Dec 23, 2011

Fantastic world of lights

This illumination is presented by the Suginoi Hotel and stretches for 600m on both sides of the street in its site. The lights of about 730,000 LED bulbs are powered by hotel's in-house geothermal generators.
You can enjoy it from 17:00 to 23:00 every day. The last day is unknown yet.

Dec 15, 2011

Series-"Onsen Town Beppu is Ready to Welcome You."

When you plan to trip to Japan, we recommend you to include Beppu in your itinerary. Because Beppu has a lot of things to satisfy the full sense of tourists. We are presenting a series of topics on the tourism Beppu.

Part 1 : Onsen = Hot spring
Japanese people like to take bath everyday in the bath tub with full of water to ease their fatigue of the day. Beppu is the mecca of Onsen for such Japanese bath lovers. People in Beppu can relax in a local Onsens with rich minerals in a walking distance almost every day.

Fee for each municipal Onsen in Beppu is only 100 yen.
In today’s thin human relation society, it is a pleasure for local people to greet and chat with others in Onsen bath.

Many tourists from other parts of Japan and overseas may enjoy the same way of bathing in the municipal Onsen mingling with local people. On the other hand, Beppu has a lot of upscale Onsens with various types of Onsen in one building for the tourists to enjoy them easily. Also, you can experience unique Onsens such as mud bath (“doroyu”), sand bath (“sunayu”, steam bath (“mushiyu”) and popular open-air bath (“rotenburo”). Fee range for them is from 200 yen to 2,000 yen. (K.I. & K.K.)

Nov 28, 2011

The foliage season

It is the season for colored leaves around Beppu. These photos were taken at the foot of Mt.Tsurumi.

At beginning of December we can enjoy seeing yellow and red leaves at lower altitudes such as Mt.Takasaki Natural Park. (AW)

Nov 10, 2011

Oita/Seoul(Korea) Flights resume in December

Korean Airlines released it’s Oita-Seoul (Incheon) line, only international scheduled flight in Oita airport, to resume its operation from December 30, 2011. It has been cancelled since last April due to East Japan earthquake. To maintain its long lasting operation, Oita prefecture begins direct subsidies to the traveler from Oita upon its resumption.

According to Korean airlines Oita branch, tour groups began to increase on major flights such as Fukuoka/Korea routes. The parties concerned in Oita expect more foreign tourists to visit Oita via Seoul using Korean airlines flights. .

Schedule of the flights are as follows;

Seoul/Oita : Fridays 13:30 and Sundays 15:40
Oita/Seoul : Fridays 16:00 and Sundays 18:10

Oct 25, 2011

Tanoura Beach

This is one of beach side parks in Oita prefecture.
At this time of the year, elementary school students are there on a field trip. Local workers take stroll at their lunch breaks. Little kids with their mothers like to have lunch on benches, enjoying autumn sea breeze and mild sunshine at the beach. It is the most pleasant season here to spend time outdoors.

This park is one of popular places for local people. It is usually crowded with swimmers in summer. Special events are held on some weekends all through the year. It takes 10 minutes by local bus to get there from Beppu station. (AW)

Sep 17, 2011


Kaiten-zushi is one of the most popular fast foods in Japan. The system is very unique. In Kaiten-zushi restaurant, you will see the rotating belt conveyor that carries various kind of sushi plates around the tables or counter seats.
Look at the photos below.

You can pick up any one of suchi on the conveyor at your choice. Some kind of desserts such as sweets and fruits will come out. Besides those, you can order some other special plates from the menu if you prefer.

The price of each plate is normally from 100 to 500 yen. Differences of color and pattern of plates indicate the price. Waiter or waitress will make bill based on numbers of respective kind of plates you take.

Can you guess how Kaiten-zushi style started?

It is said that when an owner of sushi bar saw beer bottles moving on a belt conveyor in a beer factory, an idea popped up in his mind. He applied that system to his sushi bar to serve much more customers with the limited space and man power. This business started more than 50 years ago.

There are many Kaiten-zushi restaurants here and there in Beppu like other places in Japan. Although sushi as one of the typical Japanese cuisines is generally considered luxurious, Kaiten-zushi has totally changed that image. It is rather inexpensive way to taste this traditional and popular food of Japan. Some Kaiten-zushi restaurants may serve complimentary miso soup, if you are lucky. Enjoy this unique suchi in Beppu. (AW)

Sep 6, 2011

Legend of the Seas made four visits to Beppu in August

Legend of the Seas of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line made four consecutive week visits to Beppu last August. Departing Tianjin, China, the 70,000 ton cruise ship dropped in at Busan, Korea and Fukuoka, Japan before arriving at Beppu. With these four visits, she carried over 6800 passengers and 3000 crew members in total to Beppu. The most of passengers are from China.  

This series of visits supposed to be conducted last March and April. Because of the great disaster attacked eastern Japan on March 11, they were all cancelled. But getting acknowledged that Kyushu area is quite safe for the tourists, this event revived in August. 

International Cruise Ship Promotion Council of Oita Prefecture, the joint reception team, formed by Oita prefecture and Beppu city offices has long been working to welcome those great numbers of passengers from China that they first experienced. They had several preparatory meetings. Many tourism related organizations such as Beppu Tourist Association, Beppu Foreign Tourist Information Office (FTIO), Beppu Hotel Association, transportation companies, shops, woman’s association, tourist attraction sectors, etc. took part in this event.

Forty five Chinese students studying in Beppu University played a big role as translators and companions for Chinese passengers. They were positioned at the pier, the main shopping streets, the fire station, the reception area, and so on. 

FTIO provided more than 20 English and Korean speaking staffs in total at the pier, downtown, JR Beppu station and Kannawa offices. They helped passengers make effective one day trip in Beppu and surrounded area working together with Chinese students. They became friends with some crew members who repeatedly visited Beppu through this series of voyages. They were very good speakers for Beppu tourism announcing the attractive points to their passengers and fellow crew members.

Many volunteer groups such as woman’s folk dance team, drummers, a high school brass band, kids street dancers, etc., played welcome and farewell performance at the pier.  

The authority concerned estimates the economic effects of this special event be near one hundred million yen, equivalent to US$1.3 million. It is quite obvious that the impact to the local tourism industry by Chinese tourists is quite dramatic. We really expect that Chinese market shall surpass Korean market in the near future for the tourism of Beppu. (KK)

Aug 21, 2011

Message from the Mayor of Beppu

Mr. Hamada, Mayor of Beppu City, invites you!!!

Beppu, located in Oita Prefecture on the island of Kyushu, is a splendid town sandwiched between the beautiful mountain ranges and the sea.

The City is striving for creating an attractive resort town with unique characteristics endowed with such wonderful views of the sea, mountains; and smoky streams of hot springs (Onsen), from which Beppu’s unique Onsen Culture has been nurtured.

With our citizens’ networks and their continuous devotion, we are making strenuous efforts to make Beppu a “town filled with dreams” so that you would certainly want to come back to this wonderful dream land once you experienced our hospitality.

Hiroshi Hamada
Mayor of Beppu City


Jul 23, 2011

Recommended Dish "Toriten"

This is a local specialty that we call ‘TORITEN”.

"TORI" means chicken and "TEN" is an abbreviation for TEMPURA. This chicken TEMPURA is so juicy on the inside and so crispy on outside. We eat it with some dipping sauce like ponzu sauce. Yummy! I think it is a better choice for you to have it for lunch or dinner.

There are so many places where you can eat it in Beppu. We could give you a TORITEN map at FTIO office.(AW)

Jun 1, 2011

Magnificent views

Kannawa hot spring area has several places that offer great views.

<Beppu Vista-Hot Spring Steam>
One of them is known as an observation deck, from where you can see a panoramic view of Yukemuri (misty smoke of hot springs) with beautiful mountains. It takes 20 minutes walk to get there from Kannawa bus stop.

Another one is a viewing park where local people recommend you to stop by. You can be healed with the beautiful view of the Beppu Bay over Yukemuri. It is located within ten minutes walk from Kannawa bus stop.

Please ask details at Beppu-FTIO Kannawa office.(AW)

May 11, 2011

Beautiful azalea at the hillside of Tatsumaki Jigoku

What a beautiful scenery it is!  The lump of the azalea fully blooms in profusion at the hillside near Tatsumaki Jigoku (or Tornado hell), one of Beppu's popular sightseeing spots.

Tstsumaki Jigoku is a geyser that is designated as a natural monument by the city of Beppu. The temperature goes up as high as 105. The word geyser means a hot spring that spouts out boiling water and steam in certain intervals. Tatsumaki Jigoku blows off approximately every 35 minutes and it lasts for about seven to ten minutes.  Because of the appearance that hot water blows looks like the tornado or Tatsumaki in Japanese, it is called Tatsumaki Jigoku or Tornado Hell.

It is a good choice for the tourists to see Tatsumaki Jigoku at the end of eight hell tour starting from Kannawa hot spring area. This beautiful azalea blooming can be seen until the end of May.(K.K.)

Apr 28, 2011

Visitors from Czech Republic

Seven Czechs, one big family and their friend, visited Beppu on April 15 under the most difficult situation for Japan. An unprecedented earthquake and tsunami had attacked Japan one month before they arrived. They had various negative news on Japan's disaster through media and, of course, hesitated to come to Japan for a while. They were scared of radioactivity occurred by Fukushima nuclear power plant accident.

After a couple of week consideration, they reached to a thoughtful conclusion. Yes. They finally decided to visit Japan thinking that their visit to Japan would help Japan and encourage Japanese people to recover in a small way. We really appreciate it.

From Prague, the capitol of Czech Republic, they flied to Osaka instead of Tokyo. Then, they made trip to Okinawa, Kagoshima, Miyazaki and Fukuoka. During their stay in Fukuoka, they visited Beppu for one day trip.

Mr. Kuni Kumamoto, a member of Beppu Friendly Guide Club, met them at JR Beppu station in the morning and guided them to Myoban Hot Spring, Kannawa Jigoku area, Chinoike Jigoku, Tatsumaki Jigoku and Beppu Beach Sand Bath by local bus throughout the itinerary. Their lunch at Jigokumushi Kobo Kannawa gave them unique experience cooking traditional jigokumushi cuisine by themselves.

They left Beppu by JR Sonic express train to Fukuoka in the evening. According to Ms. Petra, the leader of this party, they would fly to Sapporo from Fukuoka, then return to Czech via Osaka.

Kuni, the tour guide for them, reported FTIO that the most impressed thing they met through this Beppu excursion was Okamotoya's Jigokumushi Pudding.

We hope they would have a wonderful trip in Japan and back home safely. Their thoughtful visit to Japan would be very much appreciated.(KK for TG)

Apr 26, 2011

Floriculture Research Institute

You can see Phalaenopsis orchids and other plants in the big greenhouse at Floriculture Research Institute run by Oita Prefecture. Hot spring steam is utilized as its heating system.

It has also beautiful botanic gardens filled with various kinds of trees and flowers. The cherry tree in the above picture is a good example. It has yellowish green petals, which is a kind of rare. It can be seen until the end of April.

The exhibition greenhouse and gardens are open to the public for free from 9:00 to 16:00 daily.
Oita Floriculture Research Institute is located in front of Yama Jigoku in Kannawa hot spring area, 20 minutes away from JR Beppu station by local bus. (AW)

Apr 3, 2011

Beppu Bamboo Crafts

What do you think these bags are made of?

Yes. It's bamboo.

Beppu bamboo wares are designated as one of Japanese traditional crafts. In old days, some people weave bamboo into baskets for keeping tablewares. Meanwhile, bamboo wares were spread among those who were receiving hot spring treatment in Beppu. Now, bamboo wares are made for gifts, such as bags, plates, and flower vases.

Beppu city traditional bamboo crafts center is 20 minutes away from JR Beppu station by local bus. You can see elaborate bamboo crafts created by many artists in exhibition hall and try to make some simple ones there at a reasonable price.

Information of gift shops and the crafts center is available at FTIO office. (AW)

Mar 20, 2011

Kyushu Shinkansen Completed

Kyushu Shinkansen Kagoshima route (260km) connecting JR Hakata (Fukuoka) with Kagoshima Chuou is fully open on March 12, 2011. This high speed railroad which runs through Kyushu from north to south is finally completed taking 38 years since its original planning.

Because of the east Japan great earthquake outbroke on the day before, the inauguration of Kyushu Shinkansen was celebrated quietly. By this completion, the fastest trains take only 80 minutes from Hakata to Kagoshima Chuou and three hours and 45 minutes from Shin Osaka to Kagoshima which is 77 minutes shorter than before.

Those tourists who plan to come to Beppu, Oita-pref. after arriving at New Kansai International Arport can take a Shinkansen from Shin Osaka to Kumamoto and change the train at Kumamoto. Taking Houhi Line from Kumamoto to Oita via Mt. Aso is quite smart sightseeing route for foreign tourists.


Mar 19, 2011

Master of "Sunakake"

Beppu City Comprehensive Development Center recognized Ms. Setsuko Imura as the 1st Master of Sunakake. (Suna means sand and kake means covering) The recognition was given to Setsuko on the 22nd day of February, 2011. Setsuko has been working at Beppu Beach Sand Bath, an open air hot spring sand bath located at the center of the sea shore of the beautiful Beppu Bay, since 1996.

Currently, thirteen Sunakake girls are working at two sand baths in Beppu. One is Beppu Beach Sand Bath and the other is Takegawara hot spring (indoor) near JR Beppu station. Setsuko is selected as the first Master of Sunakake not only because of her fifteen year experience but also because of her superb hospitality sprit to her guests.

In the interview by FTIO, she said, “My job is simply to cover the guest with beach sand warmed by natural hot spring water. But I love this job and am fully responsible for it. My guests come to Beppu from far and wide including many foreign countries. I really appreciate it. To express my sincere gratitude to them, I always try to put sand tenderly on guest’s legs, arms and whole body using not only a shovel but also my hands and fingers to fill any tiny gaps between all the parts of the body and sand.”

Comment by a guest;
My first experience of sand bath was really pleasant and comfortable!!! The view from there with the Bay of Beppu direct front is also wonderful! It was interesting to see other guests lying down fully covered by sand. They looked very relaxed and happy. Above all, I was so moved by the sunakake girls who kept smiling to guests while working quite hard. Their skill to cover the sand thoroughly and evenly over guests’ bodies is excellent!
Thank you!!!

Core of the hospitality of the international tourist city Beppu, is “relaxation” and “healing”. At Beppu Beach Sand Bath, you can experience both of them. We strongly recommend you to visit there while you stay in Beppu.

Brief sketch of Beppu Beach Sand Bath;
- Location・・・Sea shore center of the Bay of Beppu
- Access・・・ 15 minutes by Kamenoi bus #26 from JR Beppu station
                      20 minutes by Kamenoi bus #16 from Kannawa
- Nearest Bus Stop・・・Rokusho-en
- Business hour・・・8:30 - 18:00 (March through October)
                             9:00 – 17:00 (November through February)
                             Closed ; 4th Thursday every month
- Fee・・・ 1,000 yen (Cash only)
- TEL・・・0977-66-5737


Mar 5, 2011

FTIO Board Members

Profiles of the board members (as of April, 2011)

Fusho Yamamoto, Chairperson

 -One of founders of Beppu SOS Club, the former FTIO
 -Current Job: President of Futaba Printing Company
 -Motto: For the foreign toursits, for the city of Beppu
 -Hobby: Photography
 -My Good Point:Unselfish & free from avarice
 -Year Joined FTIO: 1986

Mr. Hidejiro Miyatake, General Manager
  -Current Job: Arbitrator
 -Former Job: Fulltime auditor of Oita Mirai Shinkin Bank
 -Motto: To have great presence in the shade.
 -Hobby: Listening to classical music Watching movies on DVD ---"Kim Novak, a gorgeous movie actress, is all-time classic for me."
 -My Good Point: Not to advertise myself. ---"It all should be left in the hands of others how to evaluate me."
 -Year Joined FTIO: February, 2005

 Mrs. Kyoko Inazumi, Asst. General Manager
 -Current Job: House wife
 -Former Job: English teacher of a jr. high school
 -Motto: Que sera sera.
  (Whatever will be, will be.)
  Tabel tennis Reading books Watching movies
 -My Good Point:To try to be active everyday to avoid being idle by my nature.
 -Year Joined FTIO: April, 2002

Mr. Kuni Kumamoto, Asst. General Manager

 -Current Job: Tourism Advisor (Freelancer)
 -Former Job: 35 year experience in a Japanese travel agency
 -Motto: Love God and neighbors
 -Hobby: Singing in chorus Playing golf Listening and singing gospel songs and country music Reading books Watching MLB games on TV
 -My Good Point: Fairness
 -Year Joined FTIO: August, 2007