Aya Castle
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.

1st Floor Original armour and swords, ancient writings, historical video and panaramas
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 Page.

Aya International Craft Castle
Located 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.

Pottery Room

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.



Traditional Dyeing
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 experience.


Aya 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

In 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.




Aya Winery


Aya Flower Clock



The 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 as well.




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