Oita's Onsen

About Oita's onsen

We hope that foreign visitors can fully enjoy the things that can only be experienced in Oita Prefecture, one of the world's best hot spring towns! So on this page, we will show you how to enjoy onsen in Oita Prefecture. "Onsen Capital Prefecture Oita" that has the highest number of hot spring sources and the largest volume of hot spring water discharge all over Japan is located in the northeastern part of the island called Kyushu, in the southwestern area of Japan. In the prefecture where the "Beppu Hatto (Hatto means “eight onsen resort”)" and "Yufuin Onsen", the two onsen resorts that are loved by onsen enthusiasts, are located, there are many locations that have been included in one of the "onsen areas that people want visit once" and "onsen that people want to visit again".

The most important attraction in Oita Prefecture is the onsen that can be found in almost all areas of the prefecture, and each onsen town has its own history and charm. The onsen hot springs contain various components, and among 10 types of hot springs that have been classified as useful for therapeutic purposes according to a law of Japan, eight of them (*1) can be found here.

Although some people may hesitate to enter an onsen, those who want to see a glimpse of onsen culture can enjoy the “Beppu hell tour”with their ornamental hot springs, and enjoy onsen steamed cuisine (Jigoku-mushi Ryori), prepared using hot steam from the onsens.

We hope that everyone who comes to Oita Prefecture can use this website to find information on how to enjoy the charms of Oita Prefecture.

  • (*1) Simple hot spring, chloride spring, hydrogen carbonate spring, sulfate spring, carbon dioxide spring, iron spring, acid spring, sulfur spring. The discharge of iodine spring and radioactive spring has not been confirmed.

Oita’s Onsen Culture

"I worked hard at work this week, and I feel exhausted." "Well, let's go to an onsen, then?" In Oita Prefecture, you can hear those words daily. As you can see from this, life with onsen is enjoyed by everyone in Oita Prefecture.

  • "I want to warm my body to relieve my stiff shoulders."
  • "I want to refresh because I feel exhausted."
  • "I'm going to an onsen with my family this weekend."
  • "I will go to a local hot spring before or after work."
  • "I do not have to go anywhere else. My house's bath is a hot spring."

In Oita Prefecture, some people always carry bathing sets in their cars, so "onsen" are indispensable in the lives of many Oita citizens. We hope you can enter onsen in Oita Prefecture and enjoy the best of the onsen loved by everyone in Oita Prefecture.

Explore the onsen country in Oita

Experience an onsen

"The onsen in Oita Prefecture is more than just an activity at a travel destination. It is a place where local residents visit casually and is an important place to rest in their daily life. Many onsen offer day passes with very affordable prices. Some areas even provide free footbath and foot steaming facilities.

If you feel reluctant in going into the hot water, you can wear a traditional Japanese yukata and warm your body from the core by immersing yourself "buried" in the sand, or lay down relaxing on medicinal herbs placed on top of a warmed stone.

If you are an onsen enthusiast or if you want to blend into Japanese life, if time permits, how about trying "Touji" for a few days to a few weeks? Touji is a method to treat various diseases and ailments by staying for an extended time in an onsen resort for medical treatment, and it has been done mainly by those in power during the Kamakura period (1185 to 1333 AD) in Japan.Enjoy a perfect luxury by spending a relaxing time in an onsen while using Touji lodges located in various places in Oita Prefecture and communicate with locals in a Japanese rural area. If you do not have the time, you can experience Touji even from 1 day, so please plan according to your schedule. Because in principle, Touji lodgings are self-catering, it may be a chance to enjoy the local cuisine.

Watch an onsen

In a place with so many onsen like Oita Prefecture, sometimes there are onsen that are too hot for bathing. In the Beppu City of Oita Prefecture, some places seem to be hidden from the city view and emit fumarolic gases, sludge, boiling water, etc., making them inaccessible by the public in ancient times. The residents started calling them "hells" and developed them so they could be observed and visited. The "sea hell (Umi jigoku)" was opened in 1910, and currently, the "hell tour (Jigoku meguri)" is one of the main activities loved by tourists. If you visit once, you will always remember the bright blue color of the sea hell and the bright red color of the pond hell. Some people may ask whether these colors are natural colors. What we want you to feel through the hell tour is how Beppu has become one of the world's best onsen towns, faced the powers of nature, narrowed its wisdom and turned into the currently-known onsen resort.

Get to know the locals in an onsen

When going to an old-fashioned onsen in Oita prefecture, you may find the locals taking a bath. Sometimes some people will inform the newcomers about manners and how to bathe properly. Most of the locals also learned those from their elders in onsen when they were young. So, please do not be embarrassed if you receive some attention from them. Everyone is a beginner at first. In that case, please let them inform about manners and enjoy the hot spring culture. If you go to an onsen, please use this opportunity to talk with the locals. You may be able to feel different customs and habits from your country.

Taste onsen

In Oita Prefecture that boasts the highest the number and volume of onsen in Japan, people also use onsen for cooking. Hell-steamed dishes (Jigoku mushi ryori) using the hot steam from the onsen are the specialty of the Kannawa Onsen in Beppu City, Oita Prefecture, that has been known since the Edo Period. It may be said that that method has been inherited through the wisdom of the lives of the ancestors. The cooking method is straightforward, done by steaming food all at once in a steaming vat, known as the "hell vat." It may be easier to understand if you compare it with Iceland's earth cooking.

Vegetarian and vegan visitors may find it difficult to find suitable ingredients in tourist areas, but here, visitors can choose their favorite materials to be included in the meal. Please enjoy the original taste of the food material condensed with the onsen components. 

After enjoying a good meal, you can take a stroll along the narrow streets while watching the hot steam rising from the side grooves and enjoy a unique cityscape.

Also, drinkable onsen hot springs have also been gaining attention in many onsen towns in the prefecture. When trying a drinkable onsen, please read the information carefully and take care not to drink too much.