10 Things to do in Oita City

One of the designated locations for 2019’s Rugby World Cup, Oita City is a destination that’s brimming with culture and exciting places to visit!

Located on Japan’s southern Kyushu Island, Oita City is the capital of Oita Prefecture, an area famous for its natural hot springs and delicious food. Oita City itself is somewhat of a hidden gem, with a thriving art scene. Please read on as we introduce a few attractions, both new and old that we highly recommend visiting in order to make your trip as memorable as possible.

Upon arriving, your first port of call should be the Tourist Information Center, conveniently located by the ticket gates in Oita Train Station. The bi-lingual staff will be more than willing to answer any questions you have about the area and won’t hesitate to recommend activities that suit your needs. Pick up a free local area map and head out to explore the following wonderful places, all walking distance from the station except for number 10 which is around 6.5km away.

Oita Art plaza

Get your fill of culture at Oita City’s Art Plaza, which showcases the works of Oita’s own internationally renowned architect and 2019 Pritzker Prize winner, Arata Isozaki.

Opened in 1966 as Oita’s Prefectural Library, this building became a gallery for the works of Isozaki in 1966. Some of Isosaki’s most notable works include the designs of Spain’s Domus: La Casa del Hombre, Ibaraki’s Art Tower Mito and The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, California.

Akarenga Honten

Looking for Oita souvenirs? Here at Akarenga Honten (The Red Brick Warehouse) you can find local ‘Oita-made’ goods from all over the prefecture.

The building itself was previously a bank and still retains its centerpiece, a large clock displaying banking hours. Stop by to get a coffee from the cafe inside and the perfect local gift to take back home.

Kamoshika Cafe

Tucked away in Oita City, Kamoshika is a wonderfully unique bookshop which has a great selection of English books and even its own cafe.

If you find yourself in Oita City with a little free time, we can’t think of a better place to relax!

Giant Lounging Lucky Cat Fukunyan

Originally created in memory of the late sculptor Fumio Asakura, Fukunyan will welcome Oita’s Rugby World Cup visitors.

Made by graduate students from Tokyo’s University of the Arts, the 10-meter wooden sculpture will be sure to catch everyone’s attention!

Funai-jo castle 

To welcome people visiting Oita for 2019’s Rugby World Cup, the government commissioned a replica of Oita’s once-proud Funai castle, using scaffolding and over 70,000 LED lights.

Visit the Funai Castle remains at night to see this fantastic reconstruction in its full glory. If you’re lucky enough to visit after a rain shower, you might just catch its reflection in a puddle.


If you have any kind of interest in anime, ‘Otarabo’ is a must visit bar located in the center of Oita City.

The impressive amount of figures, magazines and DVDs to keep you entertained is only surpassed by the selection of cocktails on offer!

Kasuga shrine

Watch how Shinto priests meticulously prepare the beautiful Kasuga Shine every morning before guests arrive. When visiting Oita, we highly recommend a spiritual cleanse by visiting Kasuga Shrine in Oita City.

Funai castle ruins

Built by Ōtomo Sōrin in 1562, Funai castle was badly damaged in 1743, however parts of the original wall and the moat are still intact.

The castle ruins are a popular cherry blossom viewing spot boasting over 70 Somei-yoshino cherry trees, we highly recommend a visit when they’re in bloom!

Atami Onsen

Opened as a sento in 1957 and then becoming an onsen in 1983, Atami Onsen is one of the few remaining traditional bathing houses.

Largely untouched in years, the building gives a unique insight into Showa Era Japan and includes a traditional massage chair (a bargain at 3 minutes for 10 yen!) and lockers missing the unlucky numbers 4 and 9.

A short walk from JR Oita station, be sure to pay a visit and experience bathing in a bygone era.

Tanoura Beach

Be sure to check out this picturesque island, accessible via a short walk bridge on the Oita coast.

Tanoura Beach is the perfect place to catch some relaxing rays in the summer that features showers, lockers, pirate ship playground, and an artificial island!

We hope you enjoyed our suggestions in Oita City, please check out the above sights in a convenient Collection via the link below and leave a comment on it to let us know if we didn’t mention anything that would have made your top ten list! :D

Ian Rudd

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