One of Japan’s leading textile manufacturers, Gunze, was founded in Ayabe in 1896, breathing vitality into the area to the point where it was known across Japan as “the silk city”. Today, the Gunze Memorial Hall(formerly the head office) and the head office factory gate have been restored and preserved as historic monuments that have given rise to the modern-day silk industry. Ayabe Gunze Square was also opened in May 2014 as a new attraction and has become a hub of interaction for visitors to the area.
An extensive lineup of strictly selected specialty products, fresh vegetables, processed goods, and so forth, all bearing the Ayabe trademark, are available at this sales outlet, which opened on May 24, 2014.
The story of people, textiles, and technological progress is presented in this museum in three parts: the History Storehouse, Fashion Storehouse and Innovation Storehouse.
Adjacent to these are the Mulberry Garden, where mulberry trees from around the world grow, and the Gunze Memorial Hall showing the history of the company.
Since 2010, the Ayabe Rose Garden is also open to the public thanks to cooperation from the citizens of Ayabe.
The Ayabe Rose Garden has been lovingly created by volunteers. The garden is host to a rose festival in spring and autumn where 120 varieties and 1200 roses fight for supremacy.
It boasts one of the largest reflecting telescopes in Japan with a 95 centimeter diameter, which enables the observation of galaxies as well as planets.
Visitors can appreciate important cultural relics from ancient eras and learn about the historical heritage of Ayabe City. In addition to a permanent exhibition about the geographical features and history of Ayabe, various special exhibitions are held every year.
It houses a petting zoo and a restaurant specializing in grilled food.
Neighboring Ayabe Hot Spring, this park houses mini golf course, tennis courts, and three groundgolf courses.
The Kisaichi Maruyama tomb was built near the Yura River about 1,500 years ago. With its majestic size - 70 meters long and 10 meters high, it is the largest in Kyoto Prefecture.
The flower garden, created on the banks of the Yura River, is popular among locals as a place to relax.
During Golden Week (national holidays at the end of April and beginning of May) each year, flowerbed displays are held, and in autumn there is a cosmos festival, both of which are always well attended.
Shrines / Temples
The southern end of the city is home to the Oomoto Headquarters, Baishoen (translated as “garden of plum and pine trees”), a religious sect founded in Ayabe in 1892 and is surrounded by tranquility. Visitors can view a large number of valuable buildings, including the Mirokuden, designated a tangible cultural asset of Japan; the main worship hall, Choseiden, said to be one of the largest wooden structures in the 20th Century; and the Konohanaan, also designated an important cultural property of Japan.The traditional Japanese gardens are beautifully maintained, making it a popular power spot for visitors to feel close to nature.
Kohmyoji Temple is said to have been commissioned by Shotoku Taishi (573-621: regent and politician in the Asuka period) in 599. The Nioh Mon gate of this temple is a designated national treasure. Its double-gates were quite rare when it was built (1242-1253) in the Kamakura era.
During the Edo period, jinyas were the administrative headquarters of small domains governed by feudal lords. This park was built at the site of the old Yamaga Jinya administered by the Tani family. This park is famous for plums and cherry blossoms.
This is a recreation of the ancient yana fishing method, in which a weir is stretched across the Yura River to catch fish swimming along it, amid beautiful natural surroundings.
It is only during this season that you can watch sweetfish and other fish being caught up close.
This temple is said to have been the place where Takauji Ashikaga (1305-1358: founder of the Ashikaga shogunate) was born. In autumn, you can enjoy maple trees with beautiful crimson foliage.
This temple is nicknamed “Crow-Temple”, because many crows are painted on its fusuma (papered sliding doors). Visitors can enjoy various flowers in its garden, such as cherry, azalea and lotus flowers.
This temple houses a famous suzuri-ish (ink stone) used by the Emperor Saga (786-842). The Emperor Saga was one of the most celebrated calligraphers of his time. The temple is named after the Emperor Saga’s ink stone, which was made near the temple.
Tokoin Temple is an ancient temple opened in 673 and is also known as the hydrangea temple. In early summer, the approach to the temple comes alive in a sea of beautifully colored hydrangeas.
The temple houses three gardens. One garden in particular called Ganshohtei is designated as a place of extraordinary scenic beauty by the national government.
Mt. Kimino-o is a mountain with an altitude of 582 meters, in the Kanbayashi area northeast of Ayabe.
When you climb Mt. Kimino-o in autumn or winter, you can see the mountains of the Tanba area shrouded in mist, their peaks resembling islands in a sea of clouds.
Kanbayashi River is a habitat for the many hotaru (fireflies).
The tree is about 2,000 years old and the largest in Kyoto prefecture with its 23 meter height. It stands near Kohmyoji Temple and Mt. kiminoo.
Torigaki Gorge, located in the Oku-Kanbayashi area, boasts a series of waterfalls and beautiful wild flowers all year around. Mt. Shide and Ookuri Pass located nearby also offer breathtaking views.
Designated as one of the 200 places of extraordinary scenic beauty in Kyoto prefecture. It is about 20 meters high and its circumference measures 40 meters.
In Oitomi, a village at the source of a river, from late March to mid-April, dainty yellow mitsumata (Oriental paperbushes) fill the undergrowth of cedar forests, making a truly splendid sight.