Wild monkeys in the mountains and sea animals at the aquarium greet many visitors. Enjoy the hot springs and fresh, delicious fish.
Oita City is the seat of the Oita prefectural government and is situated near the center of the prefecture's coastal area. Blessed with a mild climate, Oita City was the center of Christian propagation in Japan in the middle age. There still remain a number of sightseeing spots both in the bustling city and surroundings that attract many visitors.
For example, a 15-minute bus ride from the urban area takes you to the Takasakiyama Natural Zoological Park, a bell-shaped mountain at a height of 628 meters, where some 1,300 wild monkeys make their habitat. You can see the monkeys from a short distance and also observe how they are fed, which makes this place popular not only for children, but also for grownups. The Oita Marine Palace Aquarium, "Umitamago," will take you into the sea world of Oita. Surrounded by beautiful nature it stands like an art museum. There, you can enjoy lovely shows performed by dolphins and other animals, as well as feeding in a huge tank with coral. Moreover, there is an experiment hall where you can learn about the mysterious ecology of animals, with surprise and excitement.
After your long walk, you may want to relax yourself at one of the approximately 30 public baths, which resemble hot spring baths, located around the city. Oita Prefecture is one of Japan's famous hot spring areas, and throughout the city are found many deep geothermal spas. While these public baths allow you to enjoy easy bathing, you may also want to try full-scale hot springs. In that case, Beppu should not be your only destination. In the suburbs is the Tsukano Kosen mineral spa, with the traditional atmosphere of curing baths. The water is for both bathing and drinking, and is said to be effective for gastroenteropathy and chronic constipation.
Another of the city's attractions is the fresh fish caught at the local ports. Spring to fall is the season for 'seki-aji' (saurel), while fall to spring is the season for 'seki-saba' (mackerel). Fugu, or 'fuku' (luck) as it is called in Oita, is puffer fish that can be eaten raw (sashimi) or cooked in a pot (nabe), for a reasonable price.
From Tokyo :
[Air] 1h 45 min from Haneda to Oita Airport, and 25 min from the airport to the city by hovercraft (1h by highway bus).
From Osaka :
[Air] 1h from Itami to Oita Airport.