Tourism to Kunisaki Peninsula
The ferry across the placid Seto Inland Sea only takes 20 minutes to sail from Imi to Himeshima, an island lying off the Kunisaki Peninsula’s north coast. Yet, however short the distance travelled, the contrast between the peninsula’s lush, fertile countryside and the island’s shallow and dry sandy soils is pronounced.
On Himeshima agriculture can only be a minor pursuit. But instead, the surrounding sea has long provided for the islanders and catches of fish, oysters and octopus are still landed regularly at the wharf, found in front of the main settlement. The majority of the islanders, always cheerful and welcoming, live here in a cosy maze of cheek-by-jowl houses and small vegetable plots. Above the roof tops, octopus stretched out to dry, flutter like kites in the wind.
A short stroll, past ponds used to farm prawns, leads to Senin-do, a small shrine on a promontory overlooking the sea. Here the combination of traditional architecture, wind-blown pine tree, and shimmering water conjures a now rare, yet classic view of Japan. A rental bicycle is the ideal way to explore the further reaches of this peaceful island, which is about 14km around its coast.
In the heat of summer, visitors flock to Himeshima’s Bon-odori festival. Over two days, they are entertained by locals performing their unique dances, epitomised by the kitsune odori dance. Listed as a National Treasure, children dressed as foxes charm the audience with their adorable cavorting.
Due to its intriguing geology, which includes the obsidian rock found at Senin-do, Himeshima is one of only two areas in Oita listed as a Geopark. The other is found in Bungo-ono.
Former Hiji castle
The locati on of the former castle has a marvellous view of Beppu Bay and streets that let you walk around and get a first-hand taste of the history of the surroundings. Joining an experi enced loca l guide is a popular way to explore the area.
The trail passes by paddy fields and quiet hamlets via quiet country lanes, through forests along old mountain paths, and up to and along the many ridges that fan out like the rays of the sun across the peninsula. With the exception of the steeply sided, 721m-high Mt. Futago-san, climbs are rarely very long but do include some giddy heights, such as cliff faces and precipitous paths that should only be negotiated by competent hikers or in the company of an experienced guide.
Kunisaki is a special area and a hike along the Kunisaki Long Trail, in its entirety or just some of its constituent parts, is a journey not just into the peninsula’s geographical heart, but also its society, culture and h
"Tekizanso" is the name of a luxury restaurant built about 100 years ago. It was created in modern Japanese style and is located in the site of the outer citadel.
The restaurant's wonderful garden overlooks the seascape of Beppu Bay. You are welcome to walk around.