Festivals & Events
Oita Prefecture is Japan’s number one producer of madake, or Japanese timber bamboo. In celebration of its heritage, many local festivals use bamboo in various ways. Usuki-Takeyoi in Esuki City , Taketa Chikuraku in Taketa City, and Sen’nen-Akari in Hita City are three such local events worth visiting if you find yourself in the area.
Oita Station is the main hub of the events, which is served by the Kyudai, Hohi and Nippo Main Lines, offering access to much of Kyushu.
For Usuki-Takeyoi, take a 38-minute ride from Oita Station to Usuki Station by limited express train on the JR Main Nippo Line. For Taketa Take-tourou Chikuraku, take the JR Hohi Line from Oita Station for about 80 minutes and get off at Bungo-Taketa Station. For Sen’nen-Akari, take the Kyudai Line from Oita Station and get off at Hita Station.
Each year in November, participants in this festival light up bamboo to guide the soul of Princess Hannyahime to her parents. Making lanterns and art objects from bamboo plays an important part and begins in August with the cutting of bamboo in the mountains.
Community organizations, including local schools, businesses and local government, cooperate to make the lanterns and art. Visit the area during the first week in November to enjoy the beautiful sight of these bamboo lanterns illuminating the town’s streets.
Held over three days in mid-November, this festival involves lighting 20,000 bamboo lanterns in the castle town of Taketa. Don’t miss the moment the lanterns are lit around sunset, when the colors are particularly vibrant and stunning.
During this event some 30,000 bamboo lanterns are lit up around the Kagetsu river that runs through Mameda town. Check out the various concerts and events that are held in Mameda town during the festival, which is hosted in November from 4:30pm to 9pm.