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Beppu

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Beppu

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Beppu (別府) [3] is a hot spring resort 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

See

Beppu's top sight is the seven (or nine) hells (地獄 Jigoku), multicolored volcanic pits of boiling water and mud, and one geyser. The Jigoku are too hot to be diluted into onsen, and they emerge at various temperatures from 50 degrees Celsius to 99 degrees (122 to 210 °F). Some of the Jigoku have a natural smell of sulfur. If you plan on visiting all seven, you can buy a package trip that may save some money.

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.

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.

Eat

Drink

Sleep

Budget

  • 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.



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