Hiji is located in the Hayami District of Oita Prefecture, Japan. After the merger of the town of Yamaga into Kitsuki in October of 2005, Hiji remains the only city in the Hayami district; sometimes “Hayami-gun” is used instead of “Hiji-machi”.
JET Life in Hiji
Currently, there is only one JET in Hiji working as a prefectural ALT. Because Hiji is a bit further away from the busier areas of Beppu Bay, the cost of living is generally a bit lower. There is no subsidized housing available, only private. Hiji is situated between Beppu and Kitsuki, but Beppu is generally more accessible. Depending on how close they are to one of the four stations, a JET can successfully commute between schools (as well as beyond Oita Prefecture) without needing a car; however, getting a car is extremely helpful in terms of convenience.
Route 10 is the main artery through Hiji; some see Hiji as a gateway town into Beppu (and Oita) from the airport. Buses run within and through Hiji as well, through community buses and Oita Kotsu. Four JR Kyushu train stations are within the boundaries of Hiji: Bungo-Toyooka, Yokoku, Hiji, and Oga. However, no express trains stop in Hiji; the closest SONIC-accessible stations are Kitsuki and Kamegawa.
Hiji plays host to a small, intimate summer concert festival in early September called Hijifes (ヒジフェス), which showcases Japanese musicians from various genres. Similar to how the town Taketa hosts a stamp rally for ice cream, Hiji does one for curry, from mid-December to mid-March, called the Hiji Curry Rally (ひじカレーラリー).