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 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, 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, a food court, restaurants, and game centers within these shopping plazas for your convenience.
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 and 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.
As a local community with rich traditions and a long history of welcoming tourists, Beppu has a major festival almost every month and an 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.
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 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.