April 11, 2001: Exploring Beppu spa
Recently, many hotels and inns in Beppu opened their homepages.

I found a good hotel on the web. The charge system of the hotel is on a room basis, not per person like most Japanese hotels do.
I soon reserved a room through the net.

Just after we moved to Oita three decades ago, we visited Beppu for leisure. We know the large hotel since then but never have stayed in it.

The hotel remodeled recently and opened beautifully.
Kumahachi Aburaya founded the hotel, Kamenoi Hotel with a history, in 1911 as Kamenoi Inn.
When I arrived the hotel in the evening, the spacious lobby was crowded with the tourists from Taiwan, Korea, and various part of Japan of course.
After enjoying grand public bath, we take dinner at one of the restaurants in various styles. This time we entered a family restaurant that serves foods with reasonable price.
I am so happy to find that I can ask another cup of coffee at will.

Large sightseeing buses sleep in the dark in the parking lot.
Back streets of the hotel are calm nice places with large houses.

White cherry blossoms loomed out of the darkness.
A colorful manhole lid reads "Flower City Beppu" with the design of bamboo craft, a special product, and azalea.
As a pair of unfamiliar shoes damaged my soles a little, I changed them to a pair of Japanese sandals like those after dinner.
I explored the hotel. I found an old picture on the wall.
The bird's-eye view was painted by Hatsusaburo Yoshida in 1924.
This is Mt. Yufu. The climbing route is clearly seen, suggesting many mountain lovers had already enjoy backpacking.

On the left is Lake Kinrin and the name of a hotel is written in white as Kamenoi Hotel Besso.
In the center of the bird's-eye view of central Beppu spa is Kamenoi Hotel.

In the front is Beppu Bay. Kamenoi Restaurant is on the beach painted with a blue sign.
Mr. Yoshihiro Hirano, the chief of Hirano Museum, took many pictures like this under the title of "The origin of Beppu."

Old time pictures and today's picture are displayed in pair. They tell the transition of the port very well. Beppu port was once crowded with many large boats carrying famous people like Charles Chaplin, Bernard Show, and Helen Keller.
An armor helmet named Genji presented from Marutou Trading may make foreign visitors delighted.

"Argerich Music Festival will soon be opened here in Beppu", a red banner reads.
The next exploration point will be the shops on the second floor. They sell many pleasant special souvenirs such as sweet pomelos, bamboo crafts, money-welcome-cats, and others.
On the third floor is a large public bath for men and women respectively. Nearby is an "Everything for 100 yen" shop corner.
The most appealing goods in the shop is "dirt remover made in Korea." Some guests bought them heaped up in the shopping basket.
The game corner attracts many youngsters.
I got some post card at the front.

Mr. Kumahachi Aburaya is still honored as the founder of Beppu spa with his unusual new ideas. He had run sightseeing bus guided by beauties first in Japan. The spa mark, left bottom on the right poster card, is an invention by him. The post cards tell the history of Beppu spa.

I stamped two post cards and sent them to my mother and my son family.
Our room is on the top floor, the 17th, enjoying grand view of Mt. Takasaki and Beppu Bay.
I got a walk-map at the front and went out for looking around the street.

I followed the map and visited many spots like Beppu Catholic Church, old post office now used as a Kids House, Kamiya Spa, Tomonaga bakery, Hirano Museum, Takegawara Spa, Plaster picture of Tsuruta House. The fire of World War 2 did not destroy Beppu. Many historic building are everywhere today.
Tsuruta family was once a fishermen's boss. On the wall of the house is a plaster picture of Ebisu, the god of wealth, holding a large sea bream.

I walked around narrow alleyways that hold dear old atmosphere. A community-revitalizing group recommends the course to find good old days in Taisho and Showa eras.
Narrow labyrinthine alleyways make visitors feel nostalgic. Beppu has something deep. I will visit again.

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