Tuesday Sep 3, 2019

Samurai swords and Japanese art: Rugby fans in Oita can look forward to a unique cultural experience

Fans heading to Oita for the Rugby World Cup will have lots of interesting Japanese cultural activities to take part in away from the field. Top of the list should be a visit to OPAM, the Oita Prefectural Art Museum, where you can attend a unique exhibition on Samurai Swords as well as get a special look at some historical Japanese art. 


Starting on October 2nd, Oita – one of the three host locations in the southern main island of Kyushu – will host three Pool matches, namely between New Zealand and Canada, Australia and Uruguay and Wales and Fiji. Oita will then also host two quarter finals, on the weekend of the 19th October.

Fans in attendance can explore the city and surrounds but should definitely make a stop at OPAM, an interesting museum built in 2015 that will have a bespoke outside fan area, as well as two unique exhibitions that are sure to give you a fascinating insight into Japanese history and culture.


Symbolizing the spirit of the warrior, extremely valuable, masterpiece swords will be brought in from all over Japan, as this exhibition will give visitors a truly unique look at swords made with traditional Japanese techniques, as well as accessories like metal rings and other metalworks from the Meiji period.

OPAM metals



Focusing on the Utagawa School, this exhibition will display a variety of Ukiyo-e print work that shows the lifestyle of the Edo period.

The works vary from portraits of beautiful women, Ukie with Western perspective, and other interesting traits by Ukiyo-e masters.

With the hypothesis that Toyoharu Utagawa, the founder of Utagawa School, might be considered originally from Usuki, the exhibition introduces Toyoharu’s successors such as Toyokuni, Toyohiro, Hiroshige, and Kuniyoshi, as well as the competitive Hokusai.

OPAM art


The museum is located a few minutes from the city centre and is easily accessible on foot from the main train station.

You can find out more information at

Video Spacer

All image credits, left to right:
1. GOTO Ichijo
Sheath of Kiku Karakusa Sword/The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto/Photo: Kimura Yoichi
2. UTAGAWA Kuniyoshi
Play in First Snow/Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art
3. UTAGAWA Kuniyoshi
Tametomo Rescued by Tengus Sent by Sanuki-no-in/Hagi Uragami Museum
4. UTAGAWA Kuniyoshi
The Haunted old Palace at Soma / Hagi Urgami Museum
5. SADATOSHI (National Treasure)
Sword/Tokyo National Museum/Image: TMN Image Archives
6. UTAGAWA Hiroshige
One Hundred Famous Views of Edo: Plum Park in Kameido/Shimane Art Museum
7. UTAGAWA Hiroshige
One Hundred Famous Views of Edo: Boats, Towed on the Canal along Yotsugi Road/Kitakushu Municipal Museum of Art

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