Oita, the Onsen Capital of Japan♨ (Full of Flavours)
Onsen Prefecture of Japan
Known as the nation’s onsen (hot spring) capital, Oita prefecture prides itself in having the most onsen sources and the highest yield of spring water in Japan. It offers a wide range of onsen types, and is home to popular tourist destinations like Beppu and Yufuin hot springs, which sees an increasing number of visitors from across Japan and overseas each year.
On top of an array of bathing hot springs, Oita offers many other unique onsen experiences. Jigoku Meguri, or “Hells of Beppu”, is a tour of seven spectacular hot springs of varying natural colour and style, for viewing rather than soaking in. Another is Jigoku-Mushi, or “Hell-Steam Cuisine”, where you can enjoy various local vegetable and meat dishes cooked using the steam from these onsen.
Oita’s Rich Nature and Cuisine
Oita also prides itself in its unique natural beauty. Sweeping landscapes surround the prefecture, including the striking backdrop of mountain ranges and endless greenery through Kuju Kogen and Tadewara Marsh seen when hiking through Aso Kuju National Park.
Oita is a culinary treasure trove thanks to its geographical features, and produces a rich variety of marine and agricultural products. Some of these include Oita Wagyu beef, which has received much acclaim from across Japan for its high quality, and dried shiitake mushrooms and kabosu citrus fruit, both of which Oita produces the largest volume of within Japan. The prefecture also offers a wide range of dishes using ingredients unique to Oita, such as kabosu-fed Japanese yellowtail and flounder.
Oita’s Attractive History and Culture
Oita is also deeply rooted in culture and history. Shrines and temples in Usa and Kunisaki Peninsula are home to a unique Mountain Buddhism culture called Rokugo Manzan ? the result of a Shinto-Buddhism syncretism from 1300 years ago. Amongst these are Usa Jingu Shrine (The Main Hall, The Kujyaku Monkei) and Fuki-ji Temple (Fuki-ji Odo) which have been designated as National Treasures, as well as the Stone Buddhas in Usuki. These, along with Mameda-machi, often referred to as Kyushu’s little Kyoto, and Kitsuki’s historic castle town, are some of the popular sightseeing destinations in Oita today.