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Photo By: Victoria Vlisides
Region
Kyushu
Island
Kyushu
Largest City
Oita
Population
1,221,128

Ohara Chaya Restaurant

Hidden in a bamboo grove, your Japanese basket of goodies awaits.

Welcome to Ohara Chaya, a restaurant you’d likely never find if you weren’t looking for it. Follow the stone steps into the bamboo grove, as the breeze sways the long green stalks, for one of the most stunning meals of your time in Japan.

Ohara Chaya, oita

Photo by: Victoria Vlisides The entrance to Ohara Chaya.

Tucked away in Oita Prefecture’s Hita city, an area largely undiscovered by tourists, is this slice of tranquility where you can dig into a delicious traditional kaiseki meal in a bamboo forest.

A kaiseki meal is often described as a Japanese multi-course feast that is made with select seasonal ingredients specially prepared by the chef. In other words, each customer can expect to eat whatever the chef’s choice is that day.

Ohara Chaya, oita

Photo by: Victoria Vlisides A basket lunch.

After taking in the greenery, head to the dining area that overlooks the forest and enjoy the view until your basket of goodies arrives. Did we mention the main course is served in a giant bamboo woven basket? That’s just one of the local flavors you’ll find at Ohara Chaya, which is walkable from the nearby Hita station and only open for lunch.

Ohara Chaya, oita

Photo by: Victoria Vlisides Delectable local dishes.

When we asked the staff at Ohara Chaya why they use the baskets, instead of the traditional dishes, they said it is easier to carry the baskets back and forth, so the functionality more or less became tradition at the restaurant. Back in the day, the baskets also played an important role in transporting and picking ingredients like mountain vegetables for the restaurant.

Ohara Chaya, oita

Photo by: Victoria Vlisides Outside the restaurant.

While the ingredients often vary by season at Ohara Chaya, in the basket, you’ll find several small dishes like tempura, as well as local veggies, potato, meat, egg and more, garnished with delicate momiji (Japanese maple tree) leaves. There are also sides of rice, miso soup, and chawanmushi (savory egg custard). It really fills you up. The general price range for lunch is between ¥2,000 and ¥2,999 per meal.

Ohara Chaya, oita

Photo by: Victoria Vlisides It is in the middle of bamboo grove.

Just a few minutes away on foot is a fairly large and impressive Shinto shrine called Ohara Hachimangu (Map) as well as the nearby Ohara Park which are worth exploring before or after your visit. While it may not have much in terms of English support, Ohara Chaya is certainly a memorable highlight while discovering Oita.

Things To Know

Hours

Hours: Lunch from 11:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Last order: 3 p.m.) Weekday hours can sometimes be irregular, as the restaurant will close if there are no customers. However, they are always open on the weekends and on national holidays.

Reservation

To be sure, you can make a reservation by phone. Tel: 0973-24-7577 (From overseas: +81-973-24-7577)

Please Note

Please note that at the time of publication (June 2018), the store hours have been verified with the Oita Prefectural Tourism Association and Ohara Chaya, despite several other listings online that have outdated information.

How To Get There

By train

The closest station is JR Hita station. From there, walk 20 minutes (Map).

Where To Stay

Hotel Route-Inn Hita-Ekimae
  • Motomachi 21-14 Hita-Shi, Oita 877-0013
  • 8.5/10
  • 0.9 km
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Plaza Hotel Fujinoi
  • Hita Motomachi 19-27 Hita-Shi, Oita 877-0013
  • 7.3/10
  • 1.0 km
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Hotel Socia
  • Motomachi 17-3 Hita-Shi, Oita 877-0013
  • 7.7/10
  • 1.1 km
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Smile Hotel Oita Hita
  • Chuo 2-2-5 Hita-Shi, Oita 877-0015
  • 8.1/10
  • 1.2 km
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