Landmarks & Attractions

The Saiki Coastal Road
One of Oita’s most spectacular roads skirts the prefecture’s intricate coastline from central Saiki to Oita’s southern borders. It then continues on into neighbouring Miyazaki…

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At a glance

One of the great coastal road of Japan.

Japan, Oita, 佐伯市
Yabakei
Yabakei, is an extensive, scenic area centred on a valley carved over 2.5 million years by the Yamakuni River. Riven by forested valleys and interspersed with numerous cliffs and…

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At a glance

An extensive rural area of gorges that are scenic at any time of year but especially beautiful in the autumn.

Japan, Oita, Nakatsu, Honyabakeimachi Hida, 耶馬溪
Uchinari Tanada Rice Terraces
Uchinari Tanada are a spectacular and extensive series of more than 1,000 terraced paddies that recall an older age when rice was planted and harvested by hand.

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At a glance

Terraced rice paddies covering a steep hillside provide a classic view of Japan.

Japan, Oita, Beppu, Uchinari, 内成棚田
Garden of the Otomo family residence
Little original remains of Oita City’s samurai heritage but in 2020 the long lost landscaped garden of the Otomo family residence was opened to the public after a painstaking…

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A fascinating long-term project recreating the villa of Otomo Sorin.

Otomo Ruins(Otomo Residence), 10 Uenogaokanishi, Oita, Japan
Road trip: Yamanami Highway
Although one of the most picturesque driving experiences in Japan, the Yamanami Highway remains a less-driven way. Running through the heart of Oita from Beppu via Yufuin to the…

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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
Futamigaura New Year Sunrise
Seeing the first sunrise of each year is a popular pastime throughout Japan but few places match the awe-inspiring spectacle at Saiki’s Futamingaura. Here the sun rises over the…

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See in the new year as the sunrises over an iconic coastal Shinto scene.

Japan, 大分県佐伯市上浦大字浅海井浦2966
Tashibu-no-Sho
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, Oita's grand shrine.…

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At a glance

One of Japan's most picturesque rural scenes.

Japan, Oita, Bungotakada, Tashibuosaki, 田染荘展望台
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
Yukichi Fukuzawa
Fukuzawa (1835-1901) is a very familiar to all Japanese, not least because his portrait has adorned the 10,000 yen banknote since 1984. Born into a low-ranking samurai family in…

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The humble home of one of Japan's leading modernisers of Japan after the Meiji Restoration.

Fukuzawa Memorial Museum, 586 留守居町 Nakatsu, 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
Oka-jo Castle
Only the ramparts of Oka-jo remain, but their scale and impressiveness allude to the power that this hill-top citadel once held over Taketa and the surrounding region. There is a…

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At a glance

The grounds of this old castle are delightful to vist at any time of the year but especially for the sakura cherry blossom and autumn colours.

Japan, Oita, Taketa, 2889, 岡城跡
Hotojima
Hotojima, an island off Tsukumi, is an outlier both geographically and culturally when compared to the rest of Oita, and even Japan, making it an intriguing place to visit.…

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At a glance

A distinctly different atmospheric island.

Japan, Oita, Tsukumi, Hotojima, 保戸島
Keisho-ji
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…

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A intriguing immersive experience of the Buddhist afterlife for man on earth.

Japan, 大分県Usa, Ajimumachi Higashiera, 地獄極楽(桂昌寺跡)
Korechika Anan
A contemporary of Mamoru Shigemitsu, Korechi Anan (1887-1945), who was born in Taketa, was a military man throughout his adult life and rose to the rank of general in the Japanese…

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A Japanese patriot whose last action quelled a rebellion against the Japanese surrender in 1945.

Japan, Oita, 竹田市Taketa, 広瀬神社
Tanso Hirose
Tanso Hirose (1782 - 1856) was a Confucian scholar, teacher and writer of Chinese poetry. Born in Hita as the eldest son to a wealthy merchant family, Tanso, as he is commonly…

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Hirose Tanso and the Kangien school in Hita.

Kangien, 2 Chome-4-2-13 Tanso, Hita, Oita, Japan
Nakatsue & Cameroon
For a rural community barely known of in the rest of Oita, Nakatsue drew enormous national attention during the 2002 FIFA World Cup. It hosted the Republic of Cameroon’s national…

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At a glance

A verdant village in deepest Oita with a strong connection to Cameroon.

Japan, Oita, Hita, 中津江村合瀬
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…

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At a glance

A sacred site that affords great views across the surrounding area. An artwork by Anthony Gormley sited here adds an extra frission to the natural beauty.

Japan, Oita, Kunisaki, Kunimimachi Imi, 伊美港
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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Probably Japan's most famous collection of stone Buddhas.

Japan, Oita, Usuki, Fukata, 804-1 臼杵石仏(磨崖仏)
Akira Kuryu
Kuryu began his career with Fumihiko Maki’s before establishing his own architectural practice.

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Architect who studied under Fumiko Maki.

Core Yamakuni, 130 Yamakunimachi Morizane, Nakatsu, Oita, Japan
Taio-Kinzan Gold Mine Museum
The Taio-Kinzan was once the largest gold mine in Asia; Oita’s very own El Dorado. Production stopped in 1972 but some 800 metres of the old tunnels have since been opened to the…

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At a glance

The gold may have been extracted long ago but this old mine is still a jewel of an attraction.

Japan, 大分県日田市中津江村合瀬3750
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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The evocative site of what once was one of Kunisaki's greatest temples.

Kyu-Sento-ji Temple Ruins, 1346 Kunimimachi Sendo, Kunisaki, Oita, Japan
Rakan-ji
Yabakei's Rakan-ji, a temple said to have been established by Hodo, an Indian monk, in 645A.D., is sited spectacularly within a complex of caves high up on the side of Mt. Rakan.

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One of Japan's most interestingly sited temples with great views over the Yabakei region.

Japan, Oita, Nakatsu, Honyabakeimachi Atoda, 1501 羅漢寺
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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An impressive piece of community architect and cultural hall.

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

Beppu, Oita, Japan
Oita Marine Palace 'Umitamago'
Commonly known to the locals as Umitamago, which has the literal meaning of ‘sea egg’, this well-designed and popular aquarium is an immediate neighbour of the Takasakiyama Natural…

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A seaside aquarium introducing Oita's rich sealife and much more besides.

Oita Marine Palace Aquarium
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
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
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
Beppu Ropeway
For panoramic views over Beppu and Beppu Bay to the east and Mt. Yufu-dake to the west ride the Beppu Ropeway, which whisks passengers up almost 800 metres to the summit of Mt.…

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At a glance

Great views over Beppu Bay while taking the easy way up to the top of Mt. Tsurumi-dake.

Beppu Ropeway, Minamitateishi, Beppu, Oita, Japan
African Safari
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. Visitors come into close –…

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At a glance

A great wildlife adventure for the family.

Japan, Oita, Usa, Ajimumachi Minamihata, 2−1755-1 アフリカンサファリ
Tanga Hodai
From afar the glass dome atop a forested promontory on the Tsurumisaki Peninsula suggests that the site is a botanical garden. However, the information boards and a bent rusted…

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At a glance

A one-time military base that is now used as an interesting and placid attraction.

Japan, Oita, 佐伯市
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
Autopolis Motor Race Circuit
The journey to Autopolis along quiet country lanes, past carefully tended farmhouse gardens through the picturesque valley-riven, deeply forested countryside in the west of Oita is…

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At a glance

A top-class race circuit in the centre of Kyushu.

Japan, 大分県Hita, Kamitsuemachi Kaminoda, 1112−8, AUTOPOLIS
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
Jigoku Onsen
Jigoku Onsen, or Hot Spring Hells, are scaldingly hot and most definitely not for bathing in. However, they are a fascinating attraction.

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At a glance

Jigoku Onsen are exotic natural phenomena and symbolic of Beppu's claim to be the hot spring capital of the world.

Japan, Oita, 別府市Kannawa, 779鐵輪溫泉
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
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
Harmony Land Theme Park
Harmony Land’s ferris wheel is hard to miss as it towers over the surrounding countryside and only heightens the excitement that fans of Sanrio’s characters entertain when visiting…

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At a glance

Fun for the family with younger children and the young at heart.

Harmony Land, 5933 Fujiwara, Hiji, Oita, Japan
Soba Cafe Yuhi
Soba Yuhi Cafe takes its name from the glorious sunsets, which here bask the placid waters of the Seto Inland Sea, and also the soba buckwheat noodle dishes that crowns its menu.…

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At a glance

Coffee and light meals whilke enjoying spectacular sunsets over the Seto Inland Sea.

Japan, 大分県豊後高田市Usuno, 5125 真玉海岸
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
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
Tsurumisaki
The Tsurumisaki peninsula is, at its furthest extent, the most easterly point in Kyushu. A quiet 30 kilometre road gently winds its way aside the sea, past bays and through one…

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At a glance

An intriguing rural peninsula that is ideal for a day trip by car or cycle,

Japan, Oita, Saiki, Tsurumi Oaza Kajiyoseura, 鶴見崎第一砲台跡
Funai-jo Castle
Oita City has developed at the expense of its history and unfortunately little remains of its past as a samurai stronghold. The ramparts and moat of Funai-jo castle can still be…

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At a glance

These castle remains allude to the once powerful samurai that ruled Funai, the original name for Oita City.

Japan, Oita, Niagemachi, 1−2−1 府内城跡
Fujikawachi Keikoku
The quest for beauty often requires an effort, and the journey to one of Oita’s sublimely scenic sites is no different. Found literally at the end of a long and winding road, at…

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At a glance

A remote beautiful gorge that fully rewards those who make the journey.

Japan, Oita, Saiki, Ume Oaza Kiurauchi, 藤河内渓谷
Kumahachi Aburaya
Dignified statues celebrating heroines and heroes, stateswomen and men, and local personages are common in many countries around the world, and Japan is no different. Found in…

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At a glance

Local hero and father of Japan's modern tourism industry.

Japan, Oita, Beppu, Ekimaecho, 12, 別府駅
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
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
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
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
Rugby World Cup Memorial: The Lionman
The 2019 Rugby World Cup held in Japan is widely regarded as a great success both as a sporting event and introduction to Japan. Even the cancellation of some matches caused by…

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At a glance

Commemorative sculpture for the 2019 Rugby World Cup held in Japan and Oita.

Daiwa Roynet Hotel Oita, 2-3 Niagemachi, 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
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
Shipbuilding & Ship Launches
A number of shipyards are found in the south of Oita around Usuki and Saiki. Although they are not normally open to the public, a ship launch is a cause to celebrate and access is…

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At a glance

Pomp & circumstance when ships are launched into the sea.

Japan, Oita, 臼杵市
Hachiman 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…

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At a glance

A simple shrine in a gorgeous setting aside the Seto Inland Sea.

Japan, Oita, Kitsuki, Nada, 229 八幡奈多宮
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
Sadaji Futabayama
Throughout the ages there are some athletes so accomplished they transcend their sport and establish records so substantial that they are considered unbreakable. Futabayama…

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At a glance

The boyhood home of Japan's greatest ever sumo wrestler.

Japan, Oita, Usa, Shimosho, 双葉山生家
Road Trip: Exploring Oita's railway heritage
Maybe exploring Oita’s railway heritage by road does seem to be a little non-sensical but please bear with us and read on.

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Otomo Sorin
Otomo (1530-1587), who held sway as the daimyo samurai lord across much of modern-day Oita Prefecture, is held in good regard by the locals to this day. He is particularly famed…

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At a glance

The 16th Century Christian samurai who ruled northern Kyushu from his base in Funai, modern-day Oita City.

Japan, Oita, 大分市
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
Ao-no-Domon
In the 18th Century, Zenkai, a monk at Rakan-ji temple, witnessed a person falling into the waters of the Yamakuni River in Yabakei from the dangerous, cliff-hugging path it was…

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At a glance

This hand-hewn tunnel is a fascinating local landmark near Rakan-ji temple in Yabakei.

Rakanji Temple, 1501 Honyabakeimachi Atoda, Nakatsu, Oita, Japan
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…

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At a glance

One of Japan's earliest polymath who studied medicine, philosophy, economics and science.

Japan, Oita, Kunisaki, Akimachi Tomikiyo, 2507-1 三浦梅園資料館
Takasakiyama Natural Zoological Garden
Mt. Takasakiyama for is a reserve for wild Japanese macaques that is famous throughout Japan. The dominant monkey’s personalities and the dynamics of the troops they lead make…

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At a glance

A haven for Japanese macaques, which are famed throughout Japan.

Takasakiyama Natural Zoological Garden, 3098-1 Kanzaki, Oita, Japan