From the bubbling hells of Beppu to the heavenly views from Mt. Yufu and Kunisaki Peninsula, Oita is a paradise of immeasurable beauties.
Featured picture ©Beppu Kankou Kyoukai
A must-see for any hot spring aficionado
“Welcome to Hell,” announces the menacing Japanese devil (or oni) at the Beppu jigoku trail. Located just outside the town of Beppu, the jigoku or “hells” are a popular tourist destination where visitors can watch geysers erupt and muddy waters bubble, coloured by minerals in vibrant shades of red and azure. Visitors to the jigoku are invited to try eggs, fish, vegetables and even custard puddings that are cooked here in the geothermal waters. Weary travellers are also encouraged to dip their aching feet in small ponds filled with naturally heated and mineral-rich water, called ashiyu. Beppu is home to more than 2,900 hot spring vents, and in addition to the jigoku, eight famous hot spring districts, known as the Beppu Hatto, beckon locals and tourists alike to soak in their therapeutic waters while experiencing the picturesque scenery of the local mountains and turn-of-the-century buildings. Just outside the city centre, the Yukemuri Observatory offers spectacular views of the entire region. The sight of these hot springs at night, venting steam illuminated by the lights in the town, is unforgettable.
©Beppu Kankou Kyoukai
This area is home to Japan’s largest cache of geothermal hot springs. Meanwhile, on Kunisaki Peninsula, devils wreak havoc at night and Buddhist monks nd tranquility during the day.
Located nearby is the onsen (hot spring) resort town of Yufuin, home to an idyllic mix of shops selling traditional Japanese crafts, numerous ryokan (inns) and six onsen nestled in the valley below the twin peaks of Mt. Yufu. Visitors stroll between the shops and food stalls trying various delicacies such as bakudan-yaki (dough balls filled with octopus, cheese, kimchi, hot dogs or corn), cheesecake and honey- flavoured ice cream before enjoying a relaxing soak in an onsen. The relatively easy hike around Mt. Yufu is a pleasant way to spend the afternoon, and the top of either peak rewards hikers with a breathtaking vista of trees, hills and rivers, dotted with steam rising above Beppu and Yufuin.
A devilish welcome at Beppu jigoku
Picture ©Chiyako Mukai
The Kunisaki Peninsula holds sacred places of power
North of the Beppu and Yufuin regions is the spiritual Kunisaki Peninsula, home to some of Japan’s most venerable Buddhist temples nestled within the mountains and gorges of Mt. Futago. One of the local towns, Bungo-Takada, is known as Buddha’s Village: it features Buddhist temples dating from as far back as 718 AD, as well as a recreated Showa-era town, and is the setting for many Japanese period movies and TV dramas. Futago-ji temple sits at the summit of Mt. Futago and boasts stunning views of autumn foliage and spring forests. The steps of nearby Taizo-ji temple are challenging, however the walk through the forest and past the ancient Buddha statues located en route are well worth the difficulty. Kunisaki Peninsula is also a treasure trove of delicious cuisines gathered from the surrounding environs. Silvery seki aji (horse mackerel) and fugu (puffer fish) sashimi caught by local fishermen are a delectable treat, while the shiitake mushrooms and kabosu limes farmed in the region are considered to be Japan’s best. Locally caught sea bream is often marinated in soy sauce and served in a bowl of rice and green tea in a dish (tai-chazuke) nick-named ureshino, which means “I’m happy”!
Picture ©Chiyako Mukai
Oita’s rich and varied climate offers many sights
The region’s unique geography, combining subtropical, warm climates with coastline, mountains and volcano ranges, offers tourists many interesting destinations to visit. Of particular note, the Kirishima Range, a belt of volcanoes that runs across the centre of the prefecture, is the source of the many hot springs that make the region so popular. The area has over 700 kilometres of coastline with numerous caves, mountains, highlands, valleys and dense forests, making it a fantastic place to hike, spelunk and enjoy swimming in the pristine rivers and natural pools. And it’s easily reached by Sonic Nichirin express train from Kokura Station, located in Kitakyushu.
From mouth-watering delicacies to breathtaking views, Ōita entices travellers to embrace the ambience and fall in love with its environment.
Discover the region’s tasty eats and indulgent treats
Sweet and succulent delicacies culled from the local waters, forests and valleys offer visitors an authentic taste of Oita.
Jigoku Mushi Pudding
What better way to bring home a little bit of Ōita than with a delicious custard-style pudding made from the steaming, mineral-rich geothermal waters of Beppu and Yufuin?
After a long day of hiking and bathing, indulge in Ōita’s soul food, tori-ten. A tempura-style fried chicken, tori-ten is served with ponzu sauce and mustard. Picture ©Beppu Kankou Kyoukai
All photos ©Tourism Oita unless otherwise noted