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

Beppu Area, Kunisaki-hanto Peninsula Area, Oita Area

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.

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Day 1 - 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!

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

Horse Drawn Carriages

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 roa

Day 2 - 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

Mount Yufu

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.

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 Information

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”.

Day 3 - 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

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.

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

More Information

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.

Day 4 - 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.

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.

Maki Odo

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.

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.

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.