Beppu

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

Understand

Mount Tsurumi

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.

Get in

By plane

Oita airport is nearby, from which shuttle buses run to Beppu downtown (¥1450, 40 minutes).

The Fukuoka airport can be also used thanks to the bus service from the airport through the Oita Expressway coming to Kannawa onsen / Beppu downtown (¥2000 in case of 4-coupon ticket, 110 minutes).

By train

Beppu train station

The Sonic limited express train runs twice an hour from Fukuoka (Hakata Station) and Kokura, stopping at Beppu before terminating in Oita. From Hakata station to Beppu takes ~117 minutes, and if purchased as an individual one-way costs ¥4290. Far better for the solo traveler planning a roundtrip is to buy nimai-kippu (discount two tickets) for ¥6,000 (Hakata <> Beppu) / ¥5,800 (Kokura <> Beppu). For pairs traveling, it's even better to purchase yonmai-kippu (discount four tickets) for ¥10,000 (Hakata <> Beppu) / ¥9,800 (Kokura <> Beppu.)

If you are coming from Honshu on the San'yo Shinkansen line (such as those holding Japan Rail Passes), switch to the Sonic at Kokura station. From Kokura, you can reach Beppu in 75 minutes at a cost of ¥4290 each way (no charge with the Japan Rail Pass).

An overnight train, the Fuji, runs from Tokyo Station to Beppu in 17 hours, departing Tokyo at 6PM. If you want reach Beppu in a shorter amount of time, you can take the 10PM Sunrise Izumo/Sunrise Seto to Himeji, take the San'yo Shinkansen to Kokura, then take the Sonic to Beppu. (12 hours)

By car

The Oita Expressway runs from the south, passing a few miles to the west of the city. Exit at the Beppu Interchange. National Route 10 runs north-south through the city center, along the shore of Beppu Bay.

By boat

Uwajima-un'yu ferrry company operates frequent service from Yawatahama, with about 6 crossings per day, going to Beppu port.

Diamond Ferries runs a service from Kobe to reasonably nearby Oita, with no stops. It also runs a service from Osaka to Oita, stopping in Matsuyama on the way.

Kansai-kisen operates a service from Osaka direct to Beppu.

Information Office

The Foreign Tourist Information Office has three branches in the city center. Two of them (except Beppu Station) offer free internet access.

Get around

Beppu Myoban bridge

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 for ¥900 (¥700 students), which is likely the best deal for most.

The office can additionally provide the departure time and 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 clearly 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.

See

Jigoku

Umi-Jigoku (Sea Hell)
Tatsumaki-Jigoku

Beppu's top sight are 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. If purchased separately, admission to each individual hell is ¥400. 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 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.

Two more hells are about 2.5 km away. Either catch a bus back to the Kannawa Onsen bus stop or walk a couple 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).

The Tatsumaki-Jigoku is a geyser that goes off every 30–40 minutes for a period of 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 go see the Chinoike-Jigoku first.

Other sights

Do

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

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

Myoban Onsen

Festivals

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

Learn

Buy

Eat

Jigokumushi
Chicken tempura

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.

Drink

Sleep

Paved street with hot spring fumes
Outside hot spring bath (rotenburo)
It would be a shame to use the shower instead

The Kannawa area has many small ryokan and paved streets that make for pleasant evenings walks in yukata.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Go next

Hot spring well
Routes through Beppu

Kitakyushu  N  S  Oita Kagoshima
Tosu  N  S  Oita


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, March 31, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.