Welcome to Oita, Japan!
Oita is a traditional Japanese city at the brink of modernization, situated in the southern island of Kyushu. As the capital of Oita Prefecture, it demands an important position in the region, but reflects a somber attitude that gives it a pleasant and welcoming aura.
From the vintage charm of the 16th century Funai Castle, to the magnificence of Japanese shrines, this is your very own worldwide local’s guide to the many wonders of Oita, Japan.
Take a Ride on the Sweet Train
If there ever was a doubt about the sweetness of the people in Oita, the Aru Ressha is the perfect answer. Comprising of two exclusively decorated cars, this deluxe “Sweets Train” runs day trips from Oita between April and June. Featuring delectable food and sweets made in a French-Japanese style, Aru Ressha is one unique way to start your journey exploring the city.
Worldwide Local Tip: To experience the exclusivity of Oita’s heritage, plan your trip during the Horan Enya New Year festival for a gala time that still sees a 300-year-old tradition celebrated with fervor and merriment. Take a stand alongside the Katsura-gawa river as keen fishermen row a large boat up the river, occasionally jumping into the cold waters to collect gifts from the audience.
See a Game at Oita Stadium
For more straightforward sports, you’ll find that Oita has the only open-and-close style dome stadium in Japan. Built before the FIFA World Cup in 2002, the venue is now used for various events and is famously known as the “Big Eye.” Architecturally brilliant, it’s worth catching a game of football or a concert.
Worldwide Local Tip: After some sightseeing, you deserve a spectacular meal. Although the Oita chicken is a popular option with the masses, the brave at heart need to try the local delicacy, pufferfish. Deadly to the very core, this blow-fish is only prepared by certified chefs and is promised to deliver a taste you’ve never had before, and may never have again.
Food and Culture in Oita
Food and entertainment are an integral part of the Japanese lifestyle. You won’t be disappointed in Oita with its many bars, hostess clubs, and several izakayas. In addition, there are small eateries where locals go for after-work drinks and snacks. Oita sushi restaurants are also popular. The Miyako-machi street is of particular interest for its old-style restaurants and buildings, which are a reminder of the bygone era.
Worldwide Local Tip: A night out deserves a comforting day, and luckily for you, Oita is known for its moor hot springs. The Atami Onsen near the JR Station is popular, known for its fresh, not recycled, water. Not too hard on the pocket, a dip here will cost around $3.25 and makes for a wonderful way to spend the late afternoon rejuvenating the body.
Visit the Best Hot Springs in the Area
If you want an authentic onsen experience, take a 30-minute train ride to the nearby city of Beppu. You will find the best hot springs in the entire region here. Takegawara Onsen is particularly special for its old-style architecture and the possibility to have a sand bath.
Worldwide Local Tip: Once you’re all freshened up, it’s time for some retail therapy. Japan, with its futuristic electronics and ethnic offerings, is the quintessential destination to shop till you drop. However, it’s best to avoid Oita and its malls, because of their high prices and limited selection. Stick to the big cities on the mainland for your shopping needs.
Enjoy Your Stay!
A world apart, Oita will charm you with its simplicity and friendly way of life. As a worldwide local, you get to dive deep into the resident culture and experience its many attractions, that’ll bring about peace to the mind, body, and soul.