Today I thought I’d write about my first trip to one of the other Beppu Hatto – a group of 8 hot spring districts in Beppu. Two of my co-workers and I went to Kannawa, an area with traditional narrow stone-paved roads, where steam rises from the drains to give it a mysterious atmosphere.Apparently in the past, because the hot spring water is close to the ground’s surface, it was pretty dangerous here as just one wrong step could result in death from falling in the boiling hot water. Fortunately for a person who trips up as often as I do, it’s perfectly safe now so there’s no need to worry anymore.
A lot of areas in Beppu have hot spring foot baths and Kannawa is no exception. We stopped off at one of them and took a moment to enjoy the relaxing warm water. Although we tried it near the start of our visit, I can see that it’d be perfect for reviving tired, aching feet after a day of walking. Nearby there was also a device that, if you placed your feet and lower legs in the wooden box structure, you could also treat your feet to some gentle steam. There was even a restaurant down the road where you could cook your own food in the hot spring steam in a process called jigoku mushi ryouri (‘hell-steamed cooking’). We didn’t try it this time, but we did treat ourselves to some delicious nikuman (steamed meat buns).
After finishing our trip around Kannawa, we meet to Beppu Ropeway, a cable car which goes up Mt. Tsurumi , a 1375 metre tall mountain to the west of Beppu . The cable car goes up most of the mountain to a plateau with a small shrine, from which you can see the whole of Beppu and its surroundings. If you go up around 288 steps, you can reach the top, where there’s an even better view, and height marker you can trade photos with to prove you got to the top.
Once we’d descended Mt. Tsurumi we took some group photos in the model cable cars before going into a small building near the entrance to the ropeway. Although it looked like it could do with a bit of revamp , this building seemed to be a little museum of sorts explaining the process of building the ropeway and when it was opened, as well as photos of it through the seasons , showcasing some beautiful sakura (cherry blossom) photos and even some of the mountain in the snow.
The main reason we went in though was to see the rafflesia, that huge flower famous for apparently smelling of rotten meat/corpses (and for inspiring the Pokemon, Vileplume, the Japanese name of which is ラフレシア – ‘rafureshia’). Fortunately, it was in some kind of perspex box, so we couldn’t smell it (although it appeared to actually be a dead/dried one anyway, if it was even a real one at all).
Having spent most of the afternoon walking around, we called it a day after that, but I’d like to try going up the ropeway again when the sakura are in bloom~