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