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Oita

Dynamic beauty of the Yaba-kei Gorge and other ravines, Beppu boasting the largest output of hot spring water in Japan and Yufuin known for music and film festivals
Located in the northeast of Kyushu, Oita borders Ehime, with the Hoyo Strait and the Bungo Channel in between, on the east and Yamaguchi across the Sea of Suho on the earth. To the north is a lava plateau, where you can enjoy the dynamic beauty of the Yaba-kei Gorge and other ravines with mural precipices and numberless rocks and stones of fantastic shape eroded by rivers running between mountains.

The vast volcanic area that occupies a greater portion of the prefectural territory boasts the abundance of hot springs. There you can take a tour of eight boiling headsprings called "hell." On top of that, many hot springs are waiting for you, such as the spa of Beppu-onsen boasting the largest output of hot spring water and the Yufuin-onsen Hot Spring known for music and film festivals held in summer, which are visited by many tourists from all over the country.

The Kunisaki-hanto Peninsula, whose cape makes out to the Seto Naikai ("the Inland Sea of Japan") between the Sea of Suho and the Sea of Iyo, is known for many Buddhist monuments that tell you of the prosperity that the Buddhist culture had enjoyed there in old times. These monuments, such as the Kumano-Magaibutsu ("Buddhist statues sculptured on the rock face"), the Aono-domon ("Blue Tunnel") made through rocks, and the Usuki Sekibutsu-gun, the largest collection of Buddhist stone figures in Japan, have earned the place the name of "Nara of the west" and attract many tourists all the year round.

Getting there
An hour and 40 minutes to Oita airport from Tokyo Haneda Airport; an hour from Osaka Itami Airport. Fifty-five minutes from Oita Airport to Oita Station by bus.
 

  • Beppu
    Largest Hot Water Gush Volume in Japan - Strange Sights To See On Tour of Hell
    Beppu is located in the central part of Oita, on the coast of Beppu Bay faces the sea, with Mt. Tsurumi and the rest of the Tsurumi Volcanoes in the rear. Hot water gushes at many spots in the city. Beppu ranks first in gush volume in Japan and is in a high place in the world in the number of sources and the variety of chemical properties. The Beppu-onsen Spa consists of eight hot spring areas including Hamawaki, Beppu, Kankaiji, Myoban and Kannawa, which are collectively called "Beppu Hatto". In addition, there are many modern spa resorts also supplied from the rich sources in those areas.

    The Tour of Hell along a path in the Kannawa area is the highlight of sightseeing in the Beppu Spa. Eight spots including the Umi-jigoku (sea hell) made up of bright cobalt blue hot water, the Chi-no-ike-jigoku (blood pond hell) where hot water containing red melted clay gushes out and the Tatsumaki-jigoku (tornado hell), a geyser, are usually on the itinerary of the tour.

    On the outskirts of Beppu are comfortable resort areas with many leisure activity facilities such as the Takasaki Shizen-dobutsu-en(Mt. Takasaki Monkey Land Natural Park) featuring a specifies of monkey native of Japan designated as a Natural Monument and Lake Shidaka-ko amid Mt. Tsurumi-dake, Mt. Yufu-dake and other mountains.

    Getting there
    An hour 40 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Oita Airport. An hour from Osaka Itami Airport. Fifty-five minutes by bus from Oita Airport to Oita Station. Twelve minutes from Oita Station to Beppu Station on the JR Nippo Honsen Line.

     

  • Takeda
    Small Kyoto in Kyushu - Castle Town With Fresh Spring Water
    Takeda, located in a southwestern part of Oita, is a castle town from which Mt. Kuju can be viewed. The Oka Castle, positioned at a place rimmed by deep ravines with a steep cliff, was built in 1185 according to a record. The only remains reminiscent of its heyday are the ruins of its keep and western tower and the high rock piles on the sides of cliffs. The Aso montains and Mt. Kuju can be viewed from the ruins of the keep of the castle.

    With many historical sites including Buke-Yashiki, or samurais' residences of the olden days, Takeda is called "Small Kyoto in Kyushu". It is reputed for its fresh spring water, and specialties featuring river fish and those featuring chicken indigenous to the city are served at many eating places in Takeda.

    "Juroku Rakan" or sixteen stone figures of Buddhist disciples who swore to uphold Buddha's teachings stand on a huge rock by the stone steps leading to the entrance of the Kan'non-ji Temple. A promenade named "Historical Road" runs from a spot near the sixteen store figures to the ruins of the Oka Castle. Takeda also has the Taketa-City Rekishi Shiryo-kan(historical museum) in commemoration of the painter Tanomura Chikuden(1777-1835), a cave chapel of Christians in feudal Japan, the Nanatsu-mori Ancient Tombs designated as a Historical Site.

    Getting there
    An hour and 40 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Oita Airport. An hour from Osaka Itami Airport. Fifty-five minutes by bus from Oita Airport to Oita Station. An hour from Oita Station to Bungo Takeda Station by a Limited Express on the JR Main Houhi Line.

     

  • Kunisaki-hanto Peninsula
    Ancient Center of Buddhist Culture - Radially Extending Ravines
    Projecting between the Suho-nada Sea in the Seto Inland Sea and the Iyo-nada Sea, the Kunisaki-hanto Peninsula is formed of large conical volcanoes including 731 m-high Mt. Futago in a northeastern part of Oita. Twenty-eight ravines extend radially with many strangely shaped rocks and stones along them. Ancient Buddhist culture came to stay here, and Buddhist culture unique to this peninsula developed. Many temples and Buddhist remains are scattered all over the peninsula.

    In the huge premises, about 150,000 kmē in area, of the Usa-jingu Shrine, which is the head shrine for all Hachimangu Shrines throughout Japan, Uemiya, Shimomiya and other buildings are positioned in an orderly arrangement. The Hatsusawa-ike Pond filled with clean water is located along the front approach beyond the divine bridge.

    This center of Buddhist culture boasts many Buddhist National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties such as a wooden figure of Amida-nyorai (Amitabha Tathagata) and wall paintings in colors in the Fuki-ji Temple, statues of Shitenno, the Four Deva Kings in Maki-Odo and a figure of Fudo, the god of fire, known as "Kumano-magai-butsu". Exhibits related to the history and culture of Oita are presented on a regular basis at the Oita Prefectural Museum of History on a hill called Usa-fudoki-no-oka where visitors can get a good knowledge of the Buddhist culture introduced into Oita.

    Getting there
    An hour 40 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Oita Airport. An hour from Osaka Itami Airport. Fifty-five minutes by bus from Oita Airport to Oita Station. Thirty minutes by Limited Express from Oita Station to Usa Station on the JR Nippo Honsen Line.

     

  • Usuki
    Stone-paved Road Gives Additional Charm To This Castle Town - Rock Buddha Figures of Largest Scale in Japan
    Usuki in a southeastern part of Oita was prosperous under the rule of the Feudal Lord Sorin Otomo in the 16th century who built the Usuki Castle there. Many remains of those day are present in this city. Nioza, located to the southwest of the Usuki Castle, is a chic street lined with white walls and stone walls. A stone pavement called "Nioza Historical Street" is provided on this street. Approximately 400 years ago, the Dutch ship Liefde drifted ashore at Sashiu in a northern part of Usuki, opening up a new age in the Japanese diplomatic history.

    A group of Buddha figure carvings out of the natural rock wall of a cliff, known as "Usuki Sekibutsu", was the first of its kind designated as a National Treasure. A Buddha figure carving out of a cliff is called "Magai-butsu". Usuki Sekibutsu is located in hills 4 km away from the downtown area. With more than 60 figures, it is of the largest scale in Japan in the Magai-butsu category and is believed to had been carved during the 12th century and the14th century, that is, in the latter half of the Heian Period(797-1192) or the Kamakura Period(1192-1333). A bamboo craft festival is held in autumn every year. Five thousand Japanese table lamps with a paper shade are lit, and the faint tone of koto(Japanese zithers) is heard from temples in the suburbs. Tourists visiting Usuki in this season will have a fantastic feeling.

    Getting there
    An hour and 40 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Oita Airport. An hour from Osaka Itami Airport. Fifty-five minutes by bus from Oita Airport to Oita Station. Thirty-eight minutes from Oita Station to Usuki Station by a Limited Express on the JR Main Nippo Line.

     

  • Yaba-kei Gorge and Ao-no-domon
    Manually Dug Old Tunnel - Gorge Full of Strange-shape Rocks and Stones
    Yaba-kei Gorge, situated in a northwestern part of Oita, is a grand gorge created through a lava plateau of the largest scale in Japan by the flow of Yamakuni-gawa River. Extending 36 km east and west and 32 km north and south, this huge gorge full of strange-shape rocks and stones is a spectacular sight.

    According to a legend, a monk who witnessed travelers have much difficulty in walking on a precarious path on the side of a steep cliff dug an approximately 185 m-long tunnel known as "Ao-no-domon" with only a chisel and a hammer. It said that it took him more than 30 years to complete the tunnel.

    Among the tourist spots of Shin-yaba-kei is a view spot called "Hitome Hakkei" commanding a view of eight huge rocks including Kaibo-ho, Sennin-iwa, Gun'en-zan, Meoto-iwa and Kan'non-iwa. There are many more sights to see -- Keisekien, a garden about 20,000 mē in area constructed in commemoration of the completion of the Yaba-kei Dam, the Rakan-ji Temple where more than 3,700 stone figures of the Buddha stand and Kyoshuho, a major sightseeing spot in Yaba-kei which is reputed for its beautiful red and yellow tree leaves in autumn. Tourists in Yaba-kei will never get weary of its numerous fine spots to see.

    Getting there
    An hour 40 minutes from Tokyo Airport to Oita Airport. About an hour from Osaka Airport. Fifty-five minutes by bus from Oita Airport to Oita Station. Twenty-minutes by bus from Nakatsu Station to Ao-no-domon. Fifty minutes by Limited Express from Oita Station to Nakatsu Station on the JR Nippou HonsenLine. Thirty minutes by bus from Nakatsu Station to Ao-no-domon. Change at Kakisaka. An hour 30 minutes from there to Shin-yaba-kei.

     

  • Yufuin and Kuju Hill
    Skirts of Gently Sloped Mt. Yufu - Long-established Inns and Smart-looking Small Inns
    Yufuin Town, located in a central part of Oita, is an area extending past the boundary of the Yufuin Basin in which Oita-gawa River originates. Mt. Yufu known as "Bungo Fuji" is located to the north of the basin. Long-established inns, smart-looking small inns called "pension"(family type inns in Japan), unique art museums, small galleries, sophisticated restaurants and coffee shops mingle together in Yufuin-cho, giving the area an attractive atmosphere.

    Yufuin is a spa town with many inns around Yufuin Station on a southwestern part of the skirts of Mt. Yufu-dake. The hot water is colorless and transparent and of gentle nature without a strong effect. It can alleviate rheumatism, neuralgia, etc. There are many public bathhouses in the town. They are highly convenient for tourists.

    Lake Kinrin-ko located in Yufuin is named from the "shining scales of fish in the setting sun". Hot water gushes from the bottom of the lake, and hot steam rises from its surface on a cold day. The Kuju Hills situated in the grassland at an altitude of 1,000 m in southern parts of the skirts of Mt. Kuju and Mt.Taisen provide a sight to see in every season - the burning of the field in spring, summer camps, red and yellow leaves of trees in autumn and a sea of clouds in winter.

    Getting there
    An hour and 40 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Oita Airport. An hour from Osaka Itami Airport. Fifty-five minutes by bus from Oita Airport to Oita Station. Forty-five minutes from Oita Station to Yufuin Station by a Limited Express on the JR Main Kyudai Line.

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  Information provided by Japan National Tourist Organization.

 

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