Hita (日田市 Hita-shi) is a city located in Ōita Prefecture, Japan that was founded on December 11, 1940. It is an agricultural and industrial centre that primarily produces lumber, furniture, and pottery. Its attractions and scenic beauty also make it a popular tourist destination.
Hita Gion Festival, held in July.
Location of Hita in Ōita Prefecture
|• Mayor||Keisuke Harada|
|• Total||666.19 km2 (257.22 sq mi)|
(October 1, 2018)
|• Density||96/km2 (250/sq mi)|
|• Tree||Camellia sasanqua|
|Time zone||UTC+9 (JST)|
|City hall address||2-6-1 Tashima, Hita-shi, Ōita-ken|
As of October 1, 2018, Hita has a population of 63,887.
Hita is located in the far west of Ōita Prefecture, and borders the neighboring prefectures of Fukuoka and Kumamoto. Surrounding cities include Kurume to the west, Nakatsu to the north, and Kusu to the east. Hita is a natural basin surrounded by mountains, with several rivers that eventually become the Chikugo River. Due to this connection, although Hita is placed within Ōita Prefecture, it shares a historical connection to Fukuoka Prefecture. The dialect used in Hita has characteristics of the Hichiku dialect used in Fukuoka, Nagasaki, and Saga Prefectures.
Many rivers that run through Hita join up to the Mikuma River, and later the Chikugo River. These rivers were used to distribute lumber to Kurume and Ōkawa at the end of the Edo Period, but with the completion of the Yoake Dam, the use of this route stopped.
Hita has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa). As a basin, the change in temperature from day to night during summer and winter is steep. Hita has a high annual precipitation rate, with over one third of the rain falling during the rainy season months of June and July. Heavy rainfall is frequent, and severe flood damage has occurred in the past. From spring to autumn, a deep fog known locally as sokogiri (底霧, shallow ground fog) often appears in the morning.
Summer gets very hot, with temperatures often rising above 35 °C (95 °F), while winter gets notably cold. At times the temperature falls to -5 ℃ (23 °F). Hita gets more snow than average for Ōita Prefecture. While snow inside the main city area accumulates to less than 10 centimetres (3.9 in) a year, the mountain regions can accumulate more than 30 centimetres (12 in) of snow.
|Climate data for Hita, Ōita|
|Average high °C (°F)||8.8
|Daily mean °C (°F)||3.3
|Average low °C (°F)||−1.2
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||70.2
|Average snowfall cm (inches)||15
|Average relative humidity (%)||78||77||74||73||74||77||79||78||80||80||81||80||78|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||104.7||110.6||150.3||160.4||178.6||136.4||167.4||193.9||146.6||157.5||122.3||106.2||1,734.9|
|Source: NOAA (1961–1990) |
Towns and villagesEdit
Towns and villages of note that lie within Hita's boundaries include:
- Amagase: Popular hot-spring spa town
- Maetsue: Mountain village
- Nakatsue: Mountain village
- Kamitsue: Home to international racing circuit Autopolis
- Ōyama: Agricultural town famous for ume and mushrooms
- Onta: Scenic pottery village producing distinct Japanese pottery called Onta ware (Onta-yaki)
In 1593, Hita came under the direct control of the Toyotomi Household as the main city overseeing Kyushu. After the completion of Hinokuma castle and fortification of Nagayama castle, Hita passed from the Toyotomi household to the new daimyō Tokugawa Ieyasu and became a "Tenryo" town, in which the town was under direct control of the Tokugawa Shogunate. After the Meiji period it was known as Hita Prefecture, and after that, it was assimilated into Ōita Prefecture.
During the Edo period, Hita was modeled after Kyoto and its merchant culture, and even now, it is called "Little Kyoto". Traces of old Kyoto are apparent in the streets of Mameda. It also has a school built by Hirose Tansou, where students from all over Japan came to learn regardless of their gender or status.
- Wooden geta, made from the trees surrounding Hita
- Onta ware, pottery created in the mountain village of Onta
Forestry has long flourished in Hita due to the abundant tree supply in the surrounding mountains. Japanese cedar trees called "Hita Cedar" are used to make geta and lacquerware. In recent years the forest industry has declined as a result of the importation of cheap foreign lumber.
From the 1960s, after large areas of cultivated land became difficult to obtain, agriculture in Hita has been shifting its focus from rice to crops grown in the mountains, such as ume, Japanese chestnuts, and mushrooms.
A fishing industry is present, with ayu and other fish captured in the Mikuma River.
Hita is well-known for its high quality water. Hita Tenryosui produces mineral water, and many distilleries produce sake and shōchū.
The principal railway station is Hita Station, with JR Kyushu running two lines through the city: the Kyūdai Main Line and the Hitahikosan Line. As a result of the July 2017 Northern Kyushu heavy rain damage, rail service on the Hitahikosan Line has been suspended between Hita and Soeda, running a replacement bus instead.
There are three main bus companies servicing Hita: Hita Bus, Nishitetsu, and Ōita Transportation. The Ōita Expressway passes through Hita, and highway buses connect Hita to Fukuoka, Ōita, and Nagasaki. Other routes connect Hita to neighboring regions, and a community bus provides service within the city.
Hita has many places of interest to visitors. The Gion Festival Centre in Kuma-machi provides information about the history and activities of Hita's annual summer festival, and exhibits six full-sized floats which are paraded around the city during the annual Gion Festival.
From July to November, fishermen erect bamboo fish traps (ayuyana) in the Mikuma river to capture Ayu fish; which are covered in salt and grilled.
Hita also has the Sapporo Beer factory, located on a hill overlooking the city. There is a free guided tour for visitors that is followed by a free 20-minute tasting session.
The Kusano family Hina Dolls can be viewed at the oldest house in Hita during the tourist season. In the March Doll's Festival, up to 200 of the collection are on display at once.
Locations and landmarksEdit
- Mameda town (豆田町): The town preserved from the Tenryo period, where it was under the direct rule by the Tokugawa Shogunate.
- Hirose Museum (廣瀬資料館)
- Kusano House (草野本家)
- Nihongan Medicinal Museum
- Tenryo Hita Museum (天領日田資料館)
- Kuncho Sake Brewery Museum (クンチョウ酒蔵資料館)
- Shizantei Museum (市山亭懐古館)
- Kangien (咸宜園跡)
- Hita Gion Museum (日田祇園山鉾会館)
- Reimeikan (黎明館・押し花美術館)
- Yahata House(旧矢羽田家住宅)
- Gyotoku House (行徳家住居)
- Seikei Library (清渓文庫)
- Sara Mountain (皿山)
- Taio gold mine (鯛生金山)
- Hita Hot Springs (日田温泉)
- Tsugo Hot springs (津工温泉)
- Kazeno Hot Springs (風の湯)
- Umenokao Hot Springs (梅の香温泉)
- Amagae Hot Springs (天ヶ瀬温泉)
- Yunotsuru Hot Springs (湯ノ釣温泉)
Shrines and templesEdit
- Hita Shrine (日田神社 Hita Jinja)
- Ōhara Hachiman Shrine (大原八幡宮 Ōhara Hachimangū)
- Ōno Oimatsu Shrine (大野老松天満社 Ōno Oimatsu Tenmansha)
- Takatsuka Atago Shrine
- Denraiji Temple (伝来寺)
- Gakurinji Temple
- Jigenzan Yokoji Temple (慈眼山永興寺)
- Tsukikuma Park (月隈公園)
- Kizan Park (亀山公園)
- Yokoji Park - Hita Castle (慈眼山公園)
- Tsubakinohana Highland Park (椿ヶ鼻ハイランドパーク)
- Kagamizaka Park (鏡坂)
- Hagio Park (萩尾公園)
Hita has many festivals throughout the year that attract a steady stream of visitors. Some of the most popular festivals include:
- Hina Dolls Festival (February/March): During the national Doll's Festival the museums and old houses of Mameda-machi and Kuma-machi open their doors to the public and display their collection of dolls.
- Cherry Blossom Festival (First Sunday in April): Kizan Park hosts Hita's Cherry Blossom-viewing (Hanami) event, during which people may enjoy a stroll by the river and drink under the blossom trees.
- River Opening Festival (First weekend after May 20): A two-day firework display that launches more than 10,000 fireworks over the Mikuma river. The display may be viewed from a riverboat.
- Gion Festival (First Sunday after July 20): Huge wooden floats (up to 12m high) from different areas of the city are pushed around the streets by volunteers.
- Tenryo Festival (Third weekend in October): This festival celebrates Hita's Edo period, when it was under direct Tokugawa supervision. The highlight is a procession of 200 people through the city in full Edo-period costume. The name of the festival comes from the phrase tenryō, used to describe such direct Tokugawa landholdings (Hita was part of the territory overseen by the saigoku gundai, the deputy of the western provinces).
- "Hita Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
- "Luxury 'dream train' designed over 100 years ago goes into service in Kyushu". The Japan Times. Jiji Press. 8 August 2015. Retrieved 16 February 2017.