Oita Prefecture is located on Japan’s most southwestern main island of Kyushu. Oita boasts the largest number of hot springs in the country, but there is also a large variety of other sights to be seen. The region contains many places of stunning natural beauty, from the mountains of Mt. Kuju and Mt. Tsurumi, the dramatic Harajiri Falls or the breathtaking Yufugawa Valley. For the historically minded, Oita also has many historical sites of interest containing, in particular, the three national treasures of Usa Jingu Shrine, Fuku-ji Temple and the Usuki Stone Buddhas. Oita is easily accessible from across Japan due to the presence of Oita Airport.
Explore the scenic town of Yufuin If you want to escape from the well-trodden destinations of Beppu or Oita cities. From the Yufuin Tourist Information Center, you can pick from a variety of ways to explore the local area. You can sit down and enjoy the view with the rickshaw course, a short 12 minute tour of the area, or two longer 50 minute courses in either a horse-drawn carriage, or Yufuin’s popular and quaint classic British minibus. For those wanting to stretch their legs a little, Yufuin also provides a rent-a-cycle service where you can work your way around at your own pace. While here, don’t miss the stunning natural sights of Mt. Yufu and Kinrin Lake as well as the local Yunotsubu Kaido Street and Yufuin Stained Glass Museum.
Yufuin is also one of the most popular hot spring getaways in the country, providing a host of baths across the town. Have a relaxing soak near Kinrin Lake in Shitanyu Public Bath, enjoy the hillside views from Shoya no Yakata, or treat yourself at the sauna-equipped Sansuikan.
The rest of Oita prefecture also boasts a large number of hot springs. From Beppu’s traditional Takegawara Onsen established in 1879, to the Municipal Beppu Beach Sand Bath where you can bathe in the geothermal sand along the shoreline, to the Hell Tour, eight exciting hot springs where steams and gases explode right out of the ground.
It would be a shame to visit Oita without paying a visit to Oita monkey park at Mt Takasakiyama, located halfway between Oita city and Beppu. Since opening in 1953, the park provides a rare experience to be able to see the monkeys in close proximity. Time your visit well, and you may be able to watch hundreds of monkeys come flocking to be fed at their feeding time. The park also provides comprehensive information about the monkeys, so your visit will be no doubt fun and educational.
Oita Prefecture Overview
NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR