Ajimu is a rural village located in northern Oita prefecture. One of their claims to fame is being the first area to offer green tourism activities in all of Japan. Ajimu has been working on creating and improving nohaku (agriculture) based lodgings and activities that allow visitors to interact with people living in rural parts of Japan, an experience that has quickly become popular throughout Japan.
As there is a great temperature difference between morning and night here, as a result of the Tsubusa and Fukami rivers that flow through the town, the entire village is covered in mist in the morning, while views from the summit will have visitors feeling as though the sky is wrapping about them.
This unique climate has also lead to very rich soils, which in turn help to produce crops of exceptional quality and taste. In particular, the rice and grapes produced in this region are very popular, with the grapes being used to produce some of the most sought after wines in Japan. Their annual Wine Festival, held after the harvest every year, is always filled with visitors to the region.
The people that live in Ajimu want to convey the rich lives and warm exchanges that can only come from living in the countryside of Japan, to the world. In order to do so, they began a home stay program where visitors can enjoy life in a rural area for themselves – which has quickly caught on with travelers from around the world.
Ajimu is a town full of thoughtful people, and the first place in Japan to offer rural home stays. Here you’ll surely be welcomed with open arms.
Why not experience a traditional Japanese lifestyle in the relaxing, rich, natural landscape of Ajimu, the forerunner of the rural home stay experience in Japan?
In Ajimu, you can experience the traditional flow of life in a Japanese village by doing a home stay. There are 60 houses where you can stay in this town. One of the most important aspects of any home stay is the relationships that are created, and in Ajimu, this starts from the moment you arrive, when you will be picked up by your host family as though you were a relative come to visit. Enjoy your time with your Japanese host family, and get to know what life is like in this rural community.
Meals prepared during these stays are made from local ingredients fresh from the farmer’s fields, and are both hearty and healthy dishes said to be good for the body. Come and visit Ajimu to experience the best of Japan’s four seasons to the fullest.
Enjoy Dinner with Your Host Family
Dinners are eaten with the guests. It’s the best way to learn about and share the old-fashioned charms of Japan through cuisine. The word danran in Japanese, means to sit around in a circle and spend time with those close or important to you. Taking part in a danran with your host family will make this meal experience all the more special.
While experiences vary from home stay to home stay, there are many different aspects of Japan’s rural culture to enjoy. Here are some examples.
Pitch in and help to harvest the fruit and vegetables that are carefully cultivated in the family garden. The ingredients that you pick are sure to be on the dinner table that night.
How about trying your hand at bamboo crafts? By cutting the bamboo little by little, you can create items that are truly one of a kind and make the ideal souvenirs of your time in Japan.
How about making rural confectioneries together? These are popular items in the local shops, known for their soft texture and gently sweet taste.
If you visit a country town in Japan, you should definitely take part in their regional cuisine – there you will find a taste not available anywhere else.
There are many sightseeing spots where you can experience nature in Ajimu.
Higashi Iya and Fukino Waterfalls
Higashi Iya Falls was selected as part of Japan’s 100 Most Beautiful Waterfalls, coming in at #90. The basin of this waterfall is quite wide, and the force of the waterfall flowing down from a height of 83m is both dynamic and beautiful. In the summer, you can enjoy hiking along refreshing nature trails, and you might even hear or see some deer in the woods too. This is a soothing place to visit in Oita.
Fukino Waterfall is 65m tall and viewable from two locations: its basin and from the observation deck on the hill.
This waterfall is also called Uraminotaki, as it can be viewed from behind as well. The view from the observation deck is especially beautiful in the fall, when the autumn leaves are at their peak, as you can enjoy the sight of the falls surrounded by shades of red.
Have you tried real Japanese home-cooking? True Japanese home-cooking requires seasonal dishes prepared with traditional spices and sauces that have been passed down through generations. Please come and taste these healthy, traditional examples of Japanese cuisine.
Torimeshi – Chicken Rice
Oita prefecture has one of the highest chicken consumption rates in Japan, with poultry featuring on most household menus. As such, there are many different regional chicken dishes to choose from here, but one of the most popular is torimeshi. Torimeshi is a sweet soy sauce flavored chicken and vegetable rice dish that is loved by people of all ages.
Dangojiru, or dumpling soup, is a popular regional dish from Oita. This rustic dish is made from seasonal vegetables flavored with miso broth and features dumpling-like flat noodles – a truly Japanese taste experience. The fun of cooking with a farmer’s wife in a traditional atmosphere makes this hearty dish taste even better.
In the JA farmer’s market you can purchase fresh local crops and regional specialties. Although this is a small market in a small town, here you will find the best products made by local farmers. Many locals come here to shop in the early morning. You’ll find freshly harvested fruits and vegetables, homemade sweets, rice, spices and seasonings featuring Oita’s famous yuzu, and of course delicious grapes from the town lining the shelves of this market.
The grapes are especially delicious from September to October, and are available for purchase from June to October.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Ajimumachi Green Tourism Society (NPO, Inc.)
Address: Oita, Usa, Ajimu, Shimoge 1195-1 (Google map https://goo.gl/maps/cd6fcxNu3qp)
Reservation form： http://www.ajimu-gt.jp/page0121.html