This promotional video introduces Yakatabune – a classically Japanese boat that has a history of over 200 years – and ukai – a traditional fishing method that uses trained cormorants – in the city of Hita. One of the summer features in Hita is watching ukai at Mikumagawa River; it is one of the three great places to experience it in Japan and can be enjoyed while cruising on Yakatabune.
One person handles 5 to 8 birds at a time, and the playful nature of the cormorants’ method of catching fish, such as ayu (sweetfish), is fascinating to see.
It takes about 2 h from Haneda Airport to Fukuoka Airport. Then another 1 h and 10 minutes by express bus from the airport to the city area.
A 5 h train ride by bullet train from Tokyo station to Hakata station. Then approx. 1 h 20 mins by express train to Hita station.
A town that makes you feel like you time travelled back to the Edo Period
The town Mameda-machi
Mameda-machi in Hita used to be the center of economy and politics of Kyushu and remnants from the past are still present in the old townscape. For this reason, Hita is called “tiny Kyoto of Kyushu”, and Mameda-machi was appointed an Important Preservation District for Groups of Historic Buildings back in 2004. Hita is also known for its many canals and has many sake and shochu (Japanese alcohol distilled from sweet potatoes, etc.) breweries left from the Edo period. Using the rich water, experts at the breweries make the alcohol a very popular souvenir.
If you are interested in the making of sake, you should take a tour at Kuncho Sake Brewery Museum in Kuma-machi. Located in the southern part of Mameda-machi, this place also gives you the feeling of having travelled back in time. During the Edo period, it used to be a huge shopping area – and after having strolled through the old towns, you can relax at Hita Onsen!
Many local feasts blessed by the rich nature in Hita
Hita has a lot of tasty, local food. One of the traditional, local tastes is “Momiji”, which is stewed chicken legs and feet, with soy sauce and sugar. River fish such as ayu and yamame (a type of salmon) are popular too; especially the eggs of yamame, and because there are not many places they can be eaten in Japan, making them very rare at restaurants.
“Hitan Sushi” is also a popular, local food, which has been eaten for many years. “Takana Maki” is a kind of “Hitan Sushi” which is sushi rice with natto (fermented soy beans), green onions, and yams wrapped with pickled takana leaves (a mustard greens). It is the most popular one because it’s both tasty and healthy!
In recent years, Hita Yakisoba (fried noodles) has gained popularity as a local food. Every restaurant has their own recipe, so you can easily find a kind that suits you the best.
Why don’t you visit the retro canal district of Hita?
Oita Prefecture’s – “Japan’s No.1 Onsen Prefecture Oita” – official tourism information site:
- Fuysukaichi Onsen, a must-visit place when visiting Chikushino City, Fukuoka Prefecture