Jigoku meguri

KYUSHU Oita Invigorating onsen and artistic heritage

With a rich artistic and spiritual heritage, natural wonders like Yabakei Gorge and Beppu hot springs, Oita is an unspoiled area of Japan worth serious exploration

With sand, mud and water hot springs tucked away in unspoiled highlands and forests, Oita Prefecture is a place to rejuvenate the body and get in touch with nature. The most iconic onsen towns are Beppu & Yufuin, which is overflowing with Bohemian charm, and Beppu, home to Japan’s famous eight "bubbling hells." Jutting out to the north of Oita, Kunisaki Peninsula is home to historic spiritual sites nestled against lush mountainsides, while inland and bordering Kumamoto is Kokonoe, a town full of rustic countryside charm and plenty of rare flora and fauna.

How To Get There

Fukuoka is the nearest and largest transport hub, with trains, buses and flights arriving daily. Westbound from Tokyo, Osaka and Hiroshima, Oita is accessible via Kokura by shinkansen. Fukuoka International Airport and Oita Airport can also be reached via air from Tokyo and Osaka.

If you're traveling by train from Tokyo, Osaka and Hiroshima, catch the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen heading to Hakata, and the switch at Kokura Station to the JR Sonic-Nichirin Limited Express heading to Oita. Express trains run from Kokura to Oita City, largely along the coast. Oita Station is served by the Kyudai, Hohi and Nippo Main train lines, offering access to Beppu, Yufuin, Hita, Saiki and other parts of the prefecture. By flying into the airport, Oita City can be reached from Haneda Airport in Tokyo in less than two hours, and Osaka's Itami Airport in an hour. It is a one-hour bus ride or 25-minute ride by hovercraft from the airport to the city.

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Don’t Miss

  • The Hyotan hot spring baths, some of the most highly regarded in all of Japan
  • Tasting an egg naturally steamed using Beppu’s bubbling onsen water
  • Kokonoe Yume Grand Suspension Bridge, the highest pedestrian bridge in Japan
  • Stores in the Hita area that celebrate Oita’s bamboo crafts

Local Specialties

  • Kabosu

    A citrus fruit similar to the yuzu. While too sour to eat on its own, the juice of kabosu adds a fresh citrus flavor to a variety of dishes such as grilled fish, sashimi and hot pots.

    food-craft
  • Onta Ware

    Dating back to the early 18th century, Onta yaki is a ceramic style developed in Oita Prefecture. People in the Onta area focus on producing solid practical items such as pots big and small, bottles, cups, bowls and plates, made using strictly traditional methods and materials, often with a caramel-colored glaze.

    food-craft
  • Yuzukosho

    A delightfully peppery paste made from yuzu citrus peels, chili and salt. It is most commonly eaten with hot pot meals, but also lends a citrusy, peppery kick to meat dishes. For foodies, yuzukosho makes a great souvenir.

    food-craft
  • Oita Shochu

    Oita shochu is easy to drink and some types incorporate botanicals to add flavoring. Barley is the usual main ingredient. The flavors can be spicy, sweet and even fruity, but typically light and smooth.

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  • Beppu Bamboo Basketry

    Abundant madake bamboo groves and hot springs paved the way for basketry in Beppu. Visitors coming for curative stays at its spas invariably bought these woven bamboo souvenirs. The eight base techniques allow artisans to weave a phenomenal 200 patterns.

    food-craft

Seasonal Highlights

  • Spring

    This time of year color floods the grass and marshland areas. Kuju Flower Park in Taketa City is a standout, while the Beppu area is awash with waves of pink cherry blossoms.

    Kuju Flower Park
  • Summer

    Head to the Inazumi underwater caves to beat the summertime heat. Himeshima Beach offers another escape from steamy summer temperatures.

    Mt. Yufu
  • Autumn

    Fall attracts visitors wanting to see natural tapestries of red, orange and yellow. The Hita area comes alive with local bamboo festivals. Try the highly sought after seki saba mackerel, a local specialty.

    kokonoe & around
  • Winter

    Oita’s winters are comparatively mild. Mt. Tsurumi offers a chance to see some local snow. Take a long soak in a Yufuin or Beppu hot spring to escape the cool.

    fuki-ji temple

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