Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
  • Hokkaido
Sub-zero temperatures and the greatest of outdoor environments, complemented by sizzling soul food and warm-hearted welcomes. Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Sleek apple-red and electric-green shinkansen whisk you up to a haven of fresh powder snow, fresh fruit and fearsome folk legends Fearsome festivals, fresh powder and vast fruit orchards—the rugged northern territory of Tohoku offers a fresh perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
Mountains and sea meet in one of Japan's wildest regions, and the result is sheer beauty. Once largely inaccessible, Hokuriku is now reachable by shinkansen from Tokyo in a matter of hours An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Characterized by the constant buzz of the world's most populous metropolitan area, the Kanto region is surprisingly green with an array of escapes that include mountainous getaways and subtropical islands Experience diversity at its fullest, from the neon of Tokyo to the ski slopes of Gunma, exotic wildlife of the Ogasawara Islands and cultural heritage of Kamakura
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Served by the shinkansen line that connects Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the Tokai region provides plenty of interesting diversions and easy excursions Tokai means "eastern sea," and this region stretches east from Tokyo to Kyoto and includes blockbuster attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
From raucous nights out to outdoor thrills to peaceful reverie, trying to categorize the Kansai region is a futile task The Kansai region is one of extreme contrasts—the neon lights of Osaka and glittering Kobe nightscape, the peaceful realms of Shiga, Wakayama and Nara, and the cultured refinement of Kyoto
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Less-traveled and delightfully inaccessible at times, the Chugoku region is a reminder that the journey is sometimes more important than the destination Welcome to Japan's warm and friendly western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Providing the stage for literary classics, fevered dancing and natural wonders Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
Easily reached by land, sea and air, the dynamic Kyushu prefectures are bubbling with energy, culture and activity The southern island of Kyushu is home to volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky, succulent seafood, steaming hot springs and the country's hottest entrepreneurial town
  • Okinawa
Ruins and recreated castles of the Ryukyu kings nestle amid magnificent beaches in Okinawa, a diver's paradise teeming with an amazing array of coral and undersea life Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings


Hells of Beppu 別府地獄めぐり

Eight bubbling onsen hellspots with a hippo and alligators in residence

Located in Beppu’s Kannawa and Kamegawa regions, Beppu’s Jigoku—also known as the Eight Hells of Beppu—got the name from the mysterious and temperamental springs here. Water and gas bubbled up from the land so violently that people in ancient times assumed it was cursed.

You can witness the same expulsions of gas, iron oxide-rich steam and bubbling hot mud that have continued to spook guests and locals since the beginning of time, and see the animals who make some of these onsen their unlikely homes.

Don't Miss

  • Experiencing all eight hells, each with distinctive characteristics
  • Trying an egg and pudding steamed in these natural hells
  • Feeding the hippo in the pool next to Kamado Jigoku

How to Get There

Beppu Station can be reached by limited express train from Hakata, Oita, Miyazaki and Hitoyoshi as well as neighboring areas.

From Beppu Station, take a 20-minute ride on a No. 2, 5 or 24 bus and get off at Kannawa or Umi-Jigoku-mae stop; from there all the hells can be reached by foot. Parking is available at all the hell sites.

Buy a Meguri pass

One of the best ways to explore the area is by getting a pass for the Jigoku Meguri, a tour bus. The tour visits all eight hells over two and a half hours. Six of the hells are in the Kannawa district area, and two are in the Shibaseki district. Entry into hells individually is also possible for 400 yen per visit.

Where the wild things are

Kamado Jigoku has an unusual resident—a very hungry hippo whose life seems to consist of consuming the many treats visitors toss down to it. For 100 yen, you can buy raw veggies to feed the beast.

The other unlikely animal preserve is Oniyama Jigoku, better known as "alligator hell." There are over 80 alligators in this place, and they all live together in huge pools.

Meanwhile, animals like miniature horses and flamingos are raised around Yama Jigoku. You can feed them during certain times of the day, along with hippos and monkeys.

Sites of designated beauty

The jigoku are for viewing, by the way, not for bathing in, since they can reach temperatures of about 98 degrees Celsius. Four of them (Umi Jigoku, Chinoike Jigoku, Tatsumaki Jigoku and Shiraiike Jigoku) are designated as National Scenic Beauties of Japan.

A unique way to cook

Literally meaning hell-steaming, jigoku mushi is a traditional way of cooking using the steam of a hot spring. It dates back to the 17th century and is a healthy way to prepare food while also enhancing its dramatic flavor.

Many hells sell specialty soft-boiled eggs and baked pudding, which have been steamed using the heat from the fiery waters.

A few hell highlights

The largest of the hells is Umi (Sea) Jigoku, so named because of its cobalt blue color. It is 200 meters deep. Despite being located in a mountainous setting, Yama (mountain) Jigoku is so hot that no animals or plants can be found in the area around it. The boiling clay of Chinoike (blood lake) Jigoku is blood red; this is the oldest of Beppu’s hells.

Rent your own hell oven

In Furonomoto, you can buy a set of vegetables, meat or fish produce starting from 500 yen and cook using a special steaming oven. Rental of the oven costs 500 yen for 30 minutes. Be careful as the steam can escape with force when you open the steaming pots after cooking.

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