Saiki is a small city about one hour and a half driving from Oita city. You can also get here by bus or JR. 1280 yen one way local train from Oita. Buses direct from Fukuoka's Hakata and Tenjin stations (one way: 3800 yen) run twice a day on Fridays and weekends, but are less regular on weekdays. The train line connects south to Miyazaki and Kagoshima.
Saiki has a shrine on the top of Shakuma-san. The view is amazing and the history of the shrine is very interesting. To get to the top you must drive from Saiki central city towards Honjou town and on the right side you`ll see the Shakuma-san sign. You will have to drive up a road for about 20 minutes and then walk the rest up for about 30 minutes, but it is worth it.
You can also walk up Shiruyama. This is a place that locals always recommend you to go to. It has the ruins of the very old Saiki Castle, plus an excellent view of the Banjo river, harbor, ocean, and city--especially at sunset.
Another thing that is done around the beginning of June throughout this month is watching hotaru (fireflies). Its an amazing sight. The best place for hotaru watching is at Honjo town.
The Street of History and Literature. Having seen many a year pass, the white walls of this street guard the memories of this old castle town. Kyushintei, an old-style tearoom, serves visitors traditional Japanese green tea. Located 10 mins by bus from Saiki Railway Station. Get off at Otemae Bus stop.
Walking along the Banjo River. There is a very nice walkway on either side of the Banjo River where you can see many eagles, which will take food from you if you aren't careful.
Yayoi's Osakana Kan. A small aquarium at Yayoi's "michi no eki" on Route 10. Also has a store which sells local souvenirs, food, and handicrafts and a public bath that has very nice facilities. Feeding time in the early evening is the best time to go see it, because they have some types of exotic fish which become more excited and active when they realize that they can get some fish heads in their bellies.
Kamae's Marine Culture Center has a complex of pools next to a beach that is ok during the summer months. Watch out for jellyfish after August! The Center also has Mambo fish on display, in addition to other types of saltwater fish. The Mambo fish are cute, with round bodies, and are very large.
At Cosmo Town, near the expressway exit and to the northwest of the main part of town, you can find several stores. High school students also come here after school to go to McDonalds or the game center.
La Vie Douce is a cute store located in the covered walking arcade next to Umaimon-dori. It has a nice selection of handicrafts, natural bath and body products, clothes, and gift items.
Kishoka is a new cake and pastry store with both Western and Japanese sweets. It is near Aflac(!)
In Saiki everyone loves sushi, and you will find sushi almost anywhere. Sashimi is also everywhere.
* Costa Rica is a little jazz coffee shop with good food, such as pizza, Japanified spaghetti and delicious homemade cakes. Excellent coffee. (This place has managed to be an international crossroads for 30 years in spite of being off the beaten track.) The owner speaks English and is always warm and welcoming. Located on Umaimon-dori
The Umaimon-dori is a street full of quality seafood restaurants serving a variety of fresh seafood caught by the local fisherman of this marine industry town. It is located 5 mins by bus from Saiki Railway Station. Get off at Chuodori Icchome Bus stop.
Marukai is so famous for its seafood dishes, especially sushi and sashimi, that people come from all over Oita and neighboring prefectures to savor its delights. Dishes range between 1,500 to 2,000 yen (and upwards), but the extra price is completely worth it. The menu is in Japanese, but there reportedly is an English speaker working there. It is located right next to the ferry terminal, facing the city harbor, and walking distance from the station.
Pizza Savoy is the best Italian restaurant in Oita, possibly in Kyushu. A wide variety of authentic Italian dishes, with an English menu available. The appetizer platter, ravioli w/mushroom sauce, hot chocolate, and the Yellie pizza special are recommended items. Imported beer is costly but could be worth it for one who is craving taste in beer. Prices for dishes range from 800-2000 yen.
Shin-machi and Umaimon-dori are popular streets for drinking and eating. They have many izakayas and bars.
Pub Chaya is an excellent izakaya with good deals for beer pitchers. Most food dishes cost between 400-800 yen. Nasu (eggplant) gyoza and chicken nanban are a couple of favorites. Located across the street from Saiki Central Hotel, near Umaimon-dori, on the second floor and up outside stairs.
Bacchus is located between Umaimon-dori and Shin-machi on a second floor. It has a good dart board and reasonably priced mixed drinks.