VIDEO: Soak in Oita’s famous hot springs, enjoy steamed at Hyotan Onsen and Kur Park Nagayu

Kur Park Nagayu, photos by Takahiro Takiguchi
Kur Park Nagayu, photos by Takahiro Takiguchi

VIDEO: Soak in Oita’s famous hot springs, enjoy steamed at Hyotan Onsen and Kur Park Nagayu

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

The onsen is a great place to soak and relax, but another treat is great food made with hot spring water.

In Beppu City, Oita Prefecture’s onsen capital, there is a district specializing in a century’s-old traditional cooking method called Jigokumushi, or steam of hell. Head to Kannawa District to enjoy various dishes cooked with the natural hot steam rising from below ground.

Hyotan Onsen is a three-star Michelin-rated bathing and restaurant facility in Kannawa District serving up Jigokumushi dishes for you to enjoy.

To cook ingredients with Jigokumushi, meats, seafood and vegetables are placed in a bamboo basket. Then, the basket is placed inside of a large stone contraption that looks like a barbecue grill or oven. When the glass lid is closed with the ingredients inside, hot steam gushes through the stone enclosure flash-cooking the meal. This quick process allows the ingredients to retain their fresh flavors and vibrant colors. One taste and you’ll think the flavors are too heavenly to be steamed by hell!

After a soak and a steamy meal, Taketa City, an hour away, offers another unique onsen experience you’ll enjoy. Nagayu Onsen offers a rare carbonated hot spring experience you’ve got to try.

The city is also home to Kur Park Nagayu, a health promotion complex designed by Shigeru Ban, a famous Japanese architect. The facility was constructed in 2019 and has cottages for overnight stays, onsen for bathing and exercise and various restaurants.

At the restaurant, I sampled a homemade lunch set made from only seasonal local ingredients. It was a delicious, healthy meal that was only tastier thanks to the carbonated spring water used to cook it.

You may have tried soaking in the hot springs in Japan and possibly had a onsen egg, but elevate your experience with a soak and devilishly delicious, steamed food in Beppu!

Hyotan Onsen in Beppu City

Kur Park Nagayu in Taketa City

Subscribe to our Stripes Pacific newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, cultural information, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!

Follow us on social media!

Facebook: Stars and Stripes Pacific
Flipboard: Stars and Stripes Community Sites

Looking to travel while stationed abroad? Check out our other Pacific community sites!
Stripes Okinawa
Stripes Korea
Stripes Guam

Related Content

Recommended Content

Around the Web