2018 NO.24

Strolling JapanStrolling Japan


Where Ocean,
Rivers and Mountains
Decorate a City

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The city of Saiki in Oita Prefecture is naturally blessed by both sea and land. The beautiful surroundings give good reason to celebrate throughout the year.

Photos courtesy of the Saiki City Tourism Association, PIXTA, amanaimages

The Bungo Futamigaura rocks are a very popular spot to view the first sunrise of the year.

Fish stock goes into making goma dashi udon. Boiled noodles are dropped in the bowl, the piping hot stock is poured on, and the meal is ready.

Saiki is the largest city (903.11 km2) on the entire island of Kyushu. Located in Oita Prefecture, the zigs and zags of the coastline look out on the blue ocean, source of around 400 different kinds of seafood. The Ise-ebi lobster and Hiogigai colorful noble scallop are scrumptious. Saiki sushi boasts a wide variety of toppings that compete with the best tastes in the world. Offering gastronomical delights at reasonable prices, sushi shops and markets welcome a constant flow of visitors.

In Saiki, the sea and mountains provide a bountiful supply of resources, especially food. To give thanks to the spirits of nature, the people here celebrate various festivals throughout the year. At the Johyara Festival in September, local fishermen and youth shout out “Johyara! Johyara!” (“May we get a big catch!”) as they row fishing boats flying colorful “big catch” banners. They compete for vim and vigor. At the Kiura Sumitsuke Festival, held once every two years, people traditionally take pieces of daikon radish blackened with charcoal to rub on each other’s faces, all in fun as a wish for happiness.

Ise-ebi lobster and noble scallop are also some of Saiki’s local specialties.

The Johyara Festival is held every September. Hopes for good fishing are accompanied by big colorful banners flapping in the sea breeze.

A fun way to wish for future happiness: participants in the Kiura Sumitsuke Festival rub charcoal on each other’s faces. The more charcoal, the happier the outcome.