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Beppu

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* [[Yufuin]], nearby, offers even more hot-springs.
 
* [[Yufuin]], nearby, offers even more hot-springs.
 
* Beppu can serve as a resting point before or after a trip to [[Mount Aso]]. The Kyushu Oudan Bus departs for Mount Aso from a depot about a block and a half east of JR Beppu Station on Ekimae-dori.
 
* Beppu can serve as a resting point before or after a trip to [[Mount Aso]]. The Kyushu Oudan Bus departs for Mount Aso from a depot about a block and a half east of JR Beppu Station on Ekimae-dori.
 +
* The '''African Safari Wildlife Park''' (Tel. 0978-48-2331) is a 60 minute bus ride from JR Beppu Station. Look for the kangaroo-covered posters outside the west exit. (Yes, kangaroos.)
  
 
{{isIn|Oita_(prefecture)}}
 
{{isIn|Oita_(prefecture)}}

Revision as of 11:39, 11 March 2007

Umi-Jigoku (Sea Hell)

Beppu (別府) [3] is a city in Oita prefecture on the island of Kyushu, Japan.

Understand

One of Japan's Three Great Hot Springs, Beppu is also known as the Las Vegas of Japan, a reference more to its extensive sex industry than gambling. The resort has been attempting to clean up its image though, with limited success.

Get in

By plane

The nearest airport is in Oita, from which shuttle buses run to Beppu (¥1450, 40 minutes).

By train

The Sonic limited express train runs twice an hour from Fukuoka (Hakata) and Kokura, stopping at Beppu before terminating in Oita. If you are coming from Honshu on the San'yo Shinkansen line, 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 6 PM. If you want reach Beppu in a shorter amount of time, you can take the 10 PM 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.

Get around

The Foreign Tourist Information Office (Tel. 0977-23-1119; open 9:00am-5:00pm) [4] has two branches in the city center. One is near the east exit of JR Beppu Station, and the other is on Ekimae-dori, between the Ginza and Yayoi shopping arcades. Both offer free internet access, maps of the city, bus passes and discount coupons for the jigoku.

Most of the sights can be reached by the Kamenoi bus system. Departures are from the terminal outside the west exit of JR Beppu Station. The Foreign Tourist Information Office sells one-day bus passes for ¥900 (¥700 for students). Destinations are listed in English, but many of the routes overlap with each other, so take care. An extra hand-written English route map is available upon request.

See

Jigoku

Beppu's top sight are the ten 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 main group of eight hells are administered by The Beppu Jigoku Association (Tel. 0977-66-1577). [5] Combination tickets can be purchased for ¥2000, or ¥1800 with a coupon from the Foreign Tourist Office; admission to each individual hell is ¥400. Hours for the eight hells are 8:00am-5:00pm, although Tatsumaki-Jigoku doesn't close until its geyser has blown at the end of the day, so it may be open a little bit later than the rest.

Six hells are within walking distance of each other. Take bus #2, #5, #9, #41, or #43 from JR Beppu Station to the Umijigoku-mae stop.

  • Umi-Jigoku (Sea Hell)
  • Oniishibozu-Jigoku (Shaven Monk's Head Hell)
  • Yama-Jigoku (Mountain Hell)
  • Kamado-Jigoku (Boiling Hell)
  • Oniyama-Jigoku (Demon Mountain Hell)
  • Shiraike-Jigoku (White Pond Hell)

Two more hells are about 2.5km 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. Take bus #16 (6 min).

  • Chinoike-Jigoku (Blood Pond Hell)
  • Tatsumaki-Jigoku (Geyser Hell)

Finally, there are two hells that are not included in the combination ticket.

  • Honbouzu-Jigoku (Mud Hell) Bus #2 from JR Beppu Station (20 min) runs to Honbouzu, or it's a short distance from Umijigoku-mae. Admission is ¥400.
  • Kinryu-Jigoku (Golden Dragon Hell) Near Siraike-Jigoku and Oniyama-Jigoku on Miyuki-zaka.


Other sights

  • Beppu City Traditional Bamboo Center (Tel. 0977-23-1072) Has displays on bamboo craftsmanship and offers courses on making your own. Buses run from JR Beppu Station.
  • Beppu Hihonkan (Sex Museum) (Tel. 0977 66 1385; 338-3 Shibuyu Kannawa. Open 9:00am-10:00pm, ¥1000) Conspicuously missing from the official maps provided by the local tourism agency, it's nevertheless quite easy to find, next to Siraike-Jigoku on Miyuki-zaka in the Kannawa Jigoku area.

Do

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
  • Takegawara Onsen, 16-23 Motomachi, Tel. 0977-67-3880. 6:30am-10:30pm. A stately, classic Meiji-era giant. 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.

Buy

  • The mud-yellow Tokaiwa 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.
  • Smaller shops can be found in the Ginza Shopping Arcade and the Yayoi Shopping Arcade between Ekimae-dori and Nagarekawa-dori.

Learn

  • Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University. The Beppu branch of this Kyoto-based university has students from over 80 countries. Take bus #5 from JR Beppu Station to reach the campus.
  • Beppu University is about two miles west of JR Beppu Daigaku Station.

Eat

Drink

Sleep

Budget

  • Beppu Youth Hostel, 20-28 Nakashima-cho, Beppu-shi, 0977-23-4116 (fax: 0977-22-0086). checkin: 3:00pm; checkout: 9:30am. 15 minutes walk from JR Beppu Station (west exit), near the Beppu Park and the Nakajima Post Office, or take bus #16 or #17 to the Sogo Taiiku-kan stop. Breakfast ¥525.
  • Minshuku Kokage, 8-9 Ekimae-cho, Beppu, Oita Pref. 874-0935, 0977-23-1753 (, fax: 0977-23-3895). A short walk down Ekimae-dori from the east exit of JR Beppu Station; look for the prominent sign. Has its own hot bath. Japanese and Western style rooms ¥4350 for one, ¥7650 for two, ¥11,475 for three.
  • Nogami Honkan, 1-12-1 Kitahama, Beppu, Oita Pref., 81-977-221334 (), [1]. checkout: 10AM. New, spacious and well-appointed rooms, with meals and several hot baths available. There is a fluent English speaker on staff during the day-time hours. It's a few minutes from JR Beppu Station on Ekimae-dori. Turn right at the first street once you see the post office across the street on your left. It's a terrific value at ¥4500 per person.

Mid-range

Splurge

  • Suginoi Hotel, Kankaiji 1, Beppu, Oita Pref., 0977-24-1161 (fax: 0977-21-0010), [2]. A luxury hotel with multiple wings and a connected game center and aqua-fun park. In true Beppu style, it has its own onsen on the premises. Rates range from ¥15,900 (per person) in Japanese or Western-style rooms on the Hon-Kan floor to ¥23,250 (per person) on the Good Time Floor.

Get out

  • Yufuin, nearby, offers even more hot-springs.
  • Beppu can serve as a resting point before or after a trip to Mount Aso. The Kyushu Oudan Bus departs for Mount Aso from a depot about a block and a half east of JR Beppu Station on Ekimae-dori.
  • The African Safari Wildlife Park (Tel. 0978-48-2331) is a 60 minute bus ride from JR Beppu Station. Look for the kangaroo-covered posters outside the west exit. (Yes, kangaroos.)



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