2 Day Itinerary in Beppu: The Onsen Capital of Japan

Itinerary in Japan

Beppu is a beautiful city nestled in the northern part of Oita prefecture. It boasts the largest number of hot spring sources as well as the largest amount of hot spring water in all of Japan, making it a popular tourist destination which attracts over 8 million people every year. Despite the remote location, it is conveniently accessible by domestic flights leaving from major airports like Narita International Airport and Kansai International Airport. Everything including the must-visit tourist attractions are within reach from the central part of the city and can easily be explored for one or two days. Spending a weekend in Beppu with your family, friends, or even on your own will surely be a memorable and relaxing experience. We have layed out the perfect 2-day itinerary for you which will help you make the most of your time in Beppu!

Day 1: Oita Airport

Start your adventure from Oita Airport, the main gateway to the famous tourist attractions around Beppu city! If you live in or near Tokyo, you can take domestic flights from either Narita International Airport or Haneda Airport. It typically costs around ¥20,000 for a round trip, but they can vary depending on the season and month you travel. Summer tends to be peak season, and winter is usually the best season to go if you want to take advantage of great deals on cheap flights! From the Kansai region, which includes both Osaka and Kyoto, you can fly from Kansai International Airport where you can find quick and easy flights taking you to Oita Airport in less than an hour!

Flights from Tokyo/Osaka to Oita

  • Tokyo
    Cost: ~ ¥20,000 (※Cheaper flights are available if using low cost airlines)
    Flight time: 2 hours
  • Osaka
    Cost: ~ ¥15,000 (※Cheaper flights are available if using low cost airlines)
    Flight time: 1 hour

From Oita Airport, take the express bus service called “Express Airliner” which is about a 50-minute bus journey to JR Beppu station. (¥1,500/one way)

Hyougushi / Hideyuki KAMON from Takarazuka, Hyogo, JAPAN, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Head to the Hells of Beppu (2-3hours)

One of the most famous tourist attractions in Beppu are the Hells of Beppu, which offer a spectacular scenery that can only be found here! They consist of 7 natural hot springs which are officially designated as Japan’s National Scenic Beauty. They are all easily accessible from JR Oita station by bus. Each hot spring features different colors of boiling hot spring pools surrounded by impressive nature. Although most of them are not for bathing, you can enjoy exploring the amazing atmosphere created by bubbling colorful waters, extremely hot muddy pools, and even giant alligators which reside in one of the hot springs!

Admission ¥2,000 (adults) ¥1,350 (high school students) ¥1,000 (junior high school students) ¥900 (elementary school students)

Mount Tsurumi(hike or take a cable car) Sand Bath(1-2 hour)

Beppu is a perfect destination not only for hot spring lovers but also for passionate hikers! If you want an exciting hiking experience, head to Mt. Tsurumi, which is loved as a landmark in Beppu along with another symbolic peak known as Mt. Fuyu. The 1,375-meter high mountain offers great hiking trails for people of all abilities and boasts impressive scenery created by beautiful nature that includes seasonal plants and flowers. Beppu Ropeway is also available if you are not in the mood for hiking up the mountain or if the weather isn’t great. Hop on the ropeway which is about a 15 minute ride up to the summit of the mountain, where you can enjoy the panoramic view of Beppu city, Mt. Yufu and Beppu Bay!

Beppu Ropeway

Opening hours
9am – 5:30pm (March 15 – November 14)
9am – 5pm (November 15 – March 14)

Fare (Round trip)
¥1,600 (adults) ¥ 800 (children)
See here for more information

Beppu Sake Stand Jun

When the sun sets and night approaches, it is a great time to explore local dining and drinking spots around Beppu! Beppu Sake Stand Jun is a recently opened cozy bar which is a short walk from JR Beppu Station(about 6min). They serve a wide variety of alcoholic beverages ranging from local sake brands to tasty wine and beer carefully chosen by the staff. Inside the small, but lively bar it is always packed with customers including both foreign tourists and students going to the local university which is famous for its international education. On Sunday mornings, you can enjoy a healthy, rice porridge which is a traditional Japanese rice risotto, perfect for starting the day! 

Address 1-1-1 Kitahama, Beppu, Oita
Opening hours Noon – 8pm
9am – 11am (*on Sunday they only serve breakfast)

Day 2: Beppu Beach Sand Bath

If you want to enjoy unique hot springs in Beppu, you might want to check out the sand bath at Beppu Beach. Taking a sand bath is a special way of bathing which uses sand instead of hot spring water. The staff at the beach shovel hot sand over your body all the way up to your neck. The sand is naturally heated by streams from the hot springs, which contain a variety of health benefits such as muscle pain relief. Participants generally change into yukata(traditional Japanese bathrobe), which protects your body from getting burned by hot sand and helps with the sweating! The temperature of the sand is continuously kept around 42℃, which isn’t too hot, giving you a relaxing experience while lying on the scenic beach!

How to enjoy the Sand Bath at Beppu Beach

  • Make sure to drink enough water before and after taking the Sand bath
  • Don’t hesitate to tell the staff if the sand is too hot or heavy
  • Bring your camera and ask the friendly staff to take pictures of you buried in sand!

Opening hours 8:30am – 6pm (April – October) 9am – 5pm (November – March)
Fee ¥1,050 (per person)

6. Theme Parks (Kijima Koen Park/ Sanrio Character Park Harmonyland)

On the second day of your trip, it can be fun to visit the local amusement parks! Kijima Koen Park boasts more than 30 different types of attractions and rides ranging from kid-friendly to big roller coasters popular among adults(Kijima Kogen Hotel is a great accommodation option!). If you are a big fan of the fantastic world of Sanrio Characters, you should visit Sanrio Character Park Harmonyland where you can enjoy exciting rides, shop for original merchandise that make for memorable gifts, and watch fun shows of world-famous Sanrio characters!

Kijima Koen Park

10am – 5pm (weekdays) 9am – 5pm (weekends)
¥4,500 (adults) ¥3,600 (ages 4 – elementary school students)

Sanrio Character Park Harmonyland

10am – 5pm
¥3,000 (adults)
*Free admission for children under the age of three

Martin Lewison, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Where to stay in Beppu?

It can be tough to decide what the best place to stay is no matter where you are visiting in Japan. But don’t worry, here are a few of our recommendations for the best accomodations in Beppu!

1. Yamada Bessou

Enjoy a traditional Ryokan experience with exceptional service and friendly staff! Yamada Bessou boasts spacious Japanese-style guest rooms, relaxing open-air hot springs and is situated in a great location within access to JR Beppu station!

▶Book Yamada Bessou

2. Nogami Honkan

Nogami Honkan is a great option for those who want an affordable, simple ryokan stay. This accomodation is a small, traditional Ryokan which is about a 10-minute walk from JR Beppu station. The guest rooms are relatively compact, but comfortable and fully equipped with modern furniture and facilities including air conditioning. Their hot springs are tattoo friendly, and they have English speaking staff!

▶Book Nogami Honkan

3. Beppu Kamenoi Hotel

Beppu Kamenoi Hotel is a reasonable, family-friendly hotel perfect for family and group trips. It is a 5-minute walk from JR Beppu station, and free parking is also available if you plan to come by car. You can expect clean western-style guest rooms, refreshing hot spring facilities and a gift shop selling a variety of local souvenirs. Their breakfast buffet offers both traditional Japanese and western food as well!

▶Book Beppu Kamenoi Hotel

Japan Wonder Travel Tours

If you need some help organizing your trip to Japan, check out our private tours with our English speaking guides. We would be happy to help make your trip to Japan a safe, comfortable, and unforgettable one!

  1. Tokyo Private Tour [Customized, 7 Hours]
    Visit the must-see highlights in Tokyo with our friendly guides! This tour is flexible and the destinations are customizable according to your requests.
  2. Kagoshima 1–Day Highlight Private Walking Tour (8 Hours)
    Join our private walking tour to see the highlights of Kagoshima, another popular tourist destination in the Kyushu region!

If you feel you need a leisurely, peaceful holiday away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Beppu could be the perfect destination for you. Most of the tourist attractions introduced here are outdoors, which means you can explore them safely while avoiding enclosed indoor spaces packed with other tourists. Don’t forget to check out our other blogs featuring must-visit destinations in the Kyushu area!    

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Happy traveling!

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Miho Shimizu is a Japanese freelance writer settled in Shizuoka with her husband and two rabbits. Fascinated with travelling at the age of 18, she has spent most of her long holidays exploring incredible spots around Japan. Also love to listen to music, draw, and read novels over a cup of green tea.

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