Visit Beppu, the Onsen Capital 別府
One of Beppu's Eight Hells hot springs
Beppu, capital of onsen
Credit: seiko tomono
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Specialties of the city of Beppu.
Credit: Oita Prefecture
Enter an onsen in Beppu.
Credit: Oita Prefecture
What to see and do in Beppu?
A popular destination among the Japanese since its founding in 1924. With thousands of hot springs, Beppu welcomes visitors throughout the year who come to relax in the volcanic waters. Discover this city on the southern island of Kyushu, easily reachable from Fukuoka.
THE EXCEPTIONAL HOT SOURCES OF THE "EIGHT HELLS OF BEPPU"
Beppu is a city on the east coast of Kysuhu, two hours by train from Fukuoka, or six hours from Tokyo. This coastal town is primarily known for its spectacular hot springs. The sea air, lightly perfumed with the sulfur of the hot springs, pleasantly refreshes the visitors who set off to assault the Eight Hells of Beppu.
It is a walking route winding between different open-air basins loaded with volcanic water from which thick smoke escapes. Fortunately, this infernal heat allows other activities to be carried out, including cooking eggs, which are dipped directly into the pools and which come out with a slight meaty taste ...
These pools in red, cyan blue or white colors are called "jingoku": it is not possible to bathe in them but the spectacle is impressive, both by the colors and the smoke that emanates from them. Being volcanic, some are also mud pools. These sources are also designated "place of scenic beauty" by the Japanese government. The combined ticket to visit the Eight Hells will cost you 2,100 yen, they can also be visited separately for 400 yen per pool. The complete visit takes about 2 hours.
- Read also: Jigoku meguri, the eight hells of Beppu
THE BEST ONSEN OF BEPPU
After visiting the Eight Hells, don't hesitate to go and relax in one of Beppu's onsen, in order to end on a peaceful note.
This onsen, arguably the most famous in the city, is located right in the center. Its sumptuous building dates from the Meiji period (1879). The waters of the main basin, rich in sodium, calcium, magnesium chloride and bicarbonate, are known for the skin. This onsen is also famous for its sand bath: your body will be covered with sand heated by the waters of the spring.
Address: 16-23 Motomachi, Beppu,
- Onsen Hoyoland
This is one of the many onsen in the Myoban district, away from the city center. In addition to the classic baths, you can try the sulfur mud bath.
Address: 5 Myoban, Beppu 874-0843, Oita Prefecture
- Myoban Yunosato Onsen
This vast establishment, still in the Myoban district, is very famous, in particular for its milky baths, but also for the view on the city. It is also possible to hire a private bath (practical for couples who otherwise cannot bathe together in public baths), installed in small huts.
Address: 6-kumi, Myoban-onsen, 874-0843 Beppu
ACTIVITIES TO DO IN BEPPU
While Beppu's Onsen and its Eight Hells are the main attractions for visitors, the city is also home to a few other sites to visit or admire. On the way back down to the sea, the most curious adults (beware, the majority is set at 20 in Japan) can stop at the sex museum.
A few minutes walk, still towards the beach, stands the Beppu Tower. Impossible to lose sight of and an ideal landmark in the urban fabric, it also houses a panoramic observatory overlooking the city from 60 meters.
To eat between two visits, the establishments that dot the city offer local specialties: shellfish and steamed vegetables (jigokumushiryôri) and fugu, poison-fish with flesh as delicate as it is dangerous.
VISITS AROUND BEPPU
An hour and a half by train from Beppu (50 min by bus, let alone by car), Yufuin is another famous spa resort in the region, at the foot of Mount Yufu and along the banks of the river of the same name. Bursting with luxurious ryokan, Yufuin is as chic and understated as its popular and bustling neighbor.
- Read also: Yufuin, ultra chic onsen
The port of Usuki, with the old mansions of its samurai district dating from the Edo period (1600-1868) and its famous stone Buddhas from the Heian period (794-1185) is also only an hour by train from Beppu.
HOW TO GET TO BEPPU?
The easiest way to get to Beppu is from Fukuoka. From Hakata Station, take a Limited Express "Sonic - Nichirin" train, heading to Oita. Get off at Beppu station (the trip lasts 2 hours), and is included in the JR Pass (otherwise, 5,680 yen or around € 47). Don't hesitate to take a return ticket which will save you yen if you don't have the JR Pass.
If you are planning to travel around Kyushu, car rental is a good idea for more freedom. Beppu is located about 2 hours from Fukuoka thanks to the motorway, and 2.5 hours from Kumamoto. Beppu being on the Pacific coast, it can then be interesting to follow the coast towards the south for other discoveries.