Family things to do in Beppu involve everything from enjoying theme parks and astounding viewpoints to touring historical sites and relaxing in parks. This city is a spa resort town on Kyushu island in the south of Japan and is home to over 2,000 hot springs, called onsen by locals. As you explore you will find dramatic landscapes, mountainous terrain, and miles of hiking trails surrounded by unspoiled wilderness.

    Kids will be thrilled by the rides, games and food at traditional theme parks, or by seeing the stars and planets through the telescopes at an observatory. They’ll love exploring a historic palace or playing by the lakeshore. Here are the 10 best family things to do on your holiday in Beppu.

    1

    Oita Marine Palace

    Get enchanted with up-close looks at exotic sea life

    • Families
    • Adventure

    Oita Marine Palace is an aquarium offering up-close experiences with a wide range of oceanic life from the indigenous to the exotic. Besides sharks, anemones, jellyfish and other tropical fish, this spot has touch pools where you can pet sea creatures, as well as regular shows that feature dolphins, walruses and other big creatures. At the shows, you’ll see electric eels generate current, archerfish shoot water at targets and even fish doing acrobatics.

    This is one of the largest aquariums around, with its biggest tank holding 1,250 tonnes of water. A play area is available for the littlest ones, and the aquarium has a gift shop. It’s southeast of the Beppu city centre.

    Location: Oita, Kanzaki,870-0802, Japan

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +81 97-534-1010

    Map

    photo by Hide1228 (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    2

    Kijima Kogen Park

    Ride thrill rides, play games and eat carnival food

    • Families
    • Adventure

    Kijima Kogen Park offers a traditional amusement theme park experience with lots of thrill rides, food, games and fun for the entire family. This amusement park is located west of the city centre and features the very first wooden roller coaster in Japan. Other attractions include a wooden maze that stands 5 storeys high. All in all, the park features 34 different attractions, plus seasonal fare.

    The park is open year-round. In the summer you can go swimming in a large pool, while in winter the park offers a skating rink. In addition, you can grab food at one of the many takeaway kiosks, and you can play a wide variety of games.

    Location: Oita, Beppu, 874-8666, Japan

    Open: Thursday–Monday from 10 am to 5 pm (closed Tuesday–Wednesday)

    Phone: +81 97-722-1165

    Map

    photo by Martin Lewison (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    3

    Hells of Beppu

    Discover the 8 famous hot springs on the island

    • Families
    • Budget
    • Adventure

    The Hells of Beppu are a famous park 10 minutes north of the city centre with hot springs to explore, offering unique properties and stark landscapes. These hot springs are the result of volcanic activity that began 30,000 years ago. You can explore all 8 of these 'Hells', including the Sea Hell, Blood Pond Hell, White Pond Hell, Spout Hell, Oniishi Shaven Head Hell, Mountain Hell, Cooking Pot Hell, and Monster Mountain Hell, also called Alligator Hell.

    Each of these 'Hells' has its own attractions. Some are designated National Places of Scenic Beauty. Others offer food prepared using the hot spring steam from pudding and buns to sushi. Others offer wildlife viewing from flamingoes to hippos to alligators.

    Location: 559-1 Kannawa, Beppu, Oita 874-0000, Japan

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +81 97-766-1577

    Map
    4

    Beppu Ropeway

    Get your pulse pounding high above the ground

    • Families
    • Adventure

    Beppu Ropeway is a cable car attraction offering astonishing panoramic views for miles in every direction as you ascend to the height of a mountain peak. This cable car connects 2 stations: Beppu Kogen, which stands 500 metres high, and Tsurumi Sanjo, which rises to 1,300 metres. The gondola can hold up to 101 people and offers spectacular scenery. At the station, grown-ups can visit a liquor store (Kyushu Shochu) where you can purchase more than 300 varieties of shochu and awamori.

    This attraction offers a prime opportunity to have a family adventure with sights you’ll never forget. It’s also fantastic for those social media photo ops. It’s about 15 minutes west of the city centre.

    Location: Oita, Beppu, Minamitateishi, 874-0000, Japan

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +81 977-22-2278

    Map
    5

    Beppu Tower

    Capture thrilling photographs for your social media

    • Families
    • Adventure

    Beppu Tower is a towering viewpoint in the heart of the city offering exciting panoramic views of the skyline, mountains and ocean beyond. This is one of Japan’s 6 'tower brothers', and rises to 90 metres high. It’s considered a symbol of Beppu city, which makes it a popular and iconic attraction for many visitors. The observatory is located on the tower’s 17th floor and offers 360-degree panoramic views.

    It’s not all about taking photos here, however. While you are in the tower, you can enjoy a wide range of entertainment facilities and fun. The structure boasts karaoke bars, a foot bath, plenty of restaurants, shops and other attractions.

    Location: 3 Chome-10-2 Kitahama, Beppu, Oita 874-0920, Japan

    Open: Thursday–Tuesday from 10 am to 8 pm (closed on Wednesdays)

    Phone: +81 977-26-1555

    Map

    photo by 663highland (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    6

    Beppu Park

    Get away from the hustle and bustle for a while

    • Families
    • History
    • Budget

    Beppu Park is an urban park offering peaceful, scenic strolls among tended flower beds, pine trees and a bamboo grove, along with stunning springtime cherry and plum blossoms. The park is directly in the Beppu city centre, where it was laid out in 1907 to celebrate the visit of Emperor Taisho. Many of the evergreens here are more than 100 years old. The parkland is lush with vegetation and trees, and is famed for its spring blossoms.

    While here, you can explore the tree groves or relax around one of several ponds where ducks enjoy swimming in the waters. It’s as popular with locals as visitors, making it a solid place to soak up some regional culture.

    Location: Oita, Beppu,874-0903, Japan

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +81 977-21-1473

    Map
    7

    Beppu Rakutenchi

    Enjoy a day of thrill rides, fun and excitement

    • Families
    • Adventure

    Beppu Rakutenchi is an exciting theme park in the city centre offering carnival games, food and rides of every kind to thrill adults and children alike. This historic park has been running since 1929 and gives the feel of a classic old-fashioned trolley park. Rides here include the Super Chair and Frog Hopper, a Ferris wheel and a roller coaster that winds its way through the natural mountainous terrain. Besides the rides, kids enjoy petting goats, donkeys, monkeys and penguins at the petting zoo, and cheering on the duck race.

    The park includes a water park area with splash rides galore. When you’re done, you can enjoy everything from carnival eats to sit-down restaurants serving food cooked from a hot spring.

    Open: Thursday–Monday from 9.30 am to 5 pm (closed Tuesday–Wednesday)

    Phone: +81 977-85-8888

    Map
    8

    Yukemuri Observatory

    Capture astonishing views of the night sky

    • Families
    • Adventure

    The Yukemuri observatory offers the chance to catch stunning views of the night sky, illuminated mountains and the entire city district far below. Night is the time to visit this attraction to see the clear, endless night sky, and the magnificent illumination of Tsurumi dake and Ogi dake is sure to be a highlight of your Instagram feed. From the 2-storey domed viewing platform, you’ll see the entire Kannawa Onsen district, including steam from the hot springs rising up from the streets.

    It’s designated as a Night View Heritage site, but whether you come during the night or day, the view is phenomenal. The observatory is a mere 10 minutes north of the city centre.

    Location: Oita, Beppu, 874-0042, Japan

    Open: Daiy from 8 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +81 977-21-1111

    Map
    9

    Suginoi Palace

    Explore a historic entertainment centre and park

    • Families
    • History
    • Adventure

    Suginoi Palace, also known as Suginoi Hotel, is a historic location offering a hot spring facility, entertainment, a water park, spa treatments, family fun and theme park experiences. The palace sits on a plateau 200 metres above sea level, with a hot spring facility and one of Japan’s largest open-air baths. It offers fantastic views of Beppu Bay. Nightly from 6 pm to 10 pm, visitors can see the Fountain Show, a fantastic display of light, sound and choreographed water spouts.

    Other family attractions here include a bowling alley, darts, a video game arcade, karaoke events and table tennis. A souvenir shop lets you find that perfect keepsake. It’s all in the heart of the city centre.

    Location: Oita, Beppu, 874-0822, Japan

    Phone: +81 977-24-1160

    Map
    10

    Shidaka Lake

    Relax at campgrounds near a vast mountain lake

    • Families
    • History
    • Adventure

    Shidaka Lake is one of Beppu’s most family-friendly relaxing hidden gems offering mountains, forests, boating, hiking, camping, and barbecue and picnic facilities. It’s considered a must-see location for casual strolls and walks, but it also offers swan boats, canoes, bicycle hire and picnic areas. The grounds surrounding the area are full campsites, so you can stay the night here if you want. In addition, between December and March, the lake is open to fishing.

    Even during the winter, the entire area is picturesque, and many people love to take a winter stroll here and follow it up with a hot spring bath. The lake is only a 15-minute drive southwest of the city centre.

    Location: Beppu, Oita 874-0000, Japan

    Map

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