Just because you’re here for business or here for play, Hell Valley is a great place to visit while you’re in Hokkaido.
Hell Valley, also known as Jigokudani is located within Hokkaido’s Shikotsu – Toya National Park. It’s a great and affordable getaway into the natural beauty Hokkaido has to offer.
A walk through 24-acre geothermal crater with countless holes of all sizes that shot out boiling water with a roar, can be just what you need to take your mind off the stress of life and help you come back more productive than ever.
Despite being called Hell, it’s nothing to be afraid of. However, if this is your first time hiking in hell, then you’re going to want to know how to prepare.
1) Finding Home Base
First things first, you have to find out where to stay. While there are several options in the area you can stay, none can boast a better position than Takimoto Inn.
I know what you’re thinking. Of course we would say that. It’s in our best interest!
True, but we don’t take this claim lightly.
Takimoto Inn is parked right near the entrance of the valley and nobody there but us. From Takimoto Inn, you get a beautiful view of the valley and from the valley; we are the only one you can see.
It really doesn’t get any better than that.
Next when preparing for any trip is to make sure you have the weather figured out.
To save you the trouble, we’ve looked through the weather data to give you the breakdown. However, if you’re interested in finding out the exact weather data for any given day, you can do so here.
Late December/January to mid-March is freezing and usually snowing so definitely jacket weather. This season is usually reserved for the experts who know what they are doing so keep that in mind. It starts to warm up in April but it’s still going to be cold. From March to September it gets pretty warm so you can lose the winter coat and throw on the summer wear. The rest of the year from October to December starts getting cold again.
3) Hiking Route
Now that you’ve picked a place to stay and checked the weather, it’s time to prepare your hiking gear and for some, your mind.
Hell Valley offers several different hiking routes that can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours. Depending on the one that speaks to you, you might want to prepare accordingly.
The 30-minute course will bring you around the Hell Valley. If you choose this path, you’ll get to see the Hell Valley observatory, Tessen-ike, and Yakush Nyorai Temple.
This course was built for easier access, even for wheel chairs so this is perfect for the light hiker or seniors.
The 60-minute course will take you through a literary journey. The course is designed to let you take in the Noboribetsu area while learning the stories of well-known poets and how they drew inspiration from the area.
You’ll get a chance to enjoy the surrounding nature at Oyunuma and Natural Footbath for a refreshing soak.
The 90-minute course is a tour from Hell Valley to Natural Footbath via Oyunuma, a hot spring lake, and Taisho Jigoku, a geyser.
As you may have expected from the time difference, this hike is a bit more strenuous than the previous one. Less of a literary and historical journey, this is for the avid hiker that wants to see more of the natural beauties.
Of course, you are rewarded with a refreshing footbath after the long walk at the Natural Footbath.
The 4-hour course is quite the step up from the others. You’ll get to walk in the forests, see Mt.Hiyori and Oyunuma while heading to the “mystic crystal lake” called Lake Kuttara.
This lake has one of the top-rate quality waters in Japan and the view at the end of this 14km round trip hike is breathtaking. It’s the perfect place to set up for a nice little picnic.