Beppu, on the north east coast of Kyushu, has literally thousands of onsen. Every day 100,000 kl of hot water boils up to the surface from over 3700 openings around the town.
Your hotel or ryokan in Beppu will almost definitely have its own hot spring bath but its worth exploring a few other hot spa options as well. All the public baths in Beppu are all in effect onsen and its possible to relax in a traditional bath house for as little as 100 yen.
One of Beppu's most famous bath houses is the wooden Takegawara Onsen (Tel: 0977 23 1587) located in the town's small red light district.
The original bath was built in 1879 and the present structure dates from 1938. Takegawara spa has both an onsen (100 yen) and a sand bath (1000 yen), where you can be covered in hot sand and bake for a while. The onsen is open from 6.30am-10.30pm daily and the sandbath opens from 8.30am-10.30pm (the sandbath is closed on the 3rd Wednesday of every month). The water is pretty hot in here.
Just down from Beppu Station is the appropriately named Ekimae Koto Onsen (13-14 Ekimae-machi, Tel: 0977 21 0541). This place dates from 1938 and includes rooms above the bath houses, a private room costs 2,500 yen a night and the dormitory 1,500. A two hour rest is 600 yen.
Admission is 300 yen for just the baths which includes a towel, a bucket and bar of soap. The two small baths are situated down a flight of steps in a cellar-like room and the place has a real local atmosphere.
Another place with bags of local flavor is Kaimonji Onsen, which has definitely seen better days but is an atmospheric bath house. Kaimonji Onsen is just off Ekimaedori next to Kaimonji Park. Again the changing rooms are upstairs from the baths below.
North east of the center of town near one of the Jigoku areas is a particular favorite -- Shibaseki Onsen (Tel: 0977 67 4100). The waters of the area have been known for centuries and Shibaseki Onsen, reached by bus number #16, has a lovely rotemburo (outside bath) in a small garden. There is also a pine sauna, which was closed for repairs the last time I visited. Admission is 210 yen.
Beppu Tourist Office
Tel: 0977 23 1119
Japanese Toys - taketombo
More information on Beppu onsen
Japan Beppu onsen spa hot spring Kyushu
Thursday, April 05, 2007