The nearest airport is Ōita Airport. Buses run six times a day to and from Cosmo Town, Ōtemae and Saiki Station, taking a little over two hours and costing ¥2880 (¥4940 return).
Miyazaki Airport is accessible by train; see below.
Saiki is on the Nippō Main Line.
There are hourly Nichirin Limited Expresses, which will take you to Ōita (1 hour 5 minutes, ¥2630) via Usuki (30 minutes, ¥1700) or Miyazaki Airport (2 hours 20 minutes, ¥4680) via Nobeoka (1 hour, ¥2450) and Miyazaki (2 hours 10 minutes, ¥4560).
There are three direct Sonic, Nichirin and Nichirin Seagaia trains a day to Kokura (2 hours 45 minutes, ¥5570) for the San'yō Shinkansen, of which two come from Hakata (3 hours 30 minutes, ¥7190). Otherwise, take a Sonic from either station to Ōita and change there.
Local trains are less frequent, but will get you in from Ōita in about 1 hour 30 minutes for ¥1290, and from Usuki in 45 minutes and ¥560. Local trains to and from Nobeoka (1 hour 10 minutes, ¥1110) are so infrequent and inconveniently timed as to be practically nonexistent.
There is a nimai-kippu which allows a return trip to Ōita within one month using Limited Expresses for ¥3900 (a saving of ¥1360). Another nimai-kippu allows return travel to any JR station in the Fukuoka City Area for ¥10,080 (saving ¥4300).
All these trains are covered by the Japan Rail Pass and JR Kyūshū's All Kyūshū Area Pass, but not the Northern or Southern Kyūshū Area Pass.
Saiki Port is 10 minutes walk or 5 minutes drive north of Saiki Station.
This is the easiest way to reach most of Kōchi Prefecture. With the possible exception of Uwajima, a better way across the Bungo Channel to Ehime Prefecture is to take the ferry from Usuki to Yawatahama.
Most of the fun can be found in an area about 30 minutes walk or 10 minutes drive south of Saiki Station. Most buses from the station will take you towards Ōtemae for ¥140.
- Saiki has a shrine on the top of Shakuma-san. The view is amazing and the history of the shrine is very interesting. 40 minutes drive from central Saiki: head west through Yayoi along Route 10, then turn right and go up the Shakuma Skyline. There are two car parks to choose from, from where it is up to 45 minutes to the top up a flight of hundreds of stone steps. On New Year's Eve, so many people flock to the summit to see the first sunrise of the year that the Skyline is closed to cars.
- You can also walk up Shiroyama (literally 'Castle Hill'). 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.
- Kyūshintei, 3-13 Jōka-nishimachi, ☏ . 09:00-17:00, closed Mondays. An old-style tearoom which serves visitors traditional Japanese green tea
- 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.
- Banjō Osakana-kan (番匠おさかな館), 898-1 Yayoi Ōaza Kami-ogura (at the Michi-no-eki on Route 10. If you don't have a car, there are 14 buses a day taking about 20 minutes and ¥380), ☏ . 10:00-17:00 (last admission 16:45), closed on the 2nd Tuesday of the month. There is also 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. ¥300.
- 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, 1-10 Uchimachi, ☏ . 10:00-19:00, closed Thursdays. A cute store 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.
- Kishōka (吉祥華), 3-8-17 Ōtemachi, ☏ . 09:00-20:00. A new cake and pastry store with both Western and Japanese sweets.
In Saiki everyone loves sushi, and you will find sushi almost anywhere. Sashimi is also everywhere.
- 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 5 min by bus from Saiki Railway Station. Get off at Chuodori Icchome Bus stop.
- Costa Rica, 7-4 Uchimachi (On Umaimon Dori), ☏ . 12:00-23:00, closed Tuesdays. A little coffee shop with good food, such as pizza and Japanified spaghetti. (It's not very Costa Rican, but at least it's different.)
- Marukai (○海), 3-21 Kazura-minato (7 minutes walk north from Saiki station, towards the port), ☏ . 10:00-17:00 (order between 11am and 3pm). 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.
- Shin-machi and Umaimon-dori are popular streets for drinking and eating. They have many izakayas and bars.
- Pub Chaya (5-15 Uchimachi, +81 972 24-0100) is an excellent izakaya with good deals for beer pitchers. Most food dishes cost ¥400-800. 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 (3-17 Uchimachi, +81 972 22-5507, 18:00-02:00, closed Mondays) is located between Umaimon-dori and Shin-machi on a second floor. It has a good dart board and reasonably priced mixed drinks.