Oita, Japan Feb. 28 Wed 12:40PM
The town of Usuki, on Oita’s eastern coast, is a quiet castle town with lines of buildings and streets that remain unchanged from the Japan of the past. Spared from the ravages of war, Usuki is one of the spots dotted throughout Japan where strollers can imagine the streets of a typical Japanese town before the Showa era. The main focus is the area known as the Nioza Historical Road, where visitors can enjoy some nice local shops while heading to Ryugenji Temple and its majestic pagoda.
Even older are the stone buddhas carved into a mountain a few kilometers from the city center. Most Buddhist statues in Japan are carved from wood or metal, making these a rarity. The slight erosion and distant location may help one imagine their respectable age of nearly a thousand years. It’s a bit of a trek to reach them (most visitors take a taxi, though bicycle rental is also an option), but the bucolic setting in which one can appreciate the Buddhas makes up for the trouble.