Oita, located on the island of Kyushu in Japan with close proximity to Fukuoka, is a region renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty and diverse cultural attractions. The prefecture experiences four distinct seasons, each offering a unique charm that captivates visitors throughout the year. Whether it’s the cherry blossoms of spring, the lively energy of summer, the vibrant colors of autumn, or the tranquil beauty of winter, Oita’s four seasons offer a diverse and ever-changing landscape, inviting travelers to experience the prefecture’s natural beauty and cultural richness throughout the year.
Renowned as an “Onsen Paradise“, BEPPU is distinguished by having the highest number of hot spring sources and the largest volume of onsen water discharge in Japan. With over 100 public baths, Beppu stands as a celebrated hot springs resort town, ranking among Japan’s most renowned destinations for onsen retreats. Flowing from the earth, “onsen” hot springs are a natural gift from our planet, providing an ideal sanctuary to unwind and rejuvenate both the mind and body. Presently, Japan is home to approximately 27,000 hot spring sources. According to data from 2015 compiled by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan, Kyushu boasts around 9,500 of these sources, making up about 35% of the total, and emphasizing the region’s prominence as a hub for these therapeutic natural wonders.
Beppu Christmas Fantasia – Winter!
Date: December weekend near Christmas
Happen to be visiting the “Onsen Paradise” in December? Enhance your winter hot spring getaway by celebrating Christmas in Beppu! On the weekend closest to Christmas, the city hosts a dazzling fireworks display featuring over 10,000 fireworks synchronized to beloved Christmas songs. This enchanting spectacle illuminates the night sky and sea for two magical evenings. The festive atmosphere is further elevated by live stages and Japanese winter street food stalls, offering a warm culinary experience. After a chilly night, indulge in the soothing embrace of an onsen bath, concluding your Christmas day in the most relaxing way possible.
Situated in a level river basin encircled by mountains, Yufuin boasts an iconic skyline dominated by the twin peaks of Mount Yufu. This majestic mountain presides over the town, providing a picturesque backdrop for numerous scenic vistas. In Yufuin, ryokans and hotels are scattered across the town rather than concentrated along the main street, setting it apart from many other resort towns. The main thoroughfare is adorned with cafes, boutiques, and small museums, imparting a trendy shopping area ambiance rather than a traditional onsen town feel, not forgeting it’s local specialty, visitors will have to try the Yufumabushi Shin Mabushi!
Kuju Mountain Range – Summer!
Date: End May till Mid June
As early summer unfolds, the Miyamakirishima blossoms grace the mountains, painting them in shades of pink. This unique spectacle attracts people from around the world to witness the breathtaking scenery in Kuju. In the marshlands, a myriad of flowers, including Kisuge and Nohanashobu, bloom in vibrant hues. The presence of Higotai, characterized by its blue, spherical flowers, further enhances the color palette of the grasslands.
Nestled along the eastern coast of Kyushu’s Oita Prefecture, this locale was once a renowned castle town celebrated for its multitude of stone Buddhas intricately carved into cliff walls, each proudly designated as a national treasure. Experience the authenticity of honzen cuisine, an age-old Japanese dining style that places emphasis on precise presentation, seasonal ingredients, and a well-rounded approach to taste and nutrition—a rarity in contemporary Japan. Witness the skilled craftsmanship of local artisans practicing Usuki Yaki, characterized by its harmonious blend of traditional techniques and modern designs. These artisans create exquisite items like teacups, bowls, and vases, each reflecting the rich cultural and artistic heritage of the region.
Usuki Takeyoi Festical – Autumn!
During Takeyoi, which translates to “bamboo night,” the surroundings of Niouza to Hatcho near the castle are illuminated by bamboo lamps. The spectacle includes a multitude of these lamps, numbering in the tens of thousands. The historic town of Usuki is adorned with over 20,000 bamboo lanterns, casting a warm glow along its stone pavements.
Hita, located in northern Kyushu, was once known as a “mountain city” with a picturesque landscape and a culture centered around abundant water sources. Renowned for its streetscape reminiscent of the Edo period and celebrated as one of Japan’s finest hot spring destinations, Hita offers a nostalgic experience for both first-time and returning visitors. The old town center, Mameda-machi, maintains its historic charm with period buildings, reflecting the era of the samurai. Today, Hita serves as a pleasant regional city in Oita, situated in a rural, forested heartland known for producing high-quality cedar wood. This prized material is prominently featured in local crafts, including furniture, geta clogs, and masu square sake cups. Additionally, it plays a significant role in the construction of the uniquely designed Patria Cultural Center.
Hita Gion Festival – Summer!
The Gion Festival is a traditional event that originated to seek safety and peace from plagues and natural disasters, often prevalent during the summer. The Hita Gion Festival, believed to have commenced in 1714, is adorned with decorations themed around classic tales such as Nansou Satomi Hakkenden, Dan no Ura Kabuto Gunki, Doujouji Kaneiri, Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura, Narukami Fudou, Renjishi, and more. Notably, the Heisei Yamahoko, crafted in 1990, stands at an impressive height of 10 meters!
The Kunisaki Peninsula, sitting in the northern hinterlands of Oita Prefecture, is renowned for its collection of ancient temples, shrines, and thousands of Buddha statues in caves. To fully appreciate Kunisaki’s rich nature and cultural heritage, the recommended experience is walking the Kunisaki Peninsula Minemichi Long Trail. This picturesque hiking trail traces the historic pilgrimage routes, known as “mineiri,” used by monks for centuries, offering breathtaking views of mountains and sea. Recognized as a World Agricultural Heritage site, Kunisaki preserves unique agricultural traditions and an unchanged rural landscape. The region is celebrated for its high-quality crops, including Shichitoi for mat weaving and log wood-cultivated Shiitake mushrooms.
Cape Nagasakibana – Spring!
Date: March till April
The cape hosts one of Kyushu’s most extensive displays of 20 million rape blossoms in full bloom, making it a prominent attraction. These blossoms remain vibrant for an extended period, allowing visitors to relish their beauty for an extended duration. The field becomes a fragrant haven when the blossoms are in full bloom, enveloping the entire area in the sweet scent of these flowers.