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Aya Town is located in the center of Miyazaki Prefecture, approximately 20 kilometers away from Miyazaki City. The township of Aya extends from the eastern plain of Miyazaki prefecture to the edge of the Kyushu Central Mountain Region. The Oyodo River originates in our mountains as Aya Kita (North) River and Aya Minami (South) River. Eighty per cent of Aya's total land area is dedicated to forestry and nine per cent to agriculture. Aya's forest, part of Japan's largest undeveloped forest area, is thirty per cent natural forest; the rest is cultivated for use by the town. In the undeveloped area there are an abundance of all different types of plants, birds, and animals living safely away from the threat of "civilization".

Area
9,521 ha
Population (July 1, 2004)
7,576
Male 3,568
Female 4,008
Households 2,871


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Awards

Aya's Water


  • Aya's water was named one of Japan's 100 Best Forest Springs by the Forestry Agency (August 4, 1995)

  • Aya was named "Water Town" by the National Land Agency (March 22, 1995)

  • Aya's water was named one of Japan's 100 Best Natural Waters by the Environmental Agency, Water Quality Control Board (July 22, 1985)

  • Aya was appointed to the Water Resource Association by the National Land Agency (July 22, 1985)


Aya's Air


  • Aya's night sky was recognized as one of Japan's Best Night Skies for star watching by the Environmental Agency's Air Quality Control Board (January 30, 1988 and again on June 30, 1995)

  • Aya's sky was recognized as smog-free in the "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever" contest sponsored by the Environmental Agency's Air Quality Control Board (June 5, 1988)


Aya's Forests


  • Aya's valley of evergreen forests was recognized as one of Japan's Best 100 Forests by the Midori (Green) Cultural Education Association (April 19, 1986)

  • The Kyushu Central Region Mountain Range Park was recognized as one of Japan's Best 100 Natural Environments by Asahi Newspaper and the Forest Culture Association (January 1, 1983)


Aya's Agriculture


  • Aya received an award for excellence in the Promotion of Environmental Friendly Agriculture Contest sponsored by the Agriculture Ministry (February 27, 1996)

  • Aya was recognized as a town with abundant livestock by the Agriculture Ministry (March 6, 1995)

  • Aya won top honors in the Agricultural Towns' Amenity Contest sponsored by the Agricultural Development Planning Committee (December 9, 1986)


Aya's Town Planning


  • Aya was recognized by the Miyazaki Governor for its innovative town planning (May 1, 1996)

  • Aya won First Place in the Town Beautification Through Flowers Contest sponsored by the Agricultural Minister (November 3, 1992)

  • Aya won First Place in the National Flower Planting Contest sponsored by Mainichi Newspaper and the Flower Planting Association (November 25, 1991)

  • Aya was recognized for innovative town planning by the office of the Prime Minister (March 3, 1991)

  • Aya was recognized for responsible use of their natural resources by the office of the Prime Minister (July 11, 1989)

  • Aya was recognized for innovative town planning by the Home Affairs Minister (December 1, 1987)


Other Awards


  • Aya was recognized by the National Land Agency as a town continuing to develop against the national trend of small towns' population decrease (October 17, 1994)

  • Aya won the top award for building public gardens and parks with fountains or pools sponsored by the Construction Minister (July 10, 1993)

  • Aya was named one of Japan's Best 30 Places to Visit by Japan's Travel Writers' Club (May 16, 1992)

  • Aya was recognized as a wonderful small town by the Ryoko (Travel) Newspaper (January 22, 1988)

  • Aya was recognized as a town with overall good health and fitness by the Asahi Newspaper Welfare and Culture Group (September 23, 1982)

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History

The Japanese Middle Ages are also called The Age of War. In Hyuga (the historical name of Miyazaki), the Itoh, Shimazu, and Tomochi clans raged war for several generations. Approximately 660 years ago the area which is now Aya fell under the influence of theWarlord of Hyuga, Itoh.

Koshiro Yoshikado Hosokawa was appointed the first Lord of Aya by the Shogun of that time, Takauji Ashikaga, during the Motohiro Era (approx. 1300 AD.) Hosokawa's son Yoshito named himself Aya, then had Aya Castle built for his use. It is believed that this family ruled over Aya for several generations. During the Moromachi Era (approx. 1500 AD), the head of the Itoh Clan took over the castle as part of his prefecture-wide fortifications. As one of the 48 castles under Itoh's authority, Aya Castle was important in Itoh's efforts to wage war against the Shimazu Clan.

In 1577 Itoh's forces were defeated by Shimazu, and Itoh was forced to retreat to what is now Kumamoto, forfeiting Aya Castle to Shimazu. However, almost immediately the Shogunate began its modernization compaign "One Country, One Castle." These efforts to create one "nation" in the modern sense of the word included forcing each local clan to pay homage to the Emperor by sending a large contingency to the Imperial Court on a regular basis. Aya Castle was destroyed in 1615 as part of this national campaign. It was rebuilt in 1986 from the original blueprints and now stands as a symbol of Aya's past.


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