Visiting the 8 Hells of Beppu – An Introduction No visit to Kyushu would be complete without a stop in the famous spa city of Beppu.  Beppu is a place that appears as if it’s about ready to blow at any moment, as steam rises from the ground throughout the city.  A steady stream of tourists arrive throughout the year to visit the famous hot springs. There are many public bathhouses you can go to, in addition to hotel hot springs known as onsens.  Aside from the type of onsen you bathe in, one of Beppu’s biggest attractions is the “Jigoku Meguri”, otherwise known as the “Hell Tour.”  The eight hells of Beppu are natural hot spring sites, and each one has been converted into a stand-alone attraction.  Six of the hells are situated on the same site, so can be reached easily on foot.  The other two are next door to each other, a few minutes’ drive away.  If you’re not driving there are also regular sightseeing buses you can ride which travel between the two sites.  Although the tours are conducted in Japanese, there is good English signage throughout along with English language printed guides. The entrance fee to visit all eight hells is 2100 yen per person. I think it’s quite fun to visit them all and collect the souvenir stamps from each of them. Below is some more information about what you can expect to see at each spot! Free Japan Packing List Sign up to…
Home Travel Japan Travel Ideas Hells of Beppu – Japan’s Incredible Hot-Spring Experience – Ryokou Girl

Hells of Beppu – Japan’s Incredible Hot-Spring Experience – Ryokou Girl

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The 8 Hells of Beppu, Japan's incredible hot-spring experience

Visiting the 8 Hells of Beppu – An Introduction

Visit Beppu - home to hot-springs and the 8 hells, a unique tourist attraction only found in Japan!

No visit to Kyushu would be complete without a stop in the famous spa city of Beppu.  Beppu is a place that appears as if it’s about ready to blow at any moment, as steam rises from the ground throughout the city.  A steady stream of tourists arrive throughout the year to visit the famous hot springs. There are many public bathhouses you can go to, in addition to hotel hot springs known as onsens.  Aside from the type of onsen you bathe in, one of Beppu’s biggest attractions is the “Jigoku Meguri”, otherwise known as the “Hell Tour.” 

The eight hells of Beppu are natural hot spring sites, and each one has been converted into a stand-alone attraction.  Six of the hells are situated on the same site, so can be reached easily on foot.  The other two are next door to each other, a few minutes’ drive away.  If you’re not driving there are also regular sightseeing buses you can ride which travel between the two sites.  Although the tours are conducted in Japanese, there is good English signage throughout along with English language printed guides.

The entrance fee to visit all eight hells is 2100 yen per person. I think it’s quite fun to visit them all and collect the souvenir stamps from each of them. Below is some more information about what you can expect to see at each spot!

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Umi Jigoku

Umi Jigoku – One of the hells of Beppu, the main attraction here is the beautiful cobalt blue pond of boiling water, which stands at 200 meters deep.
  • Umi Jigoku – One of my personal favorite hells of Beppu and one of the largest, the main attraction here is the beautiful cobalt blue pond of boiling water, which stands at 200 meters deep.  The gardens here are some of the prettiest I have seen during my time in Japan, manicured lawns framed by vibrant red painted tori gates and cherry blossom trees.  A great place for scenic Japanese garden photographs, and I was lucky enough to visit in late March when the cherry blossoms were in full bloom.

Oniishibozu Jigoku

Oniishibozu Jigoku – The name of this one translates as “Shaven head hell”.  This is because the gray clay-like mud that bubbles up is reminiscent of the shaven heads of monks.
  • Oniishibozu Jigoku – The name of this one translates as “Shaven head hell”.  This is because the gray clay-like mud that bubbles up is reminiscent of the shaven heads of monks.  As this hell was less crowded than the others, I was able to take some time out to sit down and enjoy one of the complimentary footbaths. After soaking my tired feet for a few minutes in the mineral enriched hot water, I was ready to carry on with a spring back in my step.

Yama Jigoku

Yama Jigoku – Aside from a lot of steam, this is one of the less interesting hells to look at. To compensate for this the people in charge took the decision to add in a mini-zoo to keep visitors entertained instead
  • Yama Jigoku – Aside from a lot of steam, this is one of the less interesting hells to look at. To compensate for this the people in charge took the decision to add in a mini-zoo to keep visitors entertained instead. Here you will see a wide variety of animals, although if you’re not a fan of zoos like me, you may want to give this one a miss.

Kamado-Jigoku

Kamado-Jigoku – This “Cooking pot” hell features a giant red demon mascot, standing on top of a cooking pot.
  • Kamado-Jigoku – This “Cooking pot” hell features a giant red demon mascot, standing on top of a cooking pot.  There are numerous ponds scattered throughout this site containing boiling water.  If you have time, stop here to enjoy the foot spa and munch on a boiled egg heated naturally from the water straight from the ground.

Oniyama Jigoku

Oniyama Jigoku – Like the Yama Jigoku, this muggy hell doesn’t have a whole lot going on so it has now been made home to a large number of crocodiles, as apparently, these are perfect breeding conditions for them.
  • Oniyama Jigoku – Like the Yama Jigoku, this muggy hell doesn’t have a whole lot going on so it has now been made home to a large number of crocodiles, as apparently, these are perfect breeding conditions for them.  I felt a little uneasy here peering through the railings of the enclosure, as it was a little too close to the crocodiles for my liking…

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Shirake Jigoku

Shirake Jigoku – Known as the “White pond hell”, not a clever name but so called because of the chalky white appearance of the water.
  • Shirake Jigoku – Known as the “White pond hell”, not a clever name but so called because of the chalky white appearance of the water.  This large pond is surrounded by a peaceful Japanese garden, another nice spot for a bit of time out.  Or you could go to see the piranha tanks they have here instead.

Chinoike Jigoku

Chinoike Jigoku – The clay in the “Blood Pond” here is so hot that the steam is red.
  • Chinoike Jigoku – The clay in the “Blood Pond” here is so hot that the steam is red.  This is probably the most visually stunning of the eight hells, and worth the bus ride from the other site alone.  They also have a great gift shop where you can purchase ointment made from the clay here, said to be effective against skin diseases.

Tatsumaki-Jigoku

Tatsumaki-Jigoku – The final hell is actually a geyser that erupts around every 30 minutes or so.
  • Tatsumaki-Jigoku – The final hell is actually a geyser that erupts around every 30 minutes or so.  Strong enough to reach over 50 meters in height, the geyser is kept contained by a rock enclosure so as not to wreak constant havoc upon the city.

After walking around all 8 hells I felt a little tired but I enjoyed the tour.  The hells are something very unique not just to Kyushu but to the whole of Japan, so if you are visiting the island it’s definitely a must-see attraction.

The hells of Beppu are open every day from 8 am to 5 pm and the whole tour takes around two and a half to three hours.

The main site can be accessed by bus from JR Beppu Station in about 15 minutes. For further information visit the official Beppu site here

Have you been to the hells of Beppu? Which one was your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

Visiting other cities in Japan? Check out my first-time itineraries for Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe! Need help planning your Japan trip? Check out my Japan travel planning services here

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