The Lonely Planet’s Japan edition pans it, but the onsen (hot spring) town of Beppu in Oita Prefecture provides a fun glimpse of somewhat dated Japanese sightseeing rituals — and of course, with perhaps the most diverse array of hot springs in Kyushu, it has some great places to take a dip.

Beppu has a colorful history as a resort town. To writers who described it in early Edo Period travel pieces, it seemed an apocalyptic landscape. Pools of savage, boiling mud lie just 10 minutes’ walk away from the still depths of a blood-red pool. These jigoku (hell) pools, as they are known, have been the scenes of torture by boiling, yet they have also been loved for their medicinal, beautifying and utterly relaxing powers.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.