Producing more hot spring water than any other Japanese onsen resort, Beppu is backed by volcanically-active mountains on the shores of Beppu Bay. In addition to its hot springs, mud and sand baths, it’s an ideal base for visiting the aquarium at Umitamago and the nearby Takasakiyama Monkey Park.
Things to do
A highlight of visiting Beppu is bathing in the hot springs that dot the city, with a wide variety of different bath types to enjoy. Experience being buried in naturally-heated sand or a therapeutic mud bath, then witness the steaming waters of the Beppu Jigoku or “Hells of Beppu”.
For the best views of Beppu and the Kuju Mountains, ride the Beppu Ropeway up the slopes of Mount Tsurumi and hike the walking trail that connects to its summit. Cherry blossoms ignite the mountain landscapes in spring, with autumn colours appearing in early October and a delicate coating of ice blankets Kuju during the winter months.
Just outside of Beppu lies the impressive aquarium of Umitamago, which features an immense water tank filled with tropical fish, rays and sharks. Get up close to dolphins at the man-made beach and learn about walruses at one of the daily presentations. Touch tanks also feature hands-on experiences with starfish and sea cucumbers.
A visit to Umitamago can easily be combined with a stop at the Takasakiyama Monkey Park, which is nestled at the base of Mount Takasaki. It’s home to around 1,500 wild Japanese macaques that roam along its densely forested slopes and stop to lounge in the sun, play and groom one another.
Oita Airport is around 45 minutes’ bus ride from Beppu or a six-hour train ride from Tokyo. Buses access most of Beppu’s attractions and connect to the nearby onsen resort of Yufuin.