Hell on Earth: Beppu, Oita Prefecture, Japan 4

Hell exists, and it’s located in Beppu City, Oita Prefecture, Japan. But it’s actually not all that bad of a place. In fact, it’s pretty cool, and definitely worth a visit.

The Jigoku Meguri (Hell Tour) in Beppu is a tour of eight different natural hot springs, each with a different moniker and special characteristics. They’re too hot to actually take a bath in, though many of the hells have ashiyu (foot baths) where you can sit and at least soak your feet.

We took a bus from Beppu Station which got us to the main cluster of hells in about half an hour for ¥330. Six of the eight hells are clustered together within easy walking distance. There’s an order on the maps and the pamphlets, but really you can go in whichever order you please. We started at number two on the map, Oniishibouzu Jigoku, where we bought the booklet of tickets for all eight hells for ¥2100. You can buy the tickets separately too, but they cost ¥400 each if you do that.

The Eight Hells of Beppu

Oniishibouzu Jigoku

This hell’s hot springs are boiling mud pits whose bubbles look like the shaven heads of monks.

mud bubbles of Oniishibouzu Jigoku

Umi Jigoku

The bright blue waters in this hellpool are why it was named: umi is Japanese for sea/ocean.

the sea blue spring of Umi Jigoku

Yama Jigoku

There’s a huge mountain (yama) of mud built up in this hell due to the hot springs.

in front of Yama Jigoku

But more importantly, there’s a tiny zoo in this hell that seems to be more of an attraction than the hell itself. There were an odd assortment of animals there, including a hippo:

a hippo in the Yama Jigoku's zoo

some adorable capybaras:
capybaras in Yama Jigoku's zoo

a peacock in the Yama Jigoku zoo

a flamingo sleeping in the Yama Jigoku zoo

and even bunnies:
a bunny at the Yama Jigoku zoo

It’s a kid-friendly sort of hell, I guess.

Kamado Jigoku

The waters of this hell used to be used for cooking.

the hot spring at Kamada Jigoku

You can actually get all sorts of “hell-steamed” foods here, ranging from meat buns to pudding to boiled eggs, all cooked fresh in the hot springs.

Oniyama Jigoku

This is the most powerful hell. The water was all but exploding out from the banks into the pool; the pamphlet says that the force of the hot spring’s steam can pull one and a half train cars.

the powerful spring of Oniyama Jigoku

Oh, and if that weren’t cool enough, apparently these hot springs make ideal conditions for breeding crocodiles.

one of the crocs at Oniyama Jigoku

Shiraike Jigoku

This is supposed to be a creamy white hell, but because of the cloudy weather (a leftover from the recent typhoon), the waters were a vivid green instead.

the waters of Shiraike Jigoku are supposed to be white, but they were green when we went


The last two hells, Chinoike and Tatsumaki, are about 3 kilometers away from the other six, but they’re easily accessible via a short bus ride from the bus stop at the bottom of the hill past Shiraike.

Chinoike Jigoku

This hell is the most hellish of them all, since it’s named for the blood-red water.

the blood-red pool of Chinoike Jigoku

Tatsumaki Jigoku

This hell operates on a schedule: approximately every half hour or so, it gushes skyward for six to ten minutes. We were lucky enough to catch the tail end of it’s last performance within business hours–the hells all close at 5 PM.

the geyser of Tatsumaki Jigoku


Which hell would you wanna go to the most?

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4 thoughts on “Hell on Earth: Beppu, Oita Prefecture, Japan

  • Rashaad

    Four years ago, I visited Beppu during Golden Week and I visited six of the hells. Well, I think six – I don’t recall having visited all eight of them. I can’t remember the names of the hells I visited but I great enjoyed the experience.

    While we’re talking about Beppu, did you visit the sex museum located in that city? Before visiting any of the hells, that was my first stop.

  • Anna Letts

    Hi kristin, Anna of the broken wrist who you met in beppu here. Thanks so much for your note that really cheered me up the next morning. I never made it to Okinawa unfortunately due to having to go back to beppu hospital. But I enjoyed travelling around the rest of Khyshu: aso, kagoshima, sakurajima, Yakushima, aoshima and Miyazaki. Like your blog, looks great. I run a WordPress blog with the kids I teach. If you want to know anything about Thailand (esp the north where I lived ) please email me. Happy travels! Anna

    • Slomads Admin Post author

      Anna–so good to hear from you!! That’s really a shame about your arm, though I’m glad you still got to explore Kyushu more in depth. How was Sakurajima compared to Mt. Aso? We were only in Kumamoto and Beppu, so I’m really curious about the rest of the area 🙂 -Kristin