Ube (宇部市) is a city in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. The prefectural airport, Yamaguchi Ube Airport, is in the city. As of April 2021, Ube had a population of approximately 162,550 people.
If you come to Yamaguchi prefecture by air, your first destination will be Ube. Ube sits in between Sanyo-Onoda to the west and Yamaguchi City to the east. The city is full of sculptures and parks.
Yamaguchi Ube Airport, (山口宇部空港, UBJ) is in Ube, served by a total of 10 flights a day from Tokyo on JAL, ANA, and SFJ (operated as an ANA code-share). JR Kusae Station is right next to the airport.
Ube is served by multiple JR train lines - the Sanyo Shinkensen runs through the city (but stops at Shin-Yamaguchi and Asa Stations outside the city), the Sanyo Main Line, Onoda Line, and Ube Line. All shinkansen trains stop at Shin-Yamaguchi Station, but only the Kodama Stations stop at Asa Station. The main train station of the city is Ubeshinkawa Station on the Ube Line.
Ube can be reached by the Sanyo Expressway (E2), at the Ube and Ube-Higashi Interchanges. There is also access by Routes 2, 190, and 490.
For the urbanized areas near the coast, JR trains and city buses can take you to most places you would want to go. The city also extends north deep into the mountains as well however, and for more isolated areas, renting a car may be the more efficient and convenient way to get around.
- Tokiwa Park (常盤公園), 3-4-1 Norisada, Ube, ☎ 083-654-0551, . 9:30AM–5PM, Closed Tue. This is a large, multi-use park that surrounds the Tokiwa Pond, with fields that bloom in the spring for canola flowers, irises, and hydrangea, plus a botanical garden and medicinal herb garden. In addition, there are 2 campgrounds, a Buddhist temple, and boat rentals for the pond. edit
- Tokiwa Amusement Park (ときわ遊園地) 3-4 Norisada, Ube - Geared more towards families with small kids, this amusement park has the typical assortment of Merry Go Rounds, Ferris Wheels, and kiddie rides. Entry is free; each ride has its own fee. Open 9:30AM–5PM, closed Tue</see>
- Tokiwa Zoo (縁日まつり) 3-4 Norisada, Ube - A smaller zoo with a large assortment of smaller primates, birds, and rodents. One of the more notable exhibits is Pelican Island, which has a large collection of pelicans for visitors to observe. Open 9:30AM–5PM, closed Tue. ¥500 adults, ¥200 children.
- Tokiwa Museum (ときわミュージアム) 3-4-29 Nonaka, Ube - Calling itself a "Museum of Greenery, Flowers and Sculptures", this museum includes approximately 90 outdoor sculptures on permanent display as well as the Tokiwa Museum Midori Botanical Museum with rare plants and flowers.
- Tokiwa Coal Museum (宇部市 石炭記念館) 3-6 Nonaka, Ube - Has a collection of more than 3,000 items that show Ube's growth as a coal city, with photos and explanations of the local coal industry there. Also has a 37m observatory where you can see Tokiwa Pond as well as the whole surrounding city and the Seto Inland Sea.
- Sorinji Temple (宗隣寺), 210 Kogushi, Ube, ☎ 083-621-1087, . 9AM-5PM. This temple was established back in 1670, but has its origins going back to 777. What interests a lot of people however is the amazing garden over 650 years old and designated by the government as a national treasure. ¥300. edit
- Kibe Hachimangu Shrine (吉部八幡宮), Miyanobaba-3234 Higashikibe, Ube, ☎ 083-668-0126. An isolated, mountain shrine with a very rustic traditional structure, with a history going back to 1261. The colorful pictures at the main hall are particularly noteworthy. There is a big mikoshi festival in early November annually. Free. edit
- Kotozaki Hachimangu Shrine (琴崎八幡宮), 571 Ōshōji, Kamiube, Ube, ☎ 083-621-0008 (fax: 083-631-9618), . The beautiful and sweeping architectural lines of this shrine immediately grab your attention. But then the nice ceiling paintings of flowers, Inari sub-shrines, and summertime fūrin wind chime tunnels all put up a fight. Free. edit
- Kibe no Ōiwagō (吉部の大岩郷), . This is a rare and unusual site in Japan - a 3 hectare "river" of quartz diorite rocks and boulders as far as the eye can see - some half a meter big, others up to four. Designated by the government as a national natural treasure. Car required. Free. edit
- Katakura Hot Springs (片倉温泉くぼた), 5345 Nishikiwa, Ube, ☎ 083-651-9259, . A nice hot spring with saunas and outdoor baths (rotenburo). ¥600. edit
- Kusunoki Komorebi Township (楠こもれびの郷), 1662-1 Nishimagura, Ube, ☎ 083-667-2617, . 10AM-9PM, Closed 3rd Wed of month. A hot spring place with restaurant. The bathroom is made of Japanese cypress, with a pleasing scent of wood. There are also family baths (3 people or more, reservation required), open-air baths, and stone baths. ¥660. edit
Ube has a locally grown tea, Ono Tea.
Fresh seafood and Ube's own version of tonkotsu (pork broth) ramen are popular. There are numerous restaurants and places to eat near the main station, at Ubeshinkawa.
There are some locally produced shochu to try, such as Chōshūji, or sake from Nagayama Honke.
- Shinkawa Inn (ビジネスホテル新川), 1-5-4 Uemachi, Ube, ☎ 083-634-2411, . checkin: 15; checkout: 10. Inexpensive business hotel with no-frills rooms but clean and decent accommodations. ¥5400~. edit
- Super Hotel Ube (スーパーホテル宇部天然温泉), 3-14-14 Chuocho, Ube, . checkin: 15; checkout: 10. This nationwide business hotel chain with hot springs has one in Ube as well, close to Ubeshinkawa Station. ¥6500~. edit
- ANA Crowne Plaza Ube (ANAクラウンプラザホテル宇部), 8-1 Aioi-Cho, Ube, ☎ 083-632-1112, . Modern, clean hotel close to the airport, Ubeshinkawa Station, and Sorinji Temple. ¥12,600~. edit
For the latest info on events and sights, contact the Ube Tourism and Convention Association (宇部観光コンベンション協会, Ube Kankō Konbenshon Kyōkai) Tel. 083-634-2050.
- Yamaguchi City - A near rival capital to Kyoto in medieval times, with several temples and famous Sesshu gardens.
- Shimonoseki - Major city at the southern tip of Honshu, famous for its history, seaside, and deadly fugu puffer fish.
- Hagi - A small but beautiful castle town, with surreal temple graveyards and preserved districts from ages ago.
- Iwakuni - City near Miyajima in Hiroshima and with Japan's most beautiful old wooden bridge.
- Akiyoshidai Quasi-National Park - See Japan's biggest and longest limestone cave, as well as its huge karst plateau.
- Tsuwano - Castle town with impressive red roofs, Christian martyr site, and traditional atmosphere.
- Nagato - Located west of Hagi, with the gorgeous seaside Motonosumi Inari Shrine, Senjojiki clifftop views, and the rugged coast of the Omijima Sea Alps.
- Kitakyushu - Fukuoka City's often ignored little sister, Kitakyushu has a more industrial flavor but has Kokura Castle, the stunning Sarakurayama mountain overlook, and Mojiko Retro area from over a century ago.