Jigoku Meguri Tour: The Hotspring Hells Of beppu


Sightseeing in Beppu, the holy land of hot springs

Beppu City in Oita Prefecture is also known for its many hot springs. Apart from simply soaking in the hot water and enjoying the benefits of the hot springs, Beppu Onsen is also popular for sightseeing and enjoying the hot springs. The “Jigoku Meguri (Hell Tour)” is a popular tourist attraction that takes advantage of the unique characteristics of Beppu Onsen.

Why is it called “Hell”?

The prefecture is also number one in Japan for geothermal power generation using its abundant hot springs, and it is no exaggeration to say that many of the industries in the prefecture are related in some way to the blessings of the hot springs. The food culture, medical care, beauty and health are also deeply related to hot springs, and it has become widely known that “Oita Prefecture is known for its hot springs”.

Beppu City is a natural hot spring resort.

There are many naturally bubbling hot springs in Beppu City, and you can enjoy some of the most unusual sights in the world. The hot springs that spring up are reminiscent of the magma of hell, and so each spring is named “XX Hell” and opened as a tourist attraction. Many of the hells have different colors depending on the quality of the spring water, creating a mysterious sight. Enjoy an exciting tour of hells while experiencing the power of nature. There are a total of eight hells that are members of the Hell Association, and many tourists use the “8 Hells Common Ticket” to conquer all of them. You can take a tour while listening to a guide on Kamenoi Regular Tour Bus.


If you come to Beppu Onsen, you must see Hell

The sources of Beppu Onsen are spread all over the place with different colors such as blue, red and white due to their different contents, and geysers and other features that are different from those of the other hot springs in the area. Because there are many facilities that use the hot springs, they are often visited in conjunction with the “Jigoku Meguri” tour, which is the general term for a tour of the area.

There are over 1,200 hot spring resorts in Japan.

Many of the springs appeared as a result of volcanic eruptions 12 million years ago. The area has rapidly become a tourist attraction since the 1900s, and in the past it was referred to as a place like hell, where people were not allowed to go. The name of the place is still used today, but it has become a tourist attraction since the 1900s.

Why are the hot springs so colorful, with cobalt blue, red, pure white, orange, and other colors that one would not expect from a hot spring? Of course, these are all natural colors. You may have heard that hot water containing a lot of iron changes to red when it reacts with oxygen in the air. The hells that show mysterious colors depending on the ingredients contained in the hot spring are given appropriate names. The four hells, Sea, Pool of Blood, White Pond and Dragon Scroll, were designated as national scenic spots in 2009. They are highly regarded not only for their tourist value but also academically, and are the first hot springs in Japan to be designated as a place of scenic beauty. Six of the eight representative hells can be visited on foot, but the Pool of Blood and Tatsumaki Hell are conveniently accessible by car.


Each of the eight hells has its own unique characteristics

There are a total of eight hells that are members of the Beppu Hell Association. Sea Hell, Onishi-bouzu Hell, Mountain Hell, Kamado Hell, Shiraike Hell, Blood Pond Hell, and Tatsumaki Hell. Six of these eight jigokus are located in Kannawa Onsen, and those of Boku no Ike Jigoku and Tatsumaki Jigoku are located in Shibaseki Onsen, which is a little far from Kannawa. The hells that have joined the Hell Association can be conveniently accessed with a common admission ticket or a regular sightseeing bus.

Some hot springs are characterized by the colors of their springs, such as red, blue and white. Some springs erupt in geysers. In many cases, the heat from the hot springs is used to raise plants and animals, and it is rare even in Japan to visit a hot spring resort where sightseeing is the main attraction rather than bathing.

There are also sources that are not members of the Hell Association, so it is interesting to visit these hells.

Boju Jigoku, designated as a natural monument by the prefecture, is said to have exploded due to an earthquake in 1498, ripping open the ground and spewing out hot mud. Although it is not included in the regular sightseeing course because it is not a member of the union, it is one of the hells that you should visit to find the difference from Onishihonbojigoku.

A hot spring worthy of being called hell


Let’s see the four colors of hell

The four hells of Umi Jigoku, Shiraike Jigoku, Oniyama Jigoku and Blood Pond Jigoku are the four hells that resemble hell in terms of the colors of their hot springs. Umi Jigoku looks cool at first glance with its beautiful cobalt blue color, but it is extremely hot at 98 degrees. Shiraike Jigoku is transparent when it erupts, but turns cloudy white when it comes into contact with the open air. The hot water in Blood Pond Hell looks red due to iron oxide, and the greenish-white hot water in Oniyama Hell.


Powerful! Hells with Distinctive Characteristics

Onishiyama Jigoku is a hell where hot mud blows up and is characterized by its whitish color.

Sanjigoku Hell

is a different type of hell from the other hells, as it shows steam rather than hot springs blowing up. Tatsumaki Jigoku, on the other hand, is known as a geyser and erupts once every 20 to 40 minutes. Unlike the world’s proposed barrel geysers, Tatsumaki Jigoku is characterized by its short eruption intervals.

Perfect for cooking rice?

The Kamado Hell, named after the rice that was cooked to offer before the gods, originates from the great festival of the Kamamon Hachiman Shrine. It has the atmosphere of a smaller version of the other hells, and is a collection of hells named Hells 1-6. The temperature of the water is 90 degrees, so it was probably suitable for cooking rice.

Highlight of the Hell Tour


Beautiful blue and variety of hells

Umi Jigoku is the largest of Beppu’s hells. It has a beautiful, cool color, but it’s a scorching hot hell of 98 degrees Celsius! The suspiciously blue color is produced by iron sulfate. When you see it up close, you’ll be enveloped in a thick heat. You can enjoy onsen tamago (hot spring eggs) by boiling an egg in a basket, and it is one of the most popular spots in Beppu Hell.

“Sanjigoku” is a wild hell where steam rises from the surface of the mountain, creating a spectacle similar to an active volcano. Many animals are kept here using the heat from the steam, and there is a mini zoo attached to the site. Hippopotamuses, Japanese macaques, African elephants, and other animals are kept here, and despite their appearance and the name “hell,” the living environment is like “paradise” for the animals even in the cold winter.

The “Kamado Hell,” named after the fumaroles used to cook rice during the great festival of the Kamakamon Hachiman Shrine, is a digest version of the six hells. The hells named 1-chome to 6-chome of hell are not so much hells as paradise zones. Visitors can experience the splendor of Beppu Onsen through footbaths, skin baths, private baths, and hot springs to drink, in addition to just looking at the hot springs. The “Jigoku no 3-chome” is a beautiful blue-white bath. You can take a private bath for free. You will be bathing in hell, but you will feel like you are in paradise.


Here is Hell in all its colors and shapes

The crocodiles that have been kept here since 1923 using the heat from the hot springs are in “Oniyama Jigoku”, which is green-white in color and more powerful visually than beautiful. Also known as “Crocodile Hell”, about 100 crocodiles from all over the world gather here. If you want to see crocodiles waiting for food with their big mouths open, you should go during feeding time, and there is a stuffed crocodile “Ichiro”, the world’s oldest recorded crocodile who lived from 1925 to 1996.

The water in Shiraike Hell is clear when it gushes out, but turns cloudy white as time goes by. The color of the slightly bluish white water changes as it comes into contact with the outside air and the temperature drops. Pirarucu and piranhas are kept in the tropical fish pavilion.

The “Onishi Boshu Jigoku” is where hot mud like a monk’s head bubbles up. It has a long history and has flourished as a tourist attraction, appearing in the Bungo Fudoki (Record of the History of Bungo) compiled in 733. The “Onishi no Yu” at the back of the hell is available for 620 yen for adults, 300 yen for elementary school students and 200 yen for infants. 5 family bath rooms are available for 2,000 yen or more for up to 4 people per hour. Shampoo, soap, hair dryer, and coin lockers are available for free, and towels can be purchased at the reception.


Let’s enjoy the Hell-like atmosphere

The most hell-like view can be enjoyed at the Blood Pond Hell. The bright red color of the water is reminiscent of a pond of blood, and its presence is the best in all of Beppu’s hells. In 1927, there was a huge explosion and the hot water rose up to 220m. The reddish color of the water is due to iron oxide, not blood. Here you can get original souvenirs such as “Blood Pond Ointment” made from the precipitates of Blood Pond Hell and red pudding made in the image of Hell.

Tatsumaki Jigoku is a geyser that spews out 105 degrees of boiling water with constant fumaroles. The amount of water gushing out is said to be 800 kl a day, and it erupts in 20 to 40 minute spurts. It is said that the temperature rises to 150 degrees Celsius deep underground when the water is heated, but the temperature drops to around 100 degrees Celsius as it evaporates during the eruption.It is dangerous for tourists to be exposed to boiling water of around 100 degrees Celsius, so it is not quite the geyser you might imagine, but the sight of a shower of boiling water erupting out of the water is very powerful. The sight of a shower of boiling water erupting from it is very powerful.

A tour of hell reveals some interesting things


Using the hot water of hell

There are many attractions in the Hell Tour, such as using the heat from the hot springs to grow plants and breed temperate zone creatures. For example, in Umi-Jigoku, Onibasu are cultivated using hot spring water, and in San-Jigoku, a mini zoo is attached by using the heat from the hot springs. In Oniyama Hell, also known as “Crocodile Hell,” several species of crocodiles, about 100 of them, are kept here.


Other hells also have much to offer

In terms of the number of hells, there are several hells that are not members of the Hell Association, and each has its own characteristics. There are also many hells that once existed but are now closed, and just knowing about some of them is interesting.

Jigoku Meguri Fees


Great deals on common admission tickets

If you want to visit the hells that are members of the Hell Association, you can save money by purchasing the “8 Hells Common Ticket”. The tickets can be purchased at any of the hells and are valid from the day of purchase until the next day. Adults 2,100 yen, high school students 1,350 yen, junior high school students 1,000 yen, elementary school students 900 yen. Business hours are from 8:00 to 17:00 all year round. Each hell is equipped with a free parking lot, and the largest parking lot is 180 cars at Umi-Jigoku. The Beppu Hell Association distributes discount coupons on their website, and if you show them you can get a 10% discount on the entrance fee. You can get the pamphlet when you buy a common ticket, but if you want to get it quickly, you can also download the PDF file on the association’s homepage.

Various events are held including summer vacation, and both adults and children can fully enjoy themselves. In particular, in Kamado Hell, you can enjoy a total of three different types of footbaths, including sand steam footbaths and pebble footbaths, so it will be interesting to compare them. There are many elements to enjoy the characteristic hells to the fullest.


Let’s enjoy a hell steam lunch

Six of the hells that are members of the Hell Association are located in Kannawa Onsen, but what you should take the time to enjoy here is “jigoku-mushi” (steamed in hell). This is a cooking method that uses the steam from the hot springs to steam the ingredients, allowing you to experience steamed dishes that remove excess fat and scum. You can buy the ingredients for steaming as a set, or you can bring your own if you have meat, fish, or buns you would like to try.

First, after purchasing the basic fee and ingredients from the ticket machine if necessary, follow the instructions of the staff to steam the ingredients. The recommended ingredient is, after all, eggs. Steaming time is about 8 to 10 minutes, and the tender texture will make you addicted to it. We also recommend sweet potatoes, which take a little longer. It is sweeter than steaming with gas. The salt in the steam from the hot spring will add a secret flavor. Leafy vegetables are steamed quickly and colorfully. They should have a crispy texture. Some people steam a large amount of jigoku-mushi and take it home as a souvenir.

The steaming sets available include the standard vegetable set, seafood set, and seafood set. There are many variations such as the standard vegetable set, seafood set, steamed bread, and wappa rice. Choose one, steam it yourself, and eat it. It will be a delicious lunch that will leave a lasting impression on your mind more than any other place you can enjoy. After you finish eating, it is the manner of the workshop to wash the used colander and plates by yourself at the cooking area. Leaving them on the table is strictly forbidden! Let’s follow the rules to enjoy the whole experience. Jigokumushi is available at “Jigokumushi Kobo Kannushi Kannawa”, and the director, who was born and raised in Kannawa, eats Jigokumushi lunch everyday to keep himself in good health. He recommends steamed root vegetables. There is a supermarket about 3 minutes drive from the workshop, so if you have any ingredients you want to try, go there!


Recommended Accommodations in Beppu

Once you’ve had your fill of Beppu’s hell tours, you’ll want to consider the inns. Our recommended inn is Choujuso, a long-established ryokan with a history of over 100 years. A three-minute walk from the inn will take you to Takegawara Onsen (hot spring), and Beppu Bay is also nearby, so you can enjoy the sea breeze as you enjoy the hot spring baths. The inn is only a 10-minute walk from Beppu Station, and is recommended not only as a place to stay during the Hell Tour but also for business travelers. The number of guest rooms is small (5), but the family-like atmosphere is warm.

If access to the Hell Meguri is important to you, we recommend the Hotel Kannawa, Beppu Kannawa Onsen Genen no Yuyado. The hotel offers a buffet-style dinner, so you can eat as much or as little as you like. Enjoy the hot spring water and the next day’s hell tour.

Beppu Hell Tour Access


Time required to visit hells

The Beppu Hell Tour can be completed in about two and a half hours if you just want to look around the hells. It takes one hour to visit Onishihobojigoku, Umi-jigoku and San-chi-gokoku, 20 minutes to visit Kamado Jigoku and Oniyama Jigoku, and about 10 minutes to visit Shiraike Jigoku. It takes 10 minutes to go to Blood Pond Hell and Tatsumaki Hell from there, and it takes about 40 minutes to visit each hell. However, if you visit each facility, you should take enough time for a day or two because animals and plants are raised using the heat of the hot spring.

Additionally, you can rent a car.

It is almost unnecessary to rent a car, and you can conquer the eight hells by taking a regular sightseeing bus with a guide. If you want to tour efficiently, it is best to visit in the following order: Sea, Onishi-boto, Mountain, Kamado, Oniyama, Shiraike, Blood Pond, and Ryumaki. However, since Tatsumaki Hell has geysers every 20 to 40 minutes, it would be better to check the time of the most recent eruption and go to the Blood Pond Hell first. Kinryu Jigoku, which is not a member of the Hell Association, is open from 8:00 to 17:00, 200 yen for adults and 100 yen for children. Bozu Jigoku” is open from 8:30 to 17:00, and both are open all year round.

If you want to pick up the time, let’s visit Umi-Jigoku and Mado-Jigoku. Umi Jigoku has a large site and is well stocked with souvenirs. There are many places of interest in addition to the hells, so if you can’t visit all of them but want to see at least one, we recommend going to Umi-Jigoku.


Access to Hell

To access the 8 hells, get off at the Beppu Interchange on the Oita Expressway and head towards Kannawa on Prefectural Road 11 if you are starting from Umi-Jigoku. Go straight for about 5 minutes. If you take a local bus, take the Kamenoi Bus bound for Kannawa from the West Exit of Beppu Station, and it takes about 20 minutes. If you take the highway bus, get off at Kannawa Exit and you will be right in front of the bus stop.

Blood Pond and Dragon Pond

The shortest route from Kannawa Onsen Jigoku is to turn right at the Beppu Interchange exit intersection, turn left at the Kannawa Onsen Iriguchi intersection, and go straight. You can take the same bus as the one for Umi-Jigoku, but it is best to get off in front of Kukono-ike Jigoku. If you take a taxi, be prepared to pay about 1,000 to 2,000 yen.