Wonderful, mystical Beppu!!!
Even if I was determined to pay a visit to Beppu, the onsen Mecca of Japan, I was also a bit reluctant due to some pre-reading insisting Beppu should be kind of a Japanese Las Vegas. But my days in Beppu turned out to be just one big explosion of impressions of the relaxing kind.
Enjoying the onsen world from Beppu is a very different experience than from Kurokawa, a green, picturesque place documented in my previous post. As many other cities in Japan, Beppu tend to feel a bit grayish surrounded by electrical wires and rather non charming architecture. But it is the feeling of what is going on between those grayish walls that makes it so captivating.
I based myself in the area Kannawa, mostly known for the kind of boiling hot onsen you should not bathe in. Those are referred to as the “The Hells”. It is geothermal activities in various colors that can be viewed against payment. I saw a few but honestly but did not find it so impressing. However the gardens around them tend to be very pretty 🙂
What impressed me was that the budget accommodation I had booked through Hostelworld turned out to be a small apartment all to myself in in a cosy area where hot steam poured out of street valves from every corner 24/7. Happy Neko is not the place to stay if you want to socialize but for me, who appreciate lonely time now and then, it was prefect 🙂
What impressed me even more is that Beppu has almost 3000 hot spring vents. There are public bath houses in every corner, for use against a minimal charge. And all over you will find free set-ups for relaxing your feet in thermal water. Many elderly were seen using those throughout the day, often accompanied by a friend to chat with, a book to read or some knitting. Just lovely to watch! Below also some pictures from “a hell” 😉
What impressed me the most, apart from soaking in different hotsprings, was to just wander the small alleys around where my apartment was located. They gave me a very spooky feeling. Drawnd to the heat pouring up from the street vents, many cats seemed to enjoy those alleys as much as I.
My days in Beppu were spent by just walking around and bathing. Apart from Kannawa I took the bus to the Myoban area further up the hill to try and interesting mud bath. One day I took a dip in the old classic Takegawara onsen in central Beppu. I also had an experience in a place in Kannawa where I had to lie on hey in an extremely hot, claustrophobic small wooden room. Once I almost fainted it was time to leave and soak in the hot waters. And one evening I had a more fancy experience at the onsen Tanayu at hotel Suginoi. It was spectacular, even so just about 10 Euro entrance. I can only say I fell in love with Beppu! It is a bit weird feeling about this place but still so intriguing and inviting.
Posted on May 18, 2014, in Japan and tagged Beppu, Happy Neko, hot springs, Japan, Kannawa, Kyushu, onsens, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Resor, Suginoi, Tanayu, Travel. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.