Noboribetsu, located in central Hokkaido, is one of Japan's leading hot spring resorts with the source of its springs found in Noboribetsu Jigokudani.
A promenade in Jigokudani (literally "Hell Valley") makes it possible for tourists to walk safely through this mysterious volcanic area. Read on for our guide to the charms of Noboribetsu and some of the food and souvenirs you can buy there.

What is Noboribetsu Jigokudani?

Noboribetsu Jigokudani is a crater formed by the eruption of the Kuttara volcano. It has a diameter of about 450 meters, an area of about 11 hectares, and is dotted with numerous pools and fumaroles.
The volcanic activity has crated high-quality natural hot springs, with 10,000 tons of water a day flowing to inns and hotels in the Noboribetsu Onsen (hot spring) district.
The origin of the name "Jigokudani" ("Hell Valley") comes from the impression given by the area's bubbling, boiling hot water that's said to look like "hell, where demons live."
As a tourist destination, it is beloved by the people of Hokkaido. It has been selected as a "Hokkaido Heritage" site to protect it for future generations.

How do you get to Noboribetsu Jigokudani?

Noboribetsu Onsen Townscape

To reach Jigokudani, take the Donan Bus bound for Noboribetsu Onsen from JR Noboribetsu Station and get off at the "Noboribetsu Onsen" bus stop.
From there, walk through the Noboribetsu Onsen neighborhood and climb a gentle slope where you'll smell the scent of sulfur and see pure white steam rising from Jigokudani. There is also a paid parking area if you're traveling by car.

Before you start your walk

Starting from the Park Service Center in front of Jigokudani, be sure to check the information board and pamphlets for details about the walking course (available in Japanese, English, Korean, and Chinese).
The promenade is made of wood, but gravel and mud can make the path slippery in some places, so suitable shoes are recommended.

Enjoy a walk around Noboribetsu Jigokudani with a volunteer guide

The time required depends on the course you choose. Seeing only Jigokudani itself takes about 30 minutes, while stopping to enjoying the area's footbaths will make your walk last about 90 minutes.
If you want to learn more about the history and characteristics of Jigokudani, paid professional guides (reservation required) and free volunteer guides are on site.
Volunteer guides are only active from 10:00 to 15:00 from May to October. Several are stationed at Jigokudani Lookout near the Park Service Center.
If you ask, they will accompany you along the walking…

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