Existing Member?

Our world Travel On 10th May 2007 I fled the UK on a journey around the world with a long list of places to go. Got as far as the Philippines where I met my wife. We got married on 11th May 2010 and are now sharing the experiences of travelling the world together

Hiroshima to Beppu

JAPAN | Sunday, 6 July 2008 | Views [4975] | Comments [2]

Fri 4th Jul - Off to the central bus station to catch the 13:40 bus I booked yesterday. Nice air-conditioned waiting room to relax in. If you wee in Japan for a long time, there are re-chargeable cards to make it easier to travel without cash. These are called Pasmo, Suica and Paspy. Not all are accepted throughout and it looks complicated with the amount of choices on offer.

Spot on 13:40 the bus pulled up at the stop. 2 minutes later the traffic light In front of the bus turned green, and he was off. You cannot be late for a japanese bus...you can set your watch by them! It is expected to arrive at 19:00. Let's see?

A beauty of a journey as it winds its way southwards along the coast towards Kyushu region.... The land of Onsen a plenty. At Tokuyama, a place that doesn't figure on the tourism map as there is nothing to see, the coach boarded a ferry to cross to Kakaji in Kyushu, which departed at 15:30. Crossing should take about 2hours. It was part of a little puzzle as when I booked my accomodation I Beppu, the confirmation e-mail said 'don't forget to bring a snack for the ferry'. What ferry I thought to myself? Now it makes sense. Being the only foreigner on the bus, the driver handed me an information sheet when we were on the ferry to explain what was happening, as he could speak no english. Time to put my iPod on and orchestrate the journey to some music. Arrived at Kakaji at 17:45 after an extremely smooth sailing. And arrived In Beppu at 19:15.

A word or two about Onsens...this area is famous for its natural hot springs and onsens. Geo-thermal activity that bubbles and spouts hot water to the surface, sometimes as a hot pool, sometimes a geyser and sometimes bubbling mud. This area has them all. Many have been made into entertainment centres specialising in a particular type and given interesting descriptive names such as.....Umi Jigoku (sea hell), Kinryu Jigoku (golden dragon hell), Oni-Yama Jigoku (Devil's mountain Jigoku), to name a few.

I'm staying at Khaosan-beppu hostel, only a few minutes walk from where the bus dropped off at Kitahama bus station. A comfortable place and a few familiar faces around I had met at other hostels. Got sorted and hit the street to find somewhere to eat. Beppu is a lot more glitzy than I expected. The Beppu tower dominates the sea front with its flashing Asahi sign down the side. It is open to the public as a viewing platform, so will go up it whilst i'm here. The main Ekimae-dori road was alive and buzzin and plenty of places to eat. Stopped at a noodle bar and got chatting to a couple of girls from Switzerland. Off for a drink afterwards at a reggae bar and a wander around the streets. Should be a good place for a few nights, so glad I came.

The japanese are obsessed with Pachinko and there are massive centres dedicated to it. No idea at all how to play it, but the noise is deafening.

Sat 5th Jul - Started the day with an onsen in the hostel to wake up. Gets the skin all nice and clean...then out in the swealtering heat to get sticky again. Decided to head off to check out some other onsens and sightseeing with a guy met at the hostel. Walked to the central bus area beind the JR Beppu train station, where many buses leave for the main Kannawa  Hells area. Got off next to the co-sited Umi-Jigoku and Oniishibouzu-Jigoku. Each place charges 400 Yen entrance or you can get an 8-site booklet for 2000 Yen. Didn't want to do that many, so just paid the single entrance for the Umi. The lake at the entrance is a beauty, with water lilies of every colour and an attractive shrine with vermillion red Tori gate and bridge. The Jigoku itself is a vibrant aquamarine blue, with plumes of steam gushing up into the air. The water is so hot, they boil eggs in it! Something that has become an attraction as they have a basket permanently dangling in the water with eggs in it. On the same site is another Jigoku which is nearly red.

Throughout the are are numerous Jigokus, but it is roasting so aimed for an Onsen instead....

The one we ended up at was superb...the Hyoutan Onsen. This one offers a 'Sand Bath' as will be explained.....

700Yen entry fee plus 200Yen for a Yakata (robe) to use in the sand bath. Off to the changing rooms...all clothes off (must take a small towel), segregated into male and fmale completely separated areas thoughout. On with the Yakata and wooden platform sandals then into the sand bath. Long room separated into sand pits at different temperatures..medium and hot. Dig a hollow to lie in (keep Yakata on), and then scoop the sand over you using the wooden rake provided and plastic scoop. Lie back, head on a wooden block and roast away.....sweat profusely more like it!

After about 15min of melting, out of the pit and shake off the sand, put the Yakata into the basket and from that point on you are naked throughout. Sower off the sand and then first into the warm steam room, followed by the hot steam room. No more than 5 minutes in this one. Another shower then....

Th waterfall bath, where water falls on you from a great height which massages you as you soak in high temp water. Next the hot baths, three of them in turn followed by a spell in an outside one. You will never be this clean ever again. Further soakings, showers and a final rest to dry off....it's tiring stuff this! Then back to the changing rooms and back out into the blazing sunshine. Sweaty within a few minutes of being outside. Need copious amounts to drink after losing so much fluid....

Wanted to aim for a view point over the town, which is close to a castle. Didn't go in but the view was worth the walk. Walked back towards the seafront and caught a bus back to the hostel. Couldn't walk anymore as shattered!

After a break, time for a bit of an explore. This place is a surprise. It has a number of 'Love Hotels' with themed rooms. It also has a red light district, loosely called a 'entertainment' area. Local business men out in vast numbers for a night of 'entertainment'. Eat at a nice 'Ra-Men' restaurant. Ra-men is a bowl of noodles with many versions of extra ingredients. I had Yasai ramen. For a reasonable piece you get a really filling and tasty meal.

Tags: onsen

 

Comments

1

I was one of the girls from Switzerland ;-)
It really was a cool night in Beppu nice to read about your travels that's for sure! Take care

  Jessica Jul 9, 2009 3:47 PM

2

Hi Jessica.

Thanks for the comment. I really loved Japan and Beppu was super. Would be nice to know what you have been up to since then. USe my direct e-mail address.

Take care
Jeff

  jeff bradshaw Jul 9, 2009 5:32 PM

Add your comments

(If you have a travel question, get your Answers here)

In order to avoid spam on these blogs, please enter the code you see in the image. Comments identified as spam will be deleted.


About jeffbrad


Follow Me

Where I've been

Favourites

Photo Galleries

Highlights

My trip journals


See all my tags 


 

 

Travel Answers about Japan

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.