A Cold Day in Hell
Posted by Heliocentrism on February 3, 2011
January 30, 2011
I finally went to Hell.
I have been planning on going to Hell since my mom and nephew came to visit. The list of reasons I haven’t gone yet just kept getting longer and longer. When Mark got back to Japan from his trip to Korea I told him that he had to take me to Hell. Every weekend since we have planned to go, but something has always come up.
Then this week we decided to put away all our excuses and go to Hell. We were going to wake up early-ish on Saturday and make a day of it. But that didn’t happen.
We actually spent the day watching Star Trek. (Yes, I said it!) By noon, we did not feel like going out into the cold and driving to Beppu. But we promised each other that Sunday would be the day for Hell.
Is that snow!?
On Sunday we got up early-ish, got dressed, and headed out the door. When we opened the door of the apartment we saw that it was snowing. A part of me wanted to turn right around and stay in my warm apartment, but I knew that if I didn’t go that day, I would never go.
Lamer in Person
I have to say that photos of Beppu’s Hell don’t do it justice. Wait, I mean they do it more than justice. It looks way cooler in pictures than it does in real life. And that’s not just because I was cold the whole time. The pictures make Beppu’s Hell out to be a super exciting and exotic steamy place, but it’s just steamy. Plus there’s no rotting egg smell in the photos.
The “zoo” at one of the onsens is very sad. They have a hippo, an elephant, and some flamingos freezing out in the snow. I’m not sure, but I think that counts as cruelty to animals.
The onsens are nice to look at, but not as nice and the pictures present them. It would be better if people could get in and warm up. But the hot springs are too hot for that. It would literally cook you if you fell in. In fact, at one of the onsens, you can buy eggs that were cooked in the hot spring.
I recommend a visit if you’re in the neighborhood, but don’t come all the way out here for this.
How to get there:
You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.
Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.
- Emergency Numbers:
- Police 110
- Ambulance and Fire 119
- Important phone numbers to know while in Japan
- Comfort Woman
- The Commoner
- Empire of the Sun
- Flyboys: A True Story of Courage
- Geisha, a Life
- Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II’s Most Dramatic Mission
- The Last Concubine
- Memoirs of a Geisha
- Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath
- Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan
- What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
- Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan. Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
- InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to askwhatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
- ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
- You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan. I’ve never been a tourist.)
Beppu Hell Onsen
- Coordinates 33°18’57.2″N 131°28’10.8″E
From Oita City –
- Head north on route 10.
- Turn left on route 500. (The turn is just before the Las Vagas pachinko parlor.)
- Keep on 500,
- then turn right at the light after the intersection with route 218. You should see lot of steam rising from the ground.
- Park anywhere that’s reasonable.
- Six of the Hell osens are within walking distance of each other.
- There are two others that are about a 5 minute drive from the directions given above.
By Bus –
- Take bus #2, #5, #9, #41, or #43 from JR Beppu Station to the Umijigoku-mae stop
There are 8 Hell Onsens. Seven of which, are within a walking distance from each other. The other two are a bus or car ride away. Please ask at the ticket counter for bus information.
- Oniishibozu Jigoku (鬼石坊主地獄)
- UmiJigoku (海地獄)
- Yama Jigoku (山地獄)
- KamadoJigoku (かまど地獄)(Cooking Pot Hell)
- Oniyama Jigoku (鬼山地獄)
- Shiraike Jigoku (白池地獄)
- Tatsumaki Jigoku (龍巻地獄)
- ChinoikeJigoku (血の池地獄) (BloodOnsen)
- 別府 血の池地獄
野田778 Beppu, Oita Prefecture 874-0016, Japan
- 別府 血の池地獄
Website (Blood Onsen)
- 400YEN each or
- 2,000YEN for all 8
- 8:00 – 17:00
- Go to Tatsumaki-Jigoku (the onsen with the geyser last if you’re running out of time because this one stays open later so that visitor can see the geyser blow at the end of the day.)
- It might not be worth a trip all the way to Beppu just to see this. But if you are in Oita prefecture, why not?
- You cannot get into any of the hell onsen. There are a couple that you can put your feet into, but no full body soaking.