As an APU student, there are many ways you can take a break from studying, such as eating out with your friends, going shopping, soaking in one of Beppu's many different hot springs, singing karaoke, and bowling. While these places can be found in many areas throughout the city, many locations especially popular with APU students are concentrated around Beppu Station.
There are two large shopping malls in Beppu—the Tokiwa Department Store and Youme Town—and both are conveniently located within walking distance of Beppu Station. From clothing and household goods to local souvenirs, toys, accessories, cosmetics, CDs, and books, you will be able to find almost anything you need here. There are also 100 yen shops, supermarkets, food courts, restaurants, and game centers within these shopping plazas for your convenience.
Tokiwa Department Store
Beppu has 2,217 hot springs, known as onsen in Japanese, and people from all over Japan and other countries travel to Beppu just for the chance to soak in them to relax. During your time in Beppu, you can buy a coupon book specifically for Beppu’s hot springs, which features more than 150 affiliated locations that offer discounted deals. You can also get the Beppu Hatto Spaport, which is a hot spring passport that you have stamped any time you go to a new location. After you have gathered 88 different stamps, you will be recognized as an onsen meijin or a hot spring celebrity. Visiting different hot springs in Beppu is a great way to learn about the local culture and make acquaintances in the community. You can also try the 'hell tour,' a popular tourist attraction that offers sightseeing around the eight major types of hot springs that exist in the area. These hot springs are known as “hells” because the water is too hot to soak in.
Beppu’s Hot Spring Steam
Kannawa Onsen is renowned for the many columns of hot spring steam that waft into the air. In 2001, Beppu's hot spring steam was selected second, behind Mount Fuji, in an NHK survey of the top hundred scenic landscapes that the Japanese people want to preserve into the 21st century.
Myoban Onsen is one of the eight hot spring areas of Beppu. Myoban is the Japanese word for alum, a mineral that has been collected here since the Edo Era as a bath salt. These alum salts, called "yunohana," are collected in thatched roof huts, and the smell of sulfur is a vivid reminder that you are in onsen country.
With over 130 years of history, Takegawara Onsen is one of the symbols of Beppu. The current two-story wood building was built in 1938. Open from morning until night, Takegawara Onsen is not only a famous tourist attraction, it serves as a public bath for many local residents.
There are also several sand baths in Beppu. Relax as you let an attendant bury your body in steaming hot sand. The photo is of the Beppu Beach Sand Bath.
There are many foot baths around the city. Stop by for a soak and pleasant conversation with the locals.
Jigoku Meguri: Beppu Hell Tour
Beppu’s hot springs come in all shapes, sizes, and colors depending on the minerals they contain. Some of the most famous hot springs are the eight Hells (”jigoku”) which are designated as a National Place of Scenic Beauty: Umi Jigoku, Chinoike Jigoku, Tatsumaki Jigoku, Shiraike Jigoku, Kamado Jigoku, Oniishibozu Jigoku, Yama Jigoku, and Oniyama Jigoku. One Hell is actually a steaming hot geyser. At another, you can try a delicious boiled egg. And some Hells use the hot water to raise animals and cultivate plants.
As a local community with rich traditions and a long history of welcoming tourists, Beppu has a major festival almost every month and a event nearly every week. Traditional festivals include the Hot Spring Festival in April, the Summer Festival in July, and the Thousand Lights Festival of Beppu Park in November. Other local events include the Beppu-Oita Marathon in January, Tsurumi Mountain Hiking Event in April, the Beppu Community Walk in October, and the very popular Beppu Christmas Fireworks Show in December. You can enjoy these events either as an attendee or a performer, joining a local dance group or representing APU in a student group.
Beppu Christmas Fireworks Show
Mt. Tsurumi: Aso Kuju National Park
Being one of Japan’s most visited cities, Beppu has several tourist attractions that you can enjoy. Top attractions include Kijima Highlands Amusement Park, Harmonyland Hello Kitty Theme Park, Umi-tamago Aquarium, and the Takasaki Wild Monkey Reserve. In areas around Beppu, you can find the African Safari Zoo and the popular mountain valley town of Yufuin. Oita City, which is only 15 minutes away by train, has several shopping centers, museums, cinemas, and a professional soccer stadium. If you would like to see another part of Japan, you can take a two-hour bus ride to Fukuoka or an overnight ferry ride to Osaka directly from Beppu.
Kijima Kogen Park
At Kijima Kogen Park, you can enjoy thrilling rides on roller coasters, go-carts, a giant Ferris wheel, and more! The most popular attraction is the Jupiter, Japan's first wooden roller coaster, which was built with 60,000 southern yellow pine trees imported from the United States.MAP
Harmony Land is a theme park based on popular Sanrio characters including the world-famous Hello Kitty and My Melody. It is especially popular with female tourists and families. Parades and festive live performances are held daily.MAP
The Oita Marine Palace Aquarium, better known as Umitamago, is an exciting aquarium that makes you feel like you are one with the ocean. Get an up-close look at a diverse array of marine life in the various tanks and hands-on displays and enjoy unique performances by dolphins, walruses, sea lions, and more. The deck offers a beautiful view of Beppu Bay behind Mt. Takasaki, the mountain famous for its monkeys.MAP
Mt. Takasaki Natural Zoological Garden
Mt. Takasaki is currently home to about 1,300 wild Japanese monkeys. Every day, numerous monkeys come to a gathering area where you can watch them romp and play in front of your very eyes.MAP
Located in neighboring Ajimu, African Safari is one of Japan's largest safari parks with 1,400 animals of 70 different species. Measuring 1.15 million m2, the park is ten times the size of APU. You can drive your car though the park or take a thrilling ride on a "Jungle Bus." There is also a petting zoo on the premises.MAP