Surrounded by the sea and magnificent mountains, Oita Prefecture, a hosting prefecture of the Rugby World Cup 2019, is home to a rich food culture of locally grown meat, fish, and vegetables. Here are some examples of local special cuisines you can try when you visit Oita.
Saiki City in Oita Prefecture is located at the mouth of the Bungo Suido Channel and is one of the famed fishing areas of Japan. This city offers top-quality sushi made by the hands of sushi masters, who are supplied with fresh fish, caught in the nearby sea.
This iconic, high-end gourmet item of Oita , is treated with a prestige similar to that of Kobe Beef. With Teppanyaki or Steak, you can enjoy its sensational, melt-in-your-mouth texture, and admire the marbling of the fat through the meat.
Simple but sweet in taste, the marbled flounder is a top quality seafood item of Hiji Town, where there are many opportunities to enjoy it. Hiji holds the Shiroshita Karei Festival in May, which is the best chance to try it.
Chicken Tempura is one of the most famous local dishes Oita Prefecture. This fried chicken battered in Japanese tempura can come in various different styles, though is often served with kabosu citrus ponzu sauce and mustard.
The rough currents of the Bungo Channel make fish more meaty and flavourful; Bungo Horse Mackerel is a perfect example of this, and is thus a very popular as a top brand of seafood in Japan. Simply eating horse mackerel as sashimi is the recommended style of serving for this high-quality cuisine.
Oita Prefecture will host the Rugby World Cup 2019, and is famous for its hotsprings, priding itself in having the most onsens and the largest output of hotspring water in Japan. You can experience various kinds of spring sources, and have many opportunities to enjoy hot springs, both as viewing points and places to rest and dine.
At the foot of gorgeous Mt. Yufu, the Yufuin onsen resort offers a fantastic selection of hot spring baths, serene Japanese inns, and cozy boutique cafes in a picturesque natural setting.
At the heart of Beppu onsen town, Sugioi hotel holds an attractive bath named 'Tanayu,' an open-air bath with a superb view. It consists of a complex series of tubs, spread out over five tiers like terraced rice paddies. Here you can overlook Beppu Bay and the night view of the town.
Oita offers spectacular hot springs for viewing rather than bathing in. Beppu’s biggest attraction, the “hells” are composed of seven baths such as Chinoike Jigoku, a red coloured onsen famous for its clay that reportedly cures skin disease, as well as Umi Jigoku, a mystic blue-cobalt spring, that runs a scalding 98 degrees celsius, where visitors often see bundles of eggs cooking in bowls suspended above the ponds.
About one hour drive from Oita City, Ukennokuchi Onsen is a hidden gem, that offers bathers many health benefits. Open to the public since the Meiji Period (1868-1912), it is rich in minerals, surface iron and sulphur ions which cure burn injuries, surface wounds, and neuralgia. Locals are also known to visit here for the spring water, which is good for stomach flu.
Located on the hillside of Beppu City, Myoban Yu no Sato features thatch-roofed sheds for collecting residue from the local hot spring water. This facility also hosts a wide-scaled open-air bath with a stunning view overlooking the Beppu Bay and Beppu Town.
Oita, another prefecture that will host the Rugby World Cup in 2019, faces onto the Seto Inland Sea and Bungo Suido Channel. In addition to its ocean views, Oita prides itself in the many natural delights nestled within its grand Kuju mountain range.
Located inside Aso-Kuju National Park, Tadewara Marshland is one of the largest moors in Japan, where many rare plants grow. It was registered, under the Ramsar Convention in 2005 and was recently declared "Sobo, Katamuki, Ootsue UNESCO Eco Park" in June, 2017.
Officially registered as "Sobo, Katamuki, Ootsue UNESCO Eco Park" in 2017", Fujikawachi Valley hosts a white granite rock formation with years of geological history.
Another highlight among Aso Kuju National Park is Kuju highland, with its splendid view of grassland stretching into the distance. Many rare plants have been maintained through the burning of dead grass in the fields each spring. It is also an ideal destination to witness the twinkling stars during the night, as there are no other lights around.
Running alongside Japan’s tallest active volcano, Mount Aso, and through the Kuju mountain range, this popular driving route “Yamanami Highway” offers spectacular views of the lush landscape that will tempt you to pull over and get a closer look at the scenery.
Nicknamed as “Asia’s Niagara Falls,” Harajiri Falls represents a horseshoe shaped waterfall rated one of Japan's "top 100 waterfalls", which stands boldly among scattering of rice fields, and mountains - a quintessential Japanese landscape.
Located at the foot of Mount Sobo, Kawakami Valley hosts a picturesque mountain stream. A lush green in spring and summer, the valley turns brilliant shades of red, yellow and orange in autumn, and is highly beloved among climbers and hikers.
On top of the numerous hot springs, Oita Prefecture is home to many deeply historical sites, including an array of castles. The unique local religious culture of Rokugo Manzan, which contains elements of Buddhism, Shinto and mountain worship (occupying places such as the sacred Usa Jingu Shrine and Kunisaki peninsula), along with the beautiful samurai towns such as Kitsuki and Usuki, make Oita unique in its offering.
Nicknamed "Little Kyoto," Mameda Town in Hita was built in a prosperous area at the beginning of the Edo Period. Its historic buildings remain well-preserved to this day. Gas lamps and its notable lack of visible electricity cables provide an authentic atmosphere as you stroll around.
In the Mikuma-gawa flowing through Hita onsen area, you can take the unique Japanese-style wooden tour boat “Yakatabune” on which you can enjoy a dinner cruise including drinks and Japanese set meal, while sailing down the river.
Usuki, in addition to boasting a beautiful samurai town (Nioza), is also home to the exceptional site of the rock-carved Buddhas named Usuki Sekibutsu. These Stone Buddhas were designated as National Treasures, and were the first stone Buddhas to be named as such. The sculptures date back to the Heian period (794-1185).
Referred to as a "sandwich castle town", because of its unique topography of having two hill-stacked districts on either end, Kitsuki castle town offers a unique opportunity to see the life of the Samurai.
Located on the slope of Mount Futago, where it is guarded by two of the largest and most iconic Nio statues, Futago-ji temple showcases Rokugo Manzan - a culture with a history of more than 1300 years. The charming, moss-covered statues, stone walkway, and cascading green foliage, make this one of the most scenic spots in Kunisaki peninsula.
Usa Jingu Shrine is the first Hachimangu shrine established by Emperor Ojin around the beginning of the eighth century. Designated as a National Treasure, it represents the main sanctum of over 40,000 Hachimangu shrines throughout Japan.
Oita Prefecture is a coastal prefecture in Japan’s southernmost main island of Kyushu. Oita is renowned for being one of the most famous hot spring (onsen) destinations in Japan, due to the number of springs, and the sheer volume of hot water produced in the prefecture. Oita prides itself in its famous onsen cities such as Beppu, one of the most famous onsen towns in Japan, and Yufuin, which boasts peaceful onsen resorts at the foot of elegant Mt. Yufu. These are both close to Oita City, which will host the Rugby World Cup in 2019.
Located in the central part of Oita Prefecture, The Beppu-onsen Spa consists of eight hot spring areas called “Beppu Hatto.” Enjoy various ways of bathing and visit the Beppu Hells, seven spectacularly colourful hot springs for viewing (as the name implies, these particular are unfortunately too hot to enter.)
On the beach of Shoningahama in Beppu City, you can find a chance to get your body buried in the sand and ease your muscles by sinking into the warmth by the blue ocean. It is beneficial for healing various ailments, from cuts, to stiff joints, sensitivity to colds, and more.
Myoban onsen is part of “Beppu Hatto,” and is known for the large and spacious open-air-mud bath. The white, smooth mud is said to be great for your skin and face.
Making use of the hot spring heat, the local cuisine called "Hell Steam Cuisine”, and is simple and healthy due to the gentle, additive-free cooking method. At the Jigokumushi Kobo Steam Cooking Centre, you have the opportunity to steam your own meals.
A little ways from Beppu, you can experience a cold mineral spring. Its temperature of origin spring is only 14 degrees, and it is only open in summer. Due to the remote location, it is definitely an off-the-beaten-path onsen, though it has a long history dating back to the Edo Period.