Monday, 12 May 2014


Only a month or so late, here finally is a post about Gabby and my trip to Beppu. We took an afternoon train and ventured out into the ever-so-sulphurous twilight. Beppu is famous for its natural hot springs, or onsen, and was transformed into something of a pleasure resort beginning in the 1920s. 

On a friend's recommendation, we made our way to Seikaiso onsen for a cold beeru in a hot tub while storm clouds gathered. It was quiet and cheap, with its own large changing room of warm wood attached. 

Engrish or a strange kind of genius?

The next day we ventured to Beppu's most famous site, the eight hells of Beppu: a collection of themed boiling springs. First was Umi Jigoku or 'sea hell'. We wandered round stamping our Map of Hell with Japanese children. 

Oniishibozu Hell, named after the mud bubbles which supposedly resemble shaven monks' heads. 


The next hells featured a somewhat sad zoo (the Japanese care of animals leaves a lot to be desired) and crowded pens of huge alligators. 

Shiraike Jogoku or "white pond hell" had milky water and a strange little aquarium/ tapestry building attached.

Kamado jigoku or "cooking pot hell", where you can drink the spring, inhale the steam, or eat puddings baked in the fumes. 

It also has a fantastic marketing campaign. 

After a sushi lunch we onsened again, this time at Hyotan Onsen. As well as the private garden onsen, it also has sand baths and all manner of water-related amusements. 

We flicked a switch and our bath was full in 5 minutes. 

Refreshed and very clean, we finished our tour at "the blood pond hell." 

The man who transformed Beppu (and fan). I think his nickname was something like The Shiny Uncle! 

I can't remember the name of our cocktail bar, but it was peaceful and meticulous. 

Beppu was sweet and relaxed, and I think we spent just the right amount of time there.

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