Happy Neko (Review)
Affordable Rental Apartments in Beppu
Happy Neko is a lodging facility located in Kannawa traditional district of Beppu in the east of Kyushu Island. If offers Japanese style rooms and apartments in the heart of the onsen hot springs area and near the famous Hells of Beppu.
Happy Neko is in Kannawa, a neighborhood spreading on the heights of the city, at the foot of the mountains, with a more traditional aspect than the concreted and touristy area of the JR station and the coast.
Happy Neko is an interesting choice for those who want a more authentic stay and avoiding locking themselves in a bunker-like paradise all inclusive spa-hotel 🏨. The facility offers a guest room (55 square-meters suite) close to the luxury of ryokan inns and three apartments of a humbler appearance but with the minimum Japanese comfort nonetheless. The property is managed by a couple who lives on the spot: he was born in Prague and she is a native Japanese.
Access by bus is easy enough, even if they don't come and go very often. The managers can pick you up and bring you back to the station by car 🚙 for a price comparable to the bus! The reception is really friendly and we were explained neighborhood life and landmarks of the city for nearly an hour.
Japanese apartment to enjoy the onsen
We got an apartment on the ground floor. It was fitted with a kitchen including a mini fridge, a washing machine, a sink and a kettle. In the Japanese tatami room, a small LCD TV and free Wi-Fi. The toilets 🚽 room is fun because it hides in a closet. Everything is very clean and fairly new.
Note that the apartment does not have a shower / tub / furo. In this neighborhood of Beppu, houses usually don't have private bathrooms and with good reason, there are onsen ♨️ hot springs every 10 meters! Everyone goes bathing and relaxing at the public bath once or twice a day. It is therefore an opportunity to try the private onsen, at the nearby Hyotan Onsen for example.
On our first stay, surprisingly, there were no AC unit in the apartment. In the meantime, Bibo the manager informed us that all the apartments had been equipped with this device nearly vital to survive the Japanese summer.
Happy Neko is an accommodation we do recommend, especially for its very attractive rates: from ¥4,000 (~US$27.09) the night per person!