Saturday, March 27, 2010

Beppu 別府

After visiting Nagasaki and Fukuoka on the Northwest coast of Kyushu, I crossed the island and went to indulge myself in the hotspring town of Beppu, on the Northeast coast. Beppu is sometimes named "the hotspring capital of Japan", and believe me... that is quite a lot in this country which is actually boiling underground!

Since I arrived in town, the references to hotsprings were continuous. Have a look at this funny demon enjoying his hot bath! ;)

On my way to some hotsprings, I was really surprised that there are fumes at boiling temperatures coming directly from the ground and from everywhere! Sometimes, it was like walking in hell!

Actually, apart from the typical onsen (Japanese bath / 温泉 ), there are many "hells" (jigoku / 地獄 ), hotsprings just to look at them, kind of the ones I found last year in Yellowstone NP in the USA. I just went to visit one known as Umi jigoku (海地獄), and turned out to be nice. But Yellowstone had been just too impressive...

Kyushu is warmer than Honshu, the main island of Japan, and many trees were blooming at that time:

Back on the streets, fumes from everywhere...

Locals actually used those fumes and boiling water to boil food and sell it to tourists. Do you fancy a hotspring boiled egg??

I was in Beppu only one day, but had time to go to several hotsprings. These are the nicest. The second one has been opened since the Meiji era (end of 19th century!) and looked pretty old... but really cool! So traditional!!

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