Beppu is one of the most popular onsen towns that Japanese locals love to visit. This quaint seaside town sits on the west island of Kyushu and it’s definitely one of the most visited attractions on the island!
Beppu is known for the eight ‘Hells of Beppu’, a unique collection of eight different and unique hot springs that each offer their own characteristic and charm. People travel far and wide (across Japan) to see with their very own eyes just how entrancing these hot spring baths can be!
Aside from the Hells of Beppu, the town has lots to offer. From unique food experiences to stunning views, Beppu is a relaxing yet exciting, and serene yet delightful little town that will enchant any traveller.
The 15 Best Things To Do In Beppu
Let’s have a look at some of the best things to do in Beppu you should not miss during your trip!
- Explore the Hells of Beppu
- Take Photos of Chi-no-ike Jigoku
- Take in Grand Views from Beppu Tower
- Try Steamed Eggs (Hot-spring Steamed Eggs!)
- Try A Sand Bath
- Experience Oita’s Karaage Chicken
- Steam Your Own Lunch!
- Stay At a Gorgeous Ryokan
- Visit Takasakiyama Monkey Park
- Hike Tsurumi Mountain
- Ride the Beppu Ropeway
- Shop at Kitakoka Shotengai Shopping Street
- Stroll Around Beppu Park
- Check Out Tanabata Matsuri at the Neighbouring Oita City (August!)
- Explore Kifune Castle
1. Explore the Hells of Beppu
The number one thing to do in Beppu is to explore the Hells of Beppu, duh!
These eight hot springs have been nicknamed ‘hells’ because of their extreme likeness to the hot and steamy imagery often associated with hell. However, they are quite heavenly to look at!
There are six hot springs situated close by to each other in Kannawa, whilst the other two are located a little further away. Each hot spring offers a unique theme and experience, so if you have time, we highly recommend you try and visit them all!
2. Take Photos of Chi-no-ike Jigoku
Chi-no-ike Jigoku is one of the most popular hells of Beppu because of its unique colouring. If you were to pick only a handful to visit, definitely include Chi-no-ike Jigoku on your list.
You’d imagine most hot springs to be bright blue, right? Well, not Chi-no-ike Jigoku! This hot spring stands out, particularly because of its bright orange and red hue. Depending on the weather of the day, it can sometimes look almost like blood and thus is a fascinating attraction for those looking to take unique photos.
3. Take in Grand Views from Beppu Tower
In our opinion, one of the best ways to appreciate a beautiful city is from above, and you’ll find that Beppu Towers offers the most grandeur views of the city below. Witness where the edge of the city meets the blue of the sea in a quiet and serene setting.
Beppu tower offers an observation deck at 55m in the air, and you can even purchase a delicious cup of coffee to sip on whilst you take in the views.
4. Steam Your Own Lunch!
One of the most unique experiences that you can have in Beppu is steaming your own lunch right at the hot springs!
That’s right, many people don’t realise it, but the hot springs in Beppu do more than just provide a stunning bathing experience and picturesque opportunities. They also function as a cooking mechanism too!
Head to Jigoku Mushi Kobo if you want to give this a go. Here, you can buy your own selection of fresh ingredients. The hot steam from the hot springs here can easily steam your food in no time! Simply place your food on the kama (Japanese vats available) and then let the onsen water underneath them heat the food.
This quirky experience must not be missed.
5. Try A Sand Bath
Shoningahama Beach in Beppu offers the unique experience of having a bath right in the sand next to the waters!
The black sand here actually sits right above the bubbling spring waters, which then heats the sand on the surface. Visitors will come here just to be buried all the way up to their necks! The thermal properties of the heated-up sand are said to relax and rejuvenate the body and soothe aches and pains.
6. Experience Oita’s Karaage Chicken
A visit to Beppu would not be complete without trying the famous Oita karaage! Oita’s karaage is a popular Japanese fried chicken dish that originates from this prefecture and it’s known for its crispy texture and rich umami flavor.
It is made by marinating small pieces of chicken in a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and other seasonings, before coating them in potato starch and frying them until golden brown. Oita’s karaage is often served as a snack or as a side dish to accompany meals.
7. Stay At a Gorgeous Ryokan
If you’re visiting beautiful Beppu, we highly recommend that you book a ryokan for your accommodation.
Many ryokans in Beppu sit amongst nature, with beautiful structures, views, and serenity surrounding them. Many offer guestrooms with their onsen baths, or private onsen baths at the ryokan which you can book as a guest staying there.
It is a super rejuvenating experience to relax in your bath after a full day of exploring. For example, you can have a look at the beautiful Beppu Nagomitsuki Ryokan here.
For more options, check out our list of the 10 best Ryokan in Beppu.
8. Visit Takasakiyama Monkey Park
If you’re looking for a fun and exciting activity for kids, why not visit Takasakiyama Monkey Park? This park sits between Beppu and Oita and could serve as a gateway to visit either side.
It is home to around 1500 wild Japanese macaque monkeys that roam freely around the forest. They’re gorgeous and adorable to witness from a distance, and many visitors combine a visit to this park with a visit to Umitamago Aquarium as well.
9. Hike Tsurumi Mountain
Beppu is a city that is surrounded by mountains, so it makes sense that a recommended activity would be to hike a mountain!
Tsurumi Mountain is a popular nearby mountain that offers a fairly fun and easy hike with breathtaking views of Beppu City at its summit. We recommend visiting during autumn because of the stunning koyo leaves that offer fantastic photo opportunities.
10. Ride the Beppu Ropeway
If you’re not a hiker but still want stunning sweeping views of the city, you can simply just take the Beppu ropeway up the summit of Mount Tsurumi.
On a clear, cloudless day, the views are breathtaking. From the summit, you’ll be able to get an expansive view of the rest of Beppu and you’ll even be able to see across Beppu Bay!
11. Shop at Kitakoka Shotengai Shopping Street
Itching to do a bit of shopping? Located around Beppu Station is Kitakoka Shotengai shopping street, a must-visit if you’re looking for unique charms and souvenirs.
This shotengai, or undercover shopping center, can be visited at any time due to it being covered and offers a range of shops, restaurants, and bars as well as grocery stores.
Head here for a meal after exploring the town.
12. Stroll Around Beppu Park
Japan is known for its beautifully maintained parks and recreation areas, and Beppu Park is no exception.
If you happen to be visiting Beppu during springtime, Beppu Park is the premiere destination to witness the famous Japanese sakura blossoms bloom to life. The nostalgic atmosphere and serenity of the park are reminiscent of the beauty you’d see in Kyoto during the cherry blossom season.
During autumn, Beppu Park is awash with gorgeous koyo leaves that blanket the ground in fiery orange and red leaves.
The photo opportunities at this park are endless.
13. Check Out Tanabata Matsuri at the Neighbouring Oita City (August!)
The Tanabata Matsuri is a massive annual festival that’s held in Oita, the neighboring city to Beppu. If you happen to be visiting in August, we implore that you do not miss this exciting festival, because it is quite a feast for your eyes and mouths!
The festival itself is a summer festival that is dedicated to two star-crossed lovers. The entire city lights up with colourful streamers and structures that are seen throughout the streets across the three days.
On the last day, a gorgeous display of fireworks is put on for the viewing pleasure of all the visitors. It truly is a unique experience.
Discover more Japanese festivals here: Best Japanese Matsuri.
14. Explore Kifune Castle
Sitting atop the hills overlooking Beppu’s famous hot springs is Kifune Castle, a replica castle of an original castle that dates back many centuries.
Kifune Castle is a historical museum that features stunning art walls for you to pursue. There are tours that you can take to get a better understanding of the history and features of the castle, and they can also be taken in English.
The views on top of this castle are, of course, stunning, but the real treat here is the guardian statue that sits outside the castle. Nicknamed the Kimbai White Dragon King, it’s said that petting this reptile can bring you good luck and wealth.
15. Visit Yufuin Onsen Town
Yufuin Onsen town is a hidden gem that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural experiences. Did you know that this charming town is home to over 40 hot springs that are said to have healing properties due to their high mineral content?
You can also take a scenic train ride on the Yufuin no Mori, which has large windows that offer breathtaking views of Mount Yufu and the surrounding countryside.
In addition to the hot springs and delicious food, Yufuin is also a hub for the arts, with several galleries and museums that showcase the works of local artists. If you are looking to explore the outdoors, the town has several hiking trails that lead to scenic spots such as Kinrinko Lake and the Yunohira Observatory.
Whether you’re looking to relax in a hot spring or immerse yourself in the local culture, Yufuin Onsen town is a perfect destination that you can visit after Beppu. More info about it in this travel guide: Yufuin Onsen Town.
Where to stay in Beppu
Ryokan AMANE resort SEIKAI
This stunning five-star ryokan accommodation is the epitome of class, luxury, and minimalism encompassed in a breathtaking building right by the sea.
Boasting luxurious large guestrooms, all equipped with natural and chic furnishings with wide expansive windows showcasing epic views, you will live like royalty here. Spend your days exploring the exciting city, and spend your nights soaking it up in the private open-air hot tub featured in every guest room.
The Seikai also offers a public bath on the ground and top floors, a massage treatment service, a 24-hour front desk, and plenty of dining options.
Book It Now: AMANE resort SEIKAI
Suginoi Hotel sits right on the outskirts of the city, with gorgeous views overlooking Beppu City and Beppu Bay.
This luxurious hotel boasts several pools and hot springs, all of which are open to guests staying at the hotel. The rooms are generous-sized and western-style, with comfortable bedding and furniture to suit all types of travelers.
There is a fountain show displayed every night for guests to enjoy, and even an outdoor pool to unwind and relax in after a full day of exploring. A delectable buffet is on offer during breakfast and dinner, and past guests have left some raving reviews about the fresh ingredients and delicious dishes here!
Book It Now: Suginoi Hotel
Beppu Hostel U&T
The Beppu Hostel U&T is an absolute dream guesthouse, and is living proof that traveling on a budget doesn’t mean you need to budget your comfort!
For a fraction of the price you’d pay at enormous hotels, you can stay at a cute and cozy guesthouse that’s located just a short distance away from Beppu Station.
Beppu Hostel U&T features large-sized and simply furnished guestrooms. Some of the larger family rooms will also come with private bathrooms and kitchens.
For the comfort of the guests, there is also a shared kitchen for those wanting to cook meals, a cozy-sized common area to relax in and eat, and an outdoor alfresco area to take in some fresh air.
It’s only been operating relatively recently, but judging by the 900+ reviews online, it’s definitely the place to stay at!
Book It Now: Beppu Hostel U&T
How to get to Beppu
Beppu is relatively simple to get to via public transport.
You can hop on the Sonic limited express train from Hakata Station to Beppu.
This one-way trip will take roughly 2 hours and cost around 6,000 yen.
If you are using a Japan Rail Pass, this trip is covered entirely by the pass.
You can take the Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka Station to Kokura Station. From there, alight the train and transfer to the Sonic limited express train for Beppu.
The one-way trip will take roughly 3.5 hours and cost around 17,000 yen.
If you are using the Japan Rail Pass, please note that you can only use the Sakura trains, not the Nozomi and Mizuho trains.
From Tokyo, the easiest way to go to Beppu is to book a flight to Oita airport. Several airlines, including Japan Airlines and ANA, operate direct flights between Haneda and Oita airports, with a flight time of approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.
From Oita Airport, you can take a bus or train to Beppu, which is located about 30 minutes away from the airport.
If you want to take the train, you can hop on the Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kokura Station. From there, alight the train and change to the limited express train for Beppu.
The one-way trip will take roughly 6 hours and cost around 25,000 yen.
If you are using a Japan Rail Pass, you cannot use the Nozomi trains along the Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen line and therefore will need to add another hour to travel.
Beppu Private Tour
If you’re looking for a convenient and easy way to experience Beppu without the hassle of organizing your transport and itinerary, we’ve got you covered!
This highly coveted day-trip experience involves a personalised hotel pick-up in Fukuoka, private transfer to, around, and from Beppu, and a fantastic packed, and exciting itinerary that will see you hit up all the most-loved spots.
It involves enough traveling around so that you maximize your day out in Beppu, but there is also individual time for you to spend winding down and choosing to do any activity you want.
If you’re interested, have a browse of the tour here.
The beautiful city of Beppu deserves to be more recognized on the list of ‘must dos’ in Japan, and we’re working hard to make sure that you guys know how much it has to offer!
From breathtaking hot spring attractions to unique food experiences to sky-high viewpoints, Beppu has it all.
All it takes is a few days of leisurely exploring this city to fall in love and already be planning your next trip back – we guarantee it.