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These 14 Things to Do in Beppu Show Why It’s Japan’s Hidden Gem

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It may be a relatively small city compared to other places higher on the tourist radar, like Tokyo, Kyoto, or neighboring Oita City, but there are still many things to do in Beppu that make it well worth a visit. This charming city located in southern Japan is still something of a hidden gem, but it’s starting to see more buzz these days.

Famous across Japan for its thousands of hot springs, Beppu is a go-to spot in Japan if experiencing the onsen life is high on your list of priorities. From hot spring baths to hot mud baths, sand baths, foot baths, and steam baths, you can truly indulge in all things relaxation in a world-famous Beppu onsen.

But this city has much more going for it than its famous hot springs alone! Its unique local cuisine, cooked via natural hot steam escaping from the ground below, is not to be missed. Moreover, there’s seemingly endless natural beauty to witness on a hike or two, a thriving nightlife to dance away the evening, and amusement parks to keep the whole family entertained.

Beppu is set to be a growing destination on the tourist radar, looking at its increasing popularity over the past few years. But for now, it’s not fallen prey to the foils of overtourism. So, before international tourist numbers soar, now is the perfect time to visit Beppu’s tourist attractions.


Name Type of Activity Address
Beppu Onsen Hot Spring Japan, 874-0000 Oita Prefecture
Hike Through the Hells of Beppu and Beyond Hiking Address: Not specified
Admire the Scenery at Beppu Park Park Visit Japan, 〒874-0903 Oita, Beppu, Noguchihara 3018-1
Take in the Sights with the Beppu Ropeway Ropeway Ride Japan, Minami-tateishi, Beppu 874-0000 Oita Prefecture
Get Crafty at the Beppu City Traditional Bamboo Crafts Center Crafts Japan, 8-3 Kumi Higashisoen, Beppu 874-0836 Oita Prefecture

Things to Do in Beppu, Japan

1. Hike Through the Hells of Beppu and Beyond

Mount Yufu, Japan
M・H / AdobeStock

If you’re looking for adventure, nature, and stunning views, hiking in the Hells of Beppu is a must-do. The nine circles of hell in this area are located northeast of the city. The trails vary in difficulty, so you don’t need to be an expert hiker to enjoy it, and the views of the steaming vents and sulfur-covered landscape are spectacular.

For something a little out from the city center, consider the short but scenic hike to Onbara Falls. It’s around a 15-minute drive in your rental car from central Beppu and is a very easy and accessible hike with a stunning waterfall to discover.

Or, venture to the Mount Yufu Trailhead of the Aso-Kuju National Park, which is also less than 20 minutes away via public bus or car. Make sure to have your sturdy walking shoes ready as this 7km hike is sometimes considered challenging, with some scrambling at an incline included in the fun.

See Related: Best Hiking Apps for Your Next Adventure

2. Admire the Scenery at Beppu Park

Beppu Park in Oita, Japan
Greg Mclain/Wirestock Creators / AdobeStock

Address: Japan, 〒874-0903 Oita, Beppu, Noguchihara 3018-1

Beppu Park is alive and thriving, with many towering trees over a century old. A reasonably short walk from JR Beppu Station of only around 15 minutes, it doesn’t take much out of your day and makes for the perfect after-lunch stroll. Or, pack a picnic full of local convenience store bargains and park your blanket as you please to stick around for a while.

Moreover, the park is a perfect spot to visit in all seasons. It is one of the best spots in the city to marvel at the cherry blossoms during springtime and is equally as beautiful when the fiery tones of autumn set in. There’s also a bamboo forest for an authentic Japanese backdrop to your vacation snaps any time of year!

3. Sample Delicious Local Cuisine

Steam food cuisine in Beppu, Japan
suchart / AdobeStock

Beppu has a variety of local cuisine that can be tasted at restaurants in the city. An undeniably popular dish in Beppu is called Oden. Oden is a stew made with various types of fishcake, daikon (Japanese radish), and eggs.

But if you want something unique to the area, try out local dishes created by local steam cooking methods. One of the best places to experience steam-cooked meals in Beppu is the Jigokumushi Kobo Steam Cooking Center. You can take your own food or purchase various items on-site and then enjoy your private steam chamber to concoct a meal you’ll find hard to replicate elsewhere.

4. Explore the Vibrant Nightlife Scene

Beppu City at night, Japan
SeanPavonePhoto / AdobeStock

Beppu City is known for its nightlife scene, famous throughout the country of Japan. The city has many bars and clubs that attract many tourists and locals alike.

Beppu is a relatively peaceful city with a low crime rate and offers visitors a positive vacation experience. But it also knows how to party and have a good time!

Book a table at Otto e Sette Oita for a fusion of local steam cooking and traditional Italian cuisine for a memorable dinner. This restaurant uses fresh, locally caught seafood, seasonal local produce, and abundant local steam to create Michelin-level dishes.

5. Visit the Hachiman Kamado Shrine

Hachiman Kamado Shrine, Beppu, Japan
maru1122maru / AdobeStock

Address: Japan, 2-15-19 Asami, Beppu 874-0812 Oita Prefecture

Atop the mountains of Beppu, you’ll find the 8th-century Hachiman Kamado Shrine. Any walk up to the shrine is rewarded with amazing panoramic views of Beppu Bay and the sprawling city below.

As the legend goes, the local village once lived in terror of man-eating demons. So, the gods promised the demons a human sacrifice should they succeed in building 100 stone steps in one night on the condition they leave should they fail. But as the demons finished their 99th step, the sun began to rise, and they fled, saving the villagers from their ongoing terror!

So, as you scale the 99 stone steps leading up to the shrine, be grateful it misses the 100 mark! The legend has been stipulated to have inspired certain features of the popular Japanese manga and anime series Demon Slayerso it’s a popular spot for fans of the franchise.

6. Soak in the Hot Springs at Beppu Onsen

Umi Jigoku Hot Spring, Beppu, Japan
Roparat / Adobe Stock

Beppu City is a famous onsen hot spot in Japan with around 3,000 hot springs and many luxurious hot spring resorts to take advantage of! Taking a soak in hot spring water is said to have numerous healing properties, such as easing aches and pains, releasing stress, and even healing the skin through elevated sulfur levels.

For the creme-de-la-creme of hot spring waters in Beppu, visit Takegawara Onsen. This is a particularly famous hot spring in the area, built in the late 19th century. For ultimate relaxation, you can enjoy soaking in the hot springs or even a sand bath, with the sand naturally heated from the geothermal water below the ground.

Just a 5-minute walk away from Takegawara Onsen is the four-star Umino Hotel Hajime. As well as being a convenient distance from one of the best hot springs in Beppu, the hotel also has its own public hot spring bath with ocean views perfect for a sunset soak.

See Related: Best Ryokans in Hakone, Japan: Where to Stay and Relax

7. Shop Till you Drop at Trendy Boutiques and Stores

Inside a Don quijote store, japan
tang90246 / AdobeStock

Beppu City is home to many specialty boutiques and stores, which sell everything from traditional Japanese souvenirs to quirky novelty items. Beppu Kōtsu Center is your go-to spot for souvenir shopping that you’ll find on the waterfront of Beppu. It’s filled to the brim with local bamboo crafts, sweet treats, and other souvenirs for yourself or gifts for friends and family.

There are also a few large shopping malls like YouMe Town Beppu and Tokiwa Beppu for you to peruse at your leisure. To make the most of a sunny day, head to the pedestrian-friendly Kitakoka Shotengai Shopping Street to stroll the shops and stop off at a local cafe for a brew as a pit stop. And we must remember to pop into the local Don Quijote, a Japanese chain store that sells a little bit of everything.

8. Admire the Views at Beppu Tower

Beppu Tower, Japan
linglingdolly / TripAdvisor

Address: Japan, 〒874-0920 Oita, Beppu, Kitahama, 3-chōme−10−2 別府タワ 2階

Beppu Tower, completed in 1957, stands 100m tall with an observation deck at the 55m mark to enjoy 360-degree views of Beppu Bay and the surrounding city. Forming part of the six-part group called the ‘Six Tower Brothers’, Beppu Tower is a hot spot and must-see in Beppu.

Once you’re finished with the views from the observation deck, the Beppu Museum of Art is housed on the tower’s second floor. The museum features over 400 works by celebrities and other famous artists of varying styles. Then, Matogahama Beach is just a short stroll away for a quick paddle in the sea.

9. Oita Fragrance Museum

Oita Fragrance Museum, Beppu, Japan
Akio / TripAdvisor

Address: Japan, 48-1 Kitaishigaki, Beppu 874-0915 Oita Prefecture

Spanning three different levels, the Oita Fragrance Museum takes you through everything you need to know to understand the world of fragrance. You’ll learn the process and art of creating new fragrances worldwide and delve into the history of fragrances as far back as Ancient Egypt.

While visiting the museum, don’t forget to take advantage of their classes, where you can create your own scent in perfume or scent bags. Or you can take it easy and lounge in their aromatherapy room for a while.

10. Get Your Adrenaline Going at Kijima Kogen Park

Kijima Kogen Park, Beppu, Japan
団子 / TripAdvisor

Address: Japan, 123 Kijima Kogen, Beppu 874-0000 Oita Prefecture

Of all the things to do in Beppu, nothing will get your heart racing quite like a visit to Kijima Kogen Amusement Park will! Its piece-de-resistance is a 1,600-meter-long roller coaster, Jupiter, where speeds reach 91kph. But there are 37 other attractions at the park to keep the whole family happy.

The 40-meter free-fall drop of the Newton Drop Tower makes my tummy turn just thinking of it. Or, you can be flung into the sky and back again on the Birdman if you get in before you’ve had your lunch.

For those wanting something less intense, the park does have family-friendly rides like a Merry-GoRound and a Ferris Wheel. There’s also numerous other activities, like VR gaming and a swimming pool.

11. Take in the Sights with the Beppu Ropeway

Beppu Ropeway, Japan
Pealiku / Adobe Stock

Address: Japan,Minami-tateishi, Beppu 874-0000 Oita Prefecture

The Beppu Ropeway takes passengers on a 10-minute ride up to Mount Tsurumi of Aso-Kuju National Park. Taking a trip on the ropeway is one of the best things to do in Beppu to enjoy scenic views of the surrounding area that makes the Oita Prefecture. Atop the mountain’s peak, there are three observation points that serve as the optimal places to enjoy views as far as the eye can see.

Once you reach the top, the best spots for exploring include taking a mini pilgrimage around the mountain’s paths to visit the Seven Lucky Gods. Statues characterizing the seven gods, each associated with good fortune and happiness, are scattered across a scenic route of around 30 minutes to walk.

12. Get Crafty at the Beppu City Traditional Bamboo Crafts Center

Beppu Bamboo Crafts Center, Beppu, Japan
hidetakak2016 / TripAdvisor

Address: Japan, 8-3 Kumi Higashisoen, Beppu 874-0836 Oita Prefecture

In addition to being a popular onsen town for centuries, Bamboo crafts have a long history in Beppu, dating back to the 1st Century. Being such a significant staple to the identity of Beppu, bamboo crafts in the area were designated a traditional form of Japanese arts and crafts by the Ministry of Economy back in the 70s.

By visiting the center, you can learn about the history of bamboo crafts in Beppu and walk through exhibits featuring various designs. You can also try this craft out for yourself. The center offers lessons for those interested in giving bamboo crafts a go; you just have to register for a class in advance rather than hope for a spot on arrival.

13. Retreat to Serenity at Shidaka Lake

Shidaka Lake, Beppu, Japan
紳一 鈴木 / AdobeStock

Retreat from the city and enjoy Shidaka Lake, nestled in the mountains not too far from the Beppu Hell Springs. Calm and at peace, the lake’s water is very clear, so you can see the Japanese carp swimming below the surface. You can also enjoy watching the groups of swans glide gracefully on the small lake, including baby chicks in the springtime into the early summer.

Shidaka Lake is a top choice for those wanting to experience more of a hidden gem of Beppu, away from the tourist hot spots. You can walk around the water’s edge or board your novelty swan boat and paddle at your leisure before pitching up at one of the BBQ grills scattered around the lake to enjoy lunch with a view.

See Related: Most Relaxing Vacation Spots in the World

14. Enjoy Summer Fireworks at the Beppu Fireworks Festival

Fireworks at Beppu Hi-no-Umi Festival
Tourism OITA / Facebook

Time your visit to Beppu around the end of July to enjoy the annual fireworks festival. The festival generally takes place on the last weekend of July but is sometimes held on the first weekend of August, so double-check your travel dates to avoid disappointment.

You can get stuck in with the festivities and have locals show you traditional dances, or relax in a hot spring and enjoy the view of the fireworks from there. In fact, some fireworks exploding in the sky take on the image of Beppu’s hot springs, so it’s fitting to enjoy the view from their inspiration in a lovely hot spring bath.

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