If you’re coming from Tokyo, Kansai or South Korea, Oita Airport is your best bet for getting to Oita Prefecture’s famous onsen areas of Beppu and Yufuin cheaply and quickly. As is often the case in Japan, the airport has been put in a slightly far-flung part of the prefecture, so you will need to consider your transport options for getting to your final destination.
What are my options?
If you haven’t arranged an airport transfer, buses are definitely the winner for all three destinations, with regular services and cheap fares. A rental car may also be a budget option for groups if you’re up to the drive, with the roads around Oita being mostly toll-free.
For those with a bit of extra cash to splash, a taxi is the least hassle and takes you right to the front door, but will set you back a good amount. Finally, trains are technically an option, but as the closest station is a 30 minute taxi ride from the airport, we wouldn’t recommend taking them unless they’re your only choice.
The airport is well served by buses. If you’re heading to Yufuin or Oita City there is only one route to each. However, if you are heading to Beppu, you can jump on the Beppu bus or you can also hop on to the Oita City bound bus — since it stops in Beppu on the way to Oita City.
If you’re heading to Beppu and staying at a mega resort like Suginoi Hotel, you can catch a shuttle bus from JR Beppu Station, which is the terminus of the Beppu bus, or take a short walk from the Beppu Kitahama bus stop (Oita City bus). If you’re staying somewhere smaller, you’ll need to get a taxi from the bus stop.
¥1,500 one way, ¥2,600 return
There are 6 “Air Liner” buses that run directly to and from Beppu Station each day. They run at 8:25am, 9:55am, 12:15pm, 1:50pm and 6:35pm. One more bus departs the airport at either 4:35pm or 5pm depending on the day of the week. Additionally, the “Air Liner” for Oita City stops at Beppu Kitahama (a few minutes walk from Beppu Station) up to 28 times per day. Make sure not to catch an “Airport Express” for Oita City as these don’t stop in Beppu. Travel time is approximately 51 minutes.
¥1,550 one way, ¥2,600 return
Buses for Yufuin run six times per day with a travel time of approximately 55 minutes. The first bus departs at 10:15am, then 12:25pm, 1:50pm, 3:35pm, 4:35pm. The last bus departs at 6:35pm.
Oita City53 minutes or 1 hour 5 minutes
¥1,550 one way, ¥2,600 return
In addition to the “Air Liner” that departs up to 28 times per day (with stops at Beppu Kitahama on the way) there are also “Airport Express” services which run directly to Oita Station without stopping. The travel time for the Air Liner is 1 hour and 5 minutes, while the Airport Express will slice about 12 minutes off the journey.
Rental Car45 minutes to Beppu, 55 minutes to Yufuin, 1 hour to Oita City
The usual rental car suspects (Toyota, Nissan, Nippon Rentacar, Budget and Orix) are available as well as lower cost, foreigner-friendly option Times Rental Car. Rates start at around ¥6,500/day. Much of the driving in Oita is also not on expressways, so there are fewer expensive tolls than other prefectures in Kyushu. Since you may be planning to stay submerged in an onsen for a few days, you could rent the car for the day, drop off your gear at your accommodation, whiz around the local attractions and then drop the car off at the local train station – for about ¥6,500 excluding fuel.
Taxi45 minutes to Beppu, 55 minutes to Yufuin, 1 hour to Oita City
¥11,410 to ¥15,100
There are plenty of taxis lined up outside the airport, but unless there are four of you to fill the seats and split the cost, it’s an expensive option.
Minimum cost estimates (from the airport website) are ¥11,410 to Beppu, ¥13,400 to Oita City and ¥15,100 to Yufuin.
Train30 minutes by taxi to Kitsuki Station, plus train time.
Taxi fare + Limited express fee if taking + basic train fare
Change at Kitsuki Station, change again at Beppu for Yufuin
The closest train station is a 30-minute drive from the airport. Kitsuki Station connects onto limited express and local lines to all three destinations, with a change for Yufuin. However, since it’s so far off from the airport, we wouldn’t recommend it.
Unless you’re staying at some pretty high class digs, airport transfers will not be offered by your ryokan or hotel – you’ll need to make your own way there, or at least to the main train stations.