Aerial photographs from Japanese news media showed a denuded swath on a thickly forested mountainside. At the bottom, a huge mound of earth and tree trunks buried houses, blocked the road in front of them and spilled over into fields on the other side. Blue-suited rescue workers could be seen on top of the rubble.
The cause of the landslide wasn't immediately clear. It occurred in a mountainous inland area known as Yabakei, which is famous for its fall foliage. Oita is also popular among tourists for its hot springs resorts.
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