Wow, until I started to write this post, I'd forgotten about what shitheads the people at this hotel were. No WIFI but they said on Rakuten that they had a PC for guests to use. When I asked about it, the manager just laughed at me and said of course they didn't have a PC. Screw you, manager-san, because I really needed to check some travel details.
The hotel itself was your standard business hotel, on the more budget end of the business hotel scale - bed, mini fridge, unit bathroom, vending machine selling beer in the foyer.
It's a short walk from the station and very close to the back streets filled with ramen shops and regular bars and the more seedy, snack bars.
The hotel, and the surrounds, were filled with salarymen. Like all the salarymen in Kyushuu had gathered in Beppu for some weekend drinking. I'm not sure if it's always like that or if there was something on.
It kinda put me off going out though because I didn't want to deal with salarymen when they got to that drunken, lecherous state.
I did manage to get out and do something cool though - SAND BATH!
This is the onsen with the sand baths, not the hotel I stayed in.
The biggest tourist attraction in Beppu are the "Hells" - a bunch of spots with volcanic water (and mud) gushing up out of the ground. The bus leaves from the station but you have to wait forever unless you time it right. Okay, maybe it was only about 20 minutes but it felt like forever.
The hells themselves, well if you go to Beppu I'd not recommend paying to do the full tour of 8 of them because, seriously, how interesting is gushing water? You could easily do 1 or 2 and be happy... or pay nothing and walk around the area and see all the smoke and shit.
If you do go, avoid the one nearest the bus stop. Maybe in an attempt to differentiate themselves from the other Hells or something, they have put in a mini zoo. The mini zoo is fucked up and depressing. The animals are in tiny enclosures and it's horrible.
You can pay like 200 yen or something and get some bits of old carrot to feed the hippo. This is the hippo's mouth.
You can buy eggs cooked in the Hell fire! They didn't look all that appetising though, to be honest.
So I got in mid-afternoon. I did the Hells, I did the sand bath. I had a super tasty bowl of ramen for dinner. Then I went to bed because my main reason for being in Beppu was to catch the ferry to Shikoku and I really wanted to catch the one at 5.00 am so I could see the sunrise over the Seto Inland Sea.
Of course, I couldn't sleep. I get edgy when I need to be up early and having drunken salarymen returning to the hotel -- and doing all their loud, goodnight bowing shit to each other in the hallway didn't help.
I woke up about 1.00 am in a panic, thinking I didn't have enough cash to pay for the ferry. I found the tourist information with the ferry fee and counted out my change. I had enough with a bit left over so I went back to sleep.
I woke up at 3.00 am, in a mad panic because I remembered the hotel guy had said I'd need to catch a cab to the ferry terminal and I had no idea how much that would cost. I checked the tourist map and there was a 7-11 about 5 minutes walk away. If you don't know, the only places you can use foreign ATM cards in Japan are Japan Post and 7-11. The sounds of drunken salarymen still filled the streets so I didn't want to venture out.
By about 4.30, all the drunken salarymen had either gone home or collapsed in the street or ended up where ever else drunken salarymen end up after a night of dabauchery, so I felt safe leaving the hotel. I went down and checked out - with a million anxieties about the ATM not taking my card and not being able to find a cab and all manner of shit.
The streets were so dead with that bluish, predawn light. The only people stirring where the cab drivers (all lined up in the street outside my hotel) and the guys packing up their ramen carts.
I found the 7-11 and got money and made it to the ferry terminal - it definitely wasn't within walking distance of the hotel!
I sat in the brightly-lit terminal, looking over the lights of Beppu, thankful that I'd managed to get there without drama.
That isn't much of a review of the hotel, really. I guess the main thing is that it was clean and cheap but not particuarly friendly. And they lied about the PC access!