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Oita City
Pic: iStock.com/takafumi99

Oita City

Right in the middle of Oita Prefecture, sits Oita City. It’s one of the home cities of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, but also a fascinating and diverse pocket of Japan that is well worth visiting all year round.

The city is flanked by steaming hot spring hubs to the north, stunning ocean views to the east, and rugged, untamed mountains to the west, offering so much to see, do, eat, explore, and discover. Oita Prefecture is located on the island of Kyushu, an area famous for its stunning natural sights and abundant natural hot springs.

If you’re looking for a new destination to add your Japan itinerary, you should definitely consider penciling in some time in Oita City.

Oita City view, Oita Prefecture
Photo by iStock.com/takafumi99

What to see and do in Oita City

Similar to its neighboring Rugby World Cup hosting city Kumamoto, many of Oita’s most exciting attractions are outside of the city boundaries. There are so many, to discuss them in depth would require another article in its entirety, so let’s briefly go through them here. Yufuin onsen village is a laid back hot spring resort an hour by train. It’s well worth a day trip or a weekend away, we loved it so much there’s an entire feature on it here. For the thrillseekers, there’s also Mt. Aso, a smoldering, active volcano that sits between Oita and Kumamoto. A 2.5-hour journey from the city by train, we think Aso deserves a position on the list of Japan’s 12 best natural wonders. Finally, if a still-temperamental volcano isn’t enough excitement, then head to Beppu a corner of Kyushu that’s home to Japan’s “8 Hells”; a collection of visually spectacular onsen pools hot enough to hard-boil practically anything within the blink of an eye.

Closer to the center of the city, Sekizaki Kaisei Universe Museum is Oita’s endlessly fascinating observatory, viewing platform, and museum. The museum’s telescope is powerful enough to give you some pretty magnificent views of the clear starlit Kyushu sky, the moon, nebulas, and more planets than you can probably remember the names of. There are also universe-dedicated exhibition rooms, and if all that intergalactic speak has gotten you famished, there’s also a restaurant on site.

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