Art & Design
Built as a memorial to one of the region's finest and most influential artists, the Fumio Asakura Museum of Sculpture in Oita was once Asakura's house and studio. Asakura established a style called naturalistic realism, and developed his own school, the Asakura School. This extensive park presents some of the sculptor's most renowned works in its hall and on the grounds, as well as pieces from other Asian artists.
The best way to access the park from Oita Station is by train and then taxi.
From Oita Station, take the Hohi mainline train to Asaji Station. From Asaji Station, the park is a 15-minute ride by car or taxi. Parking is available.
This museum was built to commemorate one of the area's most beloved sons, Fumio Asakura, who is regarded as the father of modern Japanese sculpture. Born in Asaji, Fumio moved to Tokyo to study and produced work that set a precedent for those who would follow. There is also an Asakura Museum of Sculpture in Tokyo. His most popular work is the masterpiece "Grave Keeper," apparently modeled on a grave keeper at Tennoji Temple in Yanaka .
Although Asakura always desired to build a rest and recreation area in his hometown, he died in 1964 before he was able to achieve his ambition. Following his passing, the people of Oita got together to create this sculpture park and to make his dream come true. Explore the grounds to find out more about how and why they did it.
The Sculpture Hall houses an impressive collection of over 50 pieces by Asakura, offering a representative cross-section of this prolific artist's most famous works. An incredibly influential figure, Asakura worked for a while as a professor of his alma mater, the Tokyo School of Fine Arts. His body of work and concepts continue to inspire scholars and other artists.
Asakura loved cats, and about a dozen cat sculptures are constantly exhibited in the Ran-no-ma area.
Beautiful works by other leading contemporary Asian sculptors are showcased throughout the grounds and the park, including Chinese paintings, calligraphic works and curios. The park is also the site of the popular Oita Asian Sculpture exhibition, which showcases artists from across Asia each year.
Aside from remembering Asakura and showcasing art, the park serves as a focal point for the town, which thrives on agriculture and tourism. The 16-hectare facility is designed as a place where locals and tourists can relax as Asakura would have wanted, offering a viewing platform, waterside sculptures by the wild bird sanctuary, and a nature park.
The park is also home to a ceramics studio for both study and practical work, which continues to support and inspire budding artists.