Oita Prefectural Art Museum

Teiichi Sato

Chairman, Oita Prefectural Arts, Culture and Sports Promotion Foundation

Oita Prefectural Art Museum

OPAM 2-1 Kotobuki-Machi Oita Japan 870-0036


Oita, Japan
Japan Institute of Architects Grand Prix 2016


Museum Of Encounters And Of The Five Senses




Oita Prefecture is a place with a temperate climate and great natural beauty. A place cultivated by rich nature and where the citizens have a gentle character. A place that takes in and absorbs the different cultures of Asia and the West, while fusing together different cultures and customs. In April 2015, a “Museum of Encounters and of the Five Senses,” located in Oita City in the heart of the prefecture and connected to the regional culture and climate, was born.
In January 2017, one year and eleven months on from OPAM’s opening, the museum reached over 1,000,000 total visitors and it continues to be enjoyed by many. In 2015, OPAM was awarded the “Best Emerging Culture Destination” prize at the Leading Culture Destinations Awards 2015. In January 2015, it was selected for the “Japan Institute of Architects Architecture Awards 2015.”

Below is a description of the museum’s architectural concept and basic business policies.

/Mission And Objectives

"Creative Oita"
In the past, Oita Prefecture came to be known as a society brimming with progressive spirit that interacted positively with different cultures, such as the syncretism of Buddhism and Shintoism in the Usa and Kunisaki regions, and the Nanban culture of the period of OtomoSourin, all occurring against a backdrop of rich nature and diverse cultures. Contemporary citizens of Oita Prefecture have unceasingly inherited this history and cultural climate.
Atop of these foundations, we live in a contemporary era in which there is globalization and a diversification of points of view, and alongside people's creativity, we are recognizing each other's values and creating a broad and united cultural climate. Through all of these factors, we are creating a society that is brimming with vitality and energy, in all fields from industry to culture.

OPAM will be used to maximum effect as an art museum that aims at a new twenty-first century style, and as an integrated cultural institution that features a music hall with high quality functions, and will continue to be a place where there is a presentation of new values and where there is stimulating art and culture among citizens of the prefecture and prefectural businesses, as well as groups in each region of the prefecture.

Cooperation and collaboration is being promoted between numerous government and citizen groups. These groups are involved in activities that are linked to the core support of cultural activities provided by citizens of the prefecture (who work to bolster art and culture) and to the art and culture that exists both within and outside of the prefecture. Alongside this promotion of cooperation, OPAM will use art in order to collaborate with organizations in various fields, such as education, industry, welfare and health care, in order to actively grapple with and solve many social and economic problems, and promote the revitalization of the region's economy and society.

Objectives of the Oita Prefectural Art Museum
To display a unique special exhibition based on the theme "Encounters" with a new point-of-view, and to display OPAM's collection of pieces that introduce the cultural traditions of Oita variously, and to always offer the citizens of Oita Prefecture a chance to experience a new sense of values and to be inspired.
In order to raise people who "become fond of art culture with their own style," we must value cultural activities that exist due to independent participation, and so OPAM offers an opportunity to experience and learn about art based on the themes of "Encounters" and "The Five Senses." OPAM has created a place where people from many different fields can cooperate and interact with each other, and OPAM always offers unique and original educational popularization programs that aim to allow people to discover and experience the unique charms of Oita's artistic culture.

Architectural Concept

An "Open" Art Museum
Typical Museums are usually of a closed building type which prevents the public from knowing what activities are going on inside and deprives them of the chance to enjoy art

This Museum aims to draw even those who are not Art-lovers, to visit regularly and enjoy the Museum as a gathering place for the public.

The ground floor atrium is a two-story high open space entirely enclosed by glass, making the museum activities transparent from the street.

The atrium is always free for everyone and can be enjoyed as a civic space. There is a cafe and museum shop that is designed to be movable so they can relocate to adjust to the spatial requirements of exhibition layouts within Exhibition Room A. This exhibition room is formed by using movable walls to divide parts of the atrium into typical closed gallery rooms, or into what transforms the entire atrium into an exhibition space. The atrium is constantly changing with each exhibit, so that with each visit, there is the covered outdoor space bordering the perimeter of traditional Japanese houses.

By removing this wall, the museum becomes a facility that becomes one with the city. Also, when the city closes off the fronting street to become what they call a “pedestrian’s paradise”, the street becomes a connected public space. Combined with the cultural center directly opposite of the museum, it is possible to hold huge events together centered around these two cultural facilities, further reinforcing the energy and spirit of Oita City.

Shigeru Ban

Education Activity

From Art Gallery Education to Art Education, From Art Education to Art Gallery Education
Enjoy art from our own particular viewpoint. In order to discover things of beauty in our everyday lives, and in order for us to view and enjoy OPAM's art pieces, it is important to have an active gaze. For that reason, OPAM is expanding it 'sit’s activities relating to the spread of education, as we maintain the links between the workshops and lectures, the boxes of teaching materials, and the books located in the Reference Area.


Make your body happy
OPAM is running a number of workshops based on the themes of the body and the senses, and the themes of materials and skill.
OPAM Boxes

Gathering fragments of beauty
OPAM is gathering diverse fragments of beauty from all over the prefecture, such as rock and earth, plants, limestone and so on, as well as craftworks, and is creating boxes of original teaching materials

Collaborating with Schools
OPAM wants children and educators to be able to increase their enjoyment of art and of art galleries. To achieve this OPAM works with educational institutions to offer various learning opportunities.

The central themes of the educational program are enabling pupils to experience encounters with authentic works that have a connection to the region and helping pupils to rediscover the charms of their hometown through the use of resources from Oita Prefecture.

Encountering the Authentic
In order for pupils to experience “Encounters with the Authentic,” OPAM has prepared a school program. If a school applies, pupils from the school who visit OPAM will be able to see high quality art works close up. On the “Journey through the Art Gallery” art gallery tours, pupils will be encouraged to activate the eyes that they use to look at objects while they enjoy the art. Furthermore, before their visit to the art gallery, pupils can enjoy the “Art Gallery Journey

At Home” program – an educational school visit.
For children who live in regions where they cannot easily visit art galleries, education promotion teams can travel to their schools and run educational school visits.
Local Color

OPAM has a unique program in which local materials from Oita Prefecture are used to create paint. This enables pupils to experience hands-on learning while making connections between nature, history and colors.

Scientific Verification
Attempts to scientifically verify the educational impact of activities based around the theme of “color” have begun with utilizing Efforts of the nationally subsidized Scientific Research Foundation Research (B).
Promotion of Activities

It is important that educators are able to utilize real examples of educational practices that have taken root in the region, such as using works of art to help pupils to encounter the authentic and their hometowns, as well “local learning,” which promotes art as a nucleus in multiple academic subjects. At the Oita Education Center, research on educational guidance that makes use of art and art galleries is taking place, aimed at second year new hire elementary school educators and more.


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