Japan Day 9 & 10: Beppu

Posted: October 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

We wake up in the morning and have breakfast scheduled for 09:00h and check out at 10:00h. After another phenomenal breakfast, we finish packing our bags and head onto the ferry to head over to Beppu.

Once again, we forgot to book our tickets in advance but didn’t have to go to the non-reserved cars again. We hop on the Shinkansen to Kokura and then transfer to head over to Beppu.

Beppu is located on Kyushu Island, and contains 8 major geothermal hot spots. They have dubbed these hot spots as “The 8 Hells of Beppu”, and also have various natural onsens (hot springs) located in the city

We arrive to Beppu station and walk to our hotel, which was only a 10-15 minute walk from the train station. It was another ryoken style hotel, and the view from our room was fantastic. This facility included an indoor and outdoor public bath that is tapped from a natural hot spring.

We start get settled in our room and notice that there is a massage chair. Jason and I desperately needed a massage but were quite skeptical about how good this massage chair would actually be. The massage chair ran in 15 minute sessions, and had 4 different massage features that we were unable to read. Desperate for a massage, I pop myself on the chair, select an option (we dubbed it as “square three, square three” and turned it on.

This was seriously the best massage chair that I’ve ever used. We spent our first 1.5 hours in Beppu taking turns using the massage chair.

Once we were able to peel ourselves away from the chair, we get dressed and ask the hotel to call us a cab so we can head to the onsens.  We get in and Jason asks the driver to take us to Hoyoland, which is an outdoor mud bath hot springs. We stay there for about 45 minutes and then start walking back to our hotel. We find a sushi restaurant along the way and stop there for dinner.

I was going to upload a video of how our dinner was served to us, but Word Press wants me to pay to upgrade to have video embedding feature. Since I’m now quite poor from this trip, it will have to wait.

From there we call a cab to take us back to our hotel (as we realize that we are about an hour away walking), bask in the outdoor public bath and then go to bed.

We wake up late the next morning and walk over to Beppu Station to catch a bus towards the 8 Hells of Beppu. 6 of the 8 hells are located in the Kannawa District, while the remaining 2 are located in the Shibaseki District. The 8 hells consist of the following:

1. Umi Jigoku (Jigoku = hell): Known as the “Sea Hell” due to it’s cobalt-blue color.

Steam coming off the Umi Jigoku

Steam coming off the Umi Jigoku

2. Oniishibozu Jigoku: The “Shaven Monk’s Head Hell”, as the bubbles from the mud look like the shaven heads of monks.

Oniishibozu Jigoku

Oniishibozu Jigoku

3. Shiaike Jigoku: “White Pond Hell”

Shiaike Jigoku

Shiaike Jigoku

4. Kamado Jigoku: “Cooking Pot Hell”, as the steam was used to cook foods in the past.

Kamado Jigoku

Kamado Jigoku

5. Oniyama Jigoku: “Monster Mountain Hell”. Not exactly sure why the named it that, but they now use it to breed and keep crocodiles.

... I hope this is self explanatory. If not, we never took pictures at the Hell.

… I hope this is self explanatory. If not, we never took pictures at the Hell.

6. Yama Jigoku: “Mountain Hell”. This was the saddest one we went to, as it was turned into a zoo and was very depressing and sad.

Yama Jigoku -- we got to feed at Hippo some carrots (as we felt really bad for the poor thing).

At Yama Jigoku — we got to feed at Hippo some carrots (as we felt really bad for the poor thing).

7. Chinoike Jigoku: “Blood Pond Hell” was named due to the red clay in the area. This is the oldest natural jigoku in Japan.

Chinoike Jigoku

Chinoike Jigoku

8. Tatsumaki Jigoku: “Spout Hell” is a geyser that erupts every 30-40 minutes from anywhere between 5- 20 minutes at a time.

Yup... First World Problems.

Yup… First World Problems.

Touring around took us approximately 2-3 hours, and the cost of admission to view all 8 Hells of Beppu was about 2,000 yen. You can visit just a couple at single admission but we planned on seeing all 8 (and you get it at a reduced rate if you see them all).

We were planning on hitting up an onsen but I was fighting a headache all day that just kept getting worse and worse. We take a bus back to Beppu station and try to find a place for dinner. I noticed on the back of the Beppu Bus Map that there was a restaurant called “Shinzushi” and we decided to check it out.

Warning: if you ever visit Beppu, do not go to this restaurant. Extremely overpriced food for very little. We noticed the outrageous prices right away and said that we would just order a couple items and leave to find a different restaurant. $15 for tempura that was low quality (and came with less than 9 pieces) and the sushi was being sold at over 500 yen for 2 pieces. We did, however, order something that we should have paid more attention to. We noticed that they were serving Toro (Fatty Tuna Belly) sushi and ordered some, thinking that it was 200 yen for the 2 pieces. We receive the Toro and I notice right away that it looked higher quality in comparison from other times that I’ve ate it and it tasted phenomenal.

It turns out, it was 2,000 yen for those 2 pieces. That’s just over $21 CAD for 2 pieces of sushi. When I glanced at the menu, I didn’t see the extra zero and Jason just assumed we were paying the outrageous price of 500 yen for 2 pieces of sushi.

… oh, how we wished it was only 500.

Though it was probably the best Toro sushi I’ve had, it wasn’t worth the $10 a piece.

We walk down the block and find another restaurant to eat at, where we were able to order more food for less than what we paid for at Shinzushi.

With my head still killing me and the weather starting to get a bit windy, we ended up catching a cab back to our hotel. As we were getting ready for bed, Jason turns on the TV and there was a news report about Japan getting hit by a typhoon (and it’s the biggest typhoon within the last 10 years).

… this explains why I’ve had a headache all day.

We watch on the news how it was hitting Tokyo and we were hoping and praying that it would be gone by the following day, as this was our last night in Beppu before we head back to Tokyo to finish our trip. Jason hits up the indoor public bath while I take a bath in our room and then we go to bed.

Things I Have Learned in Japan Thus Far
1. Hand dryers/paper towel in public bathrooms are not common. Sometimes soap isn’t either. I find myself in a lot of places where I wash my hands and there is no hand dryer or paper towels for me to dry my hands. I assume that people use clothes/handkerchiefs that they carry, as many do to wipe the humidity off their faces/body.

2. Pay more attention to prices of food before you order them.

3. Japan makes a mean fried chicken; both in restaurants and at the convenience stores.

4. Foot baths are amazing! There were quite a few foot/leg baths when we were touring the hells, and there is a hand bath outside of the Beppu Train Station.

Leg Bath at the first of the 8 Hells of Beppu.

Leg Bath at the first of the 8 Hells of Beppu.

5. Those foot/leg baths are also very hot!

At the Kamado Hell; Jason had his legs in for less than 3 minutes.

At the Kamado Hell; Jason had his legs in for less than 3 minutes.

6. People at Hoyoland didn’t seem to mind that I had a tattoo, though I did freak out a couple girls with it. I’m not too sure if they didn’t report me to get me kicked out because it was so late in the evening, or if they are starting to get more lenient on tattoos?

Well, it’s 01:00h Tokyo time and I have to be up in less than 7 hours to get ready for my day.

Next Blog Post: Returning to Tokyo

  1. lmjapan says:

    Great pictures of the Jigokus in Beppu! I missed seeing them when I went to Beppu last year so it was really nice to read about them in your post.

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