Noboribetsu Onsen

Famous for the variety of its hot water springs, Noboribetsu Onsen is one of Japan’s best known spa resorts and is the most popular of Hokkaido’s many spa towns. It boasts 11 types of hot water, containing numerous minerals, including sulfur, salt, iron and gypsum, and are thought to help relieve such disorders as high blood pressure, poor blood circulation, rheumatism, arthritis and even constipation. It is claimed that 34,000 gallons of this geo-thermally heated water is pumped out every hour, making Noboribetsu Onsen the most prodigious hot spring in Japan. Just past the onsen is Jigoku-dani (Hell Valley), a steaming, lunar-like valley created by an ancient volcanic eruption. Wander along wooden pathways through a landscape of rusty, red rocks, streaked green and white by mineral deposits. Boiling water spurts out of thousands of holes, sounding like the heartbeat of the earth itself – although, with its strong sulfur smell, you might describe it differently.