An Inside Look At The 7 "Hells" of Beppu, Japan


HIGHLIGHTS

01 UMI JIGOKU
02 ONIISHIBOZU JIGOKU

03 KAMADO JIGOKU
04 ONIYAMA JIGOKU

05 SHIRAIKE JIGOKU
06 CHINOIKE JIGOKU

07 TATSUMAKI JIGOKU


Kamada Jigoku - Seven Hells of Beppu, Japan

A BRIEF HISTORY

Located in Japan’s hot spring capital are seven geothermal pools known as the “hells” (jigoku) of Beppu. Beppu is a popular destination to get your soak on but these pools are definitely not for bathing since temperatures are extremely hot. To put that into perspective, the locals use the steam and even the water to cook food with.

The Jigoku Region of Kannawa and Kamegawa have been described by locals as a place of “hell” because of how active the topography is: fuming gas rising from the ground, thick bubbling mud, and boiling ponds of water. In the past people were afraid to approach this area because they thought it was cursed. Today, thousands of tourists come here to marvel at each of these themed pools.

Beppu, Japan

IMPORTANT INFO 

Hours: 8 AM - 5 PM all days of the week.

Fees: 400 yen each or 2,000 yen for all seven hells.

Access: Bus, taxi, or rental car. There is free parking at all the hells.

Starting at Beppu Station, take bus number 5, 7, or 9 and get off at Kannawa bus terminal to reach the first five hells. Umi, Oniishibozu, Kamada, Oniyama, and Shiraike are all within walking distance of each other.

The other two hells, Chinoike and Tatsumaki, are about a 30 minute walk away. After exploring the first five hells, I recommend catching bus number 16 at Kannawa bus terminal and get off at Shibaseki (only a five minute bus ride) where the other two are located.


01 UMI JIGOKU

Also known as the “Sea Hell” because of it’s beautiful clear blue color. Umi Jigoku was created 1,200 years ago after the volcanic eruption of Mt. Tsurumi.

This was probably my favorite hell to explore because not only was the pool beautiful but so was the surrounding area. At the entrance to this jigoku, there is a large green pond with lily pads so big that small children can stand on them. You can try the famous jigoku steam-baked pudding and / or hot spring soft boiled eggs at the gift shop. Or, if you’re a fiend like me, indulge in some vanilla ice cream from the vending machines nearby. Seriously, vending machine ice cream is the best!

Umi Jigoku - Seven Hells of Beppu, Japan
Umi Jigoku - Seven Hells of Beppu, Japan
Umi Jigoku - Seven Hells of Beppu, Japan
Umi Jigoku - Seven Hells of Beppu, Japan
Umi Jigoku - Seven Hells of Beppu, Japan
Umi Jigoku - Seven Hells of Beppu, Japan

After Umi, we decided to check out the back area where we found a small steaming red pool that we mistook for Chinoike Jigoku as well as a really pretty green house filled with water lilies.

Umi Jigoku - Seven Hells of Beppu, Japan
Greenhouse - Seven Hells of Beppu, Japan

02 ONIISHIBOZU JIGOKU

This place is also called “Oniishi Shaven Head Hell” after the area, Oniishi, and because the gray bubbles from the mud resemble the shaven heads of monks. There are multiple pools where you can view the hot, gray bubbling mud.

Oniishibozu Jigoku - Seven Hells of Beppu, Japan

If your feet have started to feel tired from walking around, you’re in luck! There’s an ashiyu (foot bath) at this hell where you can soak your feet in for free. We noticed that other people had brought little hand towels to dry their feet off with (you can also buy these at the gift shops around the area) but it was pretty warm out and our feet air-dried in no time.

Beppu, Japan
Beppu, Japan

03 KAMADO JIGOKU

The “Cooking Pot Hell!” This hell got it’s name because back in the day it was custom to offer rice cooked from the steam of this pond to the guardian god at the Kamado Hachimangu Shrine Festival.

There are four different geothermal pools in this area as well as a large demon statue, ashiyu, and a snack stand where you can try more hot-spring-steamed foods.

Kamada Jigoku - Seven Hells of Beppu, Japan
Kamada Jigoku - Seven Hells of Beppu, Japan
Kamado Jigoku - Seven Hells of Beppu, Japan
Kamada Jigoku - Seven Hells of Beppu, Japan
Kamada Jigoku - Seven Hells of Beppu, Japan
Kamada Jigoku - Seven Hells of Beppu, Japan

04 ONIYAMA JIGOKU

Also known as the “Crocodile Hell / Demon Mountain Hell” because this place is home to some crazy amount of crocodiles and alligators. Fun fact: crocodiles were first bred here in 1923 using the hot spring’s warmth. There are a ton of these creatures kept in cages around the area.

Oniyama Jigoku - Seven Hells of Beppu, Japan
Oniyama Jigoku - Seven Hells of Beppu, Japan

05 SHIRAIKE JIGOKU

Also called the “White Pond Hell” because of it’s milky appearance. Some people have described the color as white-blue but when we went it was more of a milky green color. A beautiful garden and a couple run down buildings surround the area.

Shiraike Jigoku - Seven Hells of Beppu, Japan
Shiraike Jigoku - Seven Hells of Beppu, Japan

06 CHINOIKE JIGOKU

The “Blood Pond Hell” or as I like to call it, the “Shin Ramyun hell” because of it’s red, spicy broth-like appearance. This is Japan’s oldest natural jigoku and also one of the most popular ones.

The red color comes from the iron and magnesium-filled clay from the ground. Skin products using the clay produced at this jigoku is said to be effective for skin diseases. There is a stand nearby where you can purchase these products.

Chinoike Jigoku - Seven Hells of Beppu, Japan

07 TATSUMAKI JIGOKU

Also called “Spout Hell,” Tatsumaki Jigoku is a geyser that has been designated as a natural monument by the city of Beppu. It erupts every 30 to 40 minutes with each one lasting between 6 to 10 minutes. There is a large sitting area that surrounds the geyser where people can relax while they wait for Tatsumaki Jigoku to do it's thing.

Tatsumaki Jigoku - Seven Hells of Beppu, Japan
Tatsumaki Jigoku - Seven Hells of Beppu, Japan

Thanks for reading and I hope this helps you plan a visit to the seven "hells." For those of you who have been here before, what did you think? Let me know in the comment section below!

 

XO,

Tina