|A Bustling Seaside Spa Resort
Japan is a country of volcanoes. Hot springs are found everywhere, numbering over 2,000 and attracting more than 1 billion visitors annually to bathe in. Most people go to hot springs not so much for cure, recuperation, or convalescence as for the pleasure. Whether young or old, male or female, the Japanese love to bathe in hot springs.
The city of Beppu, overlooking Beppu Bay in Oita Prefecture,
is Japan's largest spa resort. Beppu has 2,849 springs and nine types of
water, which is the world record. Gushing up of 136,212 kiloliters (approximately
36 million gallons) per day of hot water makes it the second highest output
anywhere in the world. Beppu has eight different hot spring areas, the
so-called Beppu Hatto (Eight Spas of Beppu). More than 4 million visitors
come to stay a year. Thanks to opening the railway, progressing hole-boring
technology and developing Japanese economy itself, during the Meiji
Period (1868-1912), Beppu began to develop into the major spa area
that it is today.
Considering the amount of spa water that gushes from the earth, hot springs are a major part of the lives of the people of Beppu, who can use inexpensive public bathing facilities in place of private bath. Local residents use hot water for their daily use. Furthermore, hot water is used for the processing food, the heating buildings, the cultivation of plants, the breeding of fish and the production of the geothermal power.
Photo: Hot springs in Beppu City spouting out steam (Oita Prefecture); Tourists enjoy "sand bath" at the beach (Beppu City).
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