Beppu City in Oita is famous for having abundant, fantastic hot springs. People from all over Japan come to Beppu to heal their chronic pains—or just to have a good time. The city gathers attention from outside of Japan as well, so you can find people from different countries exploring the area’s hot springs. International Minshuku Kokage (Japanese Inn Kokage) is one of the few guesthouses in Beppu that actively attracts people from outside of Japan who aren't used to Japanese hot spring culture, and I recommend you check this place out if you aren’t fluent in Japanese or unfamiliar with hot springs.
The guesthouse stands just a three-minute walk away from Beppu Station, and is very close to the main street. Obviously, the location is very central and convenient, and women don’t have to worry about walking back to the minshuku at night by themselves because the roads close by are all brightly lit and thriving. So even though there are limited meal services at the minshuku, you can still go out and about, and visit great restaurants and bars in the neighborhood.
Kokage opened way back in 1940 and has been running non-stop since then. You may have guessed that the guesthouse has a traditional Japanese exterior, but in fact, Kokage has a more Japanese-Western mixed style, showing off its retro fanciness. You can also feel the old-fashioned atmosphere once you enter, especially the small rooms that are located next to the lobby. I was surprised to see that they had such stylish rooms, as I didn’t notice them at all until the last day of my stay. The rooms are filled with antique furniture, ornaments, and accessories, and if you are a guest of the minshuku, you get to use these neat spaces for your own relaxation.
My stay was in a Japanese tatami-mat room, with a small washroom and shower room attached. It is a rather small space, but it didn’t bother me at all, since it was convenient for me to work in. If you are staying here, although there is a shower room inside your room, I suggest that you go take a nice bath in their attached public hot spring. Since Kokage doesn’t accommodate that many people at once, most likely you wouldn’t have to share the hot spring with anyone else, but if you are uncomfortable with bathing with others or just want privacy, you can make a reservation just for you or your group.
International Minshuku Kokage is a great place for family leisure and business as well, there is no reason to hesitate about spending your time here. The owner is very understanding towards foreign visitors, so you can ask her anything if you feel uncomfortable with the Japanese hot spring culture. The retro small inn right by Beppu Station is always there to welcome you.
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