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.

Read more

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

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

Terunobu Fujimori Nagayu
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 more attention.

Read more

Tekizanso Hiji
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 lord's castle, this picturesque structure, set in a classic Japanese garden, is registered as one of Japan’s national treasures.

Read more

Suzumegusa v2
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 varied work of a young husband and wife team of artists.

Read more

Shigeru Ban Yufuin
Ban caught the attention of the architectural world through his innovative use of cardboard tubes in construction in creating temporary structures, which can be quickly and cheaply built – ideal in the aftermath of natural disasters.

Read more

Oita Made v2
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 modern, arts and crafts and their stories under one brand.

Read more

Magma Glass Taketa
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 wife artist-owners transplanted their workshop to here from Yokohama near Tokyo in 2015.

Read more

Comico Art Museum
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 known for his use of timber, which the Olympic Stadium uses on a colossal scale.

Read more

Kamoshika Oita
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 comfortable environments.

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

Fumio Asakura Bungo Ono
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.

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.

Arata Isozaki
Born 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 work around the world including: the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Grand Avenue in Los Angeles; Sports Hall for the Summer 1992 Olympics in Barcelona;...

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

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

Toyo Ito Kitsuki
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 architectural firm, and Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham, who together established the Klein Dytham practice in Tokyo.

Read more

Toshiko Akiyoshi Beppu
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 collector and began her career as a jazz pianist playing to American troops stationed in the city.

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 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.

Read more

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.

Read more

Shozo Uichi
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 residence at the Imperial Palace, and Moto Azabu Hills Forest Tower.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

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 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 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

Kiyonori Kikutake Saiki
Along with Kisho Kurokawa a student of Kenzo Tange, work over a long career was almost entirely in Japan. This included: the Miyakonojo Community Center; Edo-Tokyo Museum; Sofitel Tokyo Hotel; Kyushu Media Dome in Kitakyushu; Showa Museum in Tokyo; Shimane Art Museum; and Kyushu National Museum.

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 dome
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 Plaza in Singapore; Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia, New Wing of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam; National Arts Center, Tokyo; Singapore...

Read more

Oita Oita City
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 western principals.

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 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.

Read more

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.

Read more

Fumihiko Maki Nakatsu
Maki studied architecture under Kenzo Tange at University of Tokyo before going on to study at Harvard University.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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’.

Read more

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.

Read more

Core Yamakuni
Kuryu began his career with Fumihiko Maki’s before establishing his own architectural practice. His works include the Uemura Naomi Memorial Museum in Toyooka, Japan; Byodoin Hosho-kan Museum in Kyoto; and the Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims.

Read more