12 Things to Do in Beppu: Top Tourist Attractions

By Ryan Noble
Updated: July 24, 2024

Beppu is a charming coastal city on the island of Kyushu, renowned for its abundance of hot springs and breathtaking scenery. From soaking in steaming onsen to exploring scenic landscapes, Beppu offers a unique and rejuvenating experience for all. 

Since you already know about the best places to eat in Beppu, let’s cover what to do in Beppu — you won’t be short of options in this area of natural beauty, promising plenty of opportunities to relax and immerse yourself in memorable cultural experiences. Welcome to Beppu’s Hells and beyond.

12 best things to do in Beppu — must-see tourist spots!

  1. Enter the depths of Beppu’s Seven Hells
  2. Try Beppu’s regional foods and onsen coffee
  3. Sake tasting and izakaya tour in Beppu
  4. Join a private Japanese tea ceremony in a 100-year-old house
  5. Make Beppu’s noodle soup (dango jiru) in this cooking class
  6. Take the ropeway for panoramic views from Mount Tsurumi
  7. Take a dip in Beppu’s famous onsen hot springs
  8. Wander on the wild side at Takasakiyama Monkey Park
  9. Walk around Beppu’s picturesque lakes
  10. See art and take a footbath at Yufuin Station Art Hall
  11. Explore Beppu's Myoban hot springs and try steamed foods
  12. Tour Kannawa onsen and experience jigokumushi cooking

Unique experiences in Beppu

1. Enter the depths of Beppu’s Seven Hells

A close-up of an onsen hot spring in Japan; steam is rising from the blue waters.

Split across Beppu's Kannawa and Kamegawa regions, Beppu's Jigoku — more commonly known to people outside of Japan as the “Seven Hells of Beppu” — is an area filled with enchanting and temperamental hot springs, drawing in crowds for centuries.

The seven hells are:

  1. Tatsumaki (tornado) Hell: One of the most active geysers in the world.
  2. Kamado (cooking stove) Hell: A place where people of the past used to cook rice.
  3. Oniyama (demon mountain) Hell: Also known as “alligator hell," as a home to around 80 alligators.
  4. Oniishibozu Hell: Gets its name from the hot gray mud that bubbles up, creating a shape that resembles the shaved head of a monk.
  5. Umi Hell: A bright blue hot spring thanks to the high levels of iron oxide in its water.
  6. Chinoike Hell: Meaning “blood pond hell,” named as such for its unique red hue.
  7. Shiraike Hell: Named “white pond hell” for its milky white color; this and the three previous hot springs are designated as National Places of Scenic Beauty.

It’s recommended that you get the Jigoku Meguri pass and jump on a tour bus, taking you around all seven hells in around 2-2.5 hours for approximately ¥2,000.

2. Try Beppu’s regional foods and onsen coffee

Guests on a lunch and coffee tour walking through the streets of Beppu.

Join this Beppu lunch tour and see Beppu through the eyes of expert local guide Masahiro. Discover regional specialties, sampling traditional rice rolls and fried chicken at Beppu Station Market before trying something sweet from a nearby bakery.

Masahiro will regale you with local stories and cultural knowledge as you take in Beppu’s natural beauty. Then, rest your feet at Space Beppu, a traditional Japanese house restored for your coffee-sipping pleasure. Try “onsen coffee,” coffee made with the revitalizing waters of the hot springs, said to have a unique flavor and aroma.

Go for lunch and coffee in Beppu!

3. Sake tasting and izakaya tour in Beppu

A sake tasting and izakaya tour in Beppu; guests are chatting together at a table covered in food and drinks.

For access to an authentic Beppu experience, join our Beppu dinner and drinks tour — Masahiro is back again in this 3.5-hour bar hopping tour, taking you to multiple spots for a memorable dinner of drinks, snacks, sake tasting and izakaya dishes.

Appreciate the beauty of Beppu at night, watching the city light up as the famous onsen continue to release their iconic plumes into the evening air. You won’t be leaving empty-handed either, as you’ll be given a Beppu-crafted sake cup, made from local bamboo.

4. Join a private Japanese tea ceremony in a 100-year-old house

A private Japanese tea ceremony experience in Beppu. The table is covered with matcha tools and wagashi sweets.

Ever wanted to experience a Japanese tea ceremony for yourself? Join this tea ceremony experience in Beppu and learn the art of matcha green tea in the awe-inspiring setting of a 100-year-old townhouse. Paired with the gentle sweetness of wagashi sweets, as is custom, you’ll be getting the full, authentic experience.

 If you’re worried about not understanding a thing as your kimono-clad expert shares the art of the tea ceremony, fear not! You’ll be joined in their cozy tatami room by an English-speaking interpreter, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the lesson.

5. Make Beppu’s noodle soup (dango jiru) in this cooking class

A smiling guest being shown how to make Beppu noodles in a cooking class.

Only a 15-minute walk from Beppu Station, there’s a Japanese home cooking class you should join if you’re looking to leave Japan with more than just fridge magnets. Learn a new skill in the setting of a centuries-old Japanese house, where you’ll be taught how to cook dango jiru (noodle soup) from scratch — a dish that’s especially comforting to the people of Beppu, where this is a regional specialty.

If you’d prefer to make ramen or onigiri rice balls instead, just let your host know when booking and this can be arranged. Or, to add an additional local market tour, simply tap that option in the dropdown menu when going to book.

Fun fact: In most parts of Japan, “dango” refers to a specific type of mochi rice dumplings. However, in Oita the word conjures up images of flat, rectangular noodles!

6. Take the ropeway for panoramic views from Mount Tsurumi

The Mount Tsurumi Beppu Ropeway with a cable car on its way up the mountain.

For panoramic views over the city you’ve been exploring, take the Beppu Ropeway to the summit of Mt. Tsurumi, 1,375 meters into the skies above Beppu. Luckily, with the convenience of the ropeway you’ll be carried 800 meters up to a small park near the summit, featuring multiple observation decks — on a clear day, you can enjoy views of Beppu, Mount Yufu and even as far as the Kuju Mountains.

In more of a hiking mood? You can skip the ropeway entirely and take the hiking trail that begins at the lower ropeway station, taking about two hours to reach the summit by foot. 

Relaxation and rejuvenation in Beppu

7. Take a dip in Beppu’s famous onsen hot springs

A picturesque onsen hit spring in Japan; shimmering blue waters invite you to take a dip.

You didn’t think we’d let you go to Beppu without taking a relaxing dip for yourself, did you?

Beppu has eight major hot spring areas, so you’ll have plenty of baths to choose from — in fact, you could spend all day trying out the different options, swapping from indoor soaks to outdoor baths and even full submersion in a calming sand bath. 

Each different type of onsen is said to have unique properties, some leaving your skin feeling refreshed while others have the same effect on your mind.

Kamegawa Onsen and Kankaiji Onsen are most recommended for bathing with scenic views. There’s also the historic Hamawaki Onsen, rumored to be the birthplace of onsen in Beppu; as an added bonus, it’s open all day and is a tattoo-friendly onsen.

Day trips from Beppu

8. Wander on the wild side at Takasakiyama Monkey Park

A baby monkey with a shocked face, similar to what you might find at Takasakiyama Monkey Park.

Takasakiyama Monkey Park is a 20-minute train ride from Beppu Station, located at the base of Mt. Takasaki, a 628-meter-high mountain on the coast. Home to 1,500 free-roaming Japanese macaques, this is believed to be one of the largest monkey troops in the entire world.

Split into two troops of roughly 700-800 monkeys, they take it in turns to leave the surrounding forests and come down to the monkey park itself where the wardens will provide them with fresh snacks. Keep your camera close and snap a few pics of the monkeys running, playing and relaxing — bonus points for spotting the adorable baby monkeys clinging to their mothers’ tummies. 

9. Walk around Beppu’s picturesque lakes

The natural beauty of Lake Shidakako, featuring tranquil waters, lush forests and mountainous backgrounds.

Prefer to work up a sweat before soaking all your aches and pains away? 

Lake Shidakako or Lake Kinrinko are waiting for you. The former is famous in the area for being a place of unmatched natural beauty, the lush green mountains watching over the tranquil waters; the latter is more highly recommended for fall and winter when a gentle mist settles on the lake, making for some highly photogenic shots.

Either way, both lakes are blessed with scenic walking trails, boats for hire and bountiful species of birds.

10. See art and take a footbath at Yufuin Station Art Hall

The exterior of Yufuin Station Art Hall, famous for its free art gallery and footbath.

So, this one may be cheating since it’s actually about an hour by train from Beppu Station to Yufuin Station, but Yufuin is worth a visit while you’re in Oita Prefecture; it’s also the location of Lake Kinrinko mentioned above! 

Yufuin is known for its art museums, cafes, independent shops and plentiful onsen, but Yufuin’s lasting impression begins at the station. There’s a charming art gallery inside that’s worth slowing down your station exit for, as well as a footbath you may want to soak your feet in after a day spent exploring this rural onsen town.

Travel in style: You can rent bicycles from the Tourist Information Center, but if you want to elevate your journey around the town, you can even rent a horse-drawn carriage. Fancy.

11. Explore Beppu’s Myoban hot springs and try steamed foods

The lush nature and rushing river of Myoban hot springs.

On this 3-hour private tour of Myoban Onsen, you’ll meet your English-speaking guide at Beppu Station before heading to the picturesque town of Myoban for a soak in an open-air bath; surrounded by nature, the waters of Yuyama No Sato are said to have healing properties. 

Once you’re suitably relaxed, you’ll be led to the cultural heritage site of Myoban Yunosato, the only place in the world with a particular kind of timber huts. These unique huts have been used for centuries to produce yunohana mineral salts from natural onsen steam.

Wrap up the tour with the regional specialty of jigokumushi (hell steaming), using the natural steam from the hot springs to cook ingredients you’ll purchase from a local supermarket. 

Save room for something sweet — you’ll also enjoy a steam-cooked pudding.

12. Tour Kannawa onsen and experience jigokumushi cooking

The specialty of jigokumushi cooking at Kannawa onsen, steaming fresh veggies over the natural hot springs.

From within the atmospheric steam rising from the gutters of Kannawa Onsen, one of Beppu’s “hells,” learn about this geological wonder from local hosts. They’ll lead on a walking tour around the town before taking you to the mysterious, calming waters of the onsen. 

You’ll have two options: either take a dip in Hyotan Onsen, a hot springs facility with ten kinds of baths and several Michelin accolades, or if you’d prefer the rejuvenating qualities of the waters without getting wet, opt for a hot spring steam instead. 

This private tour also includes the unique jigokumushi cuisine, giving you another option for trying the steam delicacies of Beppu.

While you’re in Beppu, you’ll need to eat, right? Browse our list of the best places to eat in Beppu and try regional specialties in the form of kaiseki multi-course meals, yakiniku grilled meats and more.

Beppu FAQs

A close-up of the bubbling gray mud of Oniishibozu Hell.

Is Beppu worth visiting?

Yes, Beppu is 100% worth visiting! In addition to being one of the most popular destinations in Kyushu, Beppu is full of truly unique attractions. It's the perfect place to get familiar with Japanese hot spring culture. 

What is Beppu known for?

Beppu is the largest hot spring resort in western Japan. It also has easy access to Yufuin, offering additional bathing and sightseeing spots alongside scenic hiking trails around lakes and mountains.

What is the onsen capital of the world?

Beppu is said to be the number one onsen city in the world, boasting over 2,000 hot springs — some of which are too hot to use, and some of which are perfect for soaking the day away.

How many hells are there in Beppu?

There are said to be seven “hells” in Beppu, referring to the different onsen sulfur pits. It’s recommended that you get the Jigoku Meguri pass to see them all on one tour bus, taking 2-2.5 hours for approximately ¥2,000.

We strive to be as accurate as possible and keep up with the changing landscape of Japan's food and travel industries. If you spot any inaccuracies, please send a report.
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Ryan Noble
Ryan’s love for Japan may have begun with Naruto — something he refuses to hide — but it only grew once he truly understood the beauty of this country’s language, culture, and people. He hopes to use that passion to bridge the gap between Japan and the rest of the world, shining the spotlight on its hidden gems and supporting the revitalization of rural regions.
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