Nakatsu (中津市 Nakatsu-shi) is the 3rd largest city in Oita Prefecture with about 84,000 people. Nakatsu is located in the Northwestern part of Oita prefecture and consists of the main city center of Nakatsu along with several smaller towns. It is on the border with Fukuoka Prefecture with the Yamakuni River separating the two prefectures.
While Nakatsu might not be as bustling as some of the bigger cities in the area, it is large enough to have a nice variety of restaurants, bars, and several gyms.Also, it is small enough to still retain the charm of small town life with a beautiful bike path and rural temples.
- 1 Transportation
- 2 Area and Towns
- 3 Work Description
- 4 Schools
- 5 Sightseeing
- 5.1 Places to visit
- 5.2 Festivals
- 5.2.1 Nakatsu Gion (中津祇園）- Held in late July, this is the biggest festival of the year in Nakatsu. Each ward of Nakatsu has their own hand-pulled cart. Throughout the day, they'll slowly go through and visit each area of Nakatsu. During the night, the carts are then raced around the lot by Nakatsu castle.
- 5.2.2 Karaage Festival (から揚げフェスティバル） - In October/November, a wide range of karaage shops all come together at Aeon Mall. This is a great change to try many different varieties. The festival is wildly popular, so expect big crowds.
- 5.2.3 Scarecrow Festival (かかし祭り Kakashi Matsuri) - Mainly held in Yamakuni, this is a month-long event where various scenes from Japanese folklore and modern pop culture are re-enacted by scarecrows. Part cute, part scary, very interesting.
- 5.2.4 Girl's Day Festival (ひな祭り）-
- 6 Shopping
- 7 Eat
- 8 Drink
- 9 Parks and Recreation
- 10 Banks and Post Offices
- 11 External Links
To/from the airport - The closest airports to Nakatsu are Fukuoka Airport and Oita Airport. Fukuoka Airport is served by a train line while Oita Airport is only by bus. It takes about 90 minutes to get to Fukuoka Airport (via Sonic to Hakata train station then taking the subway to Fukuoka Airport, around ¥6000 for a round trip ticket). The bus to Oita Airport costs ¥1550 and takes 97 minutes. It’s more expensive to get to Fukuoka, but the airport there is bigger and goes to many more destinations. Most likely, new JETs will arrive at Oita Airport after your Tokyo orientation.
By train -For those without cars, the train is the most convenient way to get to the big cities in the area. Nakatsu is one of the bigger stations in the immediate area. By Sonic (the express train), trains run west to Kokura (¥, 32 min) and Hakata (¥, 1 hour 20 min) and east to Beppu (¥, min) and Oita (¥, 55 min). ====
Getting around - The central area of Nakatsu is small enough to get around on by bike alone and you should never really need to use the local buses. For the outlying town, a car is a necessity. A car is useful to get out of town on the weekends but not essential. The ES and JHS ALTs have to drive to some out-of-town schools.
Area and Towns
Municipal (City Hall) ALTs
Prefectural High School (Kencho) ALTs
Junior High Schools
Places to visit
Rakanji (羅漢寺)- Located in Honyabakei, Rakanji is a shrine built into the side of a mountain. There are two ways to get there from the base: hiking up the steps or take the chair lift for a small fee. I definitely suggest trying the chair lift at least once, it is quite an adventure! One of the draws of Rakanji is writing your wish on a wooden rice paddle. The rice paddle is then nailed to walls around the temple complex.
Komo Shrine (薦神社)- Komo Shrine is a beautiful shrine hidden in forest in Nakatsu. There is a torii in the nearby lake along with many shrine cats lying around the area.
Nakatsu Castle (中津城)– A reconstruction of the castle once used as the base for Kuroda Kambei. The castle is now a museum with various historical artifacts as suits of armor, weapons, and other items important to Nakatsu’s history. Many festivals are held here throughout the year, such as Gion and Tanishi Matsuri.
Hachimenzan（八面山)- The name means “Eight-Faced Mountain” since people believe it looks the same from every direction. This is the closest mountain to Nakatsu and a road will take you a couple hundred meters from the summit. It offers a great view of Nakatsu and the surrounding area. There is also an outdoor stage for concerts.
Hachimenzan Peace Park（八面山平和公園）– During WW2, a fighter plane crashed on Hachimenzan. The area where it crashed is now a peace park. Half of the area is a temple including a rare sleeping Buddha while the other half contains fighter plane replicas and an eternal flame started with an ember from Hiroshima.
Fukuzawa Yukichi’s Childhood home （福澤諭吉旧居 Fukuzawa Yukichi Kyuukyo)– Fukuzawa, founder of Keio Academy and currently on the 10,000 yen bill, lived and studied in Nakatsu when he was a child. His former home is now a museum showcasing his life and Japanese architecture from his era.
Core Yamakuni (コアやまくに) – The biggest structure in Yamakuni, it contains an art gallery, museum, theater, café, and ice skating in the winter. Goganji （合元寺）– Also known as Akakabe (赤壁) it is the location of a battle during the reign of Kuroda Kambei. The formerly white-walled temple had its walls painted red in remembrance of those who died here. Sword marks can still be found in the temples wooden doors and pillars.
Ao no Doumon （青の同門）– A tunnel located in Honyabakei. It was carved by a monk using a hammer and chisel over the course of 30 years in repentance for a murder. Ao no Doumon also contains a small museum and a beautiful view of the Yamakuni river.
Nakatsu Gion (中津祇園）- Held in late July, this is the biggest festival of the year in Nakatsu. Each ward of Nakatsu has their own hand-pulled cart. Throughout the day, they'll slowly go through and visit each area of Nakatsu. During the night, the carts are then raced around the lot by Nakatsu castle.
Karaage Festival (から揚げフェスティバル） - In October/November, a wide range of karaage shops all come together at Aeon Mall. This is a great change to try many different varieties. The festival is wildly popular, so expect big crowds.
Scarecrow Festival (かかし祭り Kakashi Matsuri) - Mainly held in Yamakuni, this is a month-long event where various scenes from Japanese folklore and modern pop culture are re-enacted by scarecrows. Part cute, part scary, very interesting.
Girl's Day Festival (ひな祭り）-
Supermarkets and Department Stores
YouMe Town - One of the bigger department stores in Nakatsu, YouMe Town (pronounced You-May, don't ask me why) has a grocery store and various smaller shops and restaurants on the 1st floor, a large variety of clothes on the 2nd, and a 100円 shop and arcade on the 3rd.
Sunlive - Sunlive is a slightly smaller department store located right next to Nakatsu station. It also has a grocery store on the 1st floor. The other floors contain many different types of stores.
Aeon Mall - Commonly called "Jusco" by people here, this is a big mall located a little ways outside of town. Due to the large parking lots, many festivals take place here, such as the karaage festival.
Home and furniture stores
Shot Bar 35