City Discovery: Samurai, Hot Springs and Monkeys Make Beppu Special

Discover Beppu

Beppu is located at the western end of Beppu Bay on the southernmost Japanese island of Kyushu. The city is an ideal destination for the outdoors enthusiast, offering beautiful hikes, breath-taking lakes, and its famous therapeutic hot springs. Beppu’s hot springs, both jigoku (hot springs for looking at) and onsen (hot springs for bathing) disperse more than 100 litres of hot water per day. From a height, it is even possible to see white plumes of steam rising up from the town.

Don’t miss these Discovery Compass activities in Beppu!

Intercultural experiences highlight exposure with the local culture, promoting a multilateral exchange of ideas, language and opinions.

Visit the Beppu City Traditional Bamboo Center. Learn about traditional bamboo crafts, how they’re made and their importance for hundreds of years. Visitors to the center can also take a stab at creating their own bamboo crafts.

Experience Jigoku Mushi style cooking. Visitors use the steam from the famous Beppu hells to cook their food in this unique local style of cooking.

ISA excursions and cultural activities highlight historical parts of the local culture to help students better understand their new environment.

Visit the traditional Japanese town of Usuki. During this excursion, visitors will enjoy ruins of a Japanese castle town and historic samurai houses and streets that give a glimpse into old Japan.

Make and enjoy traditional Soba noodles. Traditional Japanese food, washoku, was named an intangible cultural heritage in 2014 by the United Nations. There are many types of traditional Japanese cuisine, including sushi, but Soba (buckwheat) noodles are considered by locals to be the shining star.

Sociopolitical discovery highlights social and political activities or experiences.

Visit to Japanese High School to learn about Japanese cultural practices in school, such as undoukai (sports day) and kohinobori (festival for celebrating children’s growth).

Professional experiences provide exposure to professional development opportunities during an ISA program.

Develop your international business competency by learning about Japanese Business culture and its unique manners/customs. Doing business in western societies is much different than doing business in Japan. By learning about the country’s business culture, traditions and customs, you’ll be better set to enjoy a successful career doing business in Japan.

While there is no structured volunteer program offered, any student truly interested in volunteering while in Beppu can work with the ISA Beppu staff to find different opportunities. Students simply present different organizations or areas that interest them and the Beppu staff can help you figure out how to get involved.


Environmental experiences expose students to different environmental aspects of the host country.

Hike on Takasaki Mountain/Setonaikai National Park and visit the habitat to more than 1700 wild Japanese monkeys. The monkeys come to a designated gathering area for food everyday and visitors have the chance to observe and interact with these adorable and heartwarming creatures.

Photo by ISA Student Josh Follis

Spend a day soaking in the city’s famous onsen. Also known as hells, these hot spring water pools are the most famous attraction of the city.

There’s so much more to discover while studying abroad in Beppu. Find out how to start your experience.

The 2015 City Discovery Series aims to showcase one of ISA’s program locations each week. Facts about each location and Discovery Compass activity examples are given, highlighting the areas of Intercultural, Historical, Sociopolitical, Professional and Environmental discovery. The Discovery Compass aims to help students have the best possible study abroad experience by helping them to gain a better understanding of the local environment, customs and people through a variety of experiences.

Author: International Studies Abroad (ISA)

Since 1987, International Studies Abroad (ISA) has provided college students in the United States and Canada the opportunity to explore the world. ISA offers a wide variety of study abroad programs at accredited schools and universities in 73 program locations throughout the world.

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