This morning there was a downpour in Fukouka, but I tried to make the most of it, and walked around the old temple district, which was pretty impressive. However, as I was crossing one of the roads I came across something that made my blood boil: cyclists with umbrellas. Not wanting to be held responsible for a series of hate crimes I decided it best to leave Fukouka as quickly as possible, and so caught a bus to Beppu, on the East Coast of Kyushu. As the bus was only ¥2000 (about £15), and as the weather had by now reached biblical proportions, I decided against hitching the 150 or so KM, and instead rode in luxury as we drove through miles upon miles of beautiful scenery and breath-taking views. In fact, so enthralled was I by the view from the window, that I failed to notice that you were supposed to ring the bell if you wanted to get off at the next stop, for which my reward was a 5 km trek into town; still, at least it had stopped raining.
Beppu is famous for it’s onsens, and for it’s nine geothermal hot spots, which are also (seriously, I’ve seen the signs) referred to as the nine hells of Beppu: a delightful piece of marketing. After paying ¥400 to be subjected to a ‘sea hell’, I decided that I didn’t need to see any of the others, especially as I almost fell into said variety of hell, whilst trying to wash my feet in a nearby foot spa (neatly translated as a ‘hot spring of leg’). I found another bargain youth hostel (¥2000), which had it’s own sauna, and was run by some very lovely staff, who gave me directions to a ‘secret onsen’ up in the mountains. However, after a 30-minute bus ride and a 20-minute trek I came across a sign that said that a major crime had recently been committed here, and that it was not advised to enter alone, especially after nightfall. Heading these words I headed back down the mountain, and when I got back to the youth hostel I was casually informed that a murder (satsujin) had taken place there, well either that or a something to do with an horrific accident involving the central pillar of a pagoda (satsu). Either way, I was glad that I had given it a miss!