Planning your visit to Beppu, you will read more and more about the abundant hot springs running beneath the city. With hot spring water being front and center to the Beppu experience, you naturally will want to experience an onsen, right? Well, check in to NagomiTsuki, an upscale traditional inn that will be a highlight of your experience in Japan.
This boutique ryokan is located in a quiet residential area in the north part of Beppu. All 12 rooms include an open-air bath fed by local spring water. The staff is friendly, polite and accommodating, and the onsite dining is absolutely divine.
During our Japan journey, we mainly stayed in large, tower-style hotels due to convenience and price. However, for our one night in Beppu, we opted to stay in a traditional-style lodging. This small inn hit all the marks. Tatamis on the floor, Japanese food served for dinner and breakfast, peace and quiet, plus an in-room balcony tub made this our favorite hotel in Japan.
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NagomiTsuki Room Review
This hotel is styled closely like a traditional ryokan (however, meals are not served in-room and the bed is a nice thick mattress as opposed to a futon). The room features a close-to-the-ground table and chair set, a low bed, grasscloth tatami mats and a sliding shoji screen door between the entry and the rest of the room.
The show-stopping part of the room, and the reason we booked this inn in the first place, is the deep hot spring tub on the private patio that has a beautiful view of the lush green hills of Kyushu. The tub is continuously fed with hot mineral-rich water, and can even overflow onto the slate tiled floor (with drain) when not used for several hours.
To use the tub, one follows standard onsen hygiene practices, such as showering and cleansing before and after bathing. The balcony has windows that can be opened and closed depending on weather, and is very private with a bamboo screen between the balcony and the garden. When standing up, the traditional Japanese garden can be admired from the patio.
The hotel greeted us with sparkling juice flavored with the regional kabosu (citrus) upon check-in. There is also a coffee and tea station available at all hours. The inn invites guests to select yukata to wear around the hotel halls and common rooms (pictured above).
In addition to the in-room hot spring tub, this inn also has women and men’s communal onsen on the first floor. Read more about cultural expectations when visiting a public bath in Japan.
A couple of days before our arrival, the hotel reached out and asked if we would like to add meals to our reservation. I was unsure, but they mentioned that the inn is in a residential part of town with few other dining options nearby. So I agreed to add dinner and breakfast to the room, a splurge for us at around $100 per person (at the time of my visit). Wow, I am so glad I added on the food because it was totally out of this world.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was my opportunity to try a traditional Kaiseki meal. Kaiseki is a style of meal where many courses are brought out one at a time, and importantly these courses are presented beautifully with natural garnishes and carefully selected plating choices. The courses varied from one another by texture and flavor, and culminated in a delicious and filling local vegetable hot pot.
There were multiple meal options; I selected the introductory level. The more expensive ones feature choice cuts of local seafood or kobe beef. This was one of the two the best meals we had during our whole trip. I highly recommend booking a kaiseki meal at some point when you visit Japan.
The next morning, they served a traditional Japanese breakfast with many small bites of vegetables, fish, and of course miso soup.
Other Options in Beppu
There are many standard hotel options near Beppu Station, but I encourage you to stay at a smaller spot for the true hot spring experience. Prices vary throughout the year because there are many seasonal festivals and lots of domestic tourism to Beppu.
- Bettei Haruki is similar to NagomiTsuki; a small, luxury boutique inn in a convenient location to visit local sights. Reviews rave about the food and onsen facilities. It is not clear how many rooms have in-room baths, however the private onsen look fabulous.
- Ryokan Sennai is walking distance to the center of town and offers yukata to wear, private hot springs, and kaiseki meal.
- Beppu Hatto Onyado Nono is a highly-rated budget-friendly option if for whatever reason you’d like to stay closer to Beppu Station. It’s a tower-style hotel under the umbrella of the Dormy Inn brand. The rooms are neat and clean, if not as stylized and traditional looking, and there is a public bath.
Visit bit.ly/VoyageerHotels or use this interactive tool to search for availability lining up with your dates! (Make sure to zoom in, I’m not sure why it’s pulling such a wide region)
I hope this hotel review provided you with the information you need to book your stay in Beppu! NagomiTsuki and that fabulous dinner will always hold a special place in my heart! If you have any recommendations for Beppu or Kyushu please leave them in the comments!
Photos by Doug and Staci Jackson for The Voyageer.