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.