Let's hop from forest to hot springs in the "Tibet of Japan" - Kyushu

Kyushu, Japan

Changi Airport Terminal 1

This adventure is: #adrenaline pumping, #on the weekend, #scenic

Kyushu: Let's hop from forest to hot springs in the "Tibe...

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“Hi, it's u­­­s, Georg­i­n­a, Bri­tt­a, and ­Lee­ Lin­g­”

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Highlights

This is a hike from hot spring to hot spring in the charming rural of Oita.  We will also hike the magnificent gorges, gorgeous valleys, a pretty plateau, and the volcanoes.  Staying over at traditional Japanese inns and meeting the friendly locals, also known among the Japanese as the horse-eating barbarians.  If you have always wanted to experience hot spring (onsen) hopping the immersive, authentic, and traditional way then this trip is for you.  Come and join me in this "hot" journey.

Highlights
- Experience Beppu, the hot springs capital of Japan that has 2,300 hot springs sources and its eight "hells",  designated as National Scenic Beauties of Japan
- Hike Yabakei Gorge, well known for its picturesque valleys, verdant forests, sparkling streams and a hand dug out tunnel by a Buddhist monk
- Try cooking an egg and pudding steamed in these natural hells
- Experience the many different hot springs baths, the cheesy and strange in Beppu, the rural and therapeutic in Nagayu, and the stylish baths in Yufuin
- See an active volcano Mount Aso, the largest ancient caldera in the world
- Visit Hita and Taketa, Hita was once a powerful stronghold of the samurai shogun
- Walk Kokonoe Yume Otsurihashi, a suspension footbridge, Japan's longest pedestrian bridge
- Hike to the volcanoes, the Kuju mountains ranges, one of the 100 famous Japan's mountain

We will start our hike in Nakatsu, the birthplace of Fuzukawa Yukichi, the famous educator who is pictured on the 10,000 yen note.  Then go on to Yakabei Gorge, however to get to the gorge we will have to cross this suspension bridge.

Let's hop from forest to hot springs in the Walk across Kokonoe Yume Otsurihashi a suspension footbridge. Photo by JNTO

We will walk across this bridge which spans a gorge. It is Japan's longest and loftiest pedestrian bridge, it presents panoramic scenes of Oita's countryside, including two waterfalls, the Naruko River and the valley 173 meters below.  We then continue our journey to Yakabei Gorge.

Let's hop from forest to hot springs in the View of Yamakunigawa River and Mount Kyoshuho from Zenkaibashi, photo by そらみみ licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

This is where we start our hike to Yakabei Gorge, starting with Ao no Domon tunnel, a hand carved tunnel through the cliffs, a 185 meter tunnel was dug by hand in the mid 18th century. The legend says it was made by a monk named Zenkan to provide a safe route to Rakanji, a spectacular temple further down the river. 

I thought this is a very good video for us to imagine our hike to Yakabei Gorge.  There are more than 60 scenic spots and Yabakei Gorge is part of Yaba-Hita-Hikosan Quasi National Park.

Let's hop from forest to hot springs in the Autumn view of Mt Gunsaru-yama, photo by PekePON licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Having seen the beautiful gorges and the old town, we will start the hot spring trail.
Let's hop from forest to hot springs in the One of the "hell" hot spring in Beppu, photo by Fredrik Rubensson licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Let's hop from forest to hot springs in the Chinoike Jigoku hot spring in Beppu, also called the blood pond hell, it is not for bathing, photo by Jordi Sanchez Teruel licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Let's hop from forest to hot springs in the Another Chinoike Jigoku hot spring in Beppu, and this too is not for bathing, photo by Hans-Johnson licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

Let's hop from forest to hot springs in the Misty morning in Yufuin a hip and stylish hot spring towns, photo by Miya.m licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Let's hop from forest to hot springs in the One  of the outdoor hot spring bath in Yufuin and for us to enjoy. Photo by Welcome Kyushu

Let's hop from forest to hot springs in the One of the outdoor hot spring bath in Shibaseki in Beppu and for us to enjoy. Photo by Enjoy Onsen beppu

Having seen and experience some of the hot spring, let's move on to Kuju mountain ranges, and hike among the volcanoes and the waterfalls of Bungo Ono.
Let's hop from forest to hot springs in the A view of Kuju mountain in the autumn, photo by Jammy Jammy licensed under CC BY 2.0

Let's hop from forest to hot springs in the Waterfalls in Bungo Ono

Let's hop from forest to hot springs in the The landscape is full of greenery in summer, on the road to Mount Aso. Photo by Miya.m licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Mount Aso is an active volcano in the center of Kyushu. Its ancient caldera the world's largest, with a diameter of up to 25 kilometers and a circumference of over 100 kilometers.  Mt.Aso Ropeway began to carry the first passengers in 1958 and was the first passenger lift to an active volcano on the earth.  We will take a ropeway up to its crater.

Let's hop from forest to hot springs in the View of Mt. Aso's crater, photo by raichovak licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

We will make our way back to Hakata city after Mt Aso, however, for those that wish to continue their journey, I thought Kumamoto not too far from Mt Aso is a good place to extend your journey.

Please take note we are planning for hikes during summer and autumn, therefore the photos used are representing the scenes for both seasons.