Shōganji Zen Retreat

Experience authentic Zen temple life in rural Japan

Things to Do in the Area

This is a casual list and description of sites and attractions of interest within a few minutes or a few hours of the retreat. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, and the details may be subject to change over time. Please feel free to help us expand the scope and accuracy of this list by making requests, corrections, or even writing your own review of and guide to a particular site that may be of interest to other guests.  Enjoy!

Very Near the Retreat: Ōjuki, Kōjuki, the beach, and the boardwalk…

Shōganji Zen Retreat is located in tiny Ōjuki Village, part of the fishing village cluster called Saganoseki.  The next village to the east is Kōjuki, taking one of the tunnels through the mountain 


In Ōjuki…
Ōjuki is the tiny village that our retreat is actually located in. There is a crazy and wonderful second hand shop 5 minutes from the retreat near the ocean. Ask Jiho if you cannot find it.  It has odd hours and looks like a bunch of junk, but it is inexpensive and packed with hidden gems if you take the time to look carefully.  There are stacks of vintage scrolls in the back, and tons of interesting stuff.  Prices are somewhat flexible especially if you buy a few items.

Kōjuki, next village to the east…
Explore the walkable nearby aspects of the Saganoseki village cluster.  Take the tunnel into the next village over, Kōjuki;

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Walking west along the ocean…
Toward Kozaki station (about an hour if you go all the way) and get on the boardwalk. Its a lovely walk and you will find little curiosities along the way.  The walking route is a bit tricky; do not stay on the road all the way, find the walking path that diverges from the road on the inland side of the main road.
Saganoseki proper…
Saganoseki is the largest town in a cluster of fishing villages which is also colloquially referred to as Saganoseki.  So “Saganoseki” can refer to the clump of towns and villages east of the city of Oita, or to the specific town located at the end of the peninsula.
There is a lot of fishing activity here and a little basic shopping.  Notable attractions include a seaside recreational park and garden and a world class telescope observatory.  The park is around the observatory, and while not very good for swimming, it offers excellent walking opportunities, ocean views, and a very nice restaurant
Other Destinations; By Train, Bus, Car…
Best nearby town: Yufuin
Not heavily featured in foreign tourist guides.  My personal favourite particularly for higher quality onsens and fantastic food food.
About a 45 minute train ride from Kōzaki (or Jiho may be willing to drive there)
If you want a beautiful quiet little town among the mountains with great food, shopping, and a fantastic selection of superb onsens and ryokans (and ryokans with onsens!), Yufuin is the place.  The town center is designed for walking with many of the streets car-free.  Its beautifully laid out with mostly smaller traditionally Japanese building styles, and stunning gardens. Its pleasant to walk outside the city up on the less populated mountainsides taking advantage of great views of the city, and where you will stumble across more secluded onsens, ryokans, and eateries.
The food in Yufuin really stands out: All kinds of speciality food vendors and restaurants exist here offering up many specialized traditional Japanese delicacies, some that have been made the same way for hundreds of years.  There is also a wonderful selection of prepared and packaged regional speciality foods, condiments, sweets, spices, and alcoholic beverages. There is also a selection of more touristy modern Japanese fast food, and a few non-Japanese options.  There are excellent higher end and antique shops in and around Yufuin.
Ōita is a pretty big city and is good for a day of ordinary, but still very Japanese, shopping and eating, perhaps clothing as well.  Explore the massive Tokiwa department store. Check out Uniqlo, the Japanese answer to The Gap or maybe American Apparel, but far better in my opinion!  Good shopping around Tokiwa as well.  A few large Shinto or Buddhist temples including the famous ManJuJi monastery. Ōita is 30 minutes by train from Kōzaki sta.
Beppu is heavily featured in tourist guides. There is just about everything that a tourist might want to relax and have a good time in a quintessentially Japanese fashion. There The major attraction is the extremely high concentration of onsens (natural hot spring bathhouses), the highest concentration in all of Japan. There is a huge variety of onsen here. Cost, degree of luxury, style, and amenities vary dramatically from place to place. Many are attached to ryokans (traditional Japanese inns) or hotels or varying quality. There is also excellent shopping, daytime walking around, and nightlife to be had in Beppu, all in a distinctly Japanese style.
The best things very near Beppu, but not central to it, are the Monkey Mountain and The Aquarium.  Ask Jiho to take you – he would be happy to – but hard to access by public transport.  About 45 minutes by train from Kōzaki station.
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