Ube is known as the city of flowers and sculptures—quite a juxtaposition! Art lovers can discover the rich roots of this premier art destination. Walking through town, you’ll come across a menagerie of surreal creations seemingly birthed from the mist of dreams. Tokiwa Park in Ube City features an amusement park, two museums, and a zoo, but it is also the home of Ube Biennale—an outdoor sculpture extravaganza that spans the city.
Once every two years, Ube transforms into the world’s largest open-air sculpture exhibition. Launched in 1961, and boasting over a half-century of history, Ube Biennale was initiated in the post-war era as a way to revitalize the city.
Artists from around the world are invited to submit models, drawings and images of works to be considered for the exhibition. Currently, more than 200 sculptures from over fifty years of prior submissions are also on permanent display throughout the city, offering a unique insight into Japan’s post-war history and its maturation into the economic superpower it has become today. Take your time walking through Tokiwa Park, enjoying the eclectic sculptures of Ube Biennale and appreciating the history of the community they preserve and honor to this day.
After a day spent discovering the sculptures scattered throughout the city, head south of Ube City to Kiwa la Beach for some R&R. With its swaying palm trees and pastel-colored stucco rest house, the year-round leisure and camping facilities at Kiwa la Beach were created with the image of a Mediterranean beach resort in mind.
Famous for shell gathering and sea bathing, Kiwa la Beach is actually a shoal beach, meaning that it’s very shallow. The low tide exposes a 700m sandbar, the longest in Japan. You can walk along the entire length of it while collecting the beautiful shells left behind by the waters.
On days where there isn’t much wind, the waters reflect like a mirror the brilliant sunrise in the morning, as well as the glitter of the stars overhead at night.
Airport: Yamaguchi Ube Airport
Ube Biennale is held in Tokiwa Park, which is always open.
Ube Biennale starts 9/29/2019 and ends 11/24/2019. Admission is free.
Ube Biennale Sculpture Hill (Tokiwa Park)
3-4-1 Norisada, Ube City, Yamaguchi Prefecture
+81-836-51-7282 (Ube Biennale Secretariat)
From Shin-Yamaguchi Station take the Ube Municipal Bus Hagiwara Line or Hagiwara Loop Line service and disembark at the Tokiwa Park bus stop.
From Yamaguchi Ube Airport, take the Megurina Municipal Bus and disembark at either Tokiwa Park or Tokiwa Museum.
Kiwa la Beach
Camping is available all year round. It is possible to swim at the beach from July to August, and clamming is best enjoyed from the end of April to the beginning of May.
Swimming is free, and it costs 200 yen to use the warm water showers. There is a 250 yen fee for clamming, and a 1000 yen fee for camping or barbecuing.
54-3 Shika no mae, Higashi Kiwaaza, Ube City, Yamaguchi Prefecture
+81-836-34-8353 (Ube City Tourism and Global Promotion Division)
From Ube Line Kiwa Station, walk for 10 minutes.
Rurikoji Temple’s Five-Storied Pagoda
Akiyoshidai and Akiyoshido
Hofu Tenmangu Shrine, Mohri Garden, Suo Kokubunji Temple, Amidaji Temple
Hagi Castle Town and Hagi Meirin Gakusha (Historic Schoolhouse)
Tsunoshima Ohashi Bridge (Great Tsunoshima Bridge)
Yanai City’s White-Wall Townscape