Beppu in Oita Prefecture is one of the most prosperous hot-spring areas in Japan. Nonetheless, it has been suffering a depopulation of youths and a decline in tourists. In response, a number of volunteers and NPO organizations have been working on reinvigorating local culture through art projects.
The “Beppu Contemporary Art Festival 2012: Mixed Bathing World” is one such project, for which a number of bamboo sculptures are being displayed throughout the city’s Kannawa area. Designed to complement Beppu’s natural resources, the works are particularly impressive when seen amid clouds of steam rising from hot springs; Oct. 6-Dec. 2.
Various parts of Beppu City; (0977) 22-3560; Beppu and surrounding areas, Oita; Beppu Station, JR Line. Open and close times vary. ¥2,000 (for a passport ticket). mixedbathingworld.com.