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Beppu, Japan

Beppu (別府市 Beppu-shi) is a city in Oita prefecture on the island of Kyushu, Japan.

Famous for its visually stunning hot springs (

The Hells of Beppu)

, Beppu is one of Japan's Three Great Hot Springs.
It was also once known as the Las Vegas of Japan, a reference more to its extensive sex industry than gambling. The city has been attempting to clean up its image, however. To non-Japanese tourists, the sex industry may not be obvious, or even perceivable.
​Beppu is along the coast but pressed by the mountains. As a result the city, while not very large, is rather long. Most of the most well-known onsens and the tourist attractions, including most of the Jigoku or "hells", are in the Kannawa area which is almost on the opposite side of the city from the train... Read more

Beppu, Japan

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Beppu (別府市 Beppu-shi) is a city in Oita prefecture on the island of Kyushu, Japan.

Famous for its visually stunning hot springs (

The Hells of Beppu)

, Beppu is one of Japan's Three Great Hot Springs.
It was also once known as the Las Vegas of Japan, a reference more to its extensive sex industry than gambling. The city has been attempting to clean up its image, however. To non-Japanese tourists, the sex industry may not be obvious, or even perceivable.
​Beppu is along the coast but pressed by the mountains. As a result the city, while not very large, is rather long. Most of the most well-known onsens and the tourist attractions, including most of the Jigoku or "hells", are in the Kannawa area which is almost on the opposite side of the city from the train station. Buses to and from the Hell areas come around every 30 minutes. Many of the onsen are open very late, so many tourists opt to stay in one of the onsen areas.

 


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Beppu, Japan: Port Information


Beppu Port is situated in the western part of Beppu Bay. The port is located nearby the famous attractions such as hot springs, volcano, shrines, and temples.

Get around Beppu, Japan


On foot

The town itself is walkable. The Hells may be a bit far for most to find it convenient. Though, walking is a possibility for those who don't mind it and are not in a hurry.

By bus

The Hells and other sites can be easily reached via the tourist-centered bus system. Departures are outside JR Beppu Station. The Foreign Tourist Information Office inside JR Beppu Station sells one-day bus passes.
The office can additionally provide the departure time and a number of the next bus going to your destination (if it's the Hells - the next bus will be leaving shortly), as well as maps detailing the route. On the Hells route itself, bus schedules are posted at stops. The longest intervals are ~30 minutes.
If needed, check the "See" section for more specific information on the bus system transversing the Hells area.

What to see in Beppu, Japan


Jigoku

Beppu's top sight is the eight hells (地獄 Jigoku), multicolored volcanic pits of boiling water and mud, and one geyser. The hells are too hot to be diluted into onsen, and they emerge at temperatures ranging from 50 to 99.5 °C (122 to 210 °F). Some of the hells have a natural smell of sulfur — which comes out a bit like rotten eggs.
The eight hells are administered by The Beppu Jigoku Association, ☎ +81 977-66-1577. Combination tickets can be purchased at any of the hells for ¥2100 for visits to all eight. If one purchases an unlimited bus ticket for ¥900 from the Foreign Tourist Office in Beppu train station, one is given a coupon book. Included is a ¥200 discount for the combination ticket. Hours for the eight hells are 8AM-5PM, although Tatsumaki-Jigoku doesn't close until its geyser has had its last eruption at the end of the day so that it may be open a little bit later than the rest. All eight hells can be seen at a fairly leisurely pace in about two and a half hours.
Three of the hells are next door to each other, and the others are within a few minutes walk. Take bus #2, #5, #9, #41, or #43 from JR Beppu Station to the Umijigoku-mae stop. The foreign tourist office in Beppu train station can tell you the next bus that is leaving for the area, as well as provide a map of the route.

  •   Umi-Jigoku (海地獄 Sea Hell). Blue-green fuming pond
  •   Oniishibozu-Jigoku (鬼石坊主地獄 Shaven Monk's Head Hell).
  •   Yama-Jigoku (山地獄 Mountain Hell).
  •   Kamado-Jigoku (かまど地獄 Boiling Hell).
  •   Oniyama-Jigoku (鬼山地獄 Demon Mountain Hell).
  •   Shiraike-Jigoku (白池地獄 White Pond Hell).

Two more hells are about 2.5 km away. Either catch a bus back to the Kannawa Onsen bus stop or walk a couple of minutes down the main road or Miyuki-zaka to Kannawa Onsen street and take a left. From the Kannawa Onsen stop, take bus #16 (6 min).

  •   Chinoike-Jigoku (血の池地獄 Blood Pond Hell).
  •   Tatsumaki-Jigoku (龍巻地獄 Geyser Hell).

The Tatsumaki-Jigoku is a geyser that goes off every 30–40 minutes for about 5 minutes. One trick in using your time efficiently for the final two hells is to first go to the Tatsumaki-Jigoku and find out when the next eruption occurs. If you just missed the last one, then see the Chinoike-Jigoku first.

Other sights

  • Beppu City Traditional Bamboo Center (竹細工伝統産業会館), ☎ +81 977-23-1072. Has displays on bamboo craftsmanship and offers courses on making your own. Buses run from JR Beppu Station.
  • Kintetsu Beppu Ropeway

    , ☎ +81 977-22-2278. When the weather is clear this ropeway will take you 800m up to the top of Mt. Tsurumi (1375m) which has a full view of the city and Beppu Bay. Hours vary by season but mostly closes around dusk. Evening views are only available during Golden Week and August. From the upper station, there is a ten-minute uphill walk to the top, with several small temples and shrines along the way. 
  • Global Tower (グローバルタワー), ☎ +81 977-26-7111. 9AM-9PM Mar-Nov., 9AM-7PM Dec-Feb. An observatory 100m up within Beppu City itself that gives a full 360-degree view of the city. It's part of the Beppu International Convention Plaza (B-Con Plaza) and about 15 minutes on foot from the west exit of Beppu Station, just across from the western side of Beppu Park. Another similar option is the older Beppu Tower. 

What to do in Beppu, Japan


Onsen

Downtown Beppu offers several hot springs to visit. You can't wander too far, though, without seeing the equally promiscuous sex shops, which will usually be quite blatant on the streets. If you're going to visit a hot spring with children, and you're worried about this, plan ahead.

  • Takegawara Onsen (竹瓦温泉), 16-23 Motomachi, ☎ +81 977-67-3880. 6:30AM-10:30PM. A Meiji-era classic. The hot bath is extraordinarily hot, and signs gently remind you that the regulars like it that way. If you're not in a hurry, take a dip after you've been buried up to your neck in hot sand on the other side of the building. Tickets come with a yukata. Step into the changing room to stash your valuables, change into your yukata, head through the curtain, and then lay down in the sand pit (with the yukata on); an attendant will be along to shovel hot sand on you shortly. (Cameras are welcome — they're happy to take photos of you while you're buried.) After ten minutes or so, you'll emerge from the earth and shower back in the changing area. It's between Ekimae-dori and Nagarekawa-dori, one block before the intersection with Route 10. Tickets are ¥100 for the hot bath, ¥1000 to include the sand bath. Discount coupons may be available from some of the neighboring hotels.

The other hot spring areas in addition to the downtown Beppu are:

  • Kannawa Onsen (鉄輪温泉) (Bus 5, 9, 41, 43 from JR Beppu Station)
    • Yukemuri Observation Platform to see hot springs steam against mountains.
    • Hyōtan Onsen (ひょうたん温泉), ☎ +81 977-66-0527. 09AM-01AM. A large complex with indoor and outdoor baths using several types of wood and stones, sauna and steam rooms, a waterfall bath, and a dry sand bath. There is a restaurant inside the complex. 
    • Young Center (ヤングセンター). Also shows Japanese traditional popular drama.
    • Public baths. Such as Mushiyu (historical steam bath), Shibunoyu, Shoninyu, Jigokubaruyu, Netsunoyu, Sujiyu and Taninoyu.
  • Kamegawa Onsen (亀川温泉) (JR Kamegawa Station)
    • Hamada Onsen
  • Myoban Onsen (明礬温泉) (Bus 5, 9, 24, 41, 43 from JR Beppu Station to Myoban or Jizoyu Mae)
    • Tsukahara Onsen
    • Onsen Hoyoland (Bus 5, 9, 24, 41, 43 to Konya Jigokumae) with a mixed-bathing mud bath.
  • Shibaseki Onsen (柴石温泉) (Bus from JR Kamegawa Station)
  • Kankaiji Onsen

    (観海寺温泉) (Bus from JR Beppu Station)
    •   Tanayu Onsen (棚湯温泉) (Part of Suginoi Palace Hotel). 9AM-11PM. Many different baths and a sauna with stunning view of the city. 
    •   The Aqua Garden (Part of Suginoi Palace Hotel). Water park
  • Horita Onsen (堀田温泉) (Bus from JR Beppu Station)
  • Hamawaki Onsen (浜脇温泉) (JR Higashi Beppu Station)
    • Utopia Hamakawi Onsen
  • Beppu-Kaihama Sand Bath (別府海浜砂湯) (Beside the art museum), ☎ +81 977-66-5737. 8:30-17:00, 9:00-16:00 during winter. Closed every 4th Wednesday of the month. Sand bath on the beach. A normal bath is also available, all with parasols. Parking available. 

Festivals

  • The international Music Festival: Argerich's Meeting Point in Beppu has been annually held since 1998.

What to eat and drink in Beppu, Japan


Eat

Try vegetables and seafood placed in small baskets and cooked directly in the hot springs, they are called jigokumushi (地獄蒸し). Be sure to include shiitake mushroom, for which Beppu is famous. Chicken tempura (とり天 toriten) is another speciality to try.

  • Toyotsune (とよ常), Ekimae Hon Machi (As you exit the East Exit of Beppu Train Station, it's opposite the station on the left side tucked in the corner.). Till 9PM. A small but cozy outlet that has a 20 year history. The place's friendly Okami-san has also recently prepared an English menu (inquire inside). The place serves a good Tendon (2 big prawns!) for ¥680, and it comes with a Miso Soup which is also the shop's speciality, with a stronger taste than the normal ones. 
  • Hanatokei Coffee and Tea (花時計珈琲館), Funakoshimachi 1-32 (Daisansou-Iriguchi bus stop (Oita Kotsu Bus toward Ritsumeikan)). 8AM-8PM. Opened for nearly 30 years, Hanatokei is currently run by Mrs. Matsumoto, a devoted student of coffee beans and baking. The menu includes Japanese and Western style dishes. 400-1000 Yen.
  • 68 Bistro. 5-10PM Su-Th. A calm and casual dining experience which doubles as a bar from 9PM onwards. (See 'Drink' below) English/Japanese speaking staff. Japanese, Western, and South-East Asian style dishes are sure to satisfy any craving.
  • Kogetsu (胡月). Cold noodles called "reimen".
  • Toyoken (東洋軒). Chicken tempura.
  • Ogawa (お食事処お川). Sashimi and seafood. 
  • Izutsu (海鮮いづつ). Good sashimi sets at low prices.
  • Yakiniku Ichiriki (焼肉一力). Grilled meat. 

Drink

  • Hitparade. A uniquely Japanese experience, Hit Parade is an all you can eat buffet and all you can drink (alcoholic or not) American 1950's Dance Hall. A live band performs songs from 1950's America while locals perform coordinated dance moves in front of the stage. It's more of a show than a modern dance club, think of a theater with food and drinks, but well worth the scene. 
  • Plan B, 大分県別府市北浜1-10-12 (Opposite Tokiwa Department Store), ☎ +81 97 726 6200. An international bar/club with English and Japanese speaking staff. Usually frequented by local university students. Crazy parties can take place on weekends during the Semester but generally Plan B is a great place for a drink and good conversation. This bar has also often proven itself to be an entertaining source of information about local sights and attractions.

Shopping in Beppu, Japan


  • The mud-yellow Tokiwa Department Store has four floors of high-end and casual clothing shops, a food court in the basement, and other standard depato fare. It's on Ekimae-dori, at the intersection with Route 10. There is a starbucks on the ground floor.
  • You Me town Department Store (Beppu shop). On Route 10 near Beppu Tower. There's a large grocery, pharmacy, and beauty shop on the ground level.
  • B-Passage (Beppu Station center)
  • Smaller shops can be found in the Ginza Shopping Arcade and the Yayoi Shopping Arcade between Ekimae-dori and Nagarekawa-dori.

Safety in Beppu, Japan


Carry a cellphone with you at all times and avoid areas where there are no streetlights, people, or busy shops/restaurants (just like anywhere else!).

Language spoken in Beppu, Japan


Kyushu is home to dialects of Japanese that are almost incomprehensible to speakers of standard Japanese -so much so that it was utilized during World War 2 for preventing interception by the Allies of Japanese communications. Even native speakers of Japanese from Honshu often have problems understanding the conversations of locals. However, most people can speak standard Japanese and especially in the cities younger people may also have a decent command of English.

LOCAL TIME

1:36 am
March 27, 2019
Asia/Tokyo

CURRENT WEATHER

3.33 °C / 37.994 °F
sky is clear
Wed

15.67 °C/60 °F
sky is clear
Thu

14.05 °C/57 °F
light rain
Fri

13.63 °C/57 °F
broken clouds
Sat

12.19 °C/54 °F
light rain

LOCAL CURRENCY

JPY

1 USD = 110.5 JPY
1 EUR = 124.74 JPY
1 GBP = 146.06 JPY
1 AUD = 78.91 JPY
1 CAD = 82.56 JPY

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