Aya is a small town tucked away at the foot of the western mountains of Miyazaki prefecture. You can reach Aya by bus or by driving northwest from Miyazaki City along route 26. There is also a popular cycling route, with resplendent scenery along the way. While getting to Aya can be difficult as there are no trains that run there, it is well worth a day trip to experience this hidden Miyazaki gem. It’s made the cut for the well-reputed guide to The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan.
The oak, castanopsis, and beech forest that spreads across the north west of Aya Town is Japan’s largest evergreen forest area. Aya is sometimes referred to as “Craft Town Aya” and people from all over the prefecture and Japan visit to buy woodwork, ceramics, glasswork and textiles. While the main attraction is the restored castle (jyou 城), there is plenty to see and do in the town itself. Think organic food stores and arts and crafts centers showcasing some of the local area’s best and brightest talent.