This is the start of our Best Japan Travel Itinerary Series! We will give our first hand experience of some of the most fun places to visit in Japan! We will kick things off a little bit hot, reviewing Japan Travel Itinerary hotspot, the Jigoku Onsen Hells in Beppu, Japan. A trip to Beppu is incomplete without completing the Beppu Jigoku Hells (地獄, jigoku) onsen tour. Each offers a magnificent sight found only in Beppu!
Beppu (別府) is located in the south west of Japan and is literally a hotspot for Japan Travel! Located in the middle of Onsen Country, in the Oita prefecture, Beppu is home to the seven Jigoku (地獄), or hells, in Japanese. The Jigoku are onsen, meaning the water is heated by natural hot springs. While the Jigoku are onsen, they are not the type to relax in. The Jigoku are way too hot for people, and some even have crocodiles that could be troublesome. However, the Jigoku pilgrimage is an excellent way to spend an afternoon. Each has a unique feature or attraction that makes it special.
The Seven Jigoku
Travelers can visit the seven Jigoku onsen hells. It is recommended to visit in the following order to ensure the most efficient trip. A brief description of each jigoku is listed below, however, a more comprehensive guide and review of each is to come.
Approximately 2-3 hours is needed to fully appreciate all seven Jigoku onsen hells. We recommend taking a 20 minute taxi from Beppu Station directly to the first Jigoku, Umi Jigoku. Travelers can purchase a pass for 400 yen each, or purchase access to all Jigoku together for 2000 yen (recommended).
- Umi Jigoku (海地獄 / Sea Hell) – The Umi Jigoku is the most beautiful of the Jigoku, with it’s distinct shining blue water. A shop and small food store is located nearby to kick off the Jigoku pilgramage.
- Oniishibozu Jigoku(鬼石坊主地獄 / Shaven Monk’s Head Hell) – The Oniishibozu is a distinctive jigoku. Located next to the Umi Jigoku, the Oniishibozu Jigoku is distinguished by bubbling mud bubbles which are as round as the shaven head of a monk.
- Shiraike Jigoku (白池地獄 / White Pond Hell) – The Shiraike Jigoku is approximately a 5 minute walk from the Umi Jigoku and Oniishibozu Jigoku. It is noted by it’s large pond of whiteish water. The Shiraike Jigoku is not as distinguished as the Umi Jigoku.
- Kamado Jigoku (かまど地獄 / Cooking Pot Hell) – Kamado is an old japanese range/cooking pot. The Kamado Jigoku is the demon hell. At this jigoku, travelers are greeted by a friendly demon statue, and have the ability to inhale and taste the spring water.
- Oniyama Jigoku (鬼山地獄 / Demon Mountain Hell) – The Oniyama Jigoku is a breeding ground for crocodiles! If you’re lucky, you can get there for feeding time! Before leaving this Jigoku, make sure you grab some hard-boiled eggs being cooked by the food vendors! This is the last area on the pilgramage that you can purchase them.
- Chinoike Jigoku (血の池地獄 / Blood Pond Hell)– To access the Chinoike Jigoku efficiently, you should grab a taxi at the Oniyama Jigoku. The taxi ride is short, and easily brings you to Chinoike Jigoku. This jigoku is distinguished by the blood red color of the water. Travelers are able to climb a hill above the jigoku and take a picture of the entire area.
- Tatsumaki Jigoku (竜巻地獄 / Waterspout Hell)– The last jigoku is less than a three minute walk from the Chinoike Jigoku. The Tatsumaki Jigoku appears like nothing special at first, however this jigoku is the only one with a geyser. The geyser erupts every 30-40 minutes. There is a stone retaining wall that contains the power of the blast.
Beppu has many fun and exciting things to offer, however it is best known for it’s onsen. If you’re looking for an onsen to soak in, you will have no problem finding one in many of the ryokan or hotels in the area. The jigoku though are a one of a kind wonder in onsen country, is a nice way to kick off a nice onsen getaway.
Japan's Jigoku's are red hot! 400-2000 yen
5 Stars for Japan's 7 Jigoku
An excellent outdoor point of interest that represent’s Japan’s onsen culture. While you can’t enter the jigoku, they are a lot of fun and the journey itself is worth it. Some are better than others, but overall they are a must see when in the Onsen town of Beppu.