NK Orijent is founded in 1919 in Sušak, at that time predominantly Croatian, eastern part of the current city of Rijeka, as opposed to Fiume, western part of the city of Rijeka with a notable Italian minority.
According to the legend, during his time on journey to the United States, one of the club's founders saw a ship named Orient in the New York Harbor. After he came back, he suggested new club to be named Orient, which was adopted. As regimes changed, Orijent was often forced to change its name, so during its history it was known as Jedinstvo, Primorac, Primorje and Budućnost. Finally, from 1953 onwards, club carries the original name Orijent.
Although Orijent spend most of its history in lower tiers of Yugoslav and Croatian football, it was and it is popular among Sušak's population.
Club's greatest success came in 1969 when they were champions of Yugoslav Second League's Division West but were unable to win promotion through playoff. Other notable successes were quarterfinals of Yugoslav Cup in 1980-81 and 1982-83. Orijent played top tier football only once, during the season 1996–97 when they finished 14th and were relegated. In 2014 club was under financial problems and shot down and fall in First League of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, but was renewed and renamed in NK Orijent 1919.