Beppu’s 8 Mystical Hot Springs: The Ultimate Guide to Japan’s ‘Eight Hells’ (Tips + Must-See Spots)

Original Publish Date:
| Last Updated on:

Hoping to immerse yourself in Japanese culture and unwind in natural hot springs at the same time? Beppu Onsen is your go-to destination!

Located on the island of Kyushu, this picturesque hot spring town is not only easy to reach, it’s also brimming with unique experiences and fascinating geological wonders.

Beppu’s Accessible Location and Convenient Transportation Options

Beppu Onsen’s easy accessibility and well-connected transportation options make it an attractive destination for travelers, especially for those who might be on the fence about visiting.

Well-connected train routes: Beppu is just a short train ride away from major cities in Kyushu, such as Fukuoka and Kumamoto. The city is served by the JR Kyushu Railway Company, which offers comfortable and convenient rides on its Limited Express trains. Additionally, Beppu also connects to other popular onsen towns like Yufuin, making it easy to create a multi-destination itinerary.

Direct highway buses from other cities: Beppu offers direct highway bus services from various cities like Osaka and Hiroshima, providing a budget-friendly alternative to trains for travelers who prioritize cost-effective transportation.

Frequent local bus services: Once in Beppu, visitors will find that the city offers an extensive network of local buses that provide convenient and affordable transportation around the major sightseeing areas, hot springs, and accommodations.

Flexible rental car options: For those who prefer the freedom and flexibility of driving, there are numerous rental car companies in Beppu that cater to various budgets and vehicle preferences. This option is especially beneficial for exploring nearby attractions, such as the African Safari Park or the scenic Yufuin town.

Highlighting Beppu’s accessible location and convenient transportation options can alleviate any concerns that undecided visitors might have about navigating or reaching the area, helping tip the balance in favor of considering Beppu Onsen as their next vacation spot.

First Impressions of Beppu Onsen

Kyushu’s Beppu Onsen took my breath away the moment I stepped off the train. Picture a charming small town, nestled in lush mountains, and dotted with wafts of steam rising from the numerous hot springs. The warm, welcoming locals are ready to share stories and serve up delicious traditional dishes, adding to the charm of this must-visit destination.

Beppu Onsen Eight Hells (Jigoku)

Beppu Onsen is well-known for its eight “Hells” or jigoku. Each boasts a unique color, influenced by its soil and minerals, and is distinguished by its hot water:

Umi Jigoku (Sea Hell):
Vivid blue and heavenly, this hot spring is a feast for the eyes.

Oniishibozu Jigoku (Shaven Monk’s Head Hell): 

Named after the shaved monk’s head-shaped grey mud bubbles formed by the hot springs.

Yama Jigoku (Mountain Hell): 
Admire the cascading hot spring steam within a lush, green forest beautifully framed by mountains.

Kamado Jigoku (Cooking Pot Hell): 
Taste the famous “hell-steamed” porridges and buns cooked by the hot spring steam in this aptly named hot spring.

Oniyama Jigoku (Demon Mountain Hell): 
With a specific purpose for raising crocodiles, it provides a unique sight compared to the others.

Shiraike Jigoku (White Pond Hell): 
The name says it all, with milky white waters resembling a serene, cloud-covered pond.

Chinoike Jigoku (Blood Pond Hell): 
Behold the striking red hot spring water, contrasting against a lush, green backdrop.

Tatsumaki Jigoku (Spout Hell): 
Marvel at the powerful geyser shooting up into the air every 30-40 minutes, stealing your gaze skyward.

Unwinding with Beppu’s Unique “Sand Bath” Experience

One of the most distinctive and therapeutic experiences in Beppu Onsen that could sway undecided visitors is the unique “sand bath” experience. At some beaches in Beppu, such as Shoningahama Beach, visitors can be buried in warm, volcanic sand for a deeply relaxing experience.

Here’s how it works: Wearing a yukata (a traditional Japanese robe), you’ll lie down on the warm sand while an attendant gently covers you with the same sand. The natural geothermal heat of the sand, coupled with its minerals, warms your body and aids in blood circulation, providing a rejuvenating and soothing sensation. The session usually lasts for about 15-20 minutes, after which you can rinse off at the nearby bathhouse and either relax or take a leisurely beachside stroll.

This one-of-a-kind sand bath experience is not only exclusive to the Beppu region but also highly beneficial for relaxation and rejuvenation. The opportunity to indulge in this transformative experience might be just the push needed for those who remain undecided about visiting Beppu Onsen.

Experiencing the Authentic Japanese Ryokan Stays

A visit to Beppu Onsen is incomplete without immersing yourself in traditional Japanese hospitality by staying at a ryokan. These traditional Japanese inns, usually family-run and filled with history and culture, can be a deciding factor for someone looking for an authentic and unforgettable experience during their trip to Japan.

Ryokans in Beppu Onsen often feature tatami flooring, futon beds, and sliding paper doors, allowing guests to fully appreciate the refined simplicity of Japanese architecture and design. Many ryokans also have their own on-site hot spring baths, where guests can enjoy a more personal and intimate onsen experience without leaving their accommodations.

In addition, visitors can indulge in kaiseki meals, multi-course Japanese dinners that showcase the best seasonal and local ingredients of Beppu. These exquisite meals are often served in the comfort of your own room, making the experience even more luxurious and memorable.

A stay at a ryokan in Beppu Onsen will not only provide an unparalleled cultural and leisure experience but also create lasting memories for visitors. For those who are on the fence about visiting Beppu Onsen, the prospect of enjoying an authentic ryokan stay, complete with delicious kaiseki cuisine and private onsen baths, can undoubtedly tip the scales in favor of this charming Japanese town.

Top Hotels to Unwind and Experience Beppu Onsen

Discover the perfect blend of comfort, luxury, and the authentic hot spring experience by staying at one of Beppu’s finest hotels.

From modern resorts boasting stunning views, to luxury accommodations, to traditional ryokan establishments embracing local charm, Beppu offers a wide range of exceptional accommodations to enhance your visit to this renowned onsen destination.

Here are the top 5 hotels that will make your Beppu Onsen experience truly memorable.

  1. ANA InterContinental Beppu Resort & Spa: This luxury hotel combines contemporary design with the natural beauty of Beppu Onsen. Guests can enjoy sweeping views of Beppu Bay, indulge in world-class dining options or relax in the hotel’s soothing hot spring baths. The resort also offers an indulgent spa, a fitness center, and an infinity pool.
  2. KAI Beppu: Nestled on a hill overlooking the city, KAI Beppu is a stylish ryokan that blends traditional Japanese hospitality with modern luxury. Experience the charm of Beppu at its finest with carefully crafted guest rooms, open-air hot spring baths, and exquisite local cuisine served in private dining rooms.
  3. Beppu Suginoi Hotel: This grand hotel makes the most of Beppu Onsen’s magnificent scenery and abundant hot spring waters. The hotel offers a variety of Japanese and Western-style rooms and features impressive hot spring facilities, indoor and outdoor pools, a bowling alley, and several dining options.
  4. Hotel Shiragiku: Centrally located in Beppu, Hotel Shiragiku offers a blend of traditional Japanese atmosphere and modern comforts. Features of the hotel include spacious Japanese-style rooms and Western-style room options, a large public hot spring bath, private open-air baths for rent, and multiple dining choices, specializing in kaiseki cuisine and seafood dishes.
  5. Yufuin Onsen Toshoan: Although technically located in Yufuin, a nearby onsen town connected to Beppu, Yufuin Onsen Toshoan offers an exclusive ryokan experience surrounded by lush greenery and captivating views of Mount Yufu. This serene retreat boasts luxurious private villas, open-air hot spring baths, and artfully prepared seasonal kaiseki meals.

Engaging in Outdoor Activities Amidst Beppu’s Natural Scenery

Aside from its splendid hot springs, Beppu Onsen has an abundance of outdoor activities that showcase the area’s natural beauty, catering to adventure seekers and nature lovers alike. Convincing someone on the fence about visiting Beppu Onsen might be as simple as highlighting the following outdoor experiences:

Hiking the stunning Mt. Tsurumi: Embark on a hike up Mt. Tsurumi, an inactive volcano that offers breathtaking views of Beppu Onsen and its surrounding areas. Multiple hiking trails and walking routes suit hikers of all levels, guaranteeing an exhilarating and unforgettable day amid lush greenery and captivating landscapes.

Cycling around Beppu: Rent a bicycle and explore the picturesque coastal and countryside scenery of Beppu. Pedal alongside stunning rice fields, witness panoramic ocean views, and discover hidden local spots while getting some fresh air and exercise.

Visiting Beppu Park: Mixing relaxation and adventure, Beppu Park is a wonderful place to unwind, picnic, or engage in leisurely activities such as bird-watching or boat-riding on the pond. The park also features playgrounds for children, making it an excellent spot for family outings.

By presenting Beppu Onsen as more than just a hot spring destination and emphasizing the variety of outdoor activities available in its gorgeous natural surroundings, undecided visitors might be swayed to choose this enchanting destination for their next adventure.

Beppu Onsen’s Can’t-Miss Cultural Experiences

Beyond the steamy wonders of the hot springs, Beppu Onsen is home to a wealth of cultural experiences. From strolling the picturesque Ginza shopping street to exploring the traditional handicrafts made by master artisans, Beppu will provide you with unforgettable memories.

The Perfect Time to Visit Beppu Onsen

Timing your trip to Beppu Onsen is essential. While the town is beautiful year-round, winter is the most magical time for a visit. As snow gently blankets the mountains and town, you’ll be in awe of the enchanting wonderland that surrounds you. Soak in the hot springs and appreciate the flawless union of warmth and snow.

Exploring Beppu’s Surrounding Attractions

Apart from Beppu Onsen’s hot springs and unique experiences, the region boasts even more fascinating attractions worth exploring during your stay:

Yufuin: Just a short train ride away from Beppu, Yufuin is another charming onsen town with a picturesque setting. The town is renowned for its boutique stores, cafes, art museums, and of course, hot springs, making it the perfect day trip destination.

Safari Park: If you’re an animal lover or traveling with children, be sure to visit the African Safari Park near Beppu. Board a guided bus tour or, if you have a driver’s license, hop in a rental car and explore the park on your own terms; you’ll get up close and personal with a wide array of animals, including lions, zebras, and giraffes.

Takasakiyama Natural Zoological Garden: Meet Japan’s native macaque monkeys at this mountain park, which serves as the home to over 1,000 of these playful primates. Roam the park’s walking paths with the monkeys, but remember not to feed them or get too close – they are, after all, wild animals.

Beppu Ropeway: For a bird’s-eye view of Beppu Onsen and its surrounding landscape, embark on a ride in the Beppu Ropeway. Ascend to the top of Tsurumi-dake, an inactive volcano, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city, the ocean, and the verdant mountains region.

Including these surrounding attractions in the article would provide a more comprehensive image of Beppu Onsen and offer additional suggestions for visitors to explore during their stay.

Beppu’s Vibrant Festivals and Cultural Experiences

Beppu Onsen is home to a variety of fascinating festivals and cultural experiences that showcase the colorful traditions and customs of the region. Introducing these events and activities will paint a vivid picture of Beppu and might help nudge those who are undecided about visiting:

Beppu Hatto Onsen Matsuri: This annual hot spring festival held in April gives visitors the chance to experience Beppu’s vibrant cultural scene. Celebrating the city’s abundant hot springs, the festival includes lively parades, outdoor tea ceremonies, traditional dance performances, and even a discounted hot spring-hopping ticket for guests to enjoy visiting multiple onsens.

Beppu Bamboo Craft: In addition to its hot springs, Beppu is also famous for its traditional bamboo crafts. Visitors can participate in hands-on workshops at the Beppu Traditional Bamboo Crafts Center, where they can learn about this centuries-old art form and create their own unique bamboo souvenirs under expert guidance.

Beppu Fireworks Festival: Held in August, the Beppu Fireworks Festival is a spectacular event that lights up the night sky with thousands of dazzling fireworks. Visitors can look forward to an evening of excitement, as well as traditional Japanese festival food stalls and entertainment, making this a summer event not to be missed.

Myoban Yu-no-Sato Onsen Shrine: A visit to the Myoban Yu-no-Sato Onsen Shrine introduces guests to the spiritual and cultural dimension of Beppu’s hot springs. Visitors can participate in a unique purification ritual that involves using the shrine’s holy hot spring water, providing a deeper connection to Beppu’s history and cultural richness.

By incorporating these immersive events and cultural experiences into their trip, visitors will gain a richer understanding and appreciation for the region. Those who are undecided might find the allure and excitement of these unique offerings reason enough to visit Beppu Onsen.

Beppu’s Diverse Shopping and Culinary Scene

In addition to its relaxing hot springs and cultural experiences, Beppu Onsen also offers a thriving shopping and dining scene for visitors to explore. Showcasing the diverse array of retail options and local delicacies can pique the interest of those who are undecided about visiting:

Local Souvenirs and Crafts: Wander through the colorful streets of Beppu and discover a variety of charming shops selling local souvenirs and handicrafts, such as pottery, glassware, and traditional snacks. One must-visit spot is Beppu’s Union Shopping Street, a nostalgic arcade where you can find unique gifts and trinkets to take home.

Fresh Seafood and Local Delicacies: Beppu’s proximity to the ocean means you can expect to find an abundance of delectable fresh seafood at local markets and restaurants. Make sure to try Beppu’s famous toriten, a local variation of tempura-style fried chicken. The charming Beppu Kamiya Shotengai, a local shopping street, offers a wide range of dining options for you to explore and enjoy.

Jigokumushi Pudding: One of Beppu’s unique culinary creations can only be found in the city’s Jigoku (“Hell”) hot springs. Visitors should not miss the chance to try Jigokumushi Pudding, a steamed dessert cooked using the naturally occurring steam from the hot springs. This creates a smooth, creamy custard that truly embodies the spirit of Beppu.

Beppu’s Oita Fruit Land: This combined fruit farm and botanical garden offers visitors the opportunity to pick fresh fruit, such as strawberries, blueberries, and oranges, depending on the season. You can also venture into the aviary, take a scenic walk around the tropical gardens, or sample various fruit-based snacks and drinks in the park.

By presenting the diverse shopping and culinary scene of Beppu Onsen, those who are still unsure about visiting might feel more enticed to explore the city’s livelier aspects, making it the perfect destination for a well-rounded travel experience.

Leave a Comment