During our trip to Japan in 2014, we traveled a few hours by train with my boyfriend and his family to the Kyushu region. The particular city we stayed in, Beppu, was known for having onsen ryokans (Japanese style inns with hot spring baths) and also the “Hells” of Beppu, which are eight different types of hot springs that are meant for viewing rather than relaxing in. These “hells” are named in reflection of their extreme temperatures. We decided to take a guided bus tour that would stop at each hell and let us get off to take a look, because why not?
The little tour guide stood there and talked nonstop in Japanese as we drove from hell to hell, and then also led us around at each stop. The whole thing was such a hilarious and bizarre experience, and I loved it.
Pictured above is the Oniishibozu Jigoku, which is named after the mud bubbles and said to look like the shaved heads of monks (haha).
This one is named Shiraike Jigoku, “White Pond Hell”, because of its hot, milky water.
At one of the “hells,” you could try a bit of the hot spring water, which is supposed to be good for your health. It smells like rotten eggs, which actually is what most of these hot springs smell like.
Here we have Yama Jigoku, which translates to “Mountain Hell.” I bet you can see why!
At a few of the hells, there were animals to be seen in a small sort of zoo. We saw rabbits, miniature horses, peacocks, and tons of crocodiles. The crocodiles were definitely very creepy! They would just lay on the warm pavement, asleep with their mouths wide open. Some of them almost looked like they were dead. One of the stranger aspects of this experience!
Although I did not picture all eight hells here, this was the last one we visited on our tour! This is Chinoike Jigoku, “Blood Pond Hell” and is described on a travel site as “one of the more photogenic hells”(haha).
I may have to agree with them, as I think this was my favorite hell of all the hells! I mean, it definitely is a winner if I can get a photo like this ;)Last random note: at a few of these hot springs, you can actually buy hard boiled eggs that have been boiled by the hot spring water. Supposedly the best eggs ever or something. What will these Japanese people come up with next?!
*all photos by Jess unless otherwise noted