Cultural history and hot springs combine in north-east Kyushu
Rugby World Cup 2019 Travel Guide: Oita
Visit the Kunisaki Peninsula in the north-east of Kyushu to find out about culture in Rokugo Manzan at the base of Mount Futago. You can hike the mountain to take in spectacular views and explore places of worship – Shintoism and Buddhism combine here.
Monjusen-ji Temple, located in the forest, is one such place to visit. The Usa Jingu Shrine, with its bright-red entrance gate and the Hatsusawa Pond that contains a carpet of lotuses, is well worth a look too.
Steam two ways! Rent a steam chamber at the Jigokumushi Kobo Steam Cooking Center in the Kannawa District to cook your own meals. Or relax in Beppu by enjoying the onsens.
As well as traditional hot springs, at Beppu Onsen Hoyoland there are indoor and outdoor mud baths (it’s worth noting you have to bathe naked at this mixed-gender facility). Oita and Beppu are both great cities for visiting izakaya, traditional Japanese bars.
Oita Bungo beef is a gourmet item in the prefecture, the marbling creating a rich flavour, while chicken tempura is more of a staple food. Horse mackerel grown in the Bungo Channel is known for its meatiness and it’s recommended to try it as sashimi. Blowfish, freshly caught from the channel, can also be served as sashimi.
WORLD CUP VISIT
Oita Stadium is not only hosting three World Cup pool games – New Zealand v Repêchage Winner on 2 October, Australia v Uruguay on 5 October and Wales v Fiji on 9 October – but the two quarter-finals involving teams from Pools C and D on 19 and 20 October.
Related: Rugby World Cup venues
Oita is on the island of Kyushu, and is a 90-minute flight from Tokyo and a 55-minute flight from Osaka.
DID YOU KNOW?
Oita produces 98.4% of Japan’s kabosu, a citrus fruit that looks a little like a lime. It’s harvested green but turns yellow as it ripens, and is used a lot for cooking and drinks, with the juice often used when serving sashimi.
If you’re exploring Beppu, take the Kamenoi tourist bus that goes on a tour of the eight Jigoku Onsen locations. Reservations need to be made in advance by phone.