Arts & Culture

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…

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At a glance

Once the strong hold of a samurai clan closely associated with the ruling shogun, this old seaside castle town retains a pleasant air of its past.

Japan, Oita, 杵築市
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. It burnt to the ground in…

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At a glance

A temple housing some of the most impressive Buddhist statuary found in Japan.

Japan, Oita, Bungotakada, Tashibuosaki, 田染荘展望台
Kengo Kuma
Kuma is the architect of the New National Stadium built for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. An ardent proponent of reinterpreting traditional Japanese construction methods, Kuma is…

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At a glance

One of Japan's architectural elite.

COMICO ART MUSEUM YUFUIN, 2995-1 Yufuincho Kawakami, Yufu, Oita, Japan
Toyo Ito
Ito began his career in Kiyonori Kikutake architectural practice, and he has employed younger leading architects Kuzuo Seijima and Ryue Nishizawa, who together created the SANAA…

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At a glance

Another of Japan's top architects.

Japan, Oita, Kitsuki, Yamagamachi Oaza Noharu, 1612-1 杵築市立山香病院
Yufuin
Yufuin, is a refined, up-market, onsen hot spring town in wonderful rural setting towered over by Mt. Yufu-dake, an extinct volcano. The town boast a wealth of cafes, restaurants,…

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At a glance

A chic onsen hot spring resort in a beautiful rural setting.

Japan, Oita, Yufu, Yufuincho Kawakami, 駅前通り
Himeshima
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. Yet, however short the…

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At a glance

A charming island off the Kunisaki Peninsula's north coast, where the locals are particularly friendly and the seafood plentiful.

Japan, Oita, 姫島村
Usuki
Usuki’s grand temples hints at the power it once held and wealth it accumulated in the Edo Period, when the samurai ruled the land. Today, it is a compact and quiet town of…

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At a glance

An historic castle town with connections to the Portuguese, Dutch and British that stretch back over 400 hundred years.

Usuki, Oita, Japan
Touinryo
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…

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At a glance

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

Kunimimachi Imi, Kunisaki, Oita, Japan
Kiyonori Kikutake
Kikutake (1928-2001), who was with Kisho Kurokawa a student of Kenzo Tange, worked almost entirely in Japan.

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At a glance

A famed architect whose one work is the temporarily closed Marine Culture Center in Kamae, Saiki.

1834-2 Kamae Oaza Takenouragouchi, 佐伯市 Oita, Japan
Shozo Uchii
Uchii began his career in the offices of the influential architect Kiyonori Kikutake. Most of his work is found in Tokyo including the Setagaya Art Museum in Tokyo, a private…

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At a glance

The architect of the Oita City Art Museum.

Japan, Oita, 大分市Kotobukimachi, 2−1大分縣立美術館OPAM
Creole Cafe
For a truly unique experience, head to Creole Cafe which is easily found immediately below the towering and iconic Beppu Tower.

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At a glance

Eclectic restaurant by day and in the evenings a popular nightclub.

Japan, Oita, Beppu, Kitahama, 3 Chome−10−2 別府タワー
Nightclubbing & live music
Oita's nightclubbing and live music scene thrives on intimacy and world class acts.

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Art Museum of Nature and Human Non-Homogeneity
The Art Museum of Nature and Human Non-Homogeneity is a grand title for a small but wonderfully immersive and interactive art space that explores and celebrates man’s universal…

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At a glance

A fascinating immersive and interactive art installation.

Art Museum of Nature and Human Non-Homogeneity, 4060 Mime, Bungotakada, Oita, Japan
TAO no Oka
TAO no Oka is the dazzling entertainment facility created by the dazzlingly entertaining Drum TAO. Set high in the Aso-Kuju National Park, it is certainly one of the world’s most…

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At a glance

Drum TAO's new performance and art centre, which has one of the world's most dramatically located outdoor theatres in the world.

Japan, Oita, Taketa, Kujumachi Oaza Shirani, 7571-2 野外劇場『TAOの丘』
Shigeru Ban
Ban caught the attention of the architectural world through his innovative use of cardboard tubes in construction in creating temporary structures that can be quickly and cheaply…

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At a glance

A lauded Japanese architect with several projects in Oita Prefecture.

Japan, Oita, Yufu, Yufuincho Kawakami, 駅前通り
Suzumegusa art gallery
The colourful banners fluttering in the sea breeze will draw anyone’s attention to the quiet and unassuming building that serves as home, studio and gallery for the original and…

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At a glance

Vibrantly coloured designs closely reflect the cheerful personalities of the husband and wife artists who have set up their studio and shop in Imi.

Japan, Oita, Kunisaki, Kunimimachi Imi, 伊美港
the Boutique at CVMC
CMVC is a contemporary live music and arts space situated in the heart of Hita, a regional town well-known for its historic atmosphere that is also home to a small but well…

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At a glance

Hita's nightclubbing soul.

Japan, 〒877-0015 大分県日田市中央1丁目4−8
Drum TAO
Drum TAO, a flamboyantly, dynamic drum and dance troupe that has been lauded overseas as ‘Supernaturally fit and superbly trained… Stunning… Fully deserving of the standing ovation…

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At a glance

One of Japan's most powerful and dynamic entertainments.

Kuju Flower Park, 久住町 Taketa, Oita, Japan
Oita City
The seat of the Oita’s Prefectural Government and its economic powerhouse. Oita is the birth place of Arata Isozaki, one of Japan’s top architects and the winner of the 2019…

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At a glance

Oita's vibrant and thriving prefectural capital.

Japan, Oita, 大分市
Kumano Magaibutsu
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…

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At a glance

A little-known yet wonderful Buddhist site in the heart of the Kunisaki Peninsula.

Japan, Oita, Bungotakada, Tashibuhirano, 2546-3 熊野磨崖仏
Iwato-ji
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,…

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At a glance

The third of the three temples in Kunisaki where the extraordinary Shujo-onie festival is held every lunar new year.

Japan, Oita, Kunisaki, Kunisakimachi Iwatouji, 1222 岩戸寺
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…

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At a glance

A hiking trail that reaches to the innermost heart, geographic and spiritual, of the Kunisaki Peninsula.

Japan, Oita, Kunisaki, Musashimachi Maruono, 国東半島
Fumio Asakura
A prolific artist, Asakura (1883-1964) is often referred to in Japan as Asia’s Rodin and considered the father of western-style sculpture in the country. He was especially…

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At a glance

Japan's father of sculptural realism.

Japan, Oita, Bungoono, Asajimachi Ikeda, 1587-11 朝倉文夫記念館
Choan-ji
Choan-ji was, for a while, the principle temple of Kunisaki. It grew in power in the Heian Period when it became the centre of a Buddhist cult - the bronze plagues, which were…

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At a glance

Once the most powerfull temple in Kunisaki, it is now mostly known for its beautiful grounds.

Japan, Oita, Bungotakada, Karegawa, 635金剛山 長安寺
Oita’s onsen: A Hot Spring Heaven
Onsen are a feature found throughout the length and breadth of Japan. Oita, however, boasts the largest concentration of hot springs and they in turn are fed by the greatest volume…

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At a glance

The onsen hot spring capital of the world.

Japan, 大分県
Taketa History & Culture Museum
The Taketa History & Culture Museum is a must visit for anyone interested in the history of Oka-jo, Taketa’s fascinating castle, the city’s vibrant culture and art, or…

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At a glance

Taketa's history and cultural museum created by Kengo Kuma, architect of Japan's 2020 Olympic stadium.

The Hall of Taketa City Historical Culture (English page https://okajou.jp/en/culturalhall/), 2083 Taketa, Oita, Japan
Tekizanso villa
Tekizanso is a gracefully classic one story building that dates from the Taisho Period (1912-1925). Sited in a corner of what was once the grounds of Hiji-jo, the local daimyo…

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At a glance

A grand villa, built by a gold mining tycoon for himself, that has become one of Oita's top restaurants.

Japan, Oita, Hiji, 2663 的山荘
Oita Made
Oita’s rich natural environment provides a wealth of produce and resources. Add in the locals’ creative talent and you have Oita Made, which brings the best of Oita’s foods, drinks…

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At a glance

A curated selection of some of the best of Oita Prefecture's produce, arts and crafts.

Japan, Oita, Funaimachi, 2 Chome−2−番1号, Red Brick Building, Oita Made Shop 赤レンガ本店
Funai Pacchin Festival
Mid-summer every year, Funai Pacchin brings a visually extravagant and wonderfully crashing soundscape to Oita City when thousands throng the streets to celebrate Tanabata, a…

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At a glance

Oita City's wonderfully vibrantly vigourous and popular mid-summer festival.

Japan, Oita, 大分市
Toshiko Akiyoshi
Although born in Manchuria, Akiyoshi (1929 - present) moved with her family back to Beppu after the cessation of hostilities in 1945. She was introduced to Jazz by a local music…

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At a glance

One of Japan's post-war Jazz greats.

Japan, Oita, 別府市
Nagasakibana Resort & Camping Ground
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. Here the locals first took…

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At a glance

A small peninsula that attracts families and art lovers alike.

Japan, Oita, Bungotakada, Mime, 4080-1 長崎鼻ビーチリゾート
Kamoshika Shoten bookshop and cafe
Step through the doorway of Kamoshika Shoten, in central Oita City, and it is apparent that the owner, Shinsaku Iwao, has a passion for the printed word and a knack of creating…

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At a glance

A discreet gem of a bookshop and cafe.

Kamoshika Books, 2 Chome-8-1 Chuomachi, Oita, Japan
Azul
Azul, found in Oita City’s central Takemachi shopping arcade, generally caters to clubbers with an appetite for left of field electronic music, but depending on the night can also…

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At a glance

A popular night club with one of the best sounds systems in west Japan.

Japan, Oita, 大分市Chuomachi, 1 Chome−7 ガレリア竹町
Usa Jingu
Usa Jingu retains an atmospheric grandeur befitting its status as the principal shrine of Hachiman, the Shinto protector god of Japan. The recipient of imperial patronage since the…

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At a glance

One of Japan's most important Shinto shrines.

Japan, Oita, Usa, Minamiusa, 2859 宇佐神宮
Magma Glass Studio
Magma Glass Studio has been established in a delightful, period wooden building in a peaceful setting in panoramic countryside on the outskirts of Bungo Taketa. The husband and…

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At a glance

The rural surroundings inspire the work of the Magama's talented glassblowers.

Japan, Oita, Taketa, Kujumachi Oaza Kuju, 吹きガラス工房MagmaGlassStudio(マグマ グラス スタジオ)
Onta & Onta-yaki Pottery
Verdant mountains close in on both sides as the road from Hita reaches Onta, a beautiful and peaceful hamlet aside the Oura-gawa river. Tucked into the furthest reaches of a narrow…

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At a glance

A charming pottery village set deep in Oita's countryside.

Japan, Oita, Hita, 源栄町234 小鹿田焼の里
Akira Kuryu
Kuryu began his career with Fumihiko Maki’s before establishing his own architectural practice.

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At a glance

Architect who studied under Fumiko Maki.

Core Yamakuni, 130 Yamakunimachi Morizane, Nakatsu, Oita, Japan
Cafe & Studio Hi! Yoriyo
An unusual name for an unusually eclectic space. Hi! Yoriyo, which is beautifully located in a small hamlet betwixt Taketa city centre and the Kuju Highlands, has been conceived by…

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At a glance

An intriguingly pleasant cafe and gallery space found unexpectedly in Taketa's countryside.

Japan, Oita, 竹田市
Fumio Asakura Museum of Sculpture
This lovely, cosy museum in park setting is dedicated to local son Fumio Asakura, who is regarded as Japan’s leading exponent of natural-realism western-style sculpture, so much so…

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At a glance

A charming museum to the 'Rodin' of Japan.

Japan, Oita, Bungoono, Asajimachi Ikeda, 1587-11 朝倉文夫記念館
The Hell Bar
Hidden within the myriad collection of izakaya restaurants and karaoke parlours at the core of Beppu’s nightlife district is The Hell Bar, a name being a hat tip to the city’s…

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At a glance

Beppu's other hell, an intimate nightclub in the centre of Beppu.

Japan, 〒874-0920 Oita, Beppu, Kitahama, 1 Chome−1−19 マキビル
Artegio
Artegio defies easy classification but this elegant intimate yet eclectic space is a unique expression of Yufuin’s discreet charms. On a rise in the low foothills of Mt. Yufu-dake,…

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At a glance

A beautifully curated eclectic small gallery, tea room and chocolatier.

artegio | アルテジオ, 1272-175 Yufuincho Kawakami, Yufu, Oita, Japan
Arata Isozaki
Born in 1931 in Oita City, Isozaki, who initially worked with Kisho Kurokawa under Japan’s greatest post-war architect Kenzo Tange, is one of Japan’s celebrated architects with…

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At a glance

Pritzker Prize winning architect and Oita native.

Japan, Oita, 別府市
Comico Art Museum Yufuin
The Comico Art Museum Yufuin is a captivating manifestation in architecture of many Japanese qualities especially tranquility. Comico’s compact size and pitch-black exterior embody…

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At a glance

A sublime private art gallery in the centre of Yufuin created by Kengo Kuma, one of Japan's leading architects.

COMICO ART MUSEUM YUFUIN, 2995-1 Yufuincho Kawakami, Yufu, Oita, Japan
Kisho Kurokawa
Kurokawa was a contemporary of Arata Isozaki, work includes the Nakagin Capsule Hotel in Tokyo, Central Plaza 1 in Brisbane; Melbourne Central; Lane Crawford Place and Republic…

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At a glance

Famed architect responsible for the Nakagin Capsule Hotel in Tokyo's Ginza district and Showa Denko Dome Oita.

Japan, Oita, Yokoo, 1351 大分スポーツ公園総合競技場
Taketa
Taketa developed at the foot of Oka-jo, to serve the castle and its samurai inhabitants, and the charm of an older time is apparent in the townscape to this day. However, Taketa,…

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At a glance

An old castle town that is well-worth a visit.

Japan, Oita, 竹田市
Hita
Hita, set in deep countryside in the west of Oita, is at the centre of northern Kyushu. Serving as the shogun’s most important stronghold on the island, roads fanned out in all…

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At a glance

An elegant and historic town surrounded by verdant countryside.

Hita, Oita, Japan
Kyu-Sento-ji
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…

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At a glance

The evocative site of what once was one of Kunisaki's greatest temples.

Kyu-Sento-ji Temple Ruins, 1346 Kunimimachi Sendo, Kunisaki, Oita, Japan
Kingo Tatsuno
Tatsuno was one of Japan’s celebrated western-style architects of the Meiji Period, when Japan rapidly changed from a feudal, samurai-led society into a modern society modelled on…

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At a glance

The architect who designed Tokyo Station and Oita Bank's headquarters, both elegant buildings from the early 20th Century.

Japan, Oita, Funaimachi, 2 Chome−2−1 赤レンガ館
Takezaiku Bamboo Weaving
Takeizaiku is the ages-old craft of weaving bamboo, an innately flexible and robust material, into every day, functional objects for the home and at work.

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At a glance

Takezaiku, an ancient craft turned into an art form in Beppu.

Japan, Oita, 別府市
Fumihiko Maki
Fumihiko Maki studied architecture under Kenzo Tange at University of Tokyo before going on to study at Harvard University.

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At a glance

A leading exponent of modern Japanese architecture since the mid-20th Century.

Japan, Oita, Nakatsu, Aihara, 3032-16 風の丘葬斎場
Beppu: Onsen hot springs, art & much more
With more onsen hot springs than anywhere else in Japan, Beppu takes the crown as the nation’s top onsen hot spring destination. So much hot water wells up from beneath the ground…

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At a glance

Legendary onsen hot spring town aside the Seto Inland Sea. Great views, thriving arts scene, great dining and nightlife.

Beppu, Oita, Japan
Usuki Sekibutsu Stone Buddhas
Although Kunisaki, in the north of Oita Prefecture, has by far the greatest number of stone buddhas found anywhere in Japan, Usuki also has its fair share including an image of…

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At a glance

Probably Japan's most famous collection of stone Buddhas.

Japan, Oita, Usuki, Fukata, 804-1 臼杵石仏(磨崖仏)
Galleria Midobaru
Galleria Midobaru sets itself apart from Beppu's other hotels. A steeply climbing road from the city centre turns increasingly narrow as it reaches an outer suburb. Anyone could be…

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At a glance

A hotel where architecture, modern Japanese art, expansive views and onsen hot springs coalesce into a sumptuous experience.

Galleria Midobaru, 6組 堀田 Beppu, Oita, Japan
Glanz Taketa Multi-purpose Cultural Centre
Taketa is a popular with visitors and people looking for a life in the countryside. Taketa is replete with history, appealing townscape and verdant hilly countryside, great food,…

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At a glance

An impressive piece of community architect and cultural hall.

Glanz Taketa, Tamarai, Taketa, Oita, Japan
Fuko-ji
Fuko-ji temple is found at the end of a quiet country lane in Asaji, Bungo-Ono. Even though its imposing gate is significant for such a remote, rural temple it provides no…

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At a glance

A wonderful temple far from the beaten track.

Fukoji Temple, 1225 Asajimachi Kamiotsuka, Bungoono, Oita, Japan
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…

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At a glance

The ancient Buddhist-Shinto spiritual tradition of the Kunisaki Peninsula.

Japan, Oita, Kunisaki, Musashimachi Maruono, 国東半島
Monjusen-ji
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,…

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At a glance

An atmospheric temple set in the deepest reaches of the Kunisaki Peninsula.

Japan, Oita, Kunisaki, Kunisakimachi Daionji, 2432 文殊仙寺
Chikushitei
Chikushitei is a jewel of a restaurant making it one of Oita’s, if not Kyushu’s, finest. A traditionally formal entrance lends an almost hidden-in-plain-view feel to Chikushitei…

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At a glance

A jewel in Oita's world of cuisine.

Chikushitei, 1692 枝町 Nakatsu, Oita, Japan
Tomaya Tea House
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…

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At a glance

An atmospheric shop and cafe sepcialising in local green tea.

Japan, Oita, 杵築市Kitsuki, 385 お茶のとまや
Deities of Kunisaki and Beyond
Shakyamuni
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”.

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At a glance

Kunisaki's pantheon of Buddhist deities.

Japan, Oita, Kunisaki, Musashimachi Maruono, 国東半島
Sapporo Hita Brewery
Introduced to Japan in the 19th Century, beer has long been the nation’s favourite tipple and today accounts for approximately two-thirds of alcohol consumption.

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At a glance

Visit Sapporo's Hita brewery to learn about the origins of the company and to savour some of Japan's classic beers.

Japan, Oita, Hita, Takase, 6979 サッポロビール 九州日田工場 ウエルカム館
Beppu Traditonal Bamboo Crafts Center
This small, exhibition centre has lovely displays on the development of takeziaku bamboo crafts, and its growth into an art form and the artist instrumental in this. It also a…

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At a glance

Beppu's exhibition centre extolling the beauties of takezaiku bamboo crafts.

Japan, Oita, Beppu, Tsurumi, Bamboo Craft Museum
Anthony Gormley & the Kunisaki Art Project
It is surprising to find a work of art by Anthony Gormley, the famed British sculptor, in the very depths of the Kunisaki Peninsula. “Another Time XX” – a life sized cast iron…

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At a glance

Japan, Oita, Kunisaki, 国見町 アントニー・ゴームリーの鉄の像
Terunobu Fujimori
Fujimori is probably the least well-known overseas of Japan’s acclaimed architects. However, his portfolio of eccentric, whimsical and very humane structures certainly deserves…

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At a glance

A Japanese architect who has created some of Japan's most organically-inspired buildings including Lamune Onsen in Nagayu Onsen.

Japan, Oita, Taketa, Naoirimachi Oaza Nagayu, 7676-2 ラムネ温泉
Fuki-ji
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…

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At a glance

One of Japan's most serenely beautiful temples.

Japan, Oita, Bungotakada, Tashibufuki, 2395 富貴寺
Mizushi-no-Mori
Everything about Mizushi-no-Mori exudes a quiet dignity and subtle elegance, a sense of nature and man in harmony. The realisation of a long-held dream, the proprietors, a husband…

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At a glance

A beautifully located serene cafe and gallery.

Japan, Oita, Taketa, Kujumachi Oaza Ariuji, 久住高原cafe&galleryみずしの森