Outdoors

Oita Yamanami
The journey along the Yamanami Highway from Beppu via Yufuin to Aso, in neighbouring Kumamoto Prefecture is one of Japan’s greatest scenic routes to travel in a car, or on a motorbike or bicycle. Highway is a misnomer, as this is a delightful winding, country road.

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At a glance

A three-hour drive through beautiful and multi-varied, rural countryside

Tsurumisaki
Tsurumisaki is, at its furthest extent, the most easterly point in Kyushu. A quiet 30 kilometre road gently winds its way aside the sea, past bays and through one fishing hamlet after another.

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Saiki Coastal Road
One of Oita’s most spectacular roads skirts the prefecture’s intricate coastline from central Saiki to Oita’s southern borders. It then continues on into neighbouring Miyazaki Prefecture; with light traffic it is an ideal road to explore for both adventurous touring cyclists and motorised transport.

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Oita Himeshima2 v2
The ferry across the placid Seto Inland Sea only takes 20 minutes to sail from Imi to Himeshima, an island lying off the Kunisaki Peninsula’s north coast.

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At a glance

20 minute ferry ride from Imi

Ideal for cycling

Interesting Geology

Tsurumisaki v2
Travelling on a cycle, motor bike or car and then pitching a tent for the night or exploring in a recreational vehicles have never been major leisure activities in Japan on the scale found in many other countries.

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Cycling Oita
For bicycle touring aficionados, Japan, with its varied countryside is a great place to visit. Oita’s many quiet country lanes, lack of vehicle traffic on all but the major thoroughfares, and almost entirely considerate and polite drivers make it a good region to explore on a bicycle.

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Oita Yabakei
Yabakei, is an extensive, scenic area centred on a valley carved over 2. 5 million years by the Yamakuni River. Riven by forested valleys and interspersed with numerous cliffs and rock formations, the Yabakei area is renowned nationally for its beautiful spring foliage and autumn leaves.

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Oita Uchinari
Uchinari Tanada are a spectacular and extensive series of more than 1,000 terraced paddies that recall an older age when rice was planted and harvested by hand.

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Oita Tour du kunisaki v2
Kunisaki’s quiet country roads through verdant countryside and aside the Seto Inland Sea are ideal for cycling and each year, over 2,500 cycle enthusiasts enter Oita’s largest cycling event, the Tour de Kunisaki.

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Oita Tashibu
Tashibu-no-sho, a charming district with some of the most picturesque countryside found anywhere in Japan, was once under the direct control of Usa Jingu.

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Oita Takasakiyama
Famous throughout Japan, Takasakiyama for is a reserve for wild Japanese macaques. The dominant monkey’s personalities and the dynamics of the troops they lead make national news. So, not surprisingly, it is one of Oita’s most popular destinations that is especially busy during holidays and on the weekend.

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Oita Okajo
Only the ramparts of Oka-jo remain, but their scale and impressiveness allude to the power that this hill-top citadel once held over the surrounding region.

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Oita Nagasakibana
On the north side of Kunisaki betwixt Matama Sunset Café and Imi lies Nagasakibana, a long, finger-like peninsula jutting out into the Seto Inland Sea.

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Oita Yufudake
The twin-peaked Mt. Yufu-dake soars to 1,583 metres dominating its surroundings. It is also a popular and relatively easy mountain to climb, taking about 2~2. 5 hours from the main start point, on the road running between Yufuin and Beppu, at 700 metres.

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Oita Monjusenji
For anyone fortunate enough to be at Monjusen-ji at dawn, the deep, resounding sound of bell echoing across its tranquil setting, a remote valley deep in the heart of Kunisaki, heralds the start of the temple’s day.

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Oita yabakei cycling
The Maple Yabakei Cycling Road follows the beautiful Yabakei Gorge from Ao-no-Domon to Morizane Onsen along the old route of the single-track Yabakei Railway, along which steam trains once threaded their way up the valley until 1975.

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Oita Giahs
Kunisaki and Usa was recognised as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) by the United Nations in 2013. Look at a map of the Kunisaki Peninsula and neighbouring Usa area and the preponderance of lakes and ponds inevitably catches the eye.

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Oita Kunisaki cycling1
In years past, it was common to see the professional Keirin athletes from the velodrome in Beppu training in pelotons on the roads of Kunisaki until fixed-wheeled bikes, which they use in their sport, where made illegal on the public road in Japan.

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Oita Kunisaki Long Trail
The Kunisaki Hantou Minemichi Long Trail, to give its full name, is a meandering, 134km-long hiking route that weaves through the Kunisaki Peninsula following in the footsteps of the Rokugo-Manzan monks, who first came here for their ascetic practices 1,300 years ago.

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Oita Kuju Renzan
Kuju-san is a 13km-long massif consisting of more than ten volcanic peaks including Mt. Naka-dake, which at 1,791m is the highest mountain in Kyushu. Each peak is dormant except Mt. Hossho-zan (1,762m), which suddenly erupted in 1995, 333 years since the last eruption in the massif.

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At a glance

Volcanoes atop Kyushu. A variety of trails open around the year for the beginner and seasoned hiker.

Oita Itsutsuji Fudo
Itsutsuji Fudo marks the furthest and highest extent of Kyu-Sento-ji’s grounds. A small shrine clings to the sheer rock face, from which panoramic views across Kunisaki over the Seto Inland Sea beyond to Honshu are a fitting reward for making the climb.

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Oita Hotojima
Hotojima, an island off Tsukumi, is an outlier both geographically and culturally when compared to the rest of Oita, even Japan, making it an intriguing place to visit. Usually, however, there are not many visitors amongst the passengers aboard the ferry to the island from Tsukumi harbour.

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Himeshima Kaisuiyoku beach
Himeshima is a homely island and, amongst other attractive qualities, sports one of the nicest and least visited beaches in all Oita. The ferry from Imi on the Kunisaki Peninsula’s north coast arrives in a short 20 minutes at Himeshima’s port, which is cheek-by-jowl with the island’s main settlement.

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Hatotsu beach
At the very southern limit of Oita’s coastline, just on the boarder with Miyazaki, is Hatotsu Kaigan, a sandy beach settled into a lovely, secluded bay fringed with pine trees.

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Himeshima cycles
Himeshima, with its very limited number of vehicles, relaxed and quiet lifestyle, limited hills to climb and very few vehicles, provides a delightful environment for a leisurely exploration on bicycle.

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Tsukahara cycling
Tsukahara, located a short drive from and high above Yufuin, is an elegantly charming village, which is listed as one of Japan’s most beautiful, is tucked into the north lee of Yufu-dake, a towering dormant volcano.

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Oita Beppu Ropeway
For panoramic views over Beppu and Beppu Bay to the east and Mt. Yufu-dake to the west ride the Beppu Ropeway, which whisks passengers up almost 800 metres to the summit of Mt. Tsurumi-dake.

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Oita Aonodomon
In the 18th Century, Zenkai, a monk at Rakan-ji, witnessed a person falling into the waters of the Yamakuni River from the dangerous, cliff-hugging path it was necessary to negotiate to reach his temple.

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