Saturday, 24 June 2017. It was Drizzling!
We only had 1 day in Beppu, and we knew we can only choose 2 out of the 3 places we really wanted to go. The places we actually went are; African-Safari and Sand Bath Onsen. Sadly we didn’t have time to go Jigoku (Hell) Hot Spring. (っ´ω`)ﾉ(╥ω╥)
It was only cloudy when we stepped out from Naho’s place at 6AM to Hakata Train Station. We were going for African-Safari at Beppu, Oita Prefecture. So I was expecting to see those animals in another hot-sunny day like we had yesterday at cat island. (＃￣ω￣)
I bought another bento from the same Ekibento store at Hakata Station, while ciMel bought her favorite mentaiko croissant for breakfast. We then bought sonic train ticket from Hakata Station to Beppu Station. The train ticket cost ¥3090 per person, and it took us about 2 hours 10 minutes to our destination. <(￣︶￣)>
*Beppu Train Station*
*train ticket to Beppu and inside the train was super clean and comfy!*
Departed from Hakata Station at 6:22AM, we arrived at Beppu Station at 8:32AM. There were 2 tourist information centers, at Beppu Station; one of them only for Japanese speaking, the other information center was for other language other than Japanese. The guy on the counter could speak English and Korean very well. I assumed he could also speak some Chinese.
The guy told us to buy round trip from Beppu Station to African-Safari bus ticket for ¥3700. This ticket was not only for the round trip bus, but also for the entrance fee at African-Safari. Took bus #41 at bus stop #2, this bus took us about 50 minutes to African-Safari, we passed the misty town of Beppu and it literally reminded me of Stephen King’s movie, The Mist. ☆ｏ(＞＜；)○
So I was wrong. With this mist surrounding us, the African-Safari couldn’t be as hot as the day I had in Ainoshima! I was wearing a thin shirt and short, and I was shivering. Lucky ciMel brought shawl so I could wrapped myself under it. (´-ω-`( _ _ )
In some places, indeed it was only less than 100m visibility. Our bus run slowly but surely, the driver looked calm and already got used to it. I was expecting a huge tentacle coming out of the mist and grabbing the bus… Or maybe some zombies suddenly appear next to our bus windows. I watched too much horror movies. (눈_눈)
Arrived at African-Safari, we proceed to the lavatory. And boy this was the cleanest park’s or zoo’s lavatory I’ve ever been! (」°ロ°)」
5 minutes later we already boarded the jungle bus, from the jungle bus station, just in front of the information center. The jungle bus was a caged bus for the human, and took the human around the African-Safari in hoping the caged door will still safely locked and no lion would join us inside the caged-bus. (￣ ￣|||)
If you didn’t buy the ticket from the information counter at Beppu Station, the jungle bus fare was ¥1100 for adult, and ¥900 for children. On weekday the jungle bus runs every 20~30 minutes. On weekend and holiday the jungle bus runs every 10~15 minutes. You can also rent a private car for ¥600 drive yourself through the safari, or chartered a bus for ¥1200.
The bus firstly took us from the Alpine Animals where we met a group of sheep and a giant brown bear. We stopped for a while to gave them some foods we already had inside the bus. From there the bus continued to the lion section where the sleepy carnivores drooled at the meats we offered. This lion group was all male. We didn’t see any lioness at all. ヾ( ￣O￣)ツ
Then we continued to visit American Bisons, and deers and gave them foods. Then we fed small group of elephants, watched zebras and rhinos from afar. We continued to gave oranges to the giraffes. Then the next section was tigers and cheetahs where we only watched them observing our bus from afar. The last section was for the antelopes, elands, black bucks and camels. Then the tour finished and dropped us back to safety, to the Jungle bus station. (ღ˘⌣˘ღ)
*the caged jungle buses looked cute!*
*our wefie before we departed to lion’s and tiger’s arena*
*ciMel took photo of the not-so-free animals from the caged bus*
*sleepy kitty approached our bus and asked for meats… or maybe he just want a hug*
We walked around the park and visited the miniature horses, ponies, a lonely donkey, kangaroos, and squirrel monkeys. It was already lunch time and we still had spare time while waiting for our bus to go back Beppu Station and continue our journey. We checked out the restaurants around the park but none of them were tempting enough for us. ヽ(~_~(・_・ )ゝ
The bus schedule going from African-Safari Park to Beppu Station was:: 10:58 | 11:58 | 12:58 | 13:58 | 14:58 | 15:58 | 16:58. The park closed at 5PM.
We had options to choose either Dog Salon or Cat Salon. The salon was a quiet place for the dogs or the cats where we can play and interact with them. Because of our not-so-good experience with the cats we had yesterday, finally we decided to visit Dog Salon and spent 20 minutes there while waiting for our bus. The dog salon entrance fee was ¥300. ∪＾ェ＾∪
*my first wefie with a dachshund*
From the African-Safari Park, you can stop the bus at Umi Jigoku Mae if you want to visit Blue Hell Area where you could see Hon Bozu Jigoku, Oniishi Bozu Jigoku, Umi Jigoku, Yama Jigoku, Kamado Jigoku, Oniyama Jigoku and Shiraike Jigoku. From there, walk yourself to the Red Hell Area where you can see Chinoike Jigoku and Tatsumaki Jigoku. ((( ￣□)_／
Since we didn’t have time to visit the hell’s ponds, both of us were too hungry from the safari and we also wanted to try sand bath very badly, so we skipped the Jigoku tour and back to Beppu Station with the same bus ticket we bought earlier (Please do not lost this ticket!). We had our quick lunch at one of the local restaurant at Beppu Station then quickly jumped to bus #26 to Rokushoen for ¥260.
We shouldn’t go back and forth to Beppu Station, instead go straight to the sand bath so we didn’t have to pay extra ¥260. But both of us were too hungry and were afraid if there was no food around there. And we were right. So unless you brought your meals in your bag, I guess the extra ¥260 was still fine. (￣^￣)ゞ
Beppu was famous for their onsen. When you’re arrived at this little town, you wouldn’t be surprised. The mountainy area was cold and onsens were scattered everywhere. It was common for locals, if the weather was cold, they would go and soak themselves in a public onsen. But there was one onsen captured our interest, it was The Beach Sand Bath, where you could soak yourself in a hot sand, instead of hot water.
Alighted the bus at Rokushoen bus stop, the Beach Sand Bath was across the street, just next to the beach. It costs ¥1030 per person. It was drizzling when we arrived at the sand onsen and it was cold. It was great though, otherwise it wouldn’t be nice if you buried yourself in a hot sand during a hot summer day. (~‾▽‾)~
Arrived at the Beach Sand Bath, none of the staffs were speaking english. They probably know one or two words of Eigo, and we know one or two words Nihongo. But we successfully bought 2 tickets for the sand bath. The staffs then gave us thin yukata and small towels. We proceed to ladies’ changing room, took off all the clothes and wore only the thin yukata. There was locker at this changing room where we kept our bags for ¥100. From the changing room we proceed to the black hot sand, outside. ⁽⁽◝( • ω • )◜⁾⁾
The staffs were always tending the sand, ready to bury us alive. I lied down next to ciMel, stared at the misty beach. Once we lied down, the staffs started to cover our body and legs with the sand. Then continued to our arms and neck. We couldn’t move by now. Lucky they didn’t cover our head as well. So yeah, they wouldn’t kill us, so no need to worry about this. Just remember to tie your hairs up so the wet sand wouldn’t stay in your hair. And oh! Pregnant woman and those who are in period are not recommended to try sand bath onsen.
The sand got warmer and warmer after 5 minutes. I was worried for my anemia. It got more hotter and hotter when it reached the first 10 minutes, and at the same time my body was getting more relax and ready to sleep…. z… z….. Z….. z…. but what if I fell asleep and my anemia kicked in and no one noticed about this! I opened my eyes, tried my best to stay awake and waited until 15 minutes as I read earlier at the waiting room, the recommended time for this sand bath was about 15 ~ 20 minutes. 乁( • ω •乁)
We called the staff after 15 minutes, and they told us how to get out from the sand. Oh! So we CAN move! I thought a hoe required to get us out! ~(‾▽‾)~
*the staffs were tending the black sand and planting human heads???*
And boy was it SO refreshing!!!! The best onsen experience, if I might say! I wouldn’t mind to come back here and enjoy the tranquility of burying myself in a sand, next to this misty beach! Please check out my post about “What to Expect and What NOT to Expect from Sand Bath Onsen”, here 👈 (♡˙︶˙♡)
We walked to the bus stop just in front of the Beach Sand Bath, and took #AS71 to Beppu Kitahama bus stop. From this bus stop, we proceed to buy bus ticket back to Hakata Bus Station, Fukuoka for ¥2830. The bus was only every an hour, and if we missed the bus, the ticket would expired and we had to buy a new one. We needed to cross the street to bus stop no.2 which located at Starbuck @ Tokiwa Department Store.
We walked around the Tokiwa Department store, bought our first batch of おみやげ。Then we just sat and wait for the bus in front of the Starbuck, Tokiwa Dept Store. Since the staff at ticketing center already told us not to missed the bus, both of us were checking the time every 2 minutes now. The bus took us back to Hakata in 2.5 hours. (*¯︶¯*)
*bus ticket back to Hakata Bus Terminal*
Back to Hakata Station, I was ready to try Horse meat!!^^ We went to Suganoya Restaurant at FL10, JR Hakata City, as recommended by Haru chan yesterday. (っ˘ڡ˘ς)
Suganoya only served horse meat, which was popular for the locals, but not for tourist. I was told by Seiya, my Japanese hair stylist back in SG to try horse meat while I’m in Fukuoka. He was from Fukuoka himself. I was shocked when I first heard him asking me to try horse meat. But then again, I ate kangaroo steak and crocodile burger when I was in Aussie. So why not horse? ╮(￣～￣)╭
The restaurant opens for lunch at 11:00 ~ 15:30. Then it opens again for dinner at 17:00 ~ 22:00. We ordered horse steak, horse yakitori, salad and Makkoi Ume Liquor and paid for ¥4730 for both of us.
So how was the horse steak? Although it was medium rare, but for me it was slightly a bit too rare than I expected. Maybe a well-done steak would taste better for someone who never tried horse meat before. But it was nice, and the gravy was tasty too. The meat tasted something like lamb, but much more chewy and the texture was slightly different. The horse yakitori, salad and ume liquor were superb. ( ￣▽￣) (≧▽≦ )
For you who want to go Beppu, I will recommend you to stay more than 1 night in Beppu. There were quite a lot of hotels around Beppu train station. You can visit African-Safari and Beach Sand Bath on your first day. On the second day, visit all 7 hell’s pond at Blue Hell area, and 2 hell’s at Red Hell area. Check out beautiful spa place Yuno Sato at Myoban area and their traditional houses if you still have time. Or visit some swans or have a camping at Shidaka-ko, the best lake in Beppu Sansho in Taisho Period. And take a mud bath at Onsen Hoyoland. Last but not least, make your wish come true by a great white snake, the guardian of the castle Kifune-jo.
Even though we couldn’t enjoy all the fun things in Beppu, but we finished today with a lot of fun much much more than what we expected! And it was already passed 10PM, we needed to rest for our Sunday exploring the city. By the way, have you checked out ciMel’s blog👈 ? You might find something interesting there. また、ね！〜〜(／￣▽)／ 〜ф
PS: here are African-Safari Map, Beppu City Map and Beppu Busway Map for your reference. Have fun!!! 💛💜💚
*Beppu City Map*
*Beppu Busway Map*