Located within the Shikotsu-Toya National Park, Noboribetsu 登別 is the largest onsen in Hokkaido and one of the most well known hot spring resorts in Japan.
The source of the town’s fortunes comes from Jigoku-dani 地獄谷 – also known as “Valley of Hell”, a massive geothermal crater formed following the eruption of Mount Kuttara some 20,000 years ago. Visitors can follow the marked trail through ‘hell’, passing bubbling pools of water and mud as well as furious steam vents. Jigoku-dani smells like one giant rotten egg that fortunately one gets used to after being immersed in its steamy pungent environment for several minutes.
From the valley, there are several walking trails taking visitors through the woods above Noboribetsu. My sister and I climbed up the hill and followed the path that would lead us to Oyunuma, a steaming sulphurous crater lake where you can enjoy a relaxing natural foot bath further down…
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