On the ‘Japanese Riviera’ – a gorgeous stretch along the northeast coast of Kyushu Island – lies Beppu, one of Asia’s most famous hot spring resorts. Sat between a beautiful, beach-laden bay and imposing volcanic mountains, Beppu is home to more than 2,000 onsen hot springs that bathe the city’s streets and fill the air with warm, volcanic steam, a phenomena that is particularly visible during the colder winter months.
There are hundreds of baths to enjoy here, including hot water baths, mud baths, hot sand baths and steam baths, as well as spectacular springs for viewing only. The ‘Hells of Beppu’, which include the cobalt blue springs of Umi Jigoku (Sea Hell) and the blood-red Chi-no-ike Jigoku (Blood Hell), provide incredible views and simply unmissable photo opportunities.
Even the local cuisine is influenced by Beppu’s remarkable natural wonders, and no visit to the city is complete without learning of, and sampling, onsen food. Ingredients such as eggs, seafood, pork and various kinds of vegetables are cooked using the natural heat of the boiling springs, a process that is renowned for producing fresh flavoured, healthy dishes.