Hell Hath Frozen Over
igokudani, literally translated into 'Hell's Valley'. This particular Jigokudani is located in the city of Noboribetsu-shi, just a little further away from the little onsen town, Noboribetsu-onsen, which we stayed for the night. This is not to be mistaken with the Jigokudani Monkey Park of the Nagoya prefecture which is famous for having the wild Japanese Macaques (Snow Monkeys) bathing in the hot spring during the winter.
The Hell's Valley got its name because of this particular hostile and unforgiving scene. The steam rising is due to the boiling water that creeps through the crevices of the rock and soil of the hills. Although it may look barren and frigid during the peak of the winter season, the best time to visit this place would be in the autumn.
We were lucky to be greeted this morning with fresh snowfall from the night before. If you are wondering, the smell of the sulfur is mild and rather inviting because it signals and triggers a beautiful and relaxing time at the onsen.
With just a 10 minute walk down, you may pray and pay your respects at the mini shrine down below.
Noboribetsu-shi (登別温泉), Hokkaido, Japan.
- Jon K. Stoutlager