The other Jigokudani

By Cubie - October 16, 2012

The building at the side gave it all away...
Less than 2 years ago, I went to a Jigokudani, in Honshu. That, was Jigokudani Yaenkoen, a wild monkey park in Hell Valley, located in Nagano. It was quite a sight seeing the wild monkeys enjoying their onsen bath, disregarding the cameras which were clicking away. A month ago, I was back to Jigokudani, this one in Noboribetsu.

Paying respect to Demon Shrine (The Praying Demon Statue)
before getting to Jigokudani
Noboribetsu Jigokudani is the remains of volcanic crater created by Mount Hiyori's eruption. It covers an area of 11 hectar. There are many hot spring vents and sulfurous streams spreading across the gorge, giving the impression of "hell valley". This Jigokudani is the main source of Noboribetsu's hot spring waters.

I found an interesting read here on how the name Noboribetsu come about. It is said that the word came from an Ainu word "Nupurupetsu" meaning "The white, muddy river" or " The thick colored river". Moreover, the name of the river that flows next to the onsen street comes from the Ainu word "Kusurisampetsu", meaning: "Medicated hot water that flows to the ocean". "Kusuri" is "hot spring2 in Ainu. The Ainu people also seem to have found the hot spring useful as a health treatment since ancient times.

From the Noboribetsu Tourism Association Official Site, it is said that there are 9 different kinds of hot spring waters in Noboribetsu Onsen. Different onsen water can cure different disease and injury. Unfortunately the hotel I stayed didn't have that many types of onsen :(
The female onsen is call 星の湯 Hoshi no Yu (Star's Hot Spring) - indoor and outdoor. However, the initial hotel which we checked out, seems to have at least 7 different hot springs. There is even beauty hot spring to make your skin smooth. I need to go back to Japan for somemore onsen!

Anyway, I digress. Back to the impressive Jigokudani. I was there just as the sun was setting. I love the striking orange colour on the mountains with some fumes around the area.

Maybe I should photoshop it to even more dramatic colours :P
The sun set too fast. Many of my remaining photos was taken after the sun set.

If you walk on, you will see a well-up water hole at the end
From May 1st to November 30th (I'm not sure if it is the same for every year), Jigokudani (Hell Valley) Observatory and footpaths are lit up at night.

The lights started to lit up but it was not dark yet.
Of course I went back after dark, to see Jigokudani at night :)

There were way too many people hogging this sign during daytime
So.. what say you? Does this this Hell Valley eerie?

I forgot my tripod :(
What's more to do after this? Onsen time! :)

Side note: 2 more days to payday...

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