(17.10.2016 – 23.10.2016)
Known as one of the best places to enjoy Japanese hot springs („Onsen“) the cute little town of Beppu is a popular destination for tourists. Many Japanese also spend a relaxing day here to step away from the pressures of their daily life for a couple of hours.
Hells of Beppu
Even though we did not enter a real onsen we took the chance last weekend and drove to Beppu. Two of our Japanese friends gave us a ride in their cars and also went to a lovely restaurant to have lunch with us before they showed us the ‚Hells of Beppu‘, a small park of hot springs that you cannot enter to take a bath but only watch. Every lake around the springs has a different colour which comes from the different grounds they spring from( e.g. muddy clay = red hell).
The hot springs themselves effuse a mild odour of the sulfur that lies beneath the surface; the steam escapes from many holes throughout the whole city. This makes it a bit foggy everywhere and the smell of eggs is omnipresent. If that not cures your appetite, you can buy lots of small dishes and snacks like cakes,eggs, or veggies which have been steam-boiled in the sulfur steam over the springs all over the city. The taste is phenomenal even if the colour seems strange at first sight – so give it a try!
The next day was spent in Tsukumi, a small fishing village in the west of Kyushu. The Global Crew of the university organised this trip for interested students to learn about life in rural Japan. We met some locals who told us about the characteristics of the city and the problems of a town that still lives from fishing and coaling industry in a time when many people seek modernisation and technology. Thus, Tsukumi’s biggest problem is definitely the decreasing and raging population as most of the young people leave the city for bigger places to live.
In order to promote life in Tsukumi the annual local fishing festival was held on the day of our visit. We could enjoy traditional sea food and enjoy some stage performances of local groups.