Oita Prefecture in Kyushu: Japan’s Hot Spring Heaven!

Chinoike Jigoku Onsen

I’m excited to introduce you to Oita Prefecture – Japan’s hot spring paradise! Nestled on the northeastern tip of Kyushu Island, this region boasts the highest number of hot spring sources and the largest output of hot spring water in all of Japan.

So, let us guide you through an unforgettable journey through the hot spring culture of Oita Prefecture in Kyushu.

Location and Geography of Oita Prefecture in Kyushu

Oita Prefecture is in the northeastern part of Kyushu, Japan’s southernmost main island. It has beautiful coastal views with the Seto Inland Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the east. The area has diverse landscapes, including mountains, forests, hot springs, and rice paddies.

The region has a large network of underground thermal water due to its geothermal hot spot, creating a variety of hot springs with different temperatures, mineral content, and therapeutic benefits.

This geothermal activity has shaped Oita’s landscape and culture, giving rise to hot spring bathing as a communal activity and influencing local traditions. It has also impacted local cuisine, with dishes like “onsen tamago” (hot spring eggs) and “hell-steamed” food cooked using steam from hot springs, reflecting the region’s unique identity and way of life.

History of Hot Springs in Oita Prefecture

The history of hot springs in Oita Prefecture is as fascinating as the springs themselves:

First, the region’s hot springs have been appreciated and utilized for their therapeutic benefits for hundreds of years. Ancient records and archaeological findings suggest that these hot springs were already in use during the Yayoi period (300 BC – 300 AD), making them some of the oldest in Japan.

Next, as Buddhism became more prominent in Japan, the hot springs began to take on a spiritual significance. Many onsen were built near temples and shrines, and bathing in these hot springs was seen as a form of spiritual purification.

Finally, in more recent times, the hot springs of Oita Prefecture have become a major tourist attraction. With the advent of modern transportation and infrastructure, increased people have been able to access these once-remote locations, leading to a boom in the local tourism industry.

The abundant spring quality of hot springs in Oita

In Japan, hot spring qualities are classified into 10 types based on their primary components. In Oita prefecture, 8 of these types (Simple Hot Spring, Chloride Spring, Hydrogen Carbonate Spring, Sulfate Spring, Carbon Dioxide Spring, Iron-containing Spring, Acidic Spring, Sulfur Spring) are found. It is said that “visiting Oita is equivalent to visiting hot spring resorts around the world.”

Our recommendation for Onsen travel in Oita

We do not intend to recommend the famous hot spring resort in Oita, which is known as a tourist destination. Instead, we recommend a rustic and charming hot spring resort that is unknown to foreign tourists.

At traditional local inns that have been operating for many years, the cuisine made with local ingredients and conversations with the owners become one of the joys of the trip.

In fact, many customers have stayed at local inns like this and experienced that it left the most memorable impression among their entire travel itineraries.

Rather than hot spring resorts known as tourist destinations, let’s go on a trip to genuinely enjoy the local culture, as proposed by INAKAdventure. We will provide support from the planning stage to maximize the enjoyment of the trip.

Come to Oita in Kyushu at least once!

Visiting Oita Prefecture is like entering a different world, where daily stress fades away, replaced by the warmth of hot springs and natural peace. Here, ancient traditions and modern comforts combine to create a unique culture rooted in geothermal energy.

Our journey through this hot spring paradise will be unforgettable, from relaxing in an onsen to savoring local cuisine. The most meaningful part will be connecting with the culture and people of Oita, known for warm hospitality and deep respect for nature.

I encourage you to visit Oita Prefecture and experience its hot springs for yourself. Whether you seek relaxation, unique culinary experiences, or breathtaking landscapes, Oita has something to offer. Pack your bags, immerse yourself in this hot spring paradise, and create your own unforgettable memories.

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