Noboribetsu Onsen

A short walk uphill from Noboribetsu town reveals what may await us in the afterlife: sulphurous gases, hissing vents and seemingly blood-stained rocks. Jigoku-dani, which literally means 'Hell Valley', is part of the smoking crater of volcanic Kuttara-san. A wooden boardwalk leads out to a boiling geyser.

There are also a number of short hiking trails. In about 30 minutes you can walk out to Ōyu-numa (大湯沼), a steaming lake fed by hot springs; another 15 minutes will take you to the Ōyu-numa Natural Footbath (大湯沼天然足湯), where the hot spring water comes up a perfect 42°C.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Noboribetsu Onsen attractions

1. Kuttara-ko

1.79 MILES

If you have your own wheels, head up through town past Jigoku-dani on Rte 350 as it becomes a narrow mountain road. After about 4km you'll reach a lookout…

2. Usu-zan

14.93 MILES

Here is a rare chance to bear witness to modern mountain-making: Shōwa Shin-zan (昭和新山; 398m) – whose name means 'the new mountain of the Shōwa period' –…

3. Volcano Science Museum

17.54 MILES

The eruptions at Uzu-san were among the first to be recorded by modern means (and work here significantly advanced science in early detection). Here you…