Hakone Or Beppu: Which Is Worth The Visit?  

Can’t choose between Hakone Vs Beppu? We compared the two destinations so you can figure out which one suits you best!

Japan is a country that captivates travelers with its rich culture, stunning landscapes, and diverse attractions.

When it comes to planning a trip to Japan, choosing the right destinations can be a tough decision. 

Two prominent contenders that often come up in discussions are Hakone and Beppu. Both these destinations offer unique experiences, but which one is the better choice? 

In this article, we will delve into the charms and highlights of Hakone and Beppu to help you decide which destination suits your preferences and travel style.

Hakone Vs Beppu

Location and Accessibility

Hakone, located in the Kanagawa Prefecture, lies just a short distance from Tokyo, making it easily accessible for day trips or weekend getaways. 

It boasts excellent transportation links, including the Hakone Free Pass, which provides unlimited travel on various modes of transportation within the area. 

On the other hand, Beppu is situated in Oita Prefecture on the southern island of Kyushu. While it may take longer to reach Beppu, it offers a serene and off-the-beaten-path experience, surrounded by hot springs and picturesque landscapes.

  • Hakone

Hakone is situated in the Kanagawa Prefecture, just a short distance away from Tokyo, making it easily accessible for both domestic and international travelers.

Hakone Vs Beppu

Its proximity to Tokyo makes it a popular choice for day trips or weekend getaways. 

From Tokyo, visitors can reach Hakone by various means of transportation, including trains, buses, and even boats.

One of the most convenient ways to explore Hakone is by using the Hakone Free Pass.

This pass provides unlimited travel on specified transportation modes within the Hakone area, such as the Hakone Tozan Train, Hakone Tozan Cable Car, Hakone Ropeway, and even certain buses and boats. 

The Hakone Free Pass simplifies transportation logistics and allows visitors to seamlessly explore Hakone’s attractions without worrying about individual ticket purchases.

In terms of location, Hakone is renowned for its proximity to Mount Fuji, one of Japan’s most iconic natural landmarks. 

Visitors to Hakone can enjoy stunning views of Mount Fuji from various vantage points, including Lake Ashi, the Hakone Ropeway, or the Owakudani volcanic valley. 

The awe-inspiring sight of Mount Fuji, especially on a clear day, adds to the allure of Hakone as a must-visit destination.

  • Beppu

Beppu is located in the Oita Prefecture on the southern island of Kyushu.

While it may take a bit more time and effort to reach Beppu compared to Hakone, it offers a serene and off-the-beaten-path experience that attracts visitors seeking a more tranquil atmosphere.

For travelers arriving from other parts of Japan, reaching Beppu can be done by various means.

The city has its own airport, Oita Airport, which offers domestic flights connecting to major cities in Japan. 

From Oita Airport, visitors can take a bus or taxi to reach Beppu. Alternatively, travelers can also take a train to Beppu Station, which is well-connected to other cities in Kyushu and beyond.

While Beppu may require more travel time, it rewards visitors with its unique atmosphere and natural beauty. 

Beppu is famous for its hot springs and geothermal activity, creating a distinct charm that sets it apart from other destinations in Japan.

The city is often referred to as the “Onsen Capital of Japan,” offering an abundance of hot spring sources and facilities.

In terms of accessibility within Beppu, the city provides public transportation options such as buses and taxis to help visitors navigate the area and reach various hot spring locations. 

Additionally, Beppu is relatively compact, allowing travelers to explore the city on foot or by renting bicycles, further enhancing the accessibility and convenience of getting around.

Summary

  • While Hakone benefits from its close proximity to Tokyo and convenient transportation options, Beppu offers a more tranquil and off-the-beaten-path experience, with its unique hot springs and geothermal attractions.
  • The accessibility of both destinations is well-managed, allowing visitors to easily reach and explore the respective areas.
  • Whether you prefer the convenience of Hakone or the serene ambiance of Beppu, both destinations promise captivating experiences and unforgettable moments in Japan

Natural Beauty

Hakone is renowned for its breathtaking scenery, with its crown jewel being Mount Fuji. 

Visitors can enjoy stunning views of Japan’s iconic peak from various vantage points, including Lake Ashi and the Hakone Ropeway. 

The region is also blessed with lush forests, hot springs, and the Owakudani volcanic valley, known for its otherworldly landscapes. 

Beppu, on the other hand, is famous for its extensive hot spring sources, often referred to as the “Onsen Capital of Japan.” 

Beppu boasts a unique blend of hot springs, sand baths, and steam vents, creating a distinctive and relaxing experience for visitors.

  • Hakone

Hakone is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty, characterized by stunning landscapes, majestic mountains, and serene lakes. 

One of the crown jewels of Hakone is undoubtedly the awe-inspiring Mount Fuji. Visitors to Hakone are treated to panoramic views of this iconic volcanic peak from various vantage points.

Lake Ashi, also known as Ashinoko, is a picturesque crater lake located in Hakone. Its tranquil waters reflect the surrounding mountains and provide a serene atmosphere for boat cruises. 

Taking a cruise on Lake Ashi allows visitors to appreciate the beauty of the area and offers a unique perspective of Mount Fuji.

The Hakone Ropeway is another highlight that showcases Hakone’s natural splendor. This aerial tramway takes passengers on a scenic journey over lush forests, volcanic valleys, and bubbling hot springs. 

The panoramic views from the Hakone Ropeway are simply breathtaking, offering glimpses of Mount Fuji, Owakudani volcanic valley, and the surrounding landscape

Hakone is also famous for the Owakudani volcanic valley, a geothermal area known for its otherworldly landscapes and active sulfur vents. 

Visitors can take a cable car ride to Owakudani and explore its rugged terrain, which includes steamy craters, sulfurous fumes, and bubbling hot springs.

The unique landscape of Owakudani creates a surreal experience that captivates the senses.

In addition to its mountains and volcanic features, Hakone is blessed with lush forests and beautiful hiking trails. 

The region’s abundant flora and fauna add to the natural charm and provide opportunities for nature enthusiasts to explore the area. 

Popular hiking trails in Hakone include the Hakone Ropeway hiking course and the Hakone Kyukaido trail, which offer picturesque views of the surrounding mountains, lakes, and forests

  • Beppu

Beppu’s natural beauty revolves around its geothermal activity and hot springs, creating a unique and captivating landscape.

The city is famous for its extensive hot spring sources, often referred to as the “Onsen Capital of Japan.” 

Beppu boasts a remarkable number of hot springs, ranging from traditional onsen baths to more unconventional hot spring experiences.

The “Hells of Beppu,” or Jigoku, are a collection of unique hot spring areas that showcase vibrant geothermal activity.

These “Hells” are not for bathing but rather provide an opportunity to witness the raw power and beauty of the geothermal phenomena. 

Each “Hell” has its own distinct characteristics, such as boiling mud pools, colorful mineral-rich water, and dramatic steam vents.

The vibrant colors and dramatic landscapes of the “Hells” create a visually striking experience for visitors.

Apart from the “Hells,” Beppu offers various types of hot springs and bathing experiences.

Visitors can indulge in traditional onsen baths, which utilize mineral-rich water known for its therapeutic properties. 

Beppu is also known for its unique sand baths, where visitors are buried in naturally heated sand for a soothing and detoxifying experience. 

Additionally, visitors can enjoy steam baths, foot baths, and even steam-cooked cuisine, showcasing the city’s innovative use of geothermal energy.

Beppu’s natural beauty extends beyond its hot springs. The city is surrounded by picturesque landscapes, including rolling hills, lush forests, and beautiful coastlines.

Visitors can explore the Takasakiyama Monkey Park, where they can observe wild monkeys in their natural habitat while enjoying panoramic views of Beppu Bay. 

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Beppu Bay itself offers stunning coastal scenery, with opportunities for scenic drives, coastal walks, and relaxing beach outings.

Summary

  • Hakone and Beppu both offer captivating natural beauty, but with distinct characteristics.
  • Hakone’s natural allure lies in its stunning views of Mount Fuji, serene lakes, lush forests, and the captivating Owakudani volcanic valley.
  • On the other hand, Beppu’s beauty is centered around its geothermal activity, featuring unique hot spring areas, vibrant steam vents, and a diverse range of bathing experiences.
  • Whether you prefer the majestic landscapes of Hakone or the geothermal wonders of Beppu, both destinations promise an immersive experience in Japan’s natural splendor.

Cultural and Historical Attractions

Hakone offers a range of cultural and historical attractions that allow visitors to delve into Japan’s heritage. 

The Hakone Open-Air Museum showcases a vast collection of sculptures and artworks set amidst stunning natural surroundings.

The Hakone Shrine, located on the shores of Lake Ashi, is a picturesque Shinto shrine with a torii gate standing majestically in the water. 

The Hakone Checkpoint Museum offers insights into Japan’s feudal era and the historic Tokaido highway. 

Beppu, although primarily known for its hot springs, also offers cultural attractions like the Jigokumeguri Tour, where visitors can explore the “Hells of Beppu.”

These unique hot spring areas showcase vibrant and visually striking geothermal activity.

  • Hakone

Hakone offers a wealth of cultural and historical attractions that allow visitors to delve into Japan’s rich heritage. Here are some notable highlights:

  • Hakone Open-Air Museum

This unique museum showcases a vast collection of contemporary sculptures and artworks set amidst beautiful natural surroundings. 

Visitors can explore the outdoor exhibits, which include works by renowned artists such as Henry Moore, Rodin, and Picasso. The museum also features indoor galleries showcasing various art forms, making it a must-visit for art enthusiasts.

  • Hakone Shrine

Located on the shores of Lake Ashi, the Hakone Shrine is a picturesque Shinto shrine with a torii gate standing majestically in the water. Visitors can enjoy a tranquil walk along the lakeside path leading to the shrine and admire its architectural beauty. 

The Hakone Shrine holds cultural and religious significance and is a popular spot for traditional wedding ceremonies.

  • Hakone Checkpoint Museum

This museum offers a glimpse into Japan’s feudal era and the historic Tokaido highway. The Hakone Checkpoint was an important checkpoint during the Edo period, controlling access to and from Tokyo. 

The museum displays artifacts, exhibits, and reconstructed buildings that provide insights into the lives of travelers and the functioning of the checkpoint.

  • Narukawa Art Museum

Situated on the hillside overlooking Lake Ashi, the Narukawa Art Museum showcases a collection of Japanese paintings, including works by renowned artists. 

The museum focuses on the theme of “Mankind and Nature” and offers panoramic views of the lake and surrounding mountains, enhancing the overall artistic experience.

  • Beppu

While Beppu is primarily known for its hot springs, the city also offers cultural attractions that provide insights into its history and traditions. Here are some notable highlights:

  • Jigokumeguri Tour

This tour allows visitors to explore the “Hells of Beppu” in detail. While the “Hells” are primarily natural attractions, they also provide cultural experiences. 

Visitors can learn about the geothermal activity, witness the vibrant colors and bubbling hot springs, and even sample local delicacies cooked using the geothermal heat.

  • Beppu Traditional Bamboo Crafts Center

Bamboo crafts hold a significant place in Japanese culture, and the Beppu Traditional Bamboo Crafts Center showcases the craftsmanship and techniques involved in creating bamboo products. 

Visitors can observe artisans at work and even participate in workshops to learn the traditional art of bamboo weaving.

  • Beppu City Traditional Bamboo House “Kyo-no-Machiya”

This traditional house is a preserved example of a traditional Japanese wooden residence. Visitors can explore the interior of the house and experience the architectural features and design elements that reflect the cultural heritage of Japan.

  • Beppu Art Museum

This museum focuses on modern and contemporary art, featuring works by both local and international artists. 

The museum displays a diverse range of art forms, including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and installations, providing a platform for artistic expression and appreciation.

Summary

  • Hakone and Beppu offer cultural and historical attractions that provide glimpses into Japan’s rich heritage.
  • Hakone boasts museums showcasing contemporary art, a picturesque shrine, and a historical checkpoint museum.
  • Beppu, while primarily known for its hot springs, offers cultural experiences such as the Jigokumeguri Tour, bamboo crafts, and art museums.
  • Whether you are interested in art, history, or traditional craftsmanship, both Hakone and Beppu offer cultural attractions that enrich the overall travel experience.

Relaxation and Wellness

Both Hakone and Beppu are renowned for their rejuvenating hot springs, providing visitors with an opportunity to unwind and soak in therapeutic mineral waters. 

Hakone offers a wide range of traditional ryokans (Japanese inns) with private onsen baths, allowing guests to relax in the comfort of their rooms. 

Additionally, many ryokans in Hakone provide exquisite kaiseki cuisine, offering a complete cultural experience. 

Beppu, known for its variety of hot spring baths, offers unique bathing experiences such as mud baths, sand baths, and steam baths.

Visitors can choose from a wide range of onsen facilities, each with its own distinctive charm and therapeutic benefits.

  • Hakone

Hakone offers a tranquil and serene environment, making it an ideal destination for relaxation and wellness. Here are some key aspects:

  • Hot Spring Baths

Hakone is famous for its hot spring resorts and ryokans, where visitors can indulge in the therapeutic benefits of natural hot spring baths.

These baths, known as onsen, are believed to have healing properties and provide relaxation for both the body and mind. 

Many accommodations in Hakone offer private onsen baths, where guests can enjoy the soothing waters in the privacy of their own rooms.

  • Spa Treatments

In addition to hot spring baths, Hakone is home to numerous spas and wellness centers. Visitors can enjoy a wide range of spa treatments, including massages, facials, body scrubs, and aromatherapy sessions. These treatments help rejuvenate the body, relieve stress, and promote overall well-being.

  • Yoga and Meditation

Hakone’s serene natural surroundings make it an ideal setting for yoga and meditation practices. 

Many accommodations and wellness centers in Hakone offer yoga classes and meditation sessions, allowing visitors to reconnect with themselves and find inner peace amidst the tranquil environment.

  • Nature Walks and Forest Bathing

Hakone’s lush forests and scenic trails provide ample opportunities for nature walks and forest bathing. 

Forest bathing, known as shinrin-yoku, involves immersing oneself in the peaceful atmosphere of the forest, breathing in the fresh air, and experiencing the calming effects of nature. 

Hakone’s beautiful hiking trails and serene landscapes make it a perfect destination for this therapeutic practice.

  • Beppu

Beppu is renowned for its abundance of hot springs and offers a unique and immersive relaxation and wellness experience. Here are some key aspects:

  • Hot Spring Baths

Beppu is known as the “Onsen Capital of Japan” and boasts a wide variety of hot spring baths. Visitors can choose from traditional onsen facilities, foot baths, sand baths, and steam baths.

The healing properties of the mineral-rich waters are believed to alleviate various ailments and provide relaxation and rejuvenation.

  • Mud Baths

Beppu is also famous for its mud baths, known as “mushiyu.” Visitors can immerse themselves in warm volcanic mud, which is believed to have therapeutic properties for the skin and body.

Mud baths are known to promote detoxification, improve circulation, and leave the skin feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

  • Relaxation Spas

Beppu offers a range of relaxation spas and wellness centers where visitors can enjoy a variety of treatments.

These include massages, facials, body wraps, and beauty treatments. The tranquil ambiance and skilled therapists ensure a blissful and relaxing experience.

  • Traditional Japanese Healing Arts

In Beppu, visitors can also explore traditional Japanese healing arts such as shiatsu massage and acupuncture. 

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These practices aim to restore balance and harmony within the body, relieve stress, and promote overall well-being.

Many wellness centers in Beppu offer these traditional therapies alongside modern spa treatments.

Summary

  • Both Hakone and Beppu offer opportunities for relaxation and wellness through their natural hot springs, spa treatments, and serene environments.
  • Hakone’s focus on hot spring resorts, yoga, meditation, and nature walks allows visitors to unwind and rejuvenate amidst the picturesque landscapes.
  • Beppu, with its diverse hot spring options, mud baths, and traditional healing arts, provides a unique and immersive relaxation experience.
  • Whether you seek the tranquility of Hakone or the therapeutic benefits of Beppu’s hot springs, both destinations offer ample opportunities for relaxation, rejuvenation, and overall wellness.

Outdoor Activities and Adventure

Hakone is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering hiking trails, boat cruises on Lake Ashi, and the thrilling Hakone Ropeway, providing panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

The region also has several picturesque golf courses and opportunities for fishing. 

Beppu, on the other hand, offers opportunities for nature exploration with beautiful parks and gardens like Beppu Park and Takegawara Onsen Park. 

Adventure seekers can enjoy activities like hiking on Mount Tsurumi, exploring the Takasakiyama Monkey Park, or taking a scenic cable car ride up to the Yufuin area.

  • Hakone

Hakone offers a range of outdoor activities and adventurous experiences that allow visitors to explore its natural landscapes. Here are some key aspects:

  • Hiking and Nature Trails

Hakone is a paradise for hikers and nature enthusiasts. The region offers numerous hiking trails that lead through lush forests, picturesque mountains, and serene lakes. 

Popular hiking routes include the Hakone Ropeway hiking course, the Hakone Kyukaido trail, and the trails around Lake Ashi. 

These trails provide opportunities to immerse oneself in the beauty of nature and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.

  • Lake Activities

Lake Ashi is not only a scenic attraction but also a hub for various water activities. Visitors can rent paddleboats, rowboats, or even try stand-up paddleboarding to explore the tranquil waters of the lake. 

Cruises on traditional Japanese boats, known as “pirate ships,” are also available, providing a unique and enjoyable way to experience Lake Ashi.

  • Mountain Biking

Hakone’s mountainous terrain makes it an excellent destination for mountain biking enthusiasts.

There are designated cycling routes and rental shops that offer bicycles suitable for exploring the area’s scenic trails. 

Mountain biking allows visitors to experience the thrill of outdoor adventure while enjoying the breathtaking landscapes.

  • Owakudani Ropeway and Volcano Exploration

The Hakone Ropeway takes visitors on a scenic journey over volcanic valleys and offers a chance to explore Owakudani, a volcanic valley with bubbling hot springs and sulfur vents. 

Visitors can take a walk along the volcanic terrain, witness the active geothermal activity, and even taste black eggs boiled in the hot springs, which are said to add seven years to one’s life.

  • Beppu

Beppu, too, offers outdoor activities and adventurous experiences, with a focus on its unique geothermal landscape. Here are some key aspects:

  • Trekking and Nature Exploration

Beppu is surrounded by stunning natural landscapes, including rolling hills, lush forests, and beautiful coastlines. 

Visitors can embark on hiking and trekking expeditions to explore the region’s scenic trails, allowing them to experience the natural beauty and serenity of the area.

  • Beppu Hell Tour

While the “Hells of Beppu” are primarily known for their geothermal phenomena, they also offer an adventurous and unique experience.

Visitors can take a tour to explore the different “Hells,” witnessing the vibrant colors, bubbling hot springs, and dramatic steam vents. 

Some “Hells” even have foot baths, allowing visitors to immerse their feet in the warm, mineral-rich waters.

  • Marine Activities

Beppu Bay offers opportunities for marine activities such as fishing, boating, and sea kayaking.

Visitors can enjoy the scenic beauty of the coastline while engaging in these water-based adventures. 

Additionally, Beppu Bay is known for its seafood, so visitors can indulge in fresh seafood dishes after their outdoor activities.

  • Takasakiyama Monkey Park

Located near Beppu, the Takasakiyama Monkey Park is home to a large population of wild Japanese macaques, also known as snow monkeys. 

Visitors can observe these fascinating creatures in their natural habitat, providing a unique wildlife encounter.

The park offers a chance to learn about the monkeys’ behavior and conservation efforts.

Summary

  • Hakone and Beppu offer a range of outdoor activities and adventure opportunities for visitors to enjoy their natural surroundings.
  • Hakone’s offerings include hiking, lake activities, mountain biking, and volcano exploration, allowing visitors to experience the region’s stunning landscapes.
  • Beppu, on the other hand, offers trekking, the famous “Hell Tour,” marine activities, and a chance to observe wild monkeys, providing adventure in the midst of its geothermal wonders.
  • Whether you seek hiking trails, water activities, or unique geothermal experiences, both Hakone and Beppu offer exciting outdoor adventures for visitors to enjoy.

Culinary Delights

  • Hakone

Hakone is renowned for its diverse culinary offerings, showcasing both traditional Japanese cuisine and international flavors. Here are some key aspects:

  • Kaiseki Ryori

Hakone is famous for its kaiseki ryori, a traditional multi-course meal that embodies the art of Japanese cuisine. 

Kaiseki meals in Hakone often incorporate seasonal and local ingredients, beautifully presented in small, meticulously prepared dishes.

Visitors can savor the delicate flavors and textures of dishes that reflect the essence of Japanese culinary tradition.

  • Seafood

Located near the coast, Hakone is known for its fresh and delicious seafood. Visitors can enjoy an array of seafood dishes, including sashimi (raw fish), grilled fish, and seafood hot pots. 

The proximity to the sea ensures the availability of high-quality seafood, making it a must-try for seafood lovers.

  • Traditional Tea Houses

Hakone is home to several traditional tea houses where visitors can experience the art of tea ceremony and indulge in matcha (powdered green tea) accompanied by Japanese sweets. 

These tea houses often provide a serene ambiance, with beautiful gardens and panoramic views of the surrounding nature, enhancing the overall tea ceremony experience.

  • International Cuisine

In addition to traditional Japanese cuisine, Hakone offers a variety of international dining options.

Visitors can enjoy French cuisine, Italian trattorias, and even fusion dishes that blend Japanese flavors with international techniques. 

This culinary diversity ensures that visitors with different preferences can find something to suit their palate.

  • Beppu

Beppu’s culinary scene is characterized by its unique fusion of local specialties and regional flavors. Here are some key aspects:

  • Beppu Ramen

Beppu is known for its distinct style of ramen, characterized by rich and flavorful pork-based broth and thin noodles. 

Beppu ramen often features toppings such as marinated pork, bamboo shoots, green onions, and soft-boiled eggs. This hearty and satisfying dish is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

  • Onsen Tamago (Hot Spring Eggs)

Beppu’s geothermal activity not only offers relaxing hot springs but also provides a unique culinary experience.

Onsen tamago are eggs that are cooked in the natural hot spring waters, resulting in a creamy and slightly runny yolk. 

These eggs are often enjoyed as a topping for ramen or served on their own as a delicious and nutritious snack.

  • Local Seafood

Being a coastal city, Beppu boasts an abundance of fresh seafood. Visitors can savor a variety of seafood delicacies, including sushi, sashimi, grilled fish, and seafood hot pots.

The flavors are often enhanced by the natural sweetness of the seafood sourced from the nearby sea.

  • Bungo Beef

Beppu is located in the Oita prefecture, which is known for its high-quality beef. Bungo beef, a type of wagyu beef, is renowned for its tenderness, marbling, and rich flavor. Visitors can enjoy Bungo beef in various forms, such as yakiniku (grilled meat), sukiyaki (hot pot), or steak, providing a memorable dining experience.

Summary

Hakone and Beppu offer a delightful array of culinary delights that showcase the flavors of the region. Hakone excels in traditional Japanese cuisine, including kaiseki ryori and fresh seafood, while also offering international dining options. 

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Beppu, on the other hand, is known for its unique Beppu ramen, onsen tamago, local seafood, and the delectable Bungo beef. 

Whether you seek the elegance of traditional Japanese cuisine or want to indulge in local specialties, both Hakone and Beppu offer a diverse and satisfying culinary experience that will tantalize your taste buds.

Entertainment and Attractions

Hakone

Hakone offers a range of entertainment and attractions that cater to different interests. Here are some key aspects:

  • Hakone Open-Air Museum

The Hakone Open-Air Museum is a renowned attraction that combines art and nature. It features a vast outdoor exhibition of sculptures and art installations set against the backdrop of Hakone’s beautiful landscapes. 

Visitors can explore the outdoor sculpture park, wander through the indoor galleries showcasing contemporary artwork, and even soak in hot spring foot baths while admiring the art.

  • Hakone Pirate Ship

Lake Ashi is home to the iconic Hakone Pirate Ships, which are replicas of European-style sailing vessels. 

Taking a cruise on these ships not only offers a unique and scenic experience but also provides an opportunity to learn about the history and culture of Hakone. The ships offer picturesque views of the lake and its surrounding mountains.

  • Hakone Ropeway

The Hakone Ropeway is a popular attraction that offers panoramic views of the Hakone region. The aerial cable car takes visitors on a journey over the volcanic valleys, offering stunning vistas of Owakudani, Lake Ashi, and the surrounding mountains. 

The ropeway provides a thrilling and scenic experience, allowing visitors to appreciate the natural beauty of the area.

  • Hakone Shrine

The Hakone Shrine, located on the shores of Lake Ashi, is a significant cultural and spiritual site. The shrine’s iconic red torii gate stands at the edge of the lake, creating a picturesque scene. 

Visitors can explore the shrine grounds, participate in traditional rituals, and enjoy the serene atmosphere surrounded by nature.

  • Beppu

Beppu offers a variety of entertainment and attractions that showcase its unique geothermal features. Here are some key aspects:

  • Beppu “Hells” Tour

The “Hells of Beppu” is a collection of hot spring attractions that showcase the geothermal wonders of the area. 

Visitors can take a tour to explore different “Hells,” which include vibrant and colorful hot springs, bubbling mud pools, and dramatic steam vents. Each “Hell” has its own unique features and provides an intriguing and educational experience.

  • Beppu Tower

Beppu Tower is a prominent landmark in the city, offering panoramic views of Beppu and its surroundings. 

Visitors can take an elevator to the observation deck and enjoy breathtaking views of the city, the coast, and the mountains. The tower is particularly beautiful at night when it is illuminated, creating a magical atmosphere.

  • Umi Jigoku

Umi Jigoku, or the “Sea Hell,” is one of the most famous “Hells” in Beppu. It features a large pond of vibrant blue water, created by the high temperature of the hot spring. 

Visitors can stroll around the beautifully landscaped gardens, explore the foot baths, and even taste hot spring-steamed food at the on-site restaurant.

  • Beppu Park and Botanical Gardens

Beppu Park is a picturesque green space in the heart of the city. It offers tranquil walking paths, serene ponds, and seasonal flowers, providing a peaceful retreat for visitors. 

Adjacent to the park is the Beppu Botanical Gardens, which showcases a wide variety of plant species, including tropical and subtropical plants.

Summary

  • Hakone and Beppu offer unique entertainment and attractions that cater to different interests.
  • Hakone’s highlights include the Hakone Open-Air Museum, the Hakone Pirate Ship, and the Hakone Shrine, providing a blend of art, culture, and natural beauty.
  • On the other hand, Beppu’s attractions revolve around its geothermal wonders, such as the “Hells of Beppu” and Umi Jigoku, offering a fascinating glimpse into the region’s volcanic activity.
  • Whether you seek art and cultural experiences or want to explore the geothermal phenomena, both Hakone and Beppu have captivating entertainment and attractions to offer.

Accommodation Options

  • Hakone

Hakone offers a diverse range of accommodation options to suit various preferences and budgets. Here are some key aspects:

  • Ryokans

Hakone is known for its traditional Japanese inns, called ryokans, which provide an authentic cultural experience. Ryokans offer tatami-matted rooms, futon beds, and communal baths, including hot spring baths known as onsen. 

Staying at a ryokan allows visitors to immerse themselves in Japanese hospitality, enjoy kaiseki meals, and relax in the soothing waters of the onsen.

  • Western-Style Hotels and Resorts

Hakone also boasts a variety of Western-style hotels and resorts that cater to international visitors. 

These accommodations offer comfortable rooms with modern amenities, including private baths, on-site restaurants, and often scenic views of the surrounding natural landscapes. Western-style hotels provide a blend of comfort and convenience for travelers who prefer a more familiar setting.

  • Minshukus and Guesthouses

For budget-conscious travelers or those seeking a more casual and communal atmosphere, Hakone has a selection of minshukus (traditional Japanese guesthouses) and guesthouses. 

These accommodations offer cozy rooms, shared facilities, and a chance to interact with fellow travelers. Minshukus and guesthouses are a great option for those looking for a more authentic and affordable stay.

  • Unique Accommodations

Hakone also offers unique and themed accommodations that add an element of novelty to the stay. 

These can include traditional Japanese tea houses, glamping sites, and even accommodations designed like treehouses or capsule hotels. These unique options provide a memorable and unconventional lodging experience for adventurous travelers.

  • Beppu

Beppu offers a variety of accommodation options that cater to different preferences and budgets. Here are some key aspects:

  • Ryokans and Onsen Resorts

Beppu is renowned for its hot springs, and staying at a ryokan or onsen resort is a popular choice for visitors. 

These accommodations offer traditional Japanese-style rooms, onsen baths with hot spring water, and kaiseki meals. Guests can relax in the rejuvenating hot spring waters and indulge in the therapeutic benefits of the geothermal baths.

  • Western-Style Hotels and Resorts

Beppu has a selection of Western-style hotels and resorts that provide comfortable rooms with modern amenities. 

These accommodations cater to international travelers and offer a range of services and facilities, including on-site restaurants, spas, and sometimes private hot spring baths. Western-style hotels provide a familiar and convenient stay experience.

  • Minshukus and Guesthouses

Budget-conscious travelers or those seeking a more casual and social atmosphere can opt for minshukus or guesthouses in Beppu. 

These accommodations offer affordable rooms, shared facilities, and a chance to interact with fellow travelers. Minshukus and guesthouses provide a friendly and cozy environment for a budget-friendly stay.

  • Business Hotels and Capsule Hotels

Beppu also has options for travelers seeking convenience and affordability. Business hotels and capsule hotels offer compact and functional rooms, often with shared facilities. 

These accommodations are suitable for solo travelers or those who prioritize affordability and efficiency.

Summary

  • Both Hakone and Beppu offer a range of accommodation options to suit various preferences and budgets.
  • Hakone stands out with its traditional ryokans, Western-style hotels, and unique accommodations, providing a blend of cultural immersion and modern comfort.
  • On the other hand, Beppu showcases ryokans and onsen resorts that specialize in hot springs, along with Western-style hotels and budget-friendly options like minshukus and guesthouses.
  • Whether you prefer traditional charm, luxurious spa experiences, or budget-friendly accommodations, both Hakone and Beppu have a variety of choices to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay.

Conclusion

When deciding between Hakone and Beppu as your preferred destination in Japan, it is essential to consider your interests, preferences, and the experience you seek. 

Hakone is an excellent choice for those seeking a combination of natural beauty, cultural attractions, and convenience, while Beppu offers a tranquil and unique hot spring experience in a more off-the-beaten-path location. 

Ultimately, both destinations have their distinct charms and attractions, leaving visitors with unforgettable memories of Japan’s diverse landscapes, rich culture, and warm hospitality.

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