Oita City is the capital city of Oita Prefecture with a population of 477,745 (May 2015 estimate). Formerly known as Funai, Oita was the center of promotion of Christianity in Japan under the rule of the feudal lord Otomo Sorin (1530-1587). The city is nestled between the hills and coast, so you can enjoy both the comforts of urban living and easy access to nature.
JET Life in Oita
As of 2015, about 28 JETs live in Oita City: 11 Prefectural BOE ALTs, 13 Oita City BOE ALTs and 4 CIRs.
Housing Oita city-based JETs are spread throughout the city, but are never too far away from the next ALT or CIR. Spacious and subsidized teachers` housing is available to prefectural ALTs, although a number of prefectural ALTs also rent privately (which may result in them being the only foreigner in their apartment building). The majority of Oita city BOE ALTs live in 2-3 buildings predetermined by the BOE.
Work conditions Generally Prefectural ALTs work at between 1-4 senior high schools in the city,sometimes traveling as far as Yufu city for school visits. Oita City BOE ALTs work at a larger number of schools at the elementary and junior high level. CIRs carry out a number of tasks at the International Division in the Prefectural Office.
JETs in the area use all types of transport to get to work: train/cycle/private car/walk. Oita City BOE ALTs are not allowed to use a car for work purposes but can drive in their spare time. Prefectural ALTs can drive to and from school. In the case that you need to take public transport to work, both the prefectural and city BOEs cover the cost of commuting to school.
The new renovated Oita Station. Photo taken by Roberta, used with permission.
Within Oita City -Oita City is very bicycle friendly as it is mainly flat. You can buy one cheaply, or rentals are available from Oita Station for 200円/day. -Two bus companies operate within Oita City: Oita Kotsu and Oita Bus. The bus services are reliable and frequent with fares increasing the further you travel. You can look for timetables using a keyword search on Oita Bus Navi. -Trains also operate frequently to various parts of Oita City: for timetables, check hyperdia or google maps.
Within Oita Prefecture and beyond Three lines operate from Oita Station to various parts of Kyushu: the Nippo Line (towards Fukuoka); the Kyudai Line (Miyazaki) and the Hohi line (Kumamoto). The blue express Sonic train goes to Kokura (change to shinkansen lines) and Fukuoka. For 10,280 円 you can buy a 4-trip ticket between Fukuoka and Oita for the Sonic. Ask for the `Fukuoka no yon mai kippu at the midori-no-madoguchi 緑の窓口 in Oita Station. A one way fare starts from 5050円, so the tickets are a good money saver. Highway buses frequently go to Fukuoka and other parts of Kyushu. Search for and book bus tickets online in English here. Ticket bundles are also available on these buses, like the `yon mai kippu`４枚切符 between Oita and Fukuoka for 8000円 (a one-way ticket on the highway bus to Fukuoka is 3600円 itself). You can buy these multi-trip tickets from the office outside Tokiwa. The overnight Sunflower ferry operates daily between Oita Port and Kobe Port, a cheap and convenient option for travel to the Kansai region. There is a range of accommodation available on the ferry and fares start from approximately 20,000円 round-trip for tatami-style dorm room lodging. For more information visit the Sunflower Ferry website to make a reservation in English. To Oita Airport The airport bus departs from outside the Funai-chuo side of Oita Station at stop 1. You can buy tickets from the vending machine at the bus stop. It is 2600円 for a round trip or 1550円 for a one way trip.
Oita River. Photo taken by Roberta, used with permission.