Attractions of Oita Prefecture

Food

Oita Prefecture is blessed with food resources from the sea and the mountains. From high-end gourmet items like Bungo Beef and horse mackerel to more conventional and homey chicken tempura and chicken karaage - enjoy the flavorful tastes of Oita.

Meat Dish

Oita Bungo Beef

The iconic high-end gourmet item of Oita. Careful marbling of the fat content through the meat creates a sensational, melting texture within the beef. Oleic acid found in the fatty parts is said to be the key element of creating the rich flavor of this beef.

AreaTaketa City, Bungo-ono City, Kokonoe Town, Kusu Town, and others

Chicken tempura

This staple local food item is fried chicken battered in Japanese tempura. It is commonly served in many restaurants and establishments in Oita. The locals enjoy it with kabosu citrus ponzu sauce and mustard.

Area Oita City, Beppu City, and others.

Chicken karaage

Chicken karaage is commonly served at establishments throughout Nakatsu, the karaage mecca, and Usa, the birthplace of karaage specialized restaurants. Of course, each has their own method of marinating the chicken (e.g., in garlic or ginger-fused soy sauce and original spices) for their special concoction for tasty fried chicken.

Area Nakatsu City, Usa City

Seafood Dish

Horse mackerel, mackerel

Fish grown in the rough currents of the Bungo Channel are meaty and flavorful; they are domestically recognized as a top brand of seafood items. For maximizing the freshness and the flavor only the fatty parts of the fish can bring out, sashimi is the recommended style of serving for this high-quality cuisine.

Area Oita City

Blowfish cuisine

Only fresh blowfish caught in the Bungo Channel can be served as thickly sliced sashimi. With smooth and transparent flesh, they are not only meaty and delicious but also visually appetizing as well. Other popular fugu dishes include blowfish karaage and blowfish zosui with rice.

Area Oita City, Usuki City

Shiroshita-Karei (marbled flounder)

Marbled flounder in this region inhabits where the sea water and the fresh water springing beneath Hiji Castle Ruin looking over Beppu Bay converge. Simple but sweet in taste, the fish is highly valued as a top quality seafood item of Hiji Town. Though available at various restaurants and establishments throughout Hiji, it comes at a much more reasonable price during the Shiroshita Karei Festival season in May.

Area Hiji Town

Hamo (conger pike) cuisine

A type of eel called conger pike is available all throughout the year in Nakatsu City. This fish is characterized by its sweet flavor. It is served in a variety of ways from traditional cuisine to original dishes.

Area Nakatsu City, Kitsuki City, Hiji Town

Ayu (Sweetfish) cuisine

With plenty of fresh water resources in Hita, the blessing of early summer in this region is no other than sweetfish. Ayu fish are often served salted and grilled or sweetened and boiled here. With a nice flavor, they are truly a blessing of summer and fall from the region's pure currents. Hita Ayu Yanaba, the fish catching site with a nice view of the Mikuma River, offers sweetfish cuisine of the region (between mid July and early November).

Area Hita City

Japanese spiny lobster

The East Kyushu Spiny Lobster Festival held for three months starting in September is perhaps the best opportunity to get your hands on some fresh, tasty Japanese spiny lobster cuisine. Savor the taste of this fresh high-class seafood. (Available from September to May)

Area Saiki City

Hyuga-don

This is a donburi dish with rice topped with slices of lean tuna with sweetened soy sauce mixed sesame seeds and green onions. The flavor of the sesame should stir your appetite.

Area Tsukumi City

Sea bream chazuke

Sea bream chazuke "Ureshino" is the staple menu item at long-standing restaurant Wakaeya, in operation since the early Edo period. Bowls of rice are topped with slices of fresh sea bream with a secret sesame sauce passed down for generations. To top it off, Kitsuki green tea is poured over it to make it a chazuke dish, a flavor of Edo only found in old castle towns like Kitsuki.

Area Kitsuki City

Oysters

Morie Bay in Kitsuki boasts the prefecture's highest production of oysters. They are characterized by their large size, minimal odor, and soft flavor. The area offers "kakiyaki" outdoor grilling in the winter season.

Area Kitsuki City

Softshell turtle cuisine

High in minerals, virtually all parts of softshell turtles are edible. They are historically said to boost energy during fatigue or sickness and are popular among women in this country for their high collagen content. Served in a variety of ways such as nabe, fried, and zosui; dishes created with locally cultivated softshell turtles are reasonable in price as well.

Area Usa City

Cutlass fish

Boasting one of the highest productions in the country, Kunisaki City's local specialty is none other than cutlass fish. Cutlass fish are typically bland, white flesh fish, but locally caught ones are high in fat content and thus soft and flavorful. You would be hard-pressed to find this flavor anywhere else. The fish can be served in a wide variety of ways. Sashimi, sushi, salted and grilled, boiled sweet and spicy and served on top of rice as Tachiju, and Tachiju fried donburi are all recommended.

Area Kunisaki City

Tiger prawn

Himeshima Island's specialty item is fresh and juicy Japanese tiger prawn. Firm and meaty, the so-called kuruma shrimps of this region are wonderful in both flavor and texture. Many delicious dishes of this seafood are available at establishments throughout the island, including sashimi, fried, salted and grilled, just to name a few. For savoring the taste and freshness at its best, sashimi is definitely the way to go.

Area Himeshima Village

Kabosu-fed amberjack and Japanese halibut

These new breeds of fish have been fed and cultivated with Oita-produce kabosu in their nutrition. Japanese amberjack tends to keep its freshness for an extended period of time due to an antioxidative effect. This creates its nice, signature texture and smooth flavor. As for halibut, the kabosu eliminates the odor in its guts, giving it a smooth flavor when served as engawa sushi.

Area Saiki City, Usuki City, Tsukumi City

Sushi

Hitan sushi

Hitan sushi is known for its healthy flair, with the likes of Oita-original takana maki rolls and Hita-grown vegetable and fruit-fusion menu items. It provides another new alternative to enjoying sushi cuisine.

Area Hita City

Saiki sushi

The signature of sushi in Saiki is its abundant use of fresh fish straight out of the Bungo Channel. This top-quality cuisine is only possible by the hands of sushi masters supplied with over 50 types of fresh seafood harvested in the nearby sea.

Area Saiki City

Noodles

Beppu reimen (cold noodles)

There are mainly two types of Beppu reimen noodles, the thicker, flour or buckwheat-based noodles in colder soy-based soup topped with regular cabbage kimuchi and the thinner, slick noodles topped with Chinese cabbage kimchi. The former is common in specialty restaurants whereas the latter is commonly seen at yakiniku restaurants. Each establishment, nonetheless, offers their own style and flavor of this noodle dish.

Area Beppu City

Fried Noodles (Yakisoba)

Hita yakisoba's signature is its crusty noodles and bean sprouts. Made with simple ingredients, it is incredibly tasty because of its sweet and spicy sauce. There are over 20 establishments offering this local-favorite noodle dish throughout the city, making it one of the most popular gourmet items in the area.

Area Hita City

Bungotakada soba

Oita Prefecture's number one soba producer, Bungotakada City, produces its freshest batch of soba noodles only twice a year: once in spring and again in the fall. This flavorful soup dish, however, is available all throughout the year at the city's designated, official restaurants that preserve the original method of soba making, hikitate (freshly ground flour), uchitate (freshly made noodles), yudetate (freshly cooked to serve), and santate (the use of the aforementioned three principals) - using only the locally produced buckwheat.

Area Bungotakada City

Jigoku Mushi (steamed)

Jigoku Mushi (steamed)

This simple and healthy steamed cuisine features seasonal vegetables, seafood, chicken, and various other items steam-cooked with local hot spring water. The light salt content of the spring water brings out the flavors of the ingredients very nicely. Local specialty Jigoku Mushi eggs, steamed pork buns, and custard pudding make nice snacks after an onsen visit or a quick stroll through the city.

Area Beppu City

Jigoku Mushi custard pudding

Jigoku Mushi custard pudding is created with local hot spring steams and contains plenty of ingredients from the spring water. The slightly bitter caramel sauce and the rich flavor of the custard make this a really addictive desert. Comes in custard, banana, matcha caramel, and coffee flavors as well as limited-period, seasonal flavors.

Area Beppu City

Others

Kokonoe ”Yume” Burger

Local production for local consumption is the idea behind this specialty burger only available in Kokonoe Town, the home of Kokonoe “Yume” Otsurihashi (Japan’s number one suspension bridge). It is only available at select shops and comes in a variety of flavors: Bungo Beef, yakisoba, chicken nanban, rice buns, natto patty, and others along with the common garnishes like tomatoes and lettuce.

Area Kokonoe Town

Dumpling soup

Commonly called "dango jiru," this soup dish is Oita's staple food item. It is frequently served not only at restaurants but in the home as well. The dumplings are made of salted flour. This miso-based soup dish is often topped with taro, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, edible burdock, and a variety of vegetables.

Area Throughout the prefecture

Sake in Oita

Oita Prefecture is the southernmost sake manufacturing point in the country, which also makes it the northernmost shochu manufacturing point in the country as well. Because of this, both sake and shochu production are active in the prefecture. Mugi shochu from Oita in particular is domestically renowned and full in variety. The locals' way of consuming it is with a dash of squeezed kabosu citrus to enhance the refreshing, smooth flavor.

Area Throughout the prefecture

Kanta-kun (Sweet Potatoes)

Kanta-kun are Oita's original breed of sweet potatoes with a high sugar content, originally known as the Beni Haruka brand of sweet potatoes from Oita. The potatoes are stored for more than 40 days after being harvested - this boosts the sweetness to one and a half times more than the average sweet potatoes. They are best served baked for an even better taste and moist texture.

Area Usuki City, Bungo-ono City

Kabosu citrus

Kabosu citrus, with its refreshing aroma and sour flavor, is another staple item of Oita Prefecture. Oita has the highest production of this particular fruit in the entire country. For all meals in Oita, kabosu cannot be done without. From grilled fish, sashimi, ponzu sauce for nabe, miso soup, to even shochu, it is used in a variety of ways.

Area Usuki City, Taketa City

Shiitake mushrooms

Oita has the highest dried mushroom production in the country. The mushrooms of Oita are highly praised for their size, meaty yet nice shape, and for their aromatic flavor. Everyday menu items like tempura and pot boiled dishes, as well as more high-end items like steaks and chirashizushi, often feature this Oita specialty. High in nutrients and low in calories, shiitake mushrooms from Oita also are a very popular gift/souvenir item of the region.

Area Throughout the prefecture