Ashikaga Gakko was established in the Muromachi Period that is to say the 1400s. Uesugi Norizane refurbished the school, invited donations of books and a principal and began educating students. The school counted 3,000 students at the beginning of the 16th century and Francisco Xavier introduced the school outside of Japan. Ashikaga Gakko is known to be the oldest school in Japan and it is said that Japanese school education began here. The school was founded in the 9th century and was the highest seat of learning for students from all over Japan. The present building is a reconstruction of the school in the Edo Period when it was struck by lightning and destroyed by fire. It is a nationally designated historic site and recognized as a heritage site of Japan in 2015. The school is open to the public and visitors can see where students studied during that period in Japanese history.