We woke up early today because we need to catch a train to Beppu at 6.22am!! It’s all because of African safari there. We didn’t plan to go there but on last minute I found out about it and we both were excited to see it. Given the time and in accordance with bus schedules, we won’t be able to do all of the things that we wanted 😦 We had to choose but African Safari is a must for us animal lover.
Thankfully we bought the ticket yesterday, a reserved seat. The train to Beppu is called Sonic Nichirin. It is at platform 2 at Hakata station. We got 2 cards and made a guess which card to use to enter the gate. We were wrong.. We entered the gate using the wrong card ^^; If you get 2 cards like us, use the one without JR print. That one is used to enter the date, while the other one is for seat checking by the officer on the train.
If you want to buy a bento box before the trip, you can buy it at Ekibento. They were already opened at 6 am!
The journey to Beppu took 2 hr 20 mins so I planned to catch up some sleep during the ride. When I was about to sleep, the lady in front of me woke me up because we had to turn the chair to the other direction. Don’t be surprised if you experience this as well.
We arrived at Beppu Station! One thing, it was cold! Bring a jacket if you can’t handle cold weather. We walked to exit the gate and went straight from the gate to information service in the shopping area (for English speaker). Don’t go to the information service on the right-hand side when you go out of the train gate. It is for Japanese speaking people only.
We bought safari ticket from information service. 3700 yen for a return bus ticket, entrance fee to safari and jungle bus. We had to take the bus from West exit. Bus stop number 2, bus number 41. It will come as bus number 5 then the number will change into 41. The ride took about 50 mins to reach safari. We departed at 8.47 am from Beppu station, slightly different than the schedule at website. We could see fog along the way. It was a foggy morning!
Arrived at Safari, we showed the ticket to entrance staff, then we got a leaflet and ticket for jungle bus for 10 am. Lucky!
At 10 am the tour with jungle bus started. The driver gave us a box of animal food, consists of many different kinds of food. After everyone inside the bus and seated, he explained what to do during the tour and not to do. Don’t worry if you don’t know what to give to each type of animal, just look at the Japanese people next to you 😃 The driver will show it as well when it is time to feed the animal. That’s what I did, I saw him showing us the type of food we should give for each stop. We fed many types of animals! Bear, lions, elephants, gazelles, giraffes, bisons, and many more I can’t remember. There were some parts that we were just passing by without feeding animals.
The jungle bus tour lasted for 50 mins. We came back to entrance area and saw the map, planning of what to do next. There are several attractions there, such as riding a miniature horse (for kids), petting zoo, pony, horse riding, dog house, cat house. There are some restaurants as well to have lunch or just having snack.
We walked around a little and met the fluffy animals, such as ponies, donkey, kangaroo, squirrel monkey. Some people fed them as well by paying 100 yen to the food box and grabbed their food.
Make sure to check the bus schedule to go back to Beppu city. We missed the bus so we had to wait for another bus, so we just strolled around and visited dog salon. It is a place where you can pet the dogs and dogs will cuddle on your lap. To enter this place, we needed to pay 300 yen, for 20 minutes. As we came in, a lady handed over a dog to me with a blanket to cover my clothes. It made me miss my dog 😦 Most of the dogs were happily jumped to your lap and sleep there. Some of them were keeping their distance. Being there for 20 minutes made me wonder.. why did those dogs really like to cuddle?! Did they train them since baby to always be on people’s lap? Did they walk them regularly? This is the side effect of working at animal shelter as a dog trainer’s assistant haha…
I took some photos of the dogs as well of course! Just couldn’t miss out the chance of being around so many animals. Here is some of them:
15 minutes before the bus incoming, we walked back to the bus stop. It is located at the same place where we stopped. When we were waiting, I saw some coin locker. Good for people with heavy stuff.
We planned to visit jigoku (hell) onsen on the way back to Beppu station but didn’t do it because we were very hungry. We had to find something to eat at Beppu station (we could’ve eaten at Safari but didn’t). If you don’t have a weak tummy like us, you can stop by at Umi Jigoku Mae Station. Then walk to the hot springs. The entrance for each hot spring is 400 yen, but you can buy a package of 1800 yen to visit all 7 hot springs. These hot springs are only for sightseeing, we can’t dip in it because the water is too hot. Hence the name hot spring of hell (jigoku means hell).
Arrived back at Beppu Station, we looked for a restaurant to have lunch. We entered the first restaurant we saw on the left direction from bus stop. I can’t remember their name but their food was really yummy. I ordered a fried chicken rice bowl. The fried chicken (or tori karaage) is one of the specialties in Oita prefecture.
Next, we decided to go to beach sand bath. A unique experience according to some pictures I saw online. To go there, we need to take bus from East exit then go to the right side, passed the sightseeing bus stop.
The nearest bus stop is Rokushoen Beppukaihin Sunayu Mae. Bus cost 240 yen. The tricky part is to know which bus going to that direction. Everything was in Japanese so we had to find our way there. Or another way is to ask the Information Center. We asked them and was told to stop at Fukamachi which supposed to be next to it according to them, but in reality it doesn’t. We stopped at Fukamachi then walked following Google map to the sign about 6 minutes or so. So, based on our experience, it is better to stop at 1 stop next to Fukamachi, which is Rokushoen Beppukaihin Sunayu then you can walk there in 2 mins. The beach sand bath is at opposite side of the bus stop, so we had to cross the road.
Beach sand bath. The fee is 1030 yen per person. We paid it at reception then we got tickets and number. The lady couldn’t speak English but I understood a little that she told us to wait until she called our number. There is a waiting room next to reception desk, or you can wait at the lobby as well (in front of the reception, there are benches to sit down). Once we got called, we had to go to the reception to get a yukata. After that, we need to change at changing room. We had to take off our shoes. Pulled off all our clothes including underwear and put on the yukata. Put everything in the locker and insert 100 yen to lock it, bring the key. Do not stare at other people’s body. All the ladies there are mostly naked or half-naked. We were the new group that was still in full clothes.
Once we done changing to yukata, we went out from the door to sand area. The lady guided us to which hole we needed to sleep on. Then she started to pour sand on top of our body starting from lower body. It was hard at first. I had to stay in straight position with warm sands. And it was heavy as well! The ‘burial’ onsen lasted for 15 mins. The first 5 mins felt really long! Then my body started to relax and get sleepy. Almost fell asleep when I suddenly thought what if I passed out and no one realized?! Yup, I think too much -.-“
Fifteen minutes have passed, so I called the lady to help me out of the sands. One of them approached us and just swiped a little sand off of us then she asked us to get out by our self. We were told to wash off the sands at shower area, which is next to changing room. It was really nice to have a shower after the hot sands. Maybe it was because of the heavy sands, but I felt like my body really “light” and relax. There were body soap and shampoo on next room where we could sit on a short stool and cleaned our body. After all cleaned, we dip in the hot water pool. Again, do not stare at other people’s body!
I didn’t bring a towel so I had to borrow from them. I recommend bringing your own towel if you want to go to this sand bath. We finished our session in the pool and went to changing room. Put on our clothes and shoes, then left the place. I recommend this place as a must-try attraction. It was a unique experience but also very relaxing afterward.
Our next destination was Beppu Kitahama station to buy a bus ticket. We took bus A71 to go there. Or we could also use bus number 50.
Next to bus stop is the bus information service. We bought the tickets here. Alternatively, we could also buy it from bus service at 1st floor of Tokiwa department store. Bus fare is 2830 yen per person. We got the ticket with seat number. The lady told us that we need to wait at bus stop number 2, next to Starbucks coffee at Tokiwa department store. She also told us that we can’t miss the bus because it was a reserved seat.
We had about 1 hour until the bus arrived, so we went to Tokiwa department store and tried to find some snacks for the trip 😀 I LOVE going to the local supermarket. We went to Tokiwa supermarket and bought snacks and some unnecessary items haha.
At 6 pm the bus arrived. I showed the ticket to the driver, then we boarded the bus and found our seats. The seat was comfortable and spacious. It has a small table as well in front of us. And the amazing thing that we found was it has a toilet! Ahem.. let me rephrase this. It has a “basement” toilet! We didn’t know it was a toilet because it didn’t look like one. The height was lower than my height! How could I guess it was a toilet?! But then someone went there, opened the door and walked in into some kind of magic room. After a while, he came out and we could hear a flushing sound. Then another person went there, disappeared behind the small door, and came back after few minutes. Too bad I didn’t try it. I’m really curious on how does it look.
It was too short for our trip. We didn’t have a chance to visit jigoku onsen and normal Hotsprings! Beppu is very famous for its onsen. While waiting for the bus we were talking about this trip and we concluded for the trip to Beppu we need at least 48 hours to be able to enjoy all the interesting attractions.
We enjoyed the trip back to Fukuoka. Chit-chatting a lot the whole way from Beppu to Fukuoka. We also busy taking notes on what’s going on today as the draft for our blog 😀 (you can check her blog here). The bus was running so fast it felt like I was on a train. Plus the road was so smooth, we didn’t feel any bump on the way. The view at sunset was very beautiful.
Around 8.30 pm we arrived at Hakata Bus Station. It is the building next to Hakata station. The bus stop was on 3rd floor so we had to go down to go out then across a small street to reach Hakata station area where we planned to have dinner.
At Hakata city building (AMU place), we went to 10th floor to have dinner at Sunagoya. It is a famous restaurant for horse meat from Kumamoto. Horse meat is one of Kyushu’s delicacy. And this restaurant only serves horse meat. They have English menu as well but only 1, and not every menu is there. They need to improve on that. Luckily, Pris has google translate app on her phone where we can take a photo of the Japanese text then it will translate it to English. We used it on the original menu and got an insight of each one of them.
As we didn’t have any experience on how to cook it, we didn’t order the barbecue menu. Instead, we ordered fillet steak and green salad. Fillet steak was a very small portion, so we ordered another menu, 3 kinds of skewer. It consists of horse liver, horse meat and another part of horse that we don’t know.
For the drink, I ordered makkoi ume liquor. It was delicious! Small glass though.
Overall it was a nice experience. Some people said horse sashimi is very yummy, but we didn’t have the gut to try it out. The fillet steak was delicious. It has similar taste to beef but I prefer beef more. I think beef in that same way of cooking could be juicier. Horse meat was a bit chewy for my taste. But it was really good though. This restaurant really know how to deal with horse meat. Recommended to try when you are visiting Fukuoka or Kyushu area.
On the way back to our Airbnb room, we stopped by at Drug Eleven. It is a beauty supplies shop. Most girls would love to enter this shop. They have many branches all aroud the city. And fortunately (or unfortunately…) there is one near by our place. Bought masks for myself and souvenir. When about the pay, the lady asked for my passport.
I bought masks for myself and souvenir for my family and friends. When I went to the cashier to pay it, the lady asked for my passport. Apparently she knew that I spent more than 5400 yen in that basket! So I get the rights for tax refund (free-tax shopping).
They put everything in 1 bag and sealed it. I am not allowed to open it until we departed from Japan. If I did, I had to pay consumption tax which means we won’t get tax refund. There is something that I want to use now during my stay… but I guess I have to wait until I arrived at my home. So if you buy for souvernir and for yourself, make sure to separate the bag (but the sealed bag needs to exceed 5400 yen).
Time to sleep now. At least tomorrow the schedule is not packed.