Food & Drink

Tekizanso Hiji
Tekizanso is a gracefully classic one story building that dates from the Taisho Period (1912-1925). Sited in a corner of what was once the grounds of Hiji-jo, the local daimyo lord's castle, this picturesque structure, set in a classic Japanese garden, is registered as one of Japan’s national treasures.

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Pokala curry hita
The husband and wife proprietors of Pokala relate how the locals thought they were crazy to open a curry restaurant in Usa’s rural hinterland some 30 years ago.

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Oita Made v2
Oita’s rich natural environment provides a wealth of produce and resources. Add in the locals’ creative talent and you have Oita Made, which brings the best of Oita’s foods, drinks modern, arts and crafts and their stories under one brand.

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Kamoshika Oita
Step through the doorway of Kamoshika Shoten, in central Oita City, and it is apparent that the owner, Shinsaku Iwao, has a passion for the printed word and a knack of creating comfortable environments.

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Chikushitei
Chikushitei is a jewel of a restaurant making it one of Oita’s, if not Kyushu’s, finest. A traditionally formal entrance lends an almost hidden-in-plain-view feel to Chikushitei that belies the delightful wonders both gastronomic and architectural found within.

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Accommodation in abundance
Oita has long been a popular destination for Japanese visitors and, as a consequence, the choice of accommodation found around the prefecture is plentiful and varied.

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Oita Fukae
Oita’s 774km long coastline is lined with fishing ports, both great and small, but only a few have a fish market. One exception is at Fukae, in Hiji on the Kunisaki Peninsula, a sleepy fishing village.

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Oita doburokumaturi
Visitors to Ota, a usually quiet village on the Kunisaki Peninsula, swell the local population by a factor of 30 or more over two days in mid-October when its popular Doburoku Festival is held. With a history stretching back to 710 A. D.

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original
The people of Oita Prefecture are reputed to eat more chicken meat than of any other prefecture in Japan. Two particularly popular chicken dishes are Toriten and Karaage.

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rokusei1 v2
A moreish noodle dish, available either as cold reimen or hot onmen, heralding from Beppu.

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Dango-jiru is one of Oita’s signature dishes. Kneaded, thick wheat noodles cooked with sliced shiitake mushrooms, onions and carrots in a miso soup make this a simple, yet delicious and filling dish. The same noodles used in Dango-jiru are the substance in Yaseuma.

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Oita Shochu v2
Although lesser known overseas, shochu, a refined vodka-like beverage that is made from a variety of sources including sweet potato, molasses and rice, is as widely drunk in Japan as sake.

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At a glance

Mugi-jochu, a refined wheat vodka, is Oita's version of Kyushu's famed shochu tipple.

Oita Sake
Commonly known in Japan as nihonshu, sake, which is fermented from rice, is widely recognised around the world as a distinctly Japanese drink.

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At a glance

The popular libation to the kami, Japan's gods.

Oita Fugu
Fugu blowfish is a peculiarly Japanese delicacy known as much for its delicious taste as its potential deadly side effects if prepared by the unqualified chef. Usuki, with nearly 20 speciality restaurants, ranks as a major destination for lovers of fugu.

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Umeshu gura hita
Umeshu-gura Oyama, which combines a boutique umeshu plum winery and ume plum emporium, is heaven for any ume aficionado.

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Ume Hibiki
Ume Hibiki draws its name from the ume plum orchards it is surrounded by and the glorious views it affords over the Hibiki Gorge.

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Oita Ukai
200 years ago the then daikan, the shogun’s representative in Hita, brought the ancient art of ukai cormorant fishing to Kyushu from Edo, the old name for Tokyo.

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Being in business for over 130 years is a good sign that the fundamentals of any business are sound. The owner-chef, however, is not resting on his predecessors’ nor his own laurels.

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Oita Tomaya
To cross the threshold of Tomaya in Kitsuki is to go back in time. The current building, a delightfully quaint tea emporium, dates to 1875 but the business was first established in the mid-Edo Period (1603~1868).

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Oita Tajmaya
Not only does Tajimaya produce the best wagashi confectionary in Oita, its delicious products undoubtedly count amongst the best in Japan.

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At a glance

An elegant, traditional Japanese shop that has been making and selling delightful wagashi Japanese sweets since 1804.

Sekisaba sekiaji
The seas of the Hoyo Straits are squeezed into narrows between Oita City’s Saga-no-seki and Sada-misaki, Shikoku’s distinctive peninsula that stretches out like a long limp finger pointing west.

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sapporohitabrewery2
Introduced to Japan in the 19th Century, beer has long been the nation’s favourite tipple and today accounts for approximately two-thirds of alcohol consumption.

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At a glance

Visit Sapporo's Hita brewery to learn about the origins of the company and to savour some of Japan's classic beers.

Oita Saiki sushi
Any gourmet passionate about fish has to make the journey to Saiki, which boasts the widest range of fresh fish found anywhere in Japan.

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PEI, the acronym for Prince Edward Island, was the sole western-style pub in the whole of Oita.

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Nishinokubo
Nishinokubo is beautifully sited in a hamlet overlooking idyllic rural scenery of stepped rice paddies. The husband and wife owners have opened their home up as a minpaku home-stay style accommodation allowing guests to envelope themselves in this tranquil and iconic landscape.

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Being on the other side of the railway tracks is no indication of the quality of the cuisine served up at Minami-no-Kaze.

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Oita Mitchinoeki
Michi-no-eki wayside stations are a popular institution in Japan and, with 24 of them, Oita Prefecture has more than its fair share. Locals proudly run these shops, akin to idiosyncratic convenience stores on steroids, selling a large variety of produce and dishes from the immediate area.

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Matsuura
A short drive out of central Saiki on the Tsurumi Peninsula is Matsuura, a small hotel and restaurant that makes the most of its position on a coastal inlet overlooking a fishing port.

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Maruni Maru
Saiki is rightly famed for the quality and variety of the seafood caught off its intricate coast of peninsulas and bays and one of the main centres of the fishing industry is in Kamae at Nishinoura, close to the southerly extent of the municipality.

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Mamenomonya
Mamenomonya’s wife and husband team moved from Oita City to pursue their dream restaurant in the bucolic countryside of Ota village in Kitsuki. They brought life back to a long-discarded cottage converting it into an elegantly rustic and welcoming restaurant.

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Kojiya Honten
Myoho Asari is on a lifetime’s mission to spread knowledge about koji, a key ingredient of Japanese cuisine. Myoho represents the ninth generation of Kojiya Honten, a family-owned business that was established in 1689.

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Kitsuki Terrace
Kitsuki Terrace is a recent addition to the seafood barbecuing establishments, popular with locals and visitors alike, that are found strung out along much of Oita’s coastline.

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Kanas Kitchen
For a restaurant that has a long and complicated name, the dishes here are a celebration of their constituent ingredients brought together in a subtle and uncomplicated fashion.

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Oita Jigokumushi
In Beppu’s Kannawa district steam derived from volcanic activity deep below the earth seems to rise up from every crevice in the ground. Onsen baths are plentiful here but a lesser known attraction is jigoku-mushi steamed cooking.

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Inase
It is easy to overlook and walk past Inase, which seems to be hiding in the shade of the surrounding establishments in central Oita.

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Oita Prefecture is replete with a wide range of delicious foods from its mountains, rivers, fields and seas, and the ise-ebi spiny lobster is, undoubtedly, a crowning glory in this gastronomic wealth.

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The Hive Pub
The Hive has joined the long-established PEI pub in providing a western-style pub experience to both a Japanese and non-Japanese clientele.

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Bar Ponte
For an intimate European-style ambiance and menu head to Bar Ponte, which is found on the edge of Oita City’s Miyako-machi nightlife district. Almost all seating is along the wooden bar, stretching the length of this understated yet chic wine cafe.

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Oita Ajimu winery
Top grade grapes for the table are grown widely in Kyushu and are a staple fruit during the summer months. Grapes for viticulture, the production of wine, are, however, much rarer in the region.

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