Boasting the largest volume of hot spring water in Japan, Beppu has its fair share of unique onsen facilities. Among these, Beppu Rakutenchi offers a one-of-a-kind hot spring experience that combines the cheerful atmosphere of a retro amusement park with soothing panoramic onsen baths. Perfect for those wanting to enjoy both excitement and relaxation on the same day, the park has plenty of leisure activities, rides, and nature enjoyed by children and adults alike!
Visible as it is from afar, we could spot the cute figure of Beppu Rakutenchi Amusement Park multiple times as we were exploring Beppu and couldn’t help but get curious about the cartoon-like castle that seemed to watch over the city up from the mountains. The amusement park has been part of Beppu’s scenery since 1929 and, beloved by generations of locals, it has recently celebrated its 93rd anniversary, continuing to draw in families, couples, and groups of friends for fun-filled days of rides, food, and spectacular views.
The fun started as soon as we arrived at the entrance. As if we had set foot in a fairytale land where giant castles, pastel hues, and sweet animal characters are the norm, we were welcomed by the cheerful presence of Beppu’s most unique means of transportation, the colorful Beppu Rakutenchi Cable Line. Established the same year of the park’s opening, the cable car made for an amusing way to climb up the 260-meter-long, 30-degree-steep slope that separates the entrance from the actual attractions area.
Apart from the cable car, Beppu Rakutenchi features an ample array of amusements that maintain a vintage Showa period (1926 – 1989) feel to them. Retro roller coasters, playgrounds, game arcades, and classic merry-go-rounds as well as restaurants and barbeque grounds can be found around the park, allowing us to get glimpses of a fascinating bygone era. Among these unique rides, our favorite was probably the Big Flower Ferris Wheel which is the only double ferris wheel in Japan and perfectly blends the thrill of sprawling views from 240 meters up with an adorable design inspired by bell flowers.
Located on top of Mt. Tateishi, the amusement park is nestled among Beppu’s thriving vegetation, offering views of sparkling green in summer, spectacular sights of autumn colors, and a multitude of flowers blooming in each season. Particularly beautiful are the hydrangeas tingeing the park with their delicate hues around the beginning of June and the “sakura” cherry blossoms that embellish the scenery with fluffy clouds of pink flowers around the end of March.
The unusual location not only makes Beppu Rakutenchi a place of natural beauty but also ensures it is a true land of playfulness as many of the attractions are integrated into the mountainous landscape. Impatient to try some for ourselves, we made our way to one of the park’s most eye-catching features, the Big Suspension Bridge. Spanning 150 meters over a small mountain pass and overlooking the valley below, the bridge is the perfect vantage point to admire the superb scenery of Beppu City as well as a thrilling way to go from one side of the park to another.
The bridge quickly connects the cable car drop-off point with the area of the park housing the Zekkei no Yu onsen facility which is the ideal place for visitors who want to conclude a day of excitement with some relaxation. We first stopped at the panoramic foot bath located right outside the actual hot spring building and sat in the sunshine while taking in the charming panorama of wooded mountains and sea in the distance, our legs immersed in the healing warm water and our minds refreshed.
Beppu Rakutenchi Zekkei no Yu is a true hidden gem. Although it seems to be a well-loved spot by the locals, it is still fairly unknown among travelers. So, don’t let the simple facade deceive you! Waiting inside are spacious onsen baths directly overlooking the Beppu Bay that offer unparalleled views and can be accessed without any additional costs as they are included in the park’s entry ticket.
Both the men’s bath and the women’s bath are equipped with shampoo, conditioner, body soap, and hair dryers so that you can enjoy your bathing experience in comfort without having to worry about bringing any of these amenities with you. Just remember to bring your own towel!
The stunning, uninterrupted panorama is the highlight of the hot springs. So, once inside, we took our time relishing both the soothing bath and the marvelous day of sun enhancing the beauty of the glimmering blue sea on the horizon. These onsen baths are also the perfect place to peacefully observe the seasonal scenery of Beppu changing throughout the months and they even offer glimpses of sakura blooming in spring.
Experience the unique combination of hot spring and amusement park at Beppu Rakutenchi. This retro park and onsen teeming with vintage charms and spectacular views will be sure to conquer your heart as it does with the locals’!
Beppu Rakutenchi Zekkei no Yu
・Zekkei no Yu: may vary depending on the day
・For further information about the park’s opening hours please check the link below
For further information about closing days please check the link below
・Adults (junior high school student and older): 1,300 yen
・Children (3 years old to elementary school student): 600 yen
・Under 2 years old: free
*from the main gate
*it includes a round-trip cable car ticket