Beppu, the largest hot spring resort in western Japan, and nearby Yufuin offer bathing and sightseeing spots as well as easy access to lakes and mountains. With a colorful history and incredibly rare natural sites, a visit to these onsen hideaways is nothing short of unforgettable.
Beppu can be reached in less than two hours from Tokyo Haneda, Osaka Itami and Nagoya Chubu airports via Oita Airport and local transport. Yufuin is a short distance from Beppu by rail.
From Oita Airport, Beppu is a 45-minute bus ride to the city. Shinkansen services connect Beppu with Tokyo in less than seven hours, Shin-Osaka in less than four hours and Hakata in two hours.
With eight major hot spring areas boasting some 3,000 vents, Beppu has more springs than you could possibly visit. Offering a multitude of indoor and outdoor baths with unique water properties, there's something for everyone.
Try soaking in Kamegawa Onsen or Kankaji Onsen, which are surrounded by lush scenery. After your bath, don a yukata and explore the historic streets of Hamawaki onsen town. Yufuin combines scenic onsen hot springs with cultural spots such as museums and art galleries along with quaint boutiques and cafes.
Though not suitable for bathing, a tour through Beppu's ‘Eight Hells' is a feast for the five senses. The renowned spring waters reach temperatures of approximately 98 degrees Celsius and range in color from cobalt blue to blood red.
Visit the Tatsumaki (tornado) Hell, which has one of the most active geysers in the world, or try cooking rice using steam from the Kamago (cooking stove) Hell.
Head to Lake Shidakako or Lake Kinrinko to hike on scenic paths, enjoy bird watching, boating or simply take in the view.
Located in Aso Kuju National Park, Lake Shidakako is known as one of the most beautiful spots in the area, while Lake Kinrinko has both cold and hot springs welling up from underground. During autumn and winter mornings, consider a trip to Lake Kinrinko to take in the serene, misty landscape.
First mentioned in Japan's oldest known chronicles, Beppu's bamboo crafts are designated as a Traditional Arts and Craft by the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry. The city's Traditional Bamboo Crafts Center is home to a wealth of stunning local craftsmanship, from daily utensils to contemporary furniture.
Find out more about the history of the crafts, try your hand at traditional artisanal techniques, or visit the gift shop for unique souvenirs.
Built in 1990, Yufuin Station is a station like no other. Try the footbath near platform one. Towels are provided. The Art Hall functions as a meeting area as well as an art gallery.
Horse carriages and British classic cars depart from the station. The tourist information center serves your travel needs and also offers bicycles for rent. The roads to Lake Kinrinko are optimal for cycling.