Out of the many former samurai residences in the historic castle town of Kitsuki in Oita’s Kunisaki Peninsula, the Ohara residence, with its splendid thatched roof and large strolling garden, is, probably, the finest. It belonged to chief retainers of the local feudal lord.
It is not clear when exactly the residence was built, though it’s thought to have been constructed sometime in the mid-nineteenth century. Through the Meiji period it was occupied by the Ohara family. The building has been preserved in its original form for the most part, and it provides a glimpse into lives of high-ranking samurai of the Edo and Meiji periods.
I loved the interiors of the main house but spent most of the time admiring the garden. There’s a pond with a little island, stone bridges and water lilies that just beg to be photographed. Views of the main house from the garden are the best.
The Ohara Residence is open from 9:00 to 17:00 (last entrance 16:30); the entrance fee is 200 yen.
There are direct buses to the Kitsuki city center from Beppu, Oita, and the Oita airport. From there, the Ohara residence can be reached on foot. If coming by train, keep in mind that the train station is some distance from the city center. A taxi ride will take 10 minutes and cost 1500 to 2000 yen.