Beppu,

Beppu,

Hot Springs Resort - Intermediate


T he city of Beppu is located in Oita prefecture in the northeastern region of Kyushu, Japan. Mountains hug the coastline creating a narrow and rather steep city at is home to roughly 123,000 residents. Yet Beppu is well-known as a resort town because of the immense number of hot springs found in the area. In fact, Beppu claims to have over 2,000 hot springs; making it the largest hot spring area in Japan and the second largest in the world. The largest being Yellowstone National Park. Ten of the eleven types of hot springs found across the globe can be enjoyed in Beppu. These boiling waters attract many tourists to the city, who come to enjoy the natural mud, steam, sand, and water baths.

The area is also a great destination for exploring nature. There are a few beaches and the coastal waters are very calm, making for great fishing in the bay. There is also a lake and a few rivers nearby, as well as two mountains easily accessible from Beppu station. Mt. Tsurumi has a well-worn hiking trail and a cable car to the top of the mountain offering great views of the city below. Mt. Takasaki is not as well known for hiking but is instead famous for a monkey park and an aquarium, both located at the base of the mountain.

Most tourists come to Beppu to bathe in the hot springs known in Japan as “onsen(s)” and enjoy a tour of the famous “hells”, hot springs which are too hot to enter. Many bathing hot springs in Beppu are very cheap, some costing only about a dollar. However, there are resort hotels and upscale bathhouses for those who want a more luxurious experience. Hyotan Onsen is one of the more famous tourist springs for its grand design, relaxing atmosphere, and variety of baths. They also serve “jigoku-mushi” which translates to hell steamed food in English. Vegetables, eggs, dumplings and other delicacies are steamed by the hot springs making for a very traditional snack or meal in Beppu. Japanese limes called “kabosu” can also be found in Beppu. The oldest bath house in Beppu is Takegawara Onsen, which was built in 1879. The bath sits inside a beautiful wood building of traditional Japanese design and is located near the station.

The town of Beppu is also home to a unique art scene. There are many artists living, working and displaying their art in Beppu. There is even a bamboo art museum and school that teaches students how to make bamboo crafts not far from the station. Beppu is also home to many family owned restaurants and cafes, so be sure to stop in for a bite. Lastly, the residents of Beppu always enjoy a good party and have a festival dedicated to the hot springs every year during the first week of April.

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