Yufuin Hot Spring – Meien to Meisui no Yado Baien

bath-yufuin

Private-use hot springs: Yes
Rooms with open-air baths: Yes

Oita in northeast Kyushu is sometimes referred to as the “Onsen Prefecture”, and this resort located in a sprawling 30,000 square meters garden with two hot spring sources is abundant in nature. Amidst the colorful plum trees and brooks teeming with dancing fireflies, stay in luxurious individual detached houses—many of which have private open-air baths. Or for a scenic change, the simple thermal spring and sodium bicarbonate saline spring public onsens boasts one of the best views of Mt. Yufu in the north. For music and movie lovers, come in the summer when Yufuin hosts a number of such festivals.

room-yufuin

food-yufuin

Access:
Take the Oita Kotsu bus from Oita Airport to JR Yufuin Station, or take the JR Limited Express Yufu train from JR Hakata Station to JR Yufuin Station. A 5-min. taxi ride from the station.

WEB:
http://yufuin-baien.com (Japanese)

Beppu Hot Spring – Umikaoru Yado Hotel New Matsumi

outdoorbath_R

Private-use hot springs: Yes
Rooms with open-air baths: Yes

Known for its “Hell Tour” of eight multi-colored hot springs, Beppu produces the most hot spring water in the nation, and is perhaps Japan’s most famous onsen. At Hotel New Matsumi, sea, spa and sky combine as you overlook the Beppu Bay in all its glory. Commanding views of the ocean can be found on the top floor outdoor onsen as the soft breeze caresses your face, or from many of the rooms where you can conveniently dine kaiseki style on the freshest foods the bay has to offer. For a private dip, submerge yourself in the sodium bicarbonate saline spring waters in the private rock bath, or the open air ceramic (porcelain) baths attached to your room.

room_R

bathporcelain_R

img005_R

Access:
Take the JR Limited Express Sonic train from JR Hakata Station to JR Beppu Station. A 10-min. walk from the station.

WEB:
http://new-matsumi.com/english/index.html

Do the “Hell Tour” at Beppu Onsen

Beppu in Oita Prefecture is probably the most famous onsen resort in Japan, producing the most hot spring water than any other area. The type of hot spring water varies on the location of the onsen, such as whether it is near the sea or the mountain.

Other than soaking in a hot spring, a popular activity is to do the Jigoku Meguri, or Hell Tour. There are a total of 8 Hell Hot Springs in an array of colors, but there probably isn’t a need to visit all of them unless you prefer to watch animals in hot springs than dip in one yourself. Here is a selection of six of them.

LAKE OF BLOOD 

beppu2

The high temperature of the hot spring water here (about 78 degrees) and the resulting volume of iron oxide and magnesium oxide in the water gives it its blood red colour.

SEA OF HELL

beppu1

Formed from a volcanic explosion around 1,200 years ago, this hot spring is nearly 98 degrees Celsius and the high content of radium iron sulphate gives the water its turquoise color.

SHAVEN MONK’S HEAD HELL 

beppu3

The bubbles forming in this hot spring of grey mud are said to look like the shaven head of  a monk. As the water temperature here hits around 99 degrees Celsius, dipping in this onsen is not advised, however, a foot bath facility is available on premise. There’s also a public bath next door with various pools to dip in.

WHITE POND HELL 

beppu5

This steaming milky white hot spring lake is surrounded by a Japanese garden and has an aquarium with rare tropical fish such as the man-eating piranha.

TORNADO HELL 

beppu6

 

This geyser erupts every 30-40 minutes for up to 10 minutes at a time, reaching around 50m in height.

MONSTER MOUNTAIN HELL 

 

 

beppu7

 

Over 80 crocodiles and alligators inhabit this hot spring which was the first hot spring facility to rear crocodiles over 90 years ago.