It’s about 6:30 in the morning as we wearily board the ferry that will transport us from Yawatahama Port on the island of Shikoku to Beppu on the island of Kyushu. Three hours to contemplate the walking journey we are leaving behind. Three hours to plan for our upcoming city tours: Beppu, Nagasaki, Fukuoka, Hiroshima and nearby Miyajima and finally Tokyo.
The conditions could not be better for our crossing. The waters of the Bungo Channel are glassy smooth. The sun rises over the hills of Shikoku, revealing a cloudless, deep blue sky. Small islands, tiny fishing boats, large cargo freighters come and go. Eventually, the Beppu skyline appears on the horizon.
Today’s journey has one goal: to get us to Nagasaki on the other side of Kyushu. Happily and conveniently, Beppu lies along that path. Beppu is most notable for its geothermal hot spots. Eight of them to be exact, colloquially known as the eight hells of Beppu. Far from hellish, the town is very resort-oriented, sporting many hot baths, sand baths and onsens. Continue reading