Arts & Culture

Oita 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 stone-paved streets, lined by a number of traditional buildings, that are pleasant to stroll around.

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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.

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beppu hot springs 26
With more onsen hot springs than anywhere else in Japan, Beppu takes the crown as the nation’s top onsen hot spring destination.

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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.

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

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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”.

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At a glance

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

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.

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OIta Hita
Hita, 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 directions allowing the rapid transmission of information and dispatch of military forces to suppress any dissent.

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At a glance

Historic town

Rural location

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.

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Oita 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, shops selling high-quality locally-made handicrafts, boutiques, art galleries and small museums. A compact town it is ideal to stroll around.

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Oita Usuki Buddha
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 Dainichi Nyorai, which is considered to be the finest example of its type in Japan.

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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).

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Oita Takezaiku v2
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. It has also long been used to create utensils for the tea ceremony.

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At a glance

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

Oita 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.

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Oita Ontayaki
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 valley, Onta’s charm and the pottery, which it gives its name to, are well-worth making the journey.

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Oita 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 Pritzker Prize. The Oita Prefectural Library, an early work of his, has been refashioned as an art gallery.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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At a glance

20 minute ferry ride from Imi

Ideal for cycling

Interesting Geology

Oita Hita Gion
Three Oita cities, Nakatsu, Hita and Usuki, hold Gion festivals on 21st and 22nd July each year. Resembling its famous counterpart of the same name and held in the same month in Kyoto, the colourful and sumptuous Gion festivals recall an earlier, courtly period of Japan.

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At a glance

Sumptuous, hand-pulled floats parading around historic streets are one of the great, festive sights of summer each year in Oita.

Oita Asakura Fumio
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 he is sometimes likened to Rodin.

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Oita 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 indication of the impressive scenery to be found beyond.

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At a glance

A hidden gem of a temple deep in the Oita countryside.

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.

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Oita 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 that the company receives’.

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At a glance

One of Japan's most powerful and dynamic entertaiments.

Oita Takezaiku
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 an broad collection of their works on display.

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