Take our user survey here!
Largest City


Highway to hell

Bathe in hell (in a good way) in onsen-filled Oita.

For a serious onsen (hot spring bath) experience, there’s no place like Oita. Billowing steam from countless hot spring towns gives the impression that much of the prefecture is constantly on fire.

Despite its hellish properties, Oita’s volcanic landscape is extremely beautiful to look at. It’s also just plain fun to explore. Enjoy great hiking, ancient shrines, temples and more for some rewarding entertainment in between baths.

The Hells of Beppu

The Sea Hell, one of the eight hells (Jigoku), multi-colored volcanic pool of boiling water in Kannawa district in Beppu, Japan.

Visit the eight hells of Beppu, multi-colored volcanic pools of boiling water.

Beppu is the onsen capital of Kyushu, if not the whole of Japan, boasting the highest number of hot spring sources and hundreds of baths across a dedicated spa town. Basically, it’s like an onsen theme park in a relaxing rural setting.

Can I use the onsen if I have a tatoo?

You’ll find hot spring baths, mud baths, sand baths, milky baths, blood baths, and steam baths spread out across the area. Some are said to cure ailments from backaches to gastroenteritis, while others increase beauty or restore youth.

Most are for bathing but there are eight that are definitely not. These jigoku, or Hells of Beppu are touted as the area’s tourist highlight. Take a tour of the eight spots including the “blood pond” and “tornado hell,” and try the various steamed foods made with their hot water. Who knew Hell would be so fun?


Oita, Japan - November 29, 2014: The main shopping street of Yufuin in Oita, Japan.

Explore the scenic streets of Yufuin.

Leave the onsen gimmicks behind by heading to Yufuin, another hot spring resort town along the foot of Mount Yufu-dake. Here you’ll find a slightly more refined, traditional atmosphere. Traditional inns, boutique restaurants, cafes, and stores line the main streets leading towards picturesque Lake Kinrin-ko. There’s some fantastic hiking in the area around the Aso-Kuju National Park which extends all the way from Mount Aso in Kumamoto.

Tattoos in onsen are traditionally taboo, but with Japan hosting both the 2020 Olympics and 2019 Rugby World Cup Games, many onsen are changing their rules (slowly). Oita has one of the largest concentrations of tattoo-friendly onsen in Japan—it’s a must-visit for inked hot springs lovers.

Head over towards the southeastern side of the prefecture to visit coastal Oita City and try some tasty fugu (pufferfish). Only trained chefs are allowed to prepare the notoriously-poisonous delicacy, so don’t worry, it’s safe! Further on is Usuki, a quaint castle town known for its awe-inspiring cliffside Buddha carvings.

Ready to go to Hell and back in Oita? Start with the locations below.


Can I use the onsen if I have a tatoo?

Oita has the largest concentration of tattoo-friendly hot springs in Japan. Check them out plus more with our awesome list of 30 Tattoo-Friendly Onsen in Japan.


Places to visit

Kyushu Natural Animal Park African Safari

Home to over 1,400 animals representing approximately 70 species, everyone will have a chance to spot some of their favorite animals.

Usa Jingu

Usa Jingu

Explore one of the shrine where Shintoism and Buddhism meet

Mount Yufu

Mount Yufu

Mount Yufu is an active volcano with twin peaks with accessible trails for beginners and experts alike.

Kokonoe Yume Suspension Bridge

Kokonoe Yume Suspension Bridge

Located in the western end of Oita Prefecture, Kokonoe Yume Otsurihashi Bridge holds the record for Japan’s longest and tallest bridge specifically designed for pedestrians. For an unforgettable stroll with fantastic views,...

Kuju Mountains

Kuju Mountains

The Kuju Mountains will entertain day trippers and experienced hikers alike.

Oita Prefectural Art Museum (OPAM)

Oita Prefectural Art Museum

Check out old masters and contemporary artists at the Oita Prefectural Art Museum

Motomachi Stone Buddha

Motomachi Stone Buddha

Seek out the healing powers of the Medicine Buddha in Oita City

Funai Castle Ruins

Funai Castle Ruins (Oita Castle)

Check out one of Oita City’s best cherry blossom spots at Funai Castle Ruins!

Umitamago Aquarium

Oita Marine Palace (Umitamago) Aquarium

Come learn about marine life through sight and touch at Umitamago Aquarium!

Beppu's Takegawara Onsen.

Takegawara Onsen

Get buried in warm black sand in this Meiji-era onsen — that's tattoo friendly!

Kabeyu Hot Spring

Oita’s secret mixed-gender onsen in a cave!

Ekimae Koto Onsen.

Ekimae Koto Onsen

We're in love with this tattoo-friendly onsen with roasting temperatures.

Ohara Chaya, oita

Ohara Chaya Restaurant

Hidden in a bamboo grove, your Japanese basket of goodies awaits.

Beppu Safari

A little bit of Africa in Japan at this safari park.

The view of Beppu and Oita city with beautiful Beppu Bay

Mount Tsurumi

A mountain with a view.

Oita, Japan - November 29, 2014: The main shopping street of Yufuin in Oita, Japan.


Close to Beppu, this rural hot spring town is as scenic as they come.

The Sea Hell, one of the eight hells (Jigoku), multi-colored volcanic pool of boiling water in Kannawa district in Beppu, Japan.

Hells of Beppu

Go to hell.

Other Destinations in Kyushu

Dazaifu shrine in Fukuoka prefecture


Fukuoka Prefecture isn't just about partying, but it's a good place to start.

Kagoshima, Japan with Sakurajima Volcano.


Traditional, tropical, mystical, and magical; Kagoshima is nothing short of extraordinary.

Mount Aso Kumamoto


Between the smoking crater of Mount Aso in the east and the isolated islands of Amakusa in the west, Kumamoto has plenty to keep you enthralled.


The mountains and coasts of Miyazaki are calling.


Looking out east, Nagasaki Prefecture has long been the gateway between the outside world and Japan.

Shisa and Okinawa


Discover white sandy beaches, crystal blue waters, wild jungles, and centuries of unique native traditions.


Kyushu's smallest prefecture is big on history, culture and natural beauty.

This Month’s Top Spots

Nagoya City Aichi Park


Aichi prefecture is the dynamic capital of Japanese industrialization.

Tokyo Skyline Japan Tokyo Tower


From glittering skyscrapers to rickety ramen shacks, Tokyo is a dazzling mix of the ultra modern and traditional.

Tap into Tokyo’s Manga and Anime Scene

Tokyo, Japan - August 1, 2015: Crowds pass below colorful signs in Akihabara. The well known electronics district specializes in the sales of video games, anime, manga, and computer goods.


Ah, Akihabara. Where to even begin? Electric town. Cool Japan. Anime Center. Themed cafes. The list is...

Manhole cover in Ghibli museum, Tokyo-Japan.

Ghibli Museum

A whimsical wonderland that is heartbreakingly charming.