2019.02.27

The City to Encounter Wine: Oita and Beppu Our recommendations

01Otto e Sette Oita

In this onsen spa district of Tetsuwa where large plumes of steam blow out of the streets here and there is an Italian restaurant named after the numbers eight and seven, Otto e Sette. These numbers denote this region from days past. The owner uses only food items available from the Oita region. Using a technique translated as “hell steaming” whereby the steam from the hot water from the onsens is used, the chef has applied this method to Italian cuisine. The interior is Japanese-modern. Here, today, is Italian food as you’ve never seen or tasted before.


02Sally Garden Inn Tohji Yanagi-ya

One of eight baths in Beppu, Kan’nawa is a town where the atmosphere is reminiscent of old and quaint therapeutic baths. Maintaining the tradition from the Meiji era (late 1800s) of the tohjiba, a long-term stay onsen, today this inn has been remodeled into a Japanese-modern style. The main building still has the flare of days of old where rooms have no toilets or baths, but the renovated new wing has modern amenities. Take a dip in the hot springs, or make your own meals with locally bought vegetables, fish, meat, or eggs as you experiment with “hell steaming”. Pair your meal with a local wine, as you sit in the garden. Here is tranquility.


03Ajimu Wine Boutique

The little town of Ajimu is nestled in a foggy basin-shaped valley. This winery uses grapes from this region grown with the advantage of hot-and-cold temperature differences. This green garden is home to a vineyard, winery, warehouse, and gift shop. The factory tour is free of charge and wine tasting is available on the premises. Over 25 different wines from sparkling to still are available at the gift shop, all made from Ajimu grapes. All can be tasted. This winery also owns the company making shochu—a Japanese style of liquor main primarily in Kyushu—the brand famous here is Iichiko.


04Beppu Sea-of-Fire Festival

Over three days in late July, the City of Beppu holds this festival. Beppu is known as an international tourism, onsen, and culture city, and true to its reputation, the street in front of Beppu Station becomes a traffic-free, pedestrian only street, and the Kaimon-ji Park becomes filled with stalls selling food from all over the world. The climax of the event is an impressive display of fireworks.


05Suginoi Hotel

A casual and vintage resort hotel at Kankaiji Onsen, one of Beppu’s eight baths. On the 139,000 square meter premises is a 14-story main building, a 13-story Hana Building, and a 7-story Naka Building. Sit in the massive outdoor bath, Tana-yu to view the Bay of Bappu, or put on your bathing suit and play in the amusement park likepool. Children and adults alike will enjoy the facilities and food between the buffet-style restaurant and the international cuisine showcasing everything from stone-oven pizza to the variety of fish dishes.


06Ohwada Sushi

A seven-minute walk from Beppu Station, this sushi shop is located among the eateries lining Beppu Station. Try the Seki-saba (a high-end mackerel) and the Seki-aji (a high-end horse mackerel) caught locally. Here is high-end, extremely fresh sushi reminiscent of an older Japan. Sit at the counter or upstairs in tatami rooms. Local Ajimu wines are also available.


07Bamboo bamboo

A bamboo craft specialty shop near Beppu Station. Beppu bamboo arts and crafts are known in this region from the Muromachi Era days [1,300 – 1,500] and there are said to be around 200 techniques. Inside this shop are a variety of such items from bamboo baskets, colanders, kitchen tools and items. Each is hand made with precision and elegance and the items of true beauty. A more modern looking series of items are also available in the form of jewelry and dyed baskets.


08Takegawara Onsen (hot springs)

A public, city-run bath in operation from Meiji 12 [1879] the name comes from the fact the original building was made of bamboo. The current facility was built in Showa 13 [1938]. The main entrance has an ornate roof leading back into a two-story building. Entry fee is 100 yen. There is also a sand-cover, suna-kake experience which is 1030 yen in which you are covered in sand as you lay down in your yukata.


09Hotel Shiragiku

A vintage tourist hotel located centrally in the onsen district of Beppu. There are two main onsen baths: one has an indoor and outdoor area; one with an outdoor bath with a stone pagoda in a Japanese garden and an indoor mist bath and bubble bath. Also available are multiple spa/suite rooms.


10Okamotoya

A vintage inn built in Meiji 8 (1875) in the Myoban Onsen, one of Beppu’s eight baths. The highlight here is the cloudy, white water with a blue tint. An alum-sulfer spring with high levels of medicinal properties, this water is famous even among the eight baths of Beppu. The outdoor bath surrounding by a garden is particularly enjoyable in viewing the changes in four seasons—every season offering something different—a true must. The men’s side has a large bath and a rock bath, the women’s side a rock bath and a cypress bath.


11 Jumonjihara Observatory

Jumonjihara is a large prairie near the Hinode Junction and Beppu-wan Service Area on the Oita Highway in the northwestern part of Beppu. From this observatory you can see downtown Beppu and the bay, and on clear days all the way to the island of Shikoku. Its beauty is legendary and is considered one of Japan’s top 100 scenic night views, and is also designated a Japan Night View Heritage Site.

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