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"OITA", The best Onsen (Hot Spring) area in Japan


3 nights, 4 days

"OITA", The best Onsen (Hot Spring) area in Japan

Situated in northern Kyushu, the nickname of Oita Prefecture is the "Onsen Oita". In the both the number of springs and the volume of hot water produced, Oita Prefecture is the number one in Japan, producing enough hot water every minute to fill a space the size of Tokyo Dome two and a half times over. And on top of that the hot springs are located in beautiful natural surroundings, with abundant fresh seafood, wild game, mountain vegetables and mushrooms to enjoy eating, and all kinds of historical and cultural treasures nearby. So take your time, and enjoy a leisurely tour of Oita.



1st day
Yufuin
*Traveling
Oita Airport - <Limousine Bus Approx. 60 mins.> -- Yufuin
Oita Airport
Your journey through Oita starts at Oita Airport. There are over 27 flights to Oita every day from Narita and Haneda Airports (Tokyo), Chubu International Airport (Nagoya), Itami Airport (Osaka) and Incheon (Seoul). A limousine bus service provides comfortable and convenient access direct to Yufuin!
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Yufuin
Located almost directly in the center of Oita Prefecture, Yufuin is a hot spring town, surrounded by natural wilderness and overlooked by the heights of Mount Yufu. For more than 40 years, the local government has maintained a strict urban planning regime that restricts development and protects the natural environment, in order to support the creation of a relaxing resort-type atmosphere, with the result that Yufuin has become the number one Onsen resort that people in Japan would like to visit.

Attracted by this environment, various people have moved here from all over Japan. That too is one of the special characteristics of Yufuin. Some people have opened art galleries. Others have opened pottery workshops or shops specializing in wood and bamboo crafts. Still others have opened restaurants and cafes. The things they create here are also part of the attraction of Yufuin. With the Stained Glass Art Museum, an Art-Deco Glass Museum, the Fancy Forest Museum of Art, and more, there are many museums and galleries to visit in this artist's town.

There are a lot of things to do at Yufuin. You can relax and enjoying bathing in hot springs, health spas and open air baths, check out the art scene, or even try hiking, mountain climbing or cycling. But there is one more thing you absolutely must try - the food. You can enjoy dining on gourmet food made from carefully selected ingredients, such as meat and vegetables, produced by local farmers whose faces you can see in front of you.


Lake Kinrinko
Lake Kinrinko is a mysterious lake whose waters come from hot and cold springs that well up from the bottom of the lake. You can see wildflowers blossoming on the lake shore, waterfowl playing on the lake surface, and enjoy the way the lake presents a different appearance to you in each of the four seasons. On winter mornings when the outside temperature is low, the fog rising off the lake is a magically beautiful sight.
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Horse Drawn Carriages
For sightseeing you can enjoy a ride in a horse drawn carriage, rickshaw, rental cycle or even a classic English Scarborough automobile, restored and operating as sightseeing bus. There is a rich variety of different transport options for you to choose from, so you can travel around Yufuin freely in the style that suits you.


Yunotsubo Kaido
Yunotsubo Kaido, which stretches from Yufuin to Lake Kinrinko, is a sightseeing pathway along which you absolutely must walk. On weekends there are crowds lined up outside the sweetshops and restaurants that serve delicious dishes made with local produce. In addition there are also many stores selling craft items and original goods. Over 70 stores in all are lined up here along both sides of the road.




2nd day
Mount Yufu, Yufuin Onsen Open Air Bath
*Traveling
Yufuin --<Bus16mins.> -- Yufutozanguchi [Mount Yufu climbing] --<Bus 16 mins.> -- Yufuin -- <Walk or rental cycle> -- Yufuin Onsen Outdoor Bath --< Walk or rental cycle> --Yufuin--<Bus57mins.> -- Beppu

[Discount Ticket]
2 days unlimited travel on regular bus routes between Yufuin and Beppu
My Beppu Free(Japanese)
http://www.kamenoibus.com/data/kamenoibus_mybeppufree.pdf
Mount Yufu
Mount Yufu is a beautiful conical peak that is also known as "Bungo-Fuji" (The Mount Fuji of North-Eastern Kyushu). In May the Kyushu Azalea (a type of Rhododendron) puts forth reddish-purple and pink flowers. In summer the grassy meadows are a vibrant green, and in autumn the whole mountain is dyed red with the colors of autumn leaves. There are many trails leading up the mountain, but the one recommended for beginners is the trail that starts right in front of the Yufutozanguchi Bus Stop. After 4.5 to 5 hours walking you will reach the top where you can stop and look out over the magnificent view below.
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Mount Yufu Climbing Route Map
http://www.pref.oita.jp/site/tourism/yufu-dake.html


Yufuin Onsen Open Air Bath
Returning to Yufuin, take a rest in the natural hot springs. We recommend the bath at Kua-ju Yufuin (where you have to wear a swimsuit), and the outdoor baths at the Sansuikan and Musouen Ryokans. You also shouldn't miss the opportunity to try out the free foot spas at the souvenir shop next to the bus center and at Yufuin Station.
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Yufuin Open Air Bath Information
http://www.pref.oita.jp/site/tourism/yufuin-outdoor-baths.html


Seki-aji / Seki-saba
With the sandy Buzen Sea, the Kunisaki Sea, which faces onto the Seto Inland Sea, the quiet Beppu Bay, and the Bungo Channel, with its heavily indented coastline, Beppu is blessed with a variety of different waterways and has a treasure house of delicious fish. Among these are the highly popular Seki-aji and Seki-saba (different types of mackerel) whose names are a brand that can only be applied to fish hand caught by line in the Saganoseki, Oita.


[more info]
For people who find hiking up a mountain difficult, we can also recommend alternative plans where you take a bus to visit the sights. For example you can take a regular tourist bus to see Japan's largest pedestrian-only suspension bridge, the Kokonoe "Yume" Otsuruhashi bridge, or visit the Kuju Flower Garden, where you can see around 3 million flowers of over 500 different varieties blossoming in spring and autumn. Or you can catch regular buses to visit places such as the Tadewara wetlands, which have the largest area in Japan, dairy farms, and the unusual hot spring, "Kan no Jigoku Onsen".




3rd day
Hells of Beppu, Hyotan Onsen Hot Springs
*Traveling
JR Beppu Sta. --<Bus20mins. (using My Beppu Free)> -- Kannawa [Hells of Beppu] -- <Walk5mins.> -- [Hyoutan Onsen] -- <Bus25mins.> -- Beppu
Beppu
Beppu is a hot spring town with the largest number of springs, and the greatest volume of water produced, of anywhere in Japan. All through the town, you can see water vapor rising up everywhere. Beppu was chosen in second place in a list of 100 sights of Japan that people would like to survive into the 21st Century.


Hells of Beppu
The Hells of Beppu are series of steaming hot springs that gush out steam and gasses. They look like the gateway to hell, and you can walk around them in a "Tour of the Hells". Starting with the fresh cobalt blue Umi-Jigoku, there are eight "hells" all with their own individual appearance: Yama-Jigoku, Kamado-Jigoku, Shiraike-Jigoku, Oniyama-Jigoku, Oniishi-Bozu-Jigoku, Chinoike-Jigoku, and Tatsumaki-Jigoku. The overwhelming heat and fumes will make you appreciate the power of natural energy.
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You can download a pamphlet on the Hells of Beppu here: http://www.beppu-jigoku.com/images/English.pdf


Jigokumushi
Jigokumushi is a method of cooking that can only be experienced at a hot spring. It uses the steam released from the spring to instantly cook food in its heat. The steam concentrates the flavor of the materials and removes excess oil, so food cooked this way is really delicious and healthy.

For information about Jigokumushi see here
http://www.pref.oita.jp/site/tourism/jigokumushi.html


Toriten
The roots of toriten (chicken tempura) go back to the start of the 20th Century, when it was created by Oita Prefecture's first restaurant. It is said to have originated with the idea of taking the "restaurant taste", which at that time was something extremely expensive and out of reach for ordinary people, and making "delicious food for ordinary people to enjoy" by using inexpensive chicken as the ingredients. Toriten is the soul food of the people of Oita Prefecture.


Hyotan Onsen Hot Springs
You can enjoy a wide variety of springs here, including a hot waterfall that washes away the stiffness in your muscles, and a sand bath that you can experience with a yukata (cotton kimono) on. Hyotan Onsen Hot Springs is one of the most famous hot springs in Beppu, and is the hot spring to have been awarded three Michelin stars. You can also see photos here on display of the "Onsen Masters", who have completed the "Beppu Hatto Onsendo" and visited all 88 of the hot springs in Beppu.
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[more info]
There are many enjoyable options for sightseeing in Beppu. You can visit the Kyushu Natural Zoological Park "African Safari", where you can experience feeding lions and other wild animals from the safety of a bus, ride on a wooden jet coaster at "Kijima Kogen Park", see more than 1,300 Japanese monkeys at "Takasakiyama Natural Zoo", encounter a wide variety of sea creatures, including walruses and dolphins, at the "Umitamago" Aquarium, or visit any one of a number of other interesting and fascinating places to explore. There are so many places to see, it's hard to choose.




4th day
Kunisaki Peninsula
*Traveling
Beppu -- <Regular Sightseeing Bus with the "Kunisaki Peninsula Historical Sites Course> -- [Usa Shrine] -- [ Fuki-ji Temple] -- [Kumano Magaibutsu] -- [Zaizen Bochi] – [ Futago-ji Temple] -- Oita Airport
Usa Shrine
Day 4 is a journey that will bring you into contact with the history and culture of Japan. The first sightseeing spot, Usa Shrine, was built in 725 A.D. Out of all the 40,000 Hachiman shrines throughout the entire country, this is the head shrine of them all. The shrine buildings preserve one of the oldest forms of Shinto architecture and have been designated as a national treasure.
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Fuki-ji Temple
The O-do Amida hall is the oldest wooden structure still existing in Kyushu, and is a National Treasure. The current structure was built in the 12th century, and is said to have been constructed from a single Japanese nutmeg tree.
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Maki Odo
The 9 Buddhist statues are works from the Heian era (795 - 1185), and are important cultural properties. The craftsmen have put their entire heart and soul into the making of these statues.


Kumano Magaibutsu
When you climb up these steep stone stairs, that are said, according to legend, to have been built by a demon in a single night, you can see to your left, carved into the massive stones of the cliff, stone carvings of Fudo Myo-o (8m tall) and Dainichi Nyorai (6m tall). The unbelievable sight of these massive Buddhist carvings in the middle of the mountains is testimony to the strength of belief of the people at the time this was carved. The carvings are the largest of their kind in Japan.
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Futago-ji Temple
This is an ancient temple located on the slopes of Futagoyama, which is the highest point of the Kunisaki Peninsula (721m above sea level). Futago-ji has the largest pair of guardian statues on the Kunisaki Peninsula and the Main Hall and the structure of Inner Sanctuary preserve the appearance of an ancient time.





 

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