Oya History Museum (大谷資料館, Ōya Shiryōkan) is a former mining site for Oya Stone, a light grey rock created from a mixture of ash and lava that can only be found near the town of Oya in Tochigi Prefecture. The museum opened in 1979 and operations at the site ended in 1986. The stone is known for having been used in the construction of the old Imperial Hotel in Tokyo by the famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The nearby Tenkaisan Oya Temple was also constructed out of Oya Stone.

The small museum before the mines

There is a single room near the entrance to the mine which holds a collection of artifacts used by the miners to cut the rock. From here, visitors then descend into the mine itself. The caverns are up to 60 meters underground and today are used for exhibitions, events, movie shoots, and, more recently, art installations. Visitors are free to roam around almost all areas of the mine. Temperatures in the caverns are often below ten degrees Celcius so visitors are advised to bring something warm. Outside is a cafe and souvenir shop where visitors can buy Oya stone products like coasters, candle holders, and other products.

Images from the mines being used in dramas and movies

Because the car park is free for the Oya History Museum, many visitors leave their vehicles at the museum and walk to Tenkaisan Oya Temple which is only 500 meters away (there is parking at the temple, but there is a charge).

Oya History Museum - Subterranean Cave (大谷資料館), 909 Oyamachi, Utsunomiya, Tochigi 321-0345
« Google Maps »
April to November: 9:00-17:00; December to March: 9:30-16:30.
¥800 for adults, ¥400 for children
You May Also Like

Taimeiken Kite Museum

A museum exhibiting kites from Japan, Asia, and some European countries. The museum occupies the 5th floor of…

Samurai Museum

Museum in Kabukicho with displays of the swords, matchlock guns, and armor used by the samurai over the different periods of Japanese history. You can also dress in samurai attire and have your photograph taken.

Artizon Museum

Art museum established by Ishibashi Shojiro, the founder of the Bridgestone Corporation, the tire manufacturer. The Ishibashi Foundation has built on Ishibashi’s personal collection over the years and today the museum is an eclectic mix 2,600 pieces of Japanese, European, and American.

Tokyo National Museum

Japan’s oldest national museum with over 110,000 works of art and artifacts from across Japan and Asia, including 87 designated national treasures.