Landmarks & Attractions

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.

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Harmony Land’s ferris wheel is hard to miss as it towers over the surrounding countryside, only heightening the excitement that fans of Sanrio’s characters entertain when visiting this park, where the theme is firmly on ‘kawai’, or cute.

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african safari2 v3
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.

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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.

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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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Tsurumisaki
Tsurumisaki 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 fishing hamlet after another.

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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 Prefecture; with light traffic it is an ideal road to explore for both adventurous touring cyclists and motorised transport.

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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.

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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.

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Tanga hodai
From afar the glass dome atop a forested promontory suggests that the site is a botanical garden. However, the information boards and a bent rusted aircraft propeller aside the narrow entrance burrowed into a cliff face quickly dash any hope of seeing rare and beautiful plants here.

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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.

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Sadaji Futabayama
Throughout the ages there are some athletes so accomplished they transcend their sport and establish records considered so substantial that they are considered unbreakable. Futabayama (1912-1968) is one of these.

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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.

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Oita 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 two-kilometre long white sand Nata Beach, the shrine faces east to Shikoku across the steely-blue Seto Inland Sea.

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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.

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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;...

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Oita 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 Zoological Garden.

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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 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 rock formations, the Yabakei area is renowned nationally for its beautiful spring foliage and autumn leaves.

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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 Uchinari
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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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.

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Oita Tashibu
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.

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Tanso Hirose Kangien
Tanso Hirose (1782 - 1856) was a Confucian scholar, teacher and writer of Chinese poetry. The eldest son born in Hita to a wealthy merchant family, Tanso, as he is commonly referred to, was, according to accounts, a bright and diligent student.

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Oita Takasakiyama
Famous throughout Japan, Takasakiyama for is a reserve for wild Japanese macaques. The dominant monkey’s personalities and the dynamics of the troops they lead make national news. So, not surprisingly, it is one of Oita’s most popular destinations that is especially busy during holidays and on the weekend.

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Oita Taio Kinzan
The Taio-Kinzan was once the largest gold mine in Asia; Oita’s very own El Dorado.

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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.

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Oita Shipbuilding
A number of shipyards are found in the south of Oita around Usuki and Saiki. Although the yards are not normally open to the public, a ship launch is a cause to celebrate and access is often given on these occasions.

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OHT Rakkanji
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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Oita Okajo
Only the ramparts of Oka-jo remain, but their scale and impressiveness allude to the power that this hill-top citadel once held over the surrounding region.

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Oita Nakatsue Cameroon2
For a rural community barely known of in the rest of Oita, Nakatsue drew enormous national attention during the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

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Oita 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 prolific thinker, Baien also became a philosopher, scientist and astronomer whose fame spread throughout Edo Japan.

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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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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.

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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...

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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.

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Oita Keishoji3
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 the way in Japanese characters to Jigoku Gokuraku, or Hell and Heaven.

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Oita Jigoku onsen
Jigoku Onsen, or Hot Spring Hells, are scaldingly hot and most definitely not for bathing in. However, they are a fascinating attraction. Mostly found in the Kanawa area, there are  ten Hells each with their own natural qualities including blood red waters, cobalt blue waters, geysers, and belching mud-pools.

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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.

Oita Iwatoji
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, however, are the oldest in the area and date from 1478.

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At a glance

One of the three temples on Kunisaki where the peninsula's famed Shujo Onie festivals is still held.

Oita 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 Seto Inland Sea beyond to Honshu are a fitting reward for making the climb.

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Oita Hotojima
Hotojima, an island off Tsukumi, is an outlier both geographically and culturally when compared to the rest of Oita, even Japan, making it an intriguing place to visit. Usually, however, there are not many visitors amongst the passengers aboard the ferry to the island from Tsukumi harbour.

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Oita Futamigaura
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.

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Oita Futagoji2
Like many of Kunisaki’s temples, Futago-ji traces its founding back to Rokugo-Manzan’s founding monk Ninmon.

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Oita Funai 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 found in the city centre but few of the buildings that once stood within its defences.

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

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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 Choanji
Choan-ji was, for a while, the principle temple of Kunisaki.

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Oita 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. Tsurumi-dake.

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Oita Autopolis2
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 an unassuming precursor to the largest motor race track in west Japan.

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Oita Aonodomon
In the 18th Century, Zenkai, a monk at Rakan-ji, witnessed a person falling into the waters of the Yamakuni River from the dangerous, cliff-hugging path it was necessary to negotiate to reach his temple.

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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.

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