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Noboribetsu Onsen: Hokkaido Hot Springs. Reviews of Ōyunuma, Jigokudani, Hotel Daiichi Takimotokan

Everyone has heard of the famous Noboribetsu Onsen. As the name "Hell Valley" suggests, there are demons placed all over the place. There are large-scale hot springs scattered throughout, such as Ōyunuma, Okunoyu, and Hell Valley. I recommend the Hotel Daiichi Takimotokan, a great place to stay.


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Noboribetdu Onsen Oyunuma
 

Noboribetsuonsencho, Noboribetsu, Hokkaido 059-0551


I drove on Route 350, visited Lake Kutcharo, and then headed to Noboribetsu Onsen. Following this route, you'll be able to explore the Noboribetsu Onsen area from top to bottom. I recommend this because it saves you the effort of going up and down.


Lake Kuttara foggy view
We couldn't see much due to the fog. Typical Hokkaido.

From the Mount Hiyoriyama viewpoint, you can observe Oyunuma and Okunoyu from above. It's a fantastic sight with milky green waters, and steam rises from the mountainside. There's a spot along the road with even better visibility than the Hiyoriyama viewpoint. If the road isn't too crowded, I believe it's safe to park and take in the view. Despite a bit of fog, we were able to enjoy the picturesque scenery of Hokkaido!


Noboribetsu Hiyoriyama Observation deck

We quickly got out of the car and went for a closer look at Oyunuma. It's impressively large, and the whole lake is like a hot spring, with milky green water and noticeable sulfur smell. The water temperature is quite high, and it seems there are no living creatures in it. According to Wikipedia, the name "Noboribetsu" is derived from the Ainu language, meaning "a river with dark blue water."


Oyunuma hot spring in Noboribetsu

A deer is happily munching on its food very close to the tourist. It seems to be aware that humans won't come on its side of the fence.


Noboribetsu Oyunuma deer

We proceed to Okunoyu. It's significantly smaller compared to Oyunuma. It may not be as deep, and the water here seemed brighter in color.


Noboribetsu Onsen Okunoyu

Now, we head to the Jigokudani Observatory. I heard a rumor once that "Noboribetsu's Jigokudani is even grander in scale than Unzen's," which left me intrigued. Unzen in Nagasaki was quite impressive, and now I'm looking forward to this place.


The entrance to Jigokudani is close to our accommodation, the Hotel Takimotokan. So, we decide to park our car at the hotel's parking lot and walk there. Parking in this area is limited, and even hotel guests sometimes have to wait for a spot. Luckily, I only had to wait for about 10 minutes before finding a parking space.


View from Jigokudani Onsen Observation Deck

As you walk towards the mountain, you'll quickly reach the observation deck (Noboribetsu Park Service Center). It's really massive, and it's definitely larger than Unzen in Nagasaki. Seems like they don't sell hot spring eggs here. There's a new-looking wooden walking path installed, leading further into the depths of Jigokudani.


wood path inside the jigokudani

While watching the billowing white steam rising from various points, we continue to move forward. It's a delight to think that we can soak in the hot springs that gush from here later. The ground is covered in mineral deposits. At the end of the wooden path, there's a geyser called "Tessen Ike." According to the description, it occasionally erupts, but during my visit, there was nothing happening.


Tessen pond geyser

I came across a poster during dinner, advertising the "Noboribetsu Night Illumination," where the wooden path is illuminated at night. We just visited there a few hours ago, but I plan to go there again after finishing dinner. By the way, dinner for the day was at a Genghis Khan (lamb barbecue) restaurant called "NOBOJIN" on the Jigokudani's Gokuraku Street in the hot spring town. It was reasonably priced and delicious. Lamb meat is quite tasty when you have it occasionally, isn't it?


nobojin resutaurant lamp BBQ

It's getting dark very quickly, and we walk along the illuminated path. It has a very enchanting atmosphere, making it a great choice for couples. Just to be sure, we went all the way to the last geyser, "Tessen Ike," but as before, it remained quiet.


Jigokudani light up

The size of the large bath at the Hotel Takimotokan is incredible. There's even an area with a warm water pool. I was able to relax in the hot tub while enjoying the view of Jigokudani, and it felt quite extravagant. The Showa-era hotel and hot spring photos were displayed along the corridors, which was fascinating.


inside the hotel Takimotokan

The hot spring town is mainly a single road with some restaurants and souvenir shops. There's a geyser location at the intersection known as "Sengen Park," and this geyser is quite active. If you go for a walk, it's worth stopping by. Also, there's a large puppet known as "Enma dou" on Gokuraku Street, which can be a bit surprising.


Gokuraku street Enma statue

I wanted to take the cable car to the Noboribetsu Bear Park and the Ainu Daily Living Utensils Archive, but this time, I'll have to pass due to limited time.


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