Oita: Long bench promotes local delicacy

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A long bench on a platform at Nakatsu Station in Oita Prefecture

NAKATSU, Oita — A 10-meter-long bench called “Japan’s longest chair for pike conger” stands on the platform of JR Nippo Line Nakatsu Station in Oita Prefecture.

Nakatsu is known for pike conger, or hamo in Japanese, and there are about 20 shops in the city serving various hamo dishes such as shabu-shabu style lightly boiled hamo and sushi, according to a local tourism association.

The bench was set up in 1994 with the help of citizens to promote the local specialty. Made of wood from trees blown down by the wind, the bench has a full-size illustration of a pike conger on its backrest.

“The impact [of the bench] is amazing,” said a woman visiting from Yokohama. “It’s nice, as we can sit apart amid the pandemic.”

Nakatsu Station manager Masayuki Tani said some tourists visit the train station just to see the bench.

“Enjoy hamo in Nakatsu after sitting on the bench,” Tani said.