On my last evening in Beppu I had a beautiful dinner with one of my interpreters Ayako. We enjoyed a local dish called Dango Jira (very thick large Udon noodle with soup: more like Cannelloni than noodle). The onset of Typhoon 12 meant it was raining outside so the Dango Jira was very comforting.
After dinner Ayako took me to Hyotan Onsen, a very respected Onsen in Beppu. She taught me the traditional process of washing and preparing and then we enjoyed the Onsen. This was not an ultra hot Onsen, so it was a good place for me to start. There were many different types of baths; inside and outside baths; steam baths or Japanese saunas; sand baths and water fall baths.
To feel the water, the steam and scent of the spring was both grounding and uplifting. While you are aware of the extents of your body through the water, your stress rises off you with the heat and the steam. And then imagine the feeling of the water jets falling onto you; 100 little horses running across your back; the beating sound and the sensation; a completely grounding experience.
Beppu’s hot springs are its life force; they run through its streets, form an integral part of everyday Beppu life: connecting one to this place.