A hot spring town along the Mikuma River
Hita is a charming city located in central northern Kyushu, japan. It is known for its hot springs, historical past, and local brews. Situated along the scenic Mikuma River, Hita offers a serene and relaxing atmosphere for visitors to unwind and immerse themselves in the rich culture and natural beauty of the region.
One of the highlights of Hita is its rows of ancient buildings that line the streets. These well-preserved structures showcase the city’s historical significance and provide a glimpse into its past. Walking along these streets feels like stepping back in time, as the architecture and ambiance transport you to a different era. The old townscape of Hita is a testament to the city’s cultural heritage and is a must-see for history enthusiasts.
Another unique experience in Hita is dining on a leisure boat on the Mikuma River. Imagine enjoying a delicious meal while cruising along the tranquil waters, surrounded by picturesque scenery. This one-of-a-kind dining experience allows visitors to savor the local cuisine while taking in the beauty of the river and its surroundings.
For those visiting Hita between late May and the end of October, cormorant fishing is a sight not to be missed. This traditional fishing method involves trained cormorant birds diving into the water to catch fish, guided by their skilled handlers. Watching this age-old practice from a leisure boat is a fascinating experience that offers a glimpse into the traditional way of life in Hita.
Getting to Hita is convenient, with several transportation options available. From Hakata Station, one of the major train stations in Fukuoka, it takes approximately 70 minutes by train to reach Hita. Similarly, from Yufuin, another popular tourist destination known for its hot springs, it takes about 60 minutes by train to reach Hita. Yufuin Station is served by the Kyudai main line, which is accessible from Beppu, Aso, and Kumamoto. Whether you are coming from Fukuoka or Yufuin, the journey to Hita is relatively straightforward and offers scenic views along the way.
One of the main attractions of Hita is its abundant hot springs. The city is blessed with mineral-rich waters that have been enjoyed for centuries for their therapeutic properties. Along the Mikuma River, there are numerous hot spring inns that offer a relaxing retreat for visitors. These inns feature natural hot spring baths where guests can soak and rejuvenate their bodies and minds. The mineral-rich waters are believed to have various health benefits, and many ryokans in Hita rent out yukata (Japanese summer kimonos) and geta (Japanese sandals) to female guests, adding to the authentic experience.
Mameda Town, located in the Hita area, is home to some of the oldest merchant houses and storehouses in the city. Taking a stroll along the historic streets of Mameda is like stepping into a living museum. The architecture and atmosphere of the area have remained untouched by time, preserving the charm and character of old Japan. One of the notable landmarks in Mameda is the Kusano house, which dates back to the late 17th century and is the oldest house in Oita Prefecture. Its traditional design and historical significance make it a must-visit attraction for history enthusiasts. Additionally, the Tenryo Hita Museum showcases the culture and lifestyle of the common people in the area during the 17th and 18th centuries, providing valuable insights into the region’s history.
A visit to Hita would not be complete without a trip to the Iichiko Hita Distillery. This distillery produces shochu, a traditional Japanese alcoholic drink made from barley. The staff at the distillery follow a meticulous brewing process, using only barley malt for both primary and secondary preparations. The alcohol is then aged slowly in oak barrels and hollow tanks, resulting in shochu with a deep and rich flavor. Visitors can take a tour of the factory to learn about the brewing process, taste samples of different varieties of shochu, and browse the products at the shop. It is a fascinating opportunity to gain insight into the craftsmanship and dedication that goes into producing this beloved Japanese beverage.
In conclusion, Hita is a hidden gem in central northern Kyushu that offers a unique blend of history, natural beauty, and cultural experiences. From its rows of ancient buildings to dining on a leisure boat on the Mikuma River, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this hot spring town. The abundance of hot spring inns along the river provides the perfect opportunity to relax and rejuvenate in the healing waters. Exploring the historic streets of Mameda and visiting the Iichiko Hita Distillery offer a deeper understanding of the city’s cultural heritage and traditional industries. Whether you are a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or a food and drink connoisseur, Hita has something to offer that will leave a lasting impression. So if you’re looking for a unique and memorable travel experience, consider visiting Hita and immerse yourself in its rich history, breathtaking scenery, and warm hospitality.
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