At the western end of the City of Oita, Mt. Takasaki Monkey Land National Park is an inactive volcano where about 1700 wild Japanese Macaques live. In three different individual societies, the monkey groups take turns coming to feed at the mountain’s base. Mt. Takasaki’s peak is believed to be 330 thousand years old, but its base is just 240 thousand years old. Visitors can hike to the top of Mt. Takasaki by starting at the Yusuhara Hachimangu Shrine and climbing to the Minami Tozan entrance.
The Port of Oita’s Marine Palace is a wonderful exploration of everything oceanic. Over two thousand fish swim in 230 tons of quick-moving sea water in the Giant Circular Channel Tank, and visitors can watch divers regularly enter the tank to feed the fish. The Palace is home to Rakko, their mascot, a sea otter from Alaska who plays with bearded seals on ice. The Experiment Hall offers several adventures: finding an octopus’ treasure, watching trained fish perform stunts, witnessing an 800-volt electric eel discharge, envying the accuracy of archer fish squirting water from mid-air, and watching blind cave fish who “space swim.” Kids particularly enjoy seeing the sea turtles and the snappers, king of fishes. The coral fish and cold water displays present many types of coral fish and cold water creatures like lobster, crabs, and octopus.
Built around 400 years ago, the Funai Castle area is now home to Castle Ruins Park and the Oita Cultural Hall. With a map of the castle excavation research, Oita City has restored the covered bridge that spanned the moat. Today, the bridge connects the west gate of the castle with the old entertainment area where nobles once enjoyed tea ceremonies, Noh plays, and gazing at the moon.
The Port of Oita’s Tanabata Festival is the city’s biggest celebration. On the first weekend in August, the festival opens with a parade with bands and beauty queens and a couple of thousand dancers. After the dances, paper lantern floats lit from within join the parade. The floats portray samurai warriors and warriors and heroes from ancient China. Vendors man booths selling food and drinks at the Funai Aqua Park and Wakakusa Park all weekend. A drum festival and O-mikoshi (portable shrine) parade dominates the second day of the festival, and fireworks close the festival near the Benten Bridge on the Oita River.