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)