By Sherilyn Siy
Conveniently located within the downtown area, and just a 4-minute walk from JR Beppu Station, the towering Kamenoi Hotel ensures a stress-free stay in Beppu City. Between their affordable rooms, accommodations, helpful staff, and ideal location, it’s difficult not to recommend this fine establishment as your point of reference while staying in the onsen (hot spring) capital of Japan.
The Kamenoi Hotel offers a variety of facilities including different room types (322 total), 3 restaurants, both indoor & open-air onsen baths, a spa treatment center, a game room, coin-operated washer/dryer machines, and free WiFi. Across the street is a convenience store with an ATM. And it’s amazingly situated within walking distance to not only Beppu Station, but many fantastic onsen, restaurants, classic izakaya (restaurant/bars), and places for shopping. Also, if you're driving, there's free parking for up to 300 cars.
Traveling in Japan as a tourist can sometimes be daunting if you don't have at least a basic grasp of the language. Beppu Kamenoi Hotel caters to both regional and international travelers, and there are English speakers available that can assist you at the front desk if need be. There are also signs in English all throughout the hotel as well as information books found within your room.
When you're ready to go, all you need to do is step outside and start walking toward the downtown district to find yourself in the heart of authentic Japanese culture. This area includes an array of onsen (some even open 24 hours costing a mere 100 yen). A few are low-key so that you may need the locals to point them out, but others such as the Meiji-era Takegawara Onsen, are essential if visiting Beppu. For adults who enjoy the nightlife, there are plenty of eating and drinking establishments throughout the area. And this is all within walking distance.
After a long day out sight-seeing, you may just want to enjoy the hotel’s onsen, which is very relaxing and convenient. Your room will come with a yukata (Japanese pajama robes), towel, and washcloth at no extra charge. I must confess that I used their onsen quite frequently during my stay and was not ready to leave such comfort and convenience so soon.
Perhaps your traveling schedule made it difficult to stop at a restaurant; no worries, Beppu Kamenoi has 3 different restaurants available including the Kyushu family chain, Joyfull (open until 4:00 am), Shidaka Buffet (international cuisine), and Kumahachi-Tei (traditional Japanese) which offers some delicious entrees including the Oita Prefecture specialty, toriten, or tempura-styled fried chicken. It's worth mentioning here that Kumahachi-Tei is named after the hotel's founder, Kumahachi Aburaya. This gentleman is quite famous in Beppu as a statue in his honor stands just outside Beppu Station. He's known for having lived abroad with the intention of returning to Beppu to build up tourism. He is also humorously known for his unusually large hands and a mold of his hands can be found displayed within the Kumahachi-Tei restaurant. It provides a unique and interesting slice of history to the hotel's legacy.
Families are more than welcome here. Not only are there accommodating rooms and facilities (some including baby rooms), but very close to the hotel is Beppu Rakutenchi, a family amusement park literally in the mountains. You can actually see it straight down the street from the hotel and a very brief taxi ride will get you there in a matter of minutes. Also of interest might be Mt. Takasaki, which is famous for its park that is populated by over a thousand Japanese monkeys. The park can be accessed by either bus or car with ample space for parking.
On your way out, you can easily access the Beppu Station market. It's essentially a tunnel that you can take from the hotel to the train station. The market is lined with various shops offering local produce, fish, meats, and other various items. This is also quite convenient if the weather happens to be either rainy or hot.
Overall I had a spectacular stay at the Beppu Kamenoi Hotel. The convenience, cleanliness, and courtesy were top of the line. And I will certainly be returning again with my family to experience some more of the joys of Beppu City.
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I currently reside in Saga Prefecture. Before landing here in 2013, I’d been traveling to Japan since 2004 for both vacation as well as family visits. Since then, I’ve been fortunate to travel about and see much of this remarkable coutry. Although my interests are quite eclectic, I've always had a distinct fascination with old Japan. I suppose this began as a young boy brought up on a steady diet of samurai and ninja films. However, many years later, that interest deepened, surpassing romanticized curiosity. I have sufficient knowledge of Japanese history and culture and make it a point to visit various castles, temples, and other interesting placeswhenever I travel. It is my objective to be able to share some of that experience with you in hopes of inspiring you to visit a particular place or at least provide you with some peripheral knowledge about places you've already been. Safe travels and always remember: "The map is not the territory" - Alfred Korzybski