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The Oya History Museum in Utsunomiya, Tochigi: Video Introduction

This video, titled "[Oya History Museum] A 6-minute tour of another world in Tochigi: The Oya Stone Mining Site 4K" (【大谷資料館】栃木にある異世界6分ツアー 大谷石採掘場跡 4K), was uploaded by "Tourist Attraction Japan."

The Oya History Museum is located in a mysterious underground space with vast stone structures that are illuminated. In the video, you can see the beautiful 4K footage showing what resembles an underground temple.

When lit up, the quarry ruins become an artistic space. Take a moment to check out the video that condenses some of the best parts of the Oya History Museum into just 6 minutes of footage.

Learn About the History of Oya Stone Mining at the Oya History Museum!

Image of the Oya History Museum, Utsunomiya, Tochigi
Photo:The Oya History Museum, Utsunomiya, Tochigi

Oya stone, mined mainly in Oya, Utsunomiya, in Tochigi Prefecture, became known throughout Japan when it was used as a building material for the former Imperial Hotel. At the Oya History Museum, visitors can learn about the history of Oya stone in the exhibition room on the ground level and at the Oya Stone Mining Site.

Oya stone is made of hardened volcanic ash and pumice rock fragments. It is softer and easier to process than other stones, and was mainly used as a building material because of its excellent fire resistance.

Mining began in the mid-Edo period (around 1700-1800 AD). At first, mining was conducted during the off-season, but by the Meiji era (1868-1912), had become a full-fledged industry. Later, mining was done by hand until the 1950s, when it was successfully mechanized.

The Oya History Museum is a valuable place where visitors can actually see and learn about the history of Oya stone mining, including the changes in the mining process throughout the years.

The Oya History Museum, a Filming Location for Japanese Movies and TV Dramas

Image of illuminated Oya stone at the Oya History Museum, Utsunomiya, Tochigi
Photo:Illuminated Oya stone at the Oya History Museum, Utsunomiya, Tochigi

The Oya stone Mining Site has been the filming location for many Japanese dramas, movies, and music videos. Popular films include Rurouni Kenshin, Assassination Classroom, and the Kamen Rider series, and dramas such as "The Brave Yoshihiko And The Seven Driven People." It has also been used for shooting music videos for musicians, such as the Japanese rock duo B'z.

Here are some of the various highlights of the Oya History Museum:

●It's a Space Reminiscent of an Underground Temple
Descending the stairs from the entrance to the basement, visitors will find a 20,000-square-meter space which looks like an underground temple from a science fiction movie.

●Recreation of the Hand-Digging Era With Dolls
The museum uses realistic dolls to recreate the hand-digging mining that was conducted from the Edo period (1603-1868 AD) until the introduction of machines in 1955.

●Holes With Light Coming in From the Ground
During the mining process, holes were drilled to check the digging position from the ground. The light shining through these holes is as artistic as calculated lighting.

●Mining Ruins Resembling Murals
The patterns of the mining ruins on the walls are like contemporary artwork. The walls are also used for concerts and other events. The space surrounded by Oya stone is said to have excellent acoustics.

●Fantastical Lighting
Artworks and art objects using lighting are exhibited in the mining site, and art exhibitions are held on occasion as well.

In addition, the site offers a variety of other ways for visitors to enjoy their visit, such as exploration events in collaboration with the "Made in Abyss" anime series.

When visiting, visitors should be sure to wear warmer clothing. The temperature at the mining site can be as low as 10-11°C even in the summer, so be sure to prepare a jacket.

Reservations, Admission Fees, and Time Required to Visit the Oya History Museum

Image of Oya History Museum, Utsunomiya, Tochigi
Photo:Oya History Museum, Utsunomiya, Tochigi

You might be wondering, "Do visitors need a reservation to enter the Oya History Museum?" Well, as it turns out, reservations are not required for regular tours. Since there are only stairs to go underground, wheelchairs and baby strollers are not permitted to enter the museum. For those who have difficulty walking, a golf cart service is available to guide visitors, but please contact the Oya History Museum directly for details due to restrictions, such as limited weekday hours and the need for advance reservations.

Also, please note that permission for taking cosplay photos is not received via reservation, but through application and permission, and there is a fee for this service.

Admission to the Oya History Museum is 800 yen for adults, 400 yen for children (elementary and junior high school students), and free for preschool-aged children; group discounts apply for groups of 20 or more, with the price reduced to 700 yen for adults and 350 yen for children.

The average time required to visit the Oya History Museum is about 40 minutes. If you want to take your time while taking pictures, it's recommended that you expect to spend around 60 minutes here.

Visit ROCKSIDE Market After the Oya History Museum for Lunch at a Café

On the grounds of the Oya History Museum, there is a café-restaurant called ROCKSIDE MARKET. After a leisurely stroll through the underground mining site, be sure to stop by.

Upon entering the stylish restaurant, you'll find dynamic vases made of hollowed-out Oya stone, plants in Oya stone pots, accessories, and other items for sale. The lineup includes unique Oya stone products made by artists based in Tochigi. These souvenirs are a great way to commemorate your visit to Tochigi.

A popular menu item is a galette made with ingredients from Tochigi Prefecture. There are both dessert galettes and meal galettes, which are perfect for lunch or afternoon tea. Gelato, available in several flavors, is also popular, so be sure to give it a try.

There are other stylish cafes around the Oya History Museum as well, so have a look around if you're looking to grab a bite to eat after learning about the history of Oya stone.

Things to Do Near the Oya History Museum

After visiting the Oya History Museum, consider checking out one of these tourist attractions located nearby:

Oya Temple
This Buddhist Temple in Utsunomiya, Tochigi is famous for its relief carvings which are done on the faces of the stone cliffs in the area. The temple is believed to have been founded by the famous Buddhist monk Kukai (Kobo Daishi) in 810 AD.

Hours: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm.
Closed: Thursdays (open on national holidays), December 26-31
Admission Fee: Adults: 500 yen, Middle school students: 200 yen, Elementary school students: 100 yen (Discounts available for groups of 30 or more)

Heiwa Kannon
Heiwa Kannon is a large Buddhist statue of Kannon (Avalokitesvara, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy). The statue, which stands nearly 27 meters tall (88.5 feet), was carved completely by hand over a period of 6 years from 1948-1954. The name means "The Peaceful Goddess of Mercy."

Hours: 24 hours
Closed: Always open
Admission Fee: Free

Summary of the Oya History Museum in Utsunomiya, Tochigi

The Oya History Museum can be accessed from JR Utsunomiya Station by local bus.
It's a popular spot where many Japanese Instagrammers come to take photos. Children can enjoy exploring the underground temple-like mining site as though they've wandered into another world. If you're traveling to Tochigi, be sure to add the Oya History Museum to your itinerary!

【Official Website】Oya History Museum

【TripAdvisor】Oya History Museum

Written By
Last Updated : Apr. 19, 2023
平敷 篤(Atsushi Heishiki)
My name is Atsushi Heishiki, a writer who loves Japanese culture and lives in Okinawa.
The Oya History Museum – Explore the Unique Facility Reminiscent of an Underground Temple! This Former Quarry Is Full of Attractions!
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