A Traveler’s Guide to the Unique Natural Beauty of Oita Prefecture

Source: Gaijin Pot
Oita nature

For those of us who live in busy cities full of crowded streets, tooting horns and concrete jungles, we can sometimes forget how important it is to get out and seek something slower and more natural.

Oita Prefecture, located on the eastern brim of Kyushu Island, is the perfect place to do this. Take a 1 ½-hour flight from Tokyo and you’ll find yourself surrounded by sweeping landscapes oozing with pastoral beauty: think rice fields, green and golden in the sunlight, running endlessly into the horizon and lined with watercolor-blue mountains.

Why not head away from the pounded pathways of Japan’s big urban centers and discover the natural beauty of Oita’s idyllic countryside? Here are just a handful of places to check out in this naturally diverse wonderland.

Harajiri Falls: The Oriental Niagara

Nicknamed “the Oriental Niagara” for its horseshoe shape, Harajiri Falls is ranked among Japan’s Top 100 waterfalls.

Harajiri Falls Oita

Gushing against a background of mountains, vegetation and, in the spring, pink cherry blossoms, it is believed that the 20-meter-high cascade was formed by the pyroclastic flow of Mt. Aso when it erupted some 90,000 years ago. From a suspension bridge hanging across the river, you can grab a perfect view of Harajiri. Otherwise, wander along the walking path that leads over the brim of the riverbank for a closer look.

Harajiri Falls bridgeHarajiri Falls toriiHarajiri Falls from above

Just beyond the falls is Ninomiya Hachiman Shrine. Built at the end of the Heian era, in 1,178, the shrine was established by famous local samurai Koreyoshi Ogata. …continue reading