Located on the outskirts of Bungo-takada, this National Treasure, made of fragrant nutmeg wood, is the oldest wooden edifice in Kyūshū and one of the oldest wooden temples in Japan. Its overgrown grounds and moss-covered stupas complement the 11th-century structure beautifully. Use your smartphone to access information in English via wi-fi. Ōita Kōtsū buses from Usa Station go to Bungo-takada (¥810, 20 minutes); from there, it's a 10-minute taxi ride (around ¥1000).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Kyūshū attractions

1. Maki Ōdō

2.62 MILES

This temple's main hall dates from the Edo period, but the key reason to come here is to see the nine Heian-period sculptures designated important…

2. Taizō-ji

4.06 MILES

At this temple near the entrance to the Kumano Magaibutsu, monks will give you stickers to put on the statue of your Chinese birth year.

3. Kumano Magaibutsu

4.14 MILES

Deep in a forest along a mossy riverbed are two Heian-period Buddha images carved into a cliff: a 6m figure of the Dainichi Buddha and an 8m figure of…

4. Futago-ji

4.96 MILES

In the centre of the Kunisaki Peninsula, near the summit of Futago-san (721m), this temple was founded in 718 and dedicated to Fudō-Myō-o, the fire…

5. Usa-jingū

8.88 MILES

The sprawling, wooded and water-crossed Usa-jingū, the original of which dates back some 1200 years, is the chief shrine among some 40,000 in Japan…

6. Chi-no-ike Jigoku

14.81 MILES

Chi-no-ike is named for its photogenic waters, said to be red like blood (chi). The colour comes from iron oxide and magnesium oxide. This is said to be…

7. Tatsumaki Jigoku

14.83 MILES

Set in Beppu's smaller group of jigoku (hells; boiling hot springs), Tatsumaki has a geyser that shoots off about every 35 minutes.

8. Shira-ike Jigoku

15.62 MILES

One of the Kannawa group's hells, Shira-ike has blue-white water and a Japanese garden. It tends to be the quietest of the neighbourhood's jigoku (hells;…