As you have already known, BEPPU (別府) in OITA Prefecture (大分県), KYUSHU (九州) is one of the best ONSEN places in Japan. Among 10 kinds of spring quality of natural ONSEN, BEPPU has 8 of them in one city so that you can enjoy various kinds of natural hot spring here and there in this city.
However, the only thing is that BEPPU is a bit far from big cities like TOKYO and OSAKA and sometimes you might hesitate to visit there. But don’t worry. The ferry “Sunflower” which I took this time takes you from OSAKA to BEPPU so easily only while you are sleeping.
There are mainly 3 ways to reach BEPPU from OSAKA.
One is the flight which is the fastest way. You can fly from OSAKA International Airport (ITAMI Airport) to OITA Airport and it only takes 1 hour. From OITA Airport, you can take bus to BEPPU which takes less than another 1 hour.
The second way is to use SHINKANSEN and trains, or buses, through KOBE, HIROSHIMA, and some other cities which usually takes around 5 hours. If you have time and want to enjoy to see a lot of places in Western Japan, this route might be good for you.
The 3rd way which I recommend the most is to use ferry. There is a ferry named “Sunflower” and it takes you from OSAKA to BEPPU over one night. Although it takes almost 12 hours which is the slowest way among 3, you can enjoy viewing a lot of beautiful illuminated bridges across the islands in SETO Inland Sea (瀬戸内海) as well as the beautiful sunrise when you reach BEPPU.
Especially, talking about myself, I am thinking of starting my own business related to ONSEN, and I believe BEPPU is the best place to try it. That is why I wanted to recognize and feel each of every step forward to BEPPU, and I wanted to feel the distance toward BEPPU.
Ferry terminal in OSAKA
“Sunflower” departs from the ferry terminal at ATC (Asia-Pacific Trade Center). You can get there directly from “Trade center Mae” Station of New Tram.
Since I had already booked my ticket through online, I got boarding pass at the ticket counter very smoothly.
My ferry departs at 7:05pm and will reach to BEPPU at 6:55am tomorrow morning.
There’s a waiting lounge and a convenience store right in front of it. As you might know, the convenience store in Japan is really well advanced, and you can buy anything you need there. It’s literally convenient. 3 major convenience store chains in Japan are “Seven Eleven”, “Lawson”, and “Family Mart”. It’s worth remembering.
I bought some BENTO boxes for dinner, and snack and alcohol for small party in the ferry.
Now it’s time for boarding!!
Through very long boarding bridge, I finally got on board.
This is the entrance of Sunflower.
Although it’s not like luxury cruise ship, it’s actually good enough to stay 1 night to BEPPU.
A lot of facilities inside ferry
There are a lot of convenient facilities inside the ferry. There’s a big restaurant and you can eat buffet for your dinner and breakfast.
There’s also bathroom for passengers where you can enjoy viewing the sea.
In addition to that, a shop and an amusement space (game space) are also there.
And, needless to say, various kinds of vending machines and smoking area are also in the ferry.
As you might know, Japan is a heaven of vending machine, and these days even the engagement ring is also sold at the vending machine, haha.
Here, not just beverage, but also you can buy beer, ice cream, and cup noodle from the vending machine.
Deluxe room of Sunflower
This time, I’ve booked a “deluxe room” with 2 beds. Since I have a small kid, he can walk and play around the room and it was really a comfortable stay for us.
Again, it is not like a luxury cruise ship, but this is clean and good enough to stay one night and reach to BEPPU while sleeping.
We had a small party with some BENTO boxes and snacks which I bought at the convenience store.
It was really fun.
If you want to save money, there are many other options.
The 1st picture below is cheaper private room, and the 2nd one is shared room.
Beautiful illumination of bridges
One of the attractiveness to take this Sunflower is to see the beautiful illumination of bridges across islands of SETO Inland Sea.
Around SETO Inland Sea, there are a lot of small islands with a lot of famous and beautiful bridges like AKASHI KAIKYO Bridge (明石海峡大橋) in KOBE City, SETO OHASHI Bridge (瀬戸大橋) in KURASHIKI City, and KURUSHIMA Bridge (来島大橋) in IMABARI City.
It is really beautiful to look up the illuminated bridges from below.
Beautiful sunrise in BEPPU
In the morning, I went out from the room and was standing on the deck to see the sunrise. Yes, as expected, it was really beautiful. And also, it looked like BEPPU is welcoming me and celebrating the new departure of my life here.
Looking at the townscape of BEPPU, I renewed my determination to start my own business here in BEPPU.
Next article: Autumn drive from BEPPU to YUFUIN