19,841 households and a population density of 401.18 persons per km². The total area is 126.88 km².

The city was officially founded on September 1, 1951. The city faces the Inland Sea and salt production was its main industry during the feudal period. Other industries are fishery, and tourism thanks to a famous act of vengeance by the Forty-seven Ronin in 1703, featured in the Chushingura.


During the Edo period, Akō was a capital of Akō han. Akō was a small han of 50,000 koku but rich thanks to salt production. Akō salt is famous for its high quality. Among the former daimyo of Akō was Asano Naganori, the master of the Forty-seven Rōnin. In memory of the forty-seven ronin, who finally accomplished the vengeance against Kira Yoshihisa for their master after hardship on January 30, 1703 (December 14, Genroku 15), the city has held a festival (gishi sai) on December 14, every year in the last hundred years. On the day of the festival, all the elementary and middle schools in the city are off, and the students and pupils are encouraged to participate in one of the sports and art competitions including those in kendo, judo, and shodo, or one of the parades, including the one re-enacting the victory of the forty-seven ronin and another one exhibiting the cultural features of the Edo period, such as sankin kotai.

Akō's castle, originally built by the grandfather of Asano Naganori, Naganao, stands in the center of the city today.


The city is bordered with the following cities and towns:

Chikusa river goes through the center of the city, providing the moat of Ako Castle with water through a branch, Kariya river. The central part of the city around the castle has been built on the alluvial plain of Chikusa river.

The city is on the border of the Hyogo and Okayama prefectures, which also divides the Kinki and Chugoku areas. On each side of the border, ancient Harima and Bizen provinces, which are now Ako and Bizen cities, respectively, have cultivated their own cultures. Therefore, even at the present days, dialects are vastly different on the sides of the border. A traveller from west to east on the JR San'yō Main Line will notice that the dialect of passengers suddenly changes between Kamigori station in Hyogo prefecture and Mitsuishi station in Okayama prefecture. In Ako, people speak a type of the Kansai dialect whose intonation is however of Tokyo type. The superset of the dialect spoken in Ako, called Banshu-ben, is known as one of the most harsh-sounding dialects.




Things to buy

Sister City

External links

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Ako.
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