Touinryo is an unexpected gem; an historic building from the 1880s that has been refurbished and repurposed as a delightful gallery and cafe. Located a short walk from the La Paloma and Susumegusa art galleries in sleepily picturesque Imi, it has been the de facto centre of this port town’s quietly vibrant art scene for several decades.

Touinryo was conceived by Konomi Wada, its cheerful and friendly owner, curator and artist. At any one time arts and crafts from a variety of Japanese artists, both local and from the wider region, are displayed in the spacious tatami-matted traditional rooms spread over Touinryo’s three storeys. Set amongst the paintings, ceramics, clothing and other works on display are byobu folding screens, a traditional art form that has been given a modern and handsome twist by Konomi and her son, Keisuke.

It is easy to spend an hour or two here soaking up the elegant atmosphere while perusing the art and savouring the view across Imi to the Seto Inland Sea from Touinryo’s third floor. Konomi is often on hand to join in lively conversation with visitors while they refresh themselves with coffee or macha green tea and tasty cakes or ice cream. For those who need something more substantial, takomeshi octopus rice is a house favourite.

Kunimimachi Imi, Kunisaki, Oita, Japan

At a glance

An unexpected but popular destination for art, food and good company on the Kunisaki Peninsula's north coast.

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