Thursday, March 24, 2011

別府 – Beppu Hotspring



Like many other ancient hotspring spots, the town of Beppu looked tired. Their metabolism was not functioning. As Beppu onsen spots scatter in various directions, we chose to stay at a hotel in Oita and commute to Beppu by train that took 12 minutes, and this approach worked quite well. Hokke Club in Oita was clean, functional with good size of the room, situated in a good location. And above all, the charge was only 5100 Yen including very nice breakfast.

I tried two contrasting onsen spots in Beppu this time. The first was Onsen Hoyoland in Konya Jigoku known for mud bath, and it was about 25 minutes bus ride from the station. The facility was aged and unchanged for probably a half century to say the least. Many safety lockers were left broken. You have to walk a long, open corridor from the entrance to the bath, and the visit in winter is not recommended. The bath itself was wild and interesting. The outdoor section is mixed for men and women, which appeared least defensive inevitably. On the other hand, couples may try mud spa a la DIY mutually rubbing the partner’s body with the mud though it won’t be too sensual as there are neighbors in the bath. The water is not too hot and allows a long bathing. Female visitors who are not ambitious enough can experience at least the internal hot tub and also the walled section of mud bath. The admission of 1050 Yen is a bit high considering the facility conditions.

The second was Suginoi Hotel, probably the most popular facility leading Beppu today. They offer the complimentary shuttle service from the station. Tanayu consists of 3 or 4 different levels of open-air onsen tubs with a magnificent view of the entire town of Beppu and the bay, and its admission fee of 1500 Yen covers another section called Aqua Garden hot water pool to play in swimsuit. This place is more like an amusement park and the traffic is busy, and it must be popular in the summer because the bath and the pool under the sky with a view is quite an attraction. It should be dependable for foreign visitors, too.

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