About 650 years ago, Koshiro Yoshikado Hosokawa was appointed
lord of Aya by Takauji Ashikaga, the man who was to become Commander-in-Chief
of Japan a few years later. Hosokawa's son Yoshito then built a fortress
on a mountian and called himself Aya, creating the Aya castle. The Aya
Castle was one of the most important military bases for the Itohs in their
war against the formidable Shimazu clan of Kagoshima.
Floor Original armour and swords, ancient writings, historical video
2nd Floor Display on famous swordsmith Kunihiro Tanaka
3rd Floor 360 degree view of downtown Aya.
For more history of the Castle please visit the History
International Craft Castle
on Aya Castle grounds. In Aya Town we have been
nurturing our Evergreen Forest Culture for thousands of years. You can
find our traditional arts and crafts on display all over the town. Our
artisans make their textiles, wood products, bamboo products, and pottery
by hand. The people who use their crafts will appreciate the heart of
the artisan, invested in each piece of art.
In order for more people to appreciate these traditional crafts, we built
the display hall "Aya International Craft Castle." You can also
try your hand at pottery, weaving, or traditional dyeing at any of the
three Hands On sections.
Up to 30 people at a time can participate. We have 35 stations set up,
plus plenty of clay and a kiln. You can try simple objects or try things
with attachments. We send you your piece in the mail after we bake it.
Ai, a good representative of natural dyes, is a perennial
in the smartweed family. You can try your hand at dyeing a handkerchief
or a scarf using the dye made from Ai we keep in large wooden vats.
Using a loom made completely of wood you can try weaving
a stole, a muffler, or a tapestry. There are six looms available so you
can enjoy a friendly environment while you are having a traditional cultural
Teruha Suspension Bridge
In 1967 90% of Aya citizens signed a petition against the plan to cut down trees and develop national land in Aya. The plan was cancelled, and the current forest is called the best virgin forest in the Orient. This is Aya's Evergreen Forest. In 1982 it was certified part of the Kyushu Central Mountain Range National Park. In 1984 the Teruha (shining leaves) Suspension Bridge was built over the valley where Aya Minami (south) River flows. At a length of 250 m and a height of 142 m it is one of the world's largest pedestrian suspension bridge. More than that, it is a symbol of Aya's forests. A visit there is a highlight of anyone's trip to Aya.
Mountain Cherry Blossum Festival
late March every year the view from the Suspension Bridge of mountain
cherry blossums is stupendous. Haiku poetry writing and reading, sake
drinking, an outdoor tea ceremony, and koto (traditional Japanese harp-like
instrument) performances are held.
Evergreen Forest Cultural Center
The Evergreen Forest Cultural Center shows how mankind has adapted to
nature. It was built so we could learn to appreciate all the wonderful
things nature provides us. Inside the Center are displays on plants, trees,
butterflies and moths, and other animals. The Center also displays ancient
farming equipment and hunting tools. Bird carvings are exhibited there