Sunday, February 3, 2008

Noboribetsu-Onsen Hot Springs and Jigokudani Valley

This is one of the places we visited in Hokkaido for my Hokkaido 8day tour. This place is also otherwise known as Hell's Valley, or Jigoku valley.

Upon reaching the area, you will see this gigantic statue at the T-Junction. Looks like they are taking this Hell's Valley seriously. :D

The hot spring is basically located within Jigoku valley. The small round patch of water you see in the lower part of the map is the location of the hotspring. The hotels surrounding this area draw their hotspring water from the same source. One thing you note about the surrounding area is that their drains are relatively snow-free. It might be due to the heat of this hotspring. :D

This is the sign board when you enter the valley. It was snowing moderately when I was there. The area is quite slippery so be quite careful when you're walking around the area. The area requires you to go up and down slopes, and people can fall down if you're not careful.

The area is also not as cold due to the hotspring. Sometimes, you can even feel a blast of hot air as you're walking around the area. The smell of sulphur is always around. :p

Other than watching your step, take note of the surroundings. The area is beautiful, and due to the hotspring, there always seem to be a light fog surrounding the area, giving the area a "mystical" feel.

The above pictures are the pictures of the actual hotspring. Basically, as long as the area has a hotspring, there's no snow. And it is pretty cold up there. :p

The above pictures are part of the "scenery" around Hell's Valley. Its hard to describe how serene the area is, with the mountains capped with snow, and the hotspring flowing down the valley. There are also alot of crows on top of the trees surrounding the area. Maybe the area is warmer so they choose to nest around the area. :D

According to the tour guide, the area will look different when the trees are full bloom. I would say in winter, the place is not bad too. The picture above shows one of the leaves covered with snow. Not sure why but I find it beautiful.

Usually people prefer the non-winter period because that's where you can see the trees in full bloom. Bright colors all around. Somehow, I find that the winter season also has its own qualities. Something which cannot be conveyed through pictures. In the pictures, you'll only see one color, white. When you're there, its different.

Basically, the hotels around this area have hotsprings in the hotel itself. Even within Japan, they sometimes come to the area just to soak in the hotspring. Many souvenirs depicting the "demons", can be bought around this area too. That includes chocolates and stuff. :D

All in all, quite a serene place...


Rhinestic said...

jigokudani? jigoku just means hell...

chantc said...

ok. I added the word valley behind jigoku. It's not my fault. The pamphlet was like that. :p

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