Boxwood Crafts of Beppu

Boxwood is one of the hardest types of wood in the world and is well suited for crafts such as combs and chess pieces.Crafts made from boxwood gained popularity in the Beppu area roughly 100 years ago. Skilled craftsmen use a variety of tools to carve intricate designs and patterns into the wood, producing beautiful masterpieces. Hair combs and brushes made from boxwood have long been the choice of Geisha and Maiko performers throughout Japan.Known as “tsuge” crafts in Japanese, the hard wood has a beautiful natural gloss, which gets better with age and use. In fact, boxwood combs that were used in the days of Cleopatra still maintain their luster today.The handcrafted works made from Japanese boxwood may be a little expensive, but most shops also [Read more…]

How Beppu’s hot springs formed

Beppu Onsen is a typical volcanic hot spring. The vast area from Beppu Bay, through to Kujyu and Aso stretching to the Shimabara Peninsula is called the rift valley, which is a linear-shaped lowland between several highlands or mountain ranges created by the action of a geographic rift or fault. Volcanic activity about 30,000 years ago activated geothermal activity in the area centering on this rift valley. Two big faults have occurred to the topography of Beppu area by this volcanic activity. A collection of heated water, called “Netsu-damari”, of high temperature and pressure was formed by the heat which was released from magma thousands of meters underground, as a result of the [Read more…]

What is Yukemuri?

Have you seen the misty smoke wafting up from the hot spring vents? We call it “yukemuri”.At many places throughout Beppu you can see the hot spring steam rising up here and there. But did you know that not all of those stew vents can be called “yukemuri”? In order to be considered as “yukemuri”, there are several conditions that must be met. First of all, the steam must be visible from a far distance and must remain visible for some time. While the steam from some hot springs quickly evaporates into the air, “yukemuri” steam has mist-like drops of water that remain in the air for quite some time. [Read more…]

The father of Beppu tourism

Just in front of Beppu station there stands a larger-than life statue of Aburaya Kumahachi. Often called the “Father of Beppu Tourism”, his vision facilitated Beppu’s rise to fame as a world-renowned tourist destination. Born in neighboring Ehime Prefecture in 1863, young Aburaya learned the importance of hard work. He moved to Osaka in 1893 and started a successful rice business. When his luck ran out 4 years later, he boarded a ship and went to the US. For the next three years he travelled through North America and learned about the tourism industry. When he returned to Japan, he chose Beppu as his new home. He saw the great [Read more…]

History of Beppu Onsen

It is said that the Kannawa onsen was opened by Ippen Shonin (High Priest) who came to Beppu with the support of Otomo Yoriyasu. People in the Kannawa area at that time were having a hard time due to the hot springs tremendous noise. He prayed to appease the God of the earth and to suppress people’s fear. He opened a hot spring bath for the sake of local people. A record shows that in the Kamakura Period (13th century), Otomo Yoriyasu who was an ancestor of Otomo Sorin, the Domain Lord of Oita area, known as Christian Lord (16th century), established several wellness centers in Kannawa and Hamawaki to [Read more…]