Over the sea, over the hills, from island to island,
we go in search of the spirit of Oita
and its best seasonal ingredients

Japan is blessed with seasonal ingredients that vary with each of the four seasons and undiscovered, attractive food cultures. Feeling the change of seasons on our skin, we ventured on a journey to capture the fleeting seasonal flavors found only to the region. Our destination is Oita, located in eastern Kyushu. Surrounded by the sea, mountains, rivers, and nature, Oita is rich in water sources and is top in Japan in terms of the number and output of its hot springs. The region has nurtured a culture and milieu of generosity, closely aligned with the blessings of nature.

Restaurant Himenoya Grilled Kuruma ebi(Japanese Tiger Prawn) set menu
Restaurant Himenoya Kuruma ebi zannmai set menu
A woman eating Hiougigai
hiougigai  (noble scallop)
Sea urchin

01Fresh Seafood Delights

Salt-grilled and tempura kuruma ebi (Japanese tiger prawn) carefully raised in Himeshima, boiled hiougigai (noble scallop) bursting with Yakatajima sea nutrients and umami, Saiki horse mackerel sushi and red sea urchin platters, char-grilled turban shell, and more – the sheer number of dishes we enjoyed truly revealed the bountifulness of the sea. We were charmed by Oita’s food culture and pride in letting their ingredients speak for themselves. A picture is worth a thousand words. Please enjoy the pleasures of Oita with all five senses.

02Bounties of Mountains and Forests

Enter the naturally abundant mountains and forests of Oita and you’ll encounter farmers who cultivate a diverse range of crops. Under their care, shiitake mushrooms grow plump on genboku bed logs, while Bungo cattle roam the broad land. They brew many kinds of liquor, including wine and umeshu, from local fruits. And the north of the prefecture has been making karaage (fried chicken) for over 50 years, following a boom in chicken growing, in pursuit of a unique flavor. This trip provided an opportunity to experience the foods that are nurtured through time amid nature.

03Savor Oita's Tastes in Season

Oita Prefecture is situated between the Seto Inland Sea and a belt of volcanoes. In the cold winter, you can savor the diverse flavors that are at their best in the season. They include delights of the sea, like fugu (pufferfish) and oysters from coastal waters, the bounty of the mountains, such as a new variety of strawberry, Japanese yams, and daikon radishes. And you can also savor fermented products like sake, shoyu (soy sauce), and miso paste. This time, our trip took us over the length and breadth of Oita, to discover its diverse “oishii” delights that have been developed over more than a century, and to meet the people who create new kinds of “oishii” for modern times.

Come to Taste
Oita Gourmet by ANA

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