Kyushu/ Oita Pref.


The Castle Town of Kiomono and Historical Townscape

Kitsuki, a little Kyoto in Kyushu, is located at the southern gateway of the Kunisaki Peninsula. Kitsuki is a scenic castle town with many slopes overlooking the beautiful Morie Bay, famous as a habitat of horseshoe crabs. In the Edo period (17-19th century), Kitsuki prospered as a castle town governed by the Matsudaira Family and many samurai residences and earthen walls, stone pavement and slopes still remain from those days. The landscape of Kitsuki exhibits interesting characteristics that illustrate the class systems in those days: samurai classes lived in the north and south area on the hill and the merchant class lived in the valley situated between those hills. This kind of castle town with a ribbed landscape is said to be the sole one of its kind in Japan. Kitsuki promotes “Kitsuki Kimono Promotion.” People who visit the city wearing traditional kimono can receive some privilege. Visit Kitsuki where time goes slowly and one can enjoy the serene sea breeze of the Setouchi Inland Sea.

Sightseeing Highlights in Kitsuki

Kitsuki Castle

The castle is a symbol of the castle town with its slope. It is often called “the smallest castle in Japan,” the views from the castle tower is superb.

Access A 10-min. bus ride from JR Kitsuki Station, get off at Kitsuki-jo Iriguchi Stop and a 5-min. walk from there

Ohara-tei Residence

This is a high-class samurai residence situated in Kitadai (north side). Its highlights are the dignified thatched-roof and the stroll-style garden which are regarded as one of the best samurai residences in the area.

Access A 10-min. bus ride from JR Kitsuki Station, get off at the final stop and a 6-min. walk from there

The Slope of Kanjo-ba

This is one of the major well-known slopes in Kitsuki with beautiful earthen walls and stone pavement.

Access A 10-min. bus ride from JR Kitsuki Station, get off at the final stop and a 5-min. walk from there

Kitsuki Castle Town Museum

A miniature model of Kitsuki castle town, history of Kitsuki Kabuki and important historical documents from the former feudal domain era are displayed.

Access A 10-min. bus ride from JR Kitsuki Station, get off at the final stop and a 10-min. walk from there

Wakamiya Hachiman-sha Shrine

This shrine was built in 985 after transferring the deity from Iwashimizu Hachiman-gu Shrine located in Kyoto’s Otokoyama. One of the oldest shrines with over 1000 years of history.

Access A 9-min. bus ride from JR Kitsuki Station, get off at Wakamiya Iriguchi Stop and a 10-min. walk from there

Yamaga Onsen “Kaze-no Sato”

The hot spring water here helps to make one’s skin beautiful. There are many hot springs in Oita Prefecture but only a few other hot springs have such a unique water quality.

Access A 5-min. drive from JR Nakayamaga Station

Suya Slope and Shioya Slope

These are Kitsuki’s major slopes which connect the samurai residences in the northern area of the town and the area of the merchants in the southern area. Samurai drama and TV programs are often filmed here.

Access A 10-min. bus ride from JR Kitsuki Station, get off at the final stop and a 6-min. walk from there

Hitomatsu-tei Residence

Kitsuki’s No. 1 stunning view spot! Enjoy discovering this sumptuous Japanese residence which was built with superb techniques from the 1930’s.

Access A 10-min. bus ride from JR Kitsuki Station, get off at the final stop and a 12-min. walk from there

Important Annual Events in Kitsuki

Kitsuki Castle Town Stroll and Hina Ningyo Doll Visit

Mid-February to mid-March
Throughout the entire castle town and Yamaga area

It will make for a pleasurable time for visitors to stroll around the old castle town with many slopes and visiting samurai residences and traditional Hina doll displays. Enjoy a nostalgic moment by learning about the lifestyle of the samurai class and merchants in olden days.

Otaue Rice Planting Festival at Wakamiya Hachiman-sha Shrine

April 6

This is a traditional ritual to pray for a rich autumn harvest and family prosperity. Performer’s humorous acting brings laughter to audiences.

Kitsuki Castle Festival

May 4, 5
Throughout the entire castle town area

Atmosphere from the Edo period (17-19 century) is recreated with costumes from Uzumasa studio in Kyoto. The Oiran Dochu (high-class geisha) parade in the evening is a must see.

Tenjin Festival

July 24, 25
Tenman-sha Shrine, and center of downtown

Centered on mikoshi portable shrines, dashi and danjiri floats parade around the city. It is a dynamic festival with more than 300 years of history.

Summer Fireworks Festival

August 16 (postponed in case of rain to 18th)
Downstream area of Yasaka River

This is Kitsuki’s popular summer festival. Some 4,000 fireworks will be set off and illuminate the night sky beautifully.

Wakamiya-gaku at Wakamiya Hachiman-sha Shrine

Mid September

Children wearing skirts made of straw and straw sandals, lift nobori flags on their shoulders and dance while beating drums hanging on their chests.

Doburoku Festival

October 17, 18
Shirahige Tawara Shrine

Special kinds of Doburoku (unfiltered cloudy sake) which only a few breweries are permitted to brew, will be offered. The festival began in 710.

Traditional Crafts of Kitsuki

Kitsuki Pottery from Tsukasa-gama Kiln

This pottery’s glaze is made using wooden cinders of the orange tree and tea tree from Kitsuki. The pottery has an earthy feeling.

Handmade Knife Made by Master Swordsmith

Kitsuki’s sole swordsmith makes great handmade knives.

Kitsuki Hinoki Magewa

Hinoki Japanese cypress wood is bent and fixed with cherry tree bark attachment, then made into steamers, sifters and other kitchen tools. This is one of the prestigious traditional techniques inherited in this region.

Food & Specialties of Kitsuki

Kitsuki House Orange

Setouchi’s fine oranges capture the perfect balance between sweet and sour and are cultivated in greenhouses in the mild weather of the Setouchi Inland Sea area.

Sake “Chie Bijin”

Kitsuki has brewed local sake since the olden days. “Chie Bijin” is made using pure natural water and brewed in the traditional old way by hand.

Bungo Beppu Bay Chirimen

Chirimen is the name given to whitebait after it is first boiled then dried. Bungo Beppu Chirimen are only the ones caught in Beppu Bay. Fresh whitebait is dried under the sun which condenses the natural taste of the fish.

Morie Bay Oyster

Oysters grown at nutrient-rich Morie Bay are called “Sea Milk” and make an ideal nutritional food.

Kitsuki Tea

The tea leaves of Kitsuki are washed right after picking and then processed. Kitsuki tea is sweet and full-bodied.

Kitsuki Donto Donburi & Kitsuki Sandwich

Blessed with mountains and sea food, Kitsuki is a treasure house of food. Kitsuki’s original Donto Donburi rice bowl and sandwich are a popular gourmet menu.

Kitsuki Black Tea

Kitsuki is one of the few domestic black tea production areas in Japan. This superb tea has a fine aroma and color.

Kitsuki Brand

The Kitsuki Brand is given to the items that are uniquely certified as supreme goods which take advantage of local resources and characteristics; Major goods are “Ryukyu Buri” and “Onsen Unagi eel.”

Kitsuki Station on JR Nippo Main Line
Kitsuki City Tourism Association
TEL:0978-63-0100 / FAX:0978-63-0112

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