Officially designated as an historical site, Kawabe Takamori Ruins consist of 6 large keyhole-shaped tomb mounds, surrounded by 120 graves. All of them have a large keyhole-shaped tomb mound facing different directions.
The ruins have lost their shapes over time due to the increase of surrounding paddy fields. However, this is the only place which has several ruins concentrated in Oita Prefecture. Even in Kyushu, these ruins comprise the the second largest burial site after the Saitobaru Ruins (320 graves) in Miyazaki Prefecture.
The Tsurumi Ruins were the last tombs to be made for the headman of Usa area in the mid-6th century. Furthermore, they are an important historical record of the burial system during the late Kofun period.
Jochu-ji Temple is the site of the tomb to the first Yoshinao of the Otomo clan, an ancestor of Sorin Otomo, a Christian feudal lord of the clan. Sorin Otomo conquered the six countries of Kyushu (Bungo, Bunzen, Chikugo, Chikuzen, Higo and Hizen) during the Warring States period.
Jochu-ji Temple is the family temple of Akitsura Betsuki, who was the leading general of the Sorin Family, as well as a lord of the Yoroidake. It is said that Akitsura was partially paralyzed after being struck by lightning. Despite this, he continued to command his army, but from a 'koshi' (a cart-like vehicle).
At one point, the temple was demolished but was later restored by Yoshiteru Honda between 1704 and 1710. A fire destroyed the temple once more, but it was again restored to its present state in 1806 by the great-grandchild of Yoshiteru.
Over 40 types of water iris have been planted at the temple and, every May, the Jochu-ji Temple iris festival takes place. People can also appreciate fireflies here on summer nights.
Shakadake mountain is located in Hita, Oita Prefecture. In January and February, the hoarfrost on the mountain is absolutely beautiful and has become a winter specialty of Shakadake.
Shakadake is the dominant peak in the Tsue mountain range. The observatory on Shakadake is positioned at an altitude of 1230m and is the highest in Oita Prefecture. Because of this, it has a radar dome installed by the Ministry of Construction, along with three radio relay towers for the Meteorological Agency, the Defense Agency and for Oita Prefecture.
In Soma Village Mountain Stream Park, the sight of pure white peaks soaring majestically in the deep blue sky during the hoarfrost season can only be described as astounding and phenomenal. On fine days, the keen blue sky spreads endlessly, and hoarfrost in the shape of flowers blooms all over the trees of the mountain, resulting in a splendid view. The hoarfrost of Shakadake is nature's kaleidoscope, and invites spectators into a different, enchanting world.
Kyusui Ravine is a beauty spot located near the town of Kokonoe in Kusu County, Oita Prefecture.
The ravine is at the junction of the Kusu and Naruko rivers, which run by the head of Ida Plateau. Kyusui Ravine is a V-shaped valley and rises about 200m on either side. The valley is covered with trees such as fir, hemlock fir and maple.
Kyusui Ravine is famous as one of the most beautiful spots in Kyushu for red leaves, and also for its many waterfalls. Shindo Waterfall, in particular, was designated as one of Japan's 100 major waterfalls.
The wider area of the ravine is known as Naruko Valley and Kyusui is sometimes regarded as part of Naruko. Along with Ida Plateau, the area is included in the Aso Kuju National Park, so there are many tourists. Roads in this area tend to wind about in the so-called '13 bends', so there are usually lines of traffic during the popular visiting season.
In addition, Kyusui Ravine has Tengu Waterfall and cliffs, which make for superb views.
Onta-yaki is a high-fired ceramic ware made in valleys in the Onta region around Hita in Oita Prefecture.
Yanase Miemon, a potter from Chikuzen, was the first craftsman to modify high-fired Koishiwara ware and create Onta ware during the Edo period. To fire Onta ware, Miemon used a 'richokei noborigama' (richo-type multi-chambered climbing kiln) made by Kuroki Jubei from Otsuru.
Over 300 years, Onta ware has come to employ many different decorative techniques, including 'tobikana' (distinct patterns),'hakeme' (slip brushing), 'kushigaki' ('combed' lines), 'uchikake' (waterfall patterns), and 'nagashi'. These designs are made using a variety of colors, such as celadon green, black, amber and yellow.
A well-known story goes that, in 1954 and 1964, Bernard Howell Leach, the prominent British studio potter, visited Hita in Oita and made some Onta ware himself.
Today, the process of preparing the clay continues as it always has with, for example, the 'karausu' (a crusher that uses rivers and rapids for molding clay), which slowly and surely kneads the clay for the different potteries. Preparations such as this help to protect the long history and tradition of Onta ware. In 1995, Onta ware was designated as an important cultural heritage of Japan.
Kakiemon Sakaida was born in 1934 in Arita, Saga Prefecture, and graduated from the Nihonga (Japanese Painting) Department of Tama Art College, Tokyo.
In 1983, he succeeded to the title of 14th Kakiemon. In 1984, he won the Japan Ceramic Association prize and, both in 1986 and 1992, the Japan Handicraft Association encouragement prize at the Japan Traditional Handicraft Exhibition.
In 2001, he was designated as a holder of an Important Intangible Cultural Asset (Iroe pottery), and a Living National Treasure. Now, he is director of the Japan Handicraft Association, a leading member of the Japan Handicraft Association West Branch and a professor of art at the Kyushu Industry Graduate School.
Kakiemon was the name awarded to the first ceramicist in Arita, Hizen country, who developed Iroe-jiki porcelain. Kakiemons are famous for the unique styles of Iroe ware: with red glaze, or with a milk-white ground and bright, vivid overglazed decoration. Their Iroe ware are both splendid and graceful, elegantly employing blank spaces. The work of various Kakiemon has influenced Meissen pottery in Europe and Jingdezhen pottery in China.
Kakiemon Sakaida says: 'I have made new dishes and designs, but pottery for daily use is more difficult to make than art.' He has always endeavored to follow his clients' wishes when creating new work. He currently makes decorations based on strawberries or foxtails.