Oita Prefecture, which boasts the largest number of hot springs in Japan, has hot springs gushing out almost everywhere. The photo above is the scenery of Beppu City, Oita Prefecture. The spectacle of steam rising from everywhere in the city is fantastic. Outside of Beppu, there are many attractive hot spring areas such as Yufuin. Staying in Oita, where you can heal yourself in hot springs with tranquil and magnificent nature, is very popular with foreigners. No matter how many nights you stay, you will never get bored.
On this page, we will guide you through your travels in Oita, including the attractions of Oita Prefecture, places you must visit, things to do, and more.
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Outline of Oita
Oita Prefecture is located in the eastern part of Kyushu Island. Oita Prefecture is well known in Japan as a prefecture with hot springs. Beppu, which boasts the largest scale in Japan, and Yufuin, which is popular with women, are two of the best, and there are various hot spring resorts in this area.
When incorporating Oita Prefecture into your itinerary, you can consider the following three routes.
(1) Take the JR express from Fukuoka Prefecture in northern Kyushu
(2) Take a bus from Oita Airport *Check flights to and from Oita Airport with Skyscanner
(3) Take a bus from Kumamoto Prefecture in western Kyushu
When entering Oita Prefecture by bus from Kumamoto, or when traveling from Oita Prefecture to Kumamoto Prefecture by bus, we recommend the route called “Yamanami Highway”. Most buses take this route. On this route, you can enjoy the scenery of Kyushu’s majestic mountains and highlands.
There are several passes available for efficient travel in Oita. >>Click here for details.
Beppu is one of the largest hot spring resorts in Japan and has been widely popular among the Japanese people since ancient times. Its characteristic feature is the abundance of hot spring water. As you can see from the photo above, an enormous amount of hot water gushes out from the entire town of Beppu. Another feature is the diversity of hot spring hotels. Beppu has a wide variety of accommodations, from hotels for large groups to luxury hotels for small groups to reasonably priced hotels where students can casually stay. In addition, Beppu’s hot springs have a wide variety of qualities, ranging from blue to red, milky white to clear, and more. Beppu has something for every guest.
As you walk around Beppu, you will see many places where spring water gushes out. They are crowded with many tourists as sightseeing spots. In hotels, of course, the temperature of the hot water is adjusted.
It takes about 50 minutes from Oita Airport to Beppu City by highway bus. Express buses also run from Kumamoto City and Aso to Beppu.
In addition to Beppu, Oita Prefecture is home to a very popular hot spring resort called Yufuin. Yufuin is more suited to those who want to spend a quieter time than Beppu. In nearby Kumamoto Prefecture, there is also a popular hot spring resort called Kurokawa Onsen. Kurokawa Onsen is located further up in the mountains than Yufuin and is suitable for those who want to enjoy the beauty of nature in a quieter setting.
We have a very detailed article about Beppu. We also have feature articles with beautiful photos of Beppu, if you would like to take a look.
Detailed articles about Beppu
Yufuin is a hot spring resort located inland about 30 minutes east of Beppu by car. While Beppu has many large hotels that can accommodate large groups of guests, Yufuin has many ryokan (Japanese-style hotels) with relatively small capacity for individual guests and families. Yufuin does not have a bustling entertainment district. Instead, there are small museums and stores selling cute knick-knacks that are popular among female visitors. A visit to Yufuin is a great way to feel close to the beautiful nature of old Japan.
In Yufuin, tourists will generally spend a quiet time relaxing in ryokan (traditional Japanese inns). However, here are some of the main tourist attractions in Yufuin.
- Yufudake: This gently sloping mountain rises approximately 1,584 meters above sea level. This mountain is the symbol of Yufuin.
- Kinrin Lake: Hot spring water gushes from the bottom of the lake, which creates a fantastic sight in the mornings from fall to winter when steam rises from the lake. There are walking paths around the lake.
- Sagiridai Observatory: This is an elevated platform about 680 meters above sea level from which the entire Yufuin Basin can be viewed. In the evening, when the houses are lit up, the scenery is extremely beautiful. In the fall and winter, the entire town of Yufuin is sometimes shrouded in morning mist.
- Yufuin Floral Village: A mini theme park that recreates the lovely streets of the Cotswolds in England. There is a café inspired by “Alice in Wonderland” and a house where you can see and touch real owls. It might be fun to stop by during a stroll.
- Sightseeing horse-drawn carriage: A single horse pulls the carriage. It takes about one hour from JR Yufuin Station for a leisurely tour around Yufuin.
Yufuin also hosts a small film festival every August.
JR Yufuin Station is about 2 hours from JR Hakata Station (Fukuoka City) in northern Kyushu by limited express train “Yufuin no Mori”. From Oita Station, it is approximately 50 minutes by limited express. From Oita Airport to Yufuin Station, it takes about 1 hour by direct bus.
Kokonoe Yume Otsurihashi Bridge
Oita is attractive not only for hot springs but also for its rich nature. Especially recommended is Kokonoe “Yume” Otsurihashi. This bridge is a pedestrian-only suspension bridge that spans the mountains on the border between Kokonoe Town, Oita Prefecture and Kumamoto Prefecture. With a length of 390m, height of 173m, and width of 1.5m, it is the tallest pedestrian suspension bridge in Japan. From the top of the bridge, you can enjoy the scenery of the surrounding valley, and it is popular as a thrilling viewing spot.
Oita has Japan’s largest safari park. At the Kyushu Natural Zoological Park “African Safari”, about 1400 animals of about 70 species live in a vast grassland in a state close to nature.
You can take a “jungle bus” and observe animals such as elephants, giraffes, and lions approaching to feed from a close distance. In addition to small animals such as rabbits, you can also enjoy physical contact with kangaroos, guinea pigs, and squirrel monkeys.
A popular spot for children as well as adults. About 50 minutes by car (taxi) from Beppu Station. There is also a bus.
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For a good trip, please check Oita’s tour menu, discount passes, etc. from here.
Now, let’s plan to make your vacation in Japan the best experience ever!