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Oita City

Travel to hell, where there's tattoo-friendly onsen, and don't forget to grab some fried chicken while you’re there.

Oita Prefecture is bubbling over with billowing volcanic hot springs that are hot as hell. Some of them are so intense, they’ve garnered the nickname Jigoku Meguri or the “Hells of Beppu.”

Oita City, the prefecture’s capital where the 2019 Rugby World Cup matches will be held, is a bit less hellish—but is luckily located only 45 minutes away from the hot spring action.

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

One of the eight Hells of Beppu.

Chill out, get some R&R and kick back in between catching the rugby games in this coastal prefecture on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu.

Oita Stadium

Oita Stadium was designed by famous Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa and was completed back in 2001. It has the biggest retractable roof of any stadium in Japan!

Oita 2019 Rugby World Cup

Sometimes called Oita Bank Dome, the stadium hosted two games of the FIFA World Cup in 2002 and holds the Oita International Wheelchair Marathon annually.

Photo by: Wiki Stadium or alien spaceship?

To get to the stadium, walk from Oita Station to Oita Ekimae #6 bus stop and catch a bus to the Oita Sports Park East.

What to do before or after the Rugby World Cup

Go to hell, of course! We mean that in a good way.

The Hells of Beppu

The eight “hells” of Beppu are not your typical onsen (hot spring baths). The scorching baths located in nearby Beppu city are way too hot to safely bathe in.

The Blood Pond Hell is not the name of the Death Metal band, but maybe it should be.

They are, however, a unique sight to behold. Here you’ll find a range of breathtaking springs, from the cloudy Shiraike Jigoku (The White Pond Hell) to the Chinoike Jigoku (The Blood Pond Hell) which is a whopping 78 degrees Celsius!

Walk between these infernal pits and grab an egg cooked in the searing hot onsen from the local souvenir shop. Enjoy your trip to the other side.

  • ¥550 to visit one hell or ¥2100 to visit all eight
  • Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • 986 Kannawakami, Beppu-shi, Oita - Map
  • Getting there: From Oita Station take the Nippou line three stops to Beppu Station. Exit the station on the western side and take the Shin Minatomachi/Kannawa/APU bus to Umijigoku Mae.

What to eat

Karaage (fried chicken)

People in Oita Prefecture love fried chicken. There’s even a festival in September dedicated entirely to the stuff where vendors sell fried chicken-flavored ice cream!

A fried chicken lunch box is like a touch of heaven in your mouth.

We can’t vouch for the taste of that, but you can try Oita Prefecture’s fried chicken at almost any restaurant in the prefecture. After your steamy sojourn in hell, stop into Beppu’s Karaage Kon Chan and go for the Max Karaage lunch box.

The huge portion of crispy fried chicken is big enough to feed two people—or one person with an inhuman appetite.

  • 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • 1-5 Ekimae Honmachi, Beppu, Oita 874-0934 - Map

Sightseeing around Oita

Oita Prefecture has many tattoo-friendly onsen to explore. You can even get up close with some wild monkeys!

Yufuin

Yufuin is a peaceful little resort town right next to Beppu that’s full of traditional shops and lovely onsen!

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

A bit of serenity.

These hot springs are extremely therapeutic—and safe— to bathe in! Slow down, take some time to peruse the scenic streets and take a load off, enjoying the town’s idyllic beauty.

  • 8-2 Yufuinchō Kawakita, Yufu, Oita - Map
  • Getting there: Take the Kyudai line from Oita Station to Yufuin station. Many onsen are located around here.

Takasakiyama Natural Zoological Garden

Mount Takasakiyama in Oita Prefecture monkeys

Monkey business.

This zoo is known for its wild Japanese monkeys! Located on Mount Takasakiyama, the park is home to over 1200 free-roaming Macaques. Hang out with these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat.

  • ¥500 for adults; ¥250 for children aged six to 15; free for children under five
  • 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • 3098-1 Kanzaki, Oita City, Oita - Map
  • Getting there: From Oita Station, take bus AS71 (Oita Station Sekinoe Shako Mae) to Takasakiyama.

How to get there

From Osaka

  • Catch the shinkansen (bullet train) from Shin-Osaka Station to Kokura Station. This will take around two hours. From there, catch the Express Sonic train via the JR Nippo line to Oita Station (an additional hour and 20 minutes). This route is covered by the JR Pass! 
  • Oita Airport is only a 55-minute flight away from Osaka International Airport.

From Tokyo

  • A flight from Haneda Airport to Oita Airport takes an hour and a half. From Narita Airport, it’s about an hour and 40 minutes.