Kunisaki Peninsula & Usa

OIta Rokugo Manzan
The picturesque and verdant Kunisaki Peninsula is a haven of rural life that today belies its history as one of the greatest centres of Buddhism in Japan. The powerful religious institutions that once dominated the region have long since faded away.

Read more

african safari2 v3
At the largest wildlife park in west Japan an exotic and exciting experience is provided for children through to adults alike in the heart of Oita.

Read more

Oita Usa Jingu
Usa Jingu retains an atmospheric grandeur befitting its status as the principal shrine of Hachiman, the Shinto protector god of Japan.

Read more

Oita Nada Shrine
Hachiman Nada Shrine, located at on the south-east coast of Kunisaki, is one of the peninsula’s most atmospheric sites of Shinto worship. Secreted into a pine forest aside the two-kilometre long white sand Nata Beach, the shrine faces east to Shikoku across the steely-blue Seto Inland Sea.

Read more

Oita Buddhaist deities
Shaka NyoraiShakyamuni 

Shakyamuni is the historical Buddha ‘of our times’. He was born into the noble Indian clan of the Shakyas. Shakyamuni literally means “sage of the Shakyas”.

Read more

At a glance

Buddhas, Shinto gods and ancient sect leaders of Kunisaki and Japan.

Oita Fukae
Oita’s 774km long coastline is lined with fishing ports, both great and small, but only a few have a fish market. One exception is at Fukae, in Hiji on the Kunisaki Peninsula, a sleepy fishing village.

Read more

Oita doburokumaturi
Visitors to Ota, a usually quiet village on the Kunisaki Peninsula, swell the local population by a factor of 30 or more over two days in mid-October when its popular Doburoku Festival is held. With a history stretching back to 710 A. D.

Read more

Bungo Takada Showa
The Showa-no-machi quarter in Bungo-Takada, a small city settled into the north-west shoulder of the Kunisaki Peninsula, seems to have been stopped in a retro time warp centred on the 1950s.

Read more

Kunisaki Art gormley v2
It is surprising to find a work of art by Anthony Gormley, the famed British sculptor, in the very depths of the Kunisaki Peninsula.

Read more

Oita Tour du kunisaki v2
Kunisaki’s quiet country roads through verdant countryside and aside the Seto Inland Sea are ideal for cycling and each year, over 2,500 cycle enthusiasts enter Oita’s largest cycling event, the Tour de Kunisaki.

Read more

Oita Tomaya
To cross the threshold of Tomaya in Kitsuki is to go back in time. The current building, a delightfully quaint tea emporium, dates to 1875 but the business was first established in the mid-Edo Period (1603~1868).

Read more

Oita Tennenji
Like so much to be found in Kunisaki, nothing fully prepares one for Tennen-ji temple, a beautifully rustic and understated thatched structure protruding from a cave at the base of a monumental cliff.

Read more

Oita Tashibu
Tashibu-no-sho, a charming district with some of the most picturesque countryside found anywhere in Japan, was once under the direct control of Usa Jingu.

Read more

Oita Gokart
A stone’s throw from the Ajimu Winery is the pocket-sized Sonic Park, where karting enthusiasts speed up to 80km per hour around its tightly twisting, 1,080 metre track.

Read more

Oita Nagasakibana
On the north side of Kunisaki betwixt Matama Sunset Café and Imi lies Nagasakibana, a long, finger-like peninsula jutting out into the Seto Inland Sea.

Read more

Oita Monjusenji
For anyone fortunate enough to be at Monjusen-ji at dawn, the deep, resounding sound of bell echoing across its tranquil setting, a remote valley deep in the heart of Kunisaki, heralds the start of the temple’s day.

Read more

Oita Miura Baien
Muira Baien (1723-1789), born into the family of a physician, spent most of his life in a small village in central Kunisaki and followed his father in also becoming a physician. A prolific thinker, Baien also became a philosopher, scientist and astronomer whose fame spread throughout Edo Japan.

Read more

Oita Makiodo
Makiodo is a repository for Buddhist statutes, which are all that remain from a grand temple, Makisan Denjo-ji, that once dominated the surrounding area.

Read more

Oita Kyusentoji v2
The ‘Kyu’of Kyu-Sento-ji means ‘former’ and only the extensive grounds of what once was one of the greatest of Kunisaki’s temples remain. Today, a quiet lane leads to a forest footpath, which winds first under a torii shrine gate, before passing a group of stone Buddhas and stupas.

Read more

Oita Giahs
Kunisaki and Usa was recognised as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) by the United Nations in 2013. Look at a map of the Kunisaki Peninsula and neighbouring Usa area and the preponderance of lakes and ponds inevitably catches the eye.

Read more

Oita Kunisaki cycling1
In years past, the professional Keirin cyclists from the velodrome in Beppu used the roads of Kunisaki to train on until the fixed-wheeled Keirin bikes where made illegal on the public highway in Japan.

Read more

Oita Kunisaki Long Trail
The Kunisaki Hantou Minemichi Long Trail, to give its full name, is a meandering, 134km-long hiking route that weaves through the Kunisaki Peninsula following in the footsteps of the Rokugo-Manzan monks, who first came here for their ascetic practices 1,300 years ago.

Read more

Oita OitaBus
The Oita Kotsu bus company runs two regular, scheduled tours to Kunisaki and Yabakei. Both are convenient ways to explore both areas with start and finish points at Oita and Beppu Stations. Kunisaki Route: Usa Jingu, Fuki-ji, Makiodo, Kumano Magaibutsu, Zaizen Bochi; and Futago-ji.

Read more

At a glance

Scheduled one-day bus tours to the Kunisaki Peninsula and Yabakei.

Oita kumano magaibutsu3 v2
Kunisaki is a treasure trove of Buddhist artefacts and the twin Kumano Magaibutsu Buddhist relief carvings, depictions of Dainichi Nyorai and Fudo Myo-o, are the largest amongst these.

Read more

Oita Kitsuki
Kitsuki is a compact, quiet and genteel town that still retains the atmosphere it once had as samurai stronghold. The kitadai samurai quarter is reached via a flight of old flagstone, steps starting from aside a traditional shop selling miso paste.

Read more

Oita Keishoji3
A sign at the foot of the short flight of steps leading up to an unassuming hut, the sole structure left in the grounds of this now sleepy but once much grander temple, indicates the way in Japanese characters to Jigoku Gokuraku, or Hell and Heaven.

Read more

Oita Iwatoji
Iwato-ji is one of the three temples on Kunisaki that still hold Shujo-onie. As with nearly all the temples on Kunisaki, two fearsome Nio guard the path to the temple. This couple, however, are the oldest in the area and date from 1478.

Read more

At a glance

One of the three temples on Kunisaki where the peninsula's famed Shujo Onie festivals is still held.

Oita Itsutsuji Fudo
Itsutsuji Fudo marks the furthest and highest extent of Kyu-Sento-ji’s grounds. A small shrine clings to the sheer rock face, from which panoramic views across Kunisaki over the Seto Inland Sea beyond to Honshu are a fitting reward for making the climb.

Read more

Oita Imi
Imi was an important port in the Edo Period (1603-1868), which is attested to by the impressive Hachiman shrine in extensive grounds adjacent to small dock.

Read more

Oita Himeshima2 v2
The ferry across the placid Seto Inland Sea only takes 20 minutes to sail from Imi to Himeshima, an island lying off the Kunisaki Peninsula’s north coast.

Read more

At a glance

20 minute ferry ride from Imi

Ideal for cycling

Interesting Geology

Oita Futagoji2
Like many of Kunisaki’s temples, Futago-ji traces its founding back to Rokugo-Manzan’s founding monk Ninmon.

Read more

Oita Fukiji
Fuki-ji temple’s main hall is perhaps the simplest and most elegant Buddhist structure found anywhere 
in Japan. Built in the 12th Century, it is also the oldest wooden structure in Kyushu.

Read more

Oita Choanji
Choan-ji was, for a while, the principle temple of Kunisaki.

Read more

Baien no sato
Baien-no-Sato is a small, onsen hot spring resort atop a hill in the centre of the Kunisaki Peninsula. It also has the additional and very unusual attraction for a hotel of a 65cm reflecting telescope used for star gazing into our Universe and far beyond into deep space.

Read more

Oita Ajimu winery
Top grade grapes for the table are grown widely in Kyushu and are a staple fruit during the summer months. Grapes for viticulture, the production of wine, are, however, much rarer in the region.

Read more