Streets with strong landscapes, the largest volume of hot springs gushing out in Japan and the number of hot spring source is approximately 2300, accounting for 10% of all Onsens in Japan, which is also number one in Japan.
Not only represented by its numbers, Beppu is characterized by its vast variety of onsen. The “Beppu Hatto”, meaning the Beppu’s Eight Onsen is comprised of the Beppu, Kannawa, Kankaiji, Myouban, Kamegawa, Shibaseki, Horita and Hamawaki onsen. Each of these onsen areas has uniquely different spring quality.
Near Beppu station there is the Takegawara Onsen established in 1879 representing Beppu Onsen.
The Kannawa onsen area has been used as a medicinal public bath for many years and “Jigokumushi (Steamed) Cooking” can be enjoyed. The Myouban onsen area on the highlands, is famous for its Yu-no-Hana (hot spring incrustation). There are many more onsen in Beppu City and one visit is not enough to enjoy them all. An integral part to the daily lives of locals, there are over 100 public baths in the city, which cost only about 100 yen to use. The continuously flowing, fresh onsen is extremely hot and people who are not use to such temperatures may feel sick. Observe how the locals bathe as a reference to enjoy your bathing experience.
The place where steam and boiling water gushes out from the depths of the earth is called "Hell". In Beppu it can be found all over but the birth is said to be over 1000 years ago when Tsurumi-dake erupted. At the time, it was so hot that nobody could even close and hence the scary name of "Hell".
Although you can call it simply "Hell" there are various kinds, such as Sea Hell with its cobalt blue color, Oniyama Hell where 100 crocodiles reside and Blood Pond Hell with its red boiling water and steam. The seven hells in Kannawa/Kamegawa area can be visited using a common viewing ticket and at four of these you can enjoy a footbath.
Let's feel the unbelievable power of hell which mother nature has created at close range.
10 minutes walking distance from Beppu station. An area known for its eateries and bars, suddenly you see a sight of an old Japanese style building which is Takegawara Onsen. This building with charm, solidness and an imposing appearance was built in 1938. It is a registered tangible cultural property and also registered as a modern industrial heritage.
When you enter, you first pay the bath fee to the attendant. If you are taking a normal bath it is only 100 yen. You are excited by the retro atmosphere which is similar to that of the exterior and you go to the bathroom. The ceiling is high and natural light pours in from the window above illuminating the inside which makes for a fantastic bathing experience. However, what you need to watch out for is how hot the bath water is. If you are not used to it you will be shocked and for the novice, please bathe near the water supply area. If you are interested, sand bath is also well worth trying (1000 yen).
There are lots of local delicacies in Beppu, so much so that you will not be able to decide what to have. Here, we will introduce some of them to you.
Chicken is a something you cannot do without in Oita Prefecture. Actually there was a time when consumption of chicken meat was number one in Japan. A typical local dish which uses chicken is called "Toriten" (chicken tempura). Toriten cooked by marinating a chicken with soy sauce and garlic and using the same batter you would use for tempura you fry it which makes the meat soft and the outside very flaky. While it's hot you dip it into a vinegar soy sauce and put mustard and eat it.
If you want noodles please try "Beepu Cold Noodle". Cold, lightly flavored soup using Japanese soup stock is very tasty and when you mix the Kimchi on top it turns into a refreshing sour taste. One thing that really stand out is the thick noodle which has a chewiness that if you take a bite it will spring back at you. Its taste which you would want to experience regardless of day or night, summer or winter is also loved by the locals.
For those with a sweet tooth, "Yaseuma" is very popular. Yaseuma is made by mixing flour and water and making it into a round ball. You then flatten it and boil it and you eat it by sprinkling Kinako (soybean flour). With its chewy texture and simple sweetness, it is also popular with the kids.
There are other Beppu delicacies such as the fresh "Seki jack mackerel/Seki mackerel" caught in Beppu Bay and "Hell steamed dishes" using Onsen steam just to name a few. All the details can be found at the Beppu homepage or in a brochure so make sure you check them out and enjoy these wonderful tasty delicacies.
Beppu is surrounded by ocean and mountains and the view is fantastic. Access by JR, air or using the ferry etc. is also good. It is an international tourist city with every conceivable facility such as the Onsen, hotel, tourist facilities and retail facilities. As it neighbors Fukuoka and Kumamoto please visit Beppu when you are in Kyushu.