Located in Oita in the north eastern side of Kyushu, Beppu is world renowned for its hot springs and tranquil atmosphere. Over 2,000 hot springs and eight geothermal volcanic regions dominate Beppu’s tourist attractions. Beppu is nestled in between the ocean and volcanic mountain range which is responsible for the thermal hotspots that warm the hot springs.
The “Beppu Hotto”, or Beppu’s hot springs, also generate energy for the city as well as provide the main source of tourism. The citizens of Beppu are able to heat their homes and water their gardens using “yunohana”, the mineral rich water that gives Beppu its unique trademark. There are so many hot springs in Beppu that they have been divided into eight districts.
Beppu is best known for its eight circles of hot spring hell that are so hot that they have been designated for only viewing rather than soaking. Beppu’s Hells, or Jigoku, have sinister names such as Oniyama Jigoku, Devil Mountain Hell or Chinoike Jigoku, Blood Pond Hell. Each hot spring is walking distance from each other with the exception of the Shibaseki located Chinoike and Tatsumaki Hells, the latter being famous for its erupting geyser. Some hot springs have foot baths where visitors can relax their feet after a long day of touring or hand baths to test the heat. Be sure to try onsen pudding or hard boiled eggs both of which are cooked in the piping mineral water.
Hell Steam Cuisine is the regional food of choice that uses hot spring steam. The minerals in the steam are said to enhance the natural flavors of the vegetables and meat being steamed. The Jigokumushi Kobo Steam Cooking Center lets visitors try their hand at steaming their own meals. Visitors are welcome to provide their own ingredients or purchase food on the premises.
Want to take a break from the heat? Marvel at both modern and Edo period art at the Oita Prefectural Art Museum. The museum houses both Oita City based artists and temporary exhibitions showcasing both international and Japanese artists. The Umitamago Aquarium is known for its contemporary architecture and glass floors where visitors feel like they are standing in the ocean. The aquarium is close to the Takasaki Monkey Park, a reserve where visitors can watch macaques run free. The family friendly aquarium and monkey park are frequently paired together with a discount ticket. All three attractions are located on the outskirts of Oita City but are still accessible via bus.
Beppu is easily accessed from Tokyo via a six hour Shinkansen ride, costing about 25,000 yen or a 90 minute airplane ride to to Oita Airport. The 1,500 yen bus from Oita Airport to Beppu city takes about 40 minutes.
NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR