Beppu Onsen has been one of Japan’s most famous hot spring resort towns for centuries now, and it still lives up to that lofty reputation. The baths on offer here are extremely varied, with standard water baths with a range of mineral infusions, mud baths, and even sand-filled baths. If you’ve never tried an onsen (hot spring) bath before, a day or two at Beppu Onsen can serve as a full-on initiation into every part of the culture.
The volcanic activity of the area has also given rise to a few baths which are reserved for viewing rather than bathing (on account of their high temperatures or other hazards). These are known as the “Eight Hells of Beppu,” but aren’t quite as horrific as the name suggests. All eight of these sights can be visited on a single 2000 yen ticket, or for 300 yen apiece.
The names of the hells are suitably macabre and/or menacing, including the Blood Pond Hell, Tornado Hell, and Devil Mountain Hell. Aside from being excellent track titles for your next heavy metal album, these sites also make for a nice day out when you decide to take a break from bathing. Nearby, you’ll even be able to sample some traditional hot spring cooking, which uses nothing but the steam from the springs to cook a range of different delicious dishes!