Onsen Festival: wild horses, demons and tons of water!

Last weekend I attended my first ever festival in Beppu and one of its biggest events – the Onsen Matsuri (hot spring festival). This is a festival held to celebrate and give thanks to Beppu’s numerous hot springs (Beppu has the largest number of hot spring sources in the whole of Japan, and these sources discharge the highest volume of hot spring water in Japan as well) . This year there was a large variety of festivities – the Onsen Matsuri actually ran from around the 1st to the 7th April, culminating in the main events at the weekend. I only attended the Sunday events, but this was arguably the highlight of the week.Read More »

Throwback Thursday: First Onsen Trip, and Onsen Tips

Since it’s the week of the Onsen Matsuri, a festival celebrating Beppu’s numerous hot springs, I thought what better time to talk about the first time I went to an onsen, and give some tips and answer some FAQs to hopefully reassure those that’re unsure about trying onsen (like I was at first).

First, let me explain about Beppu’s onsen districts, known as “Beppu Hatto” (“Hatto” is written with the kanji for “8” and the kanji for “hot water”, so this’ll give you the hint that there are 8 of them). The main part of Beppu counts as one, then there’s Hamawaki, Kankaiji, Horita, Myouban, Kannawa, Shibaseki and Kamegawa. Each district has its own various good onsens and interesting areas to explore. Read More »