The "hells" (地獄, jigoku) of Beppu are eight spectacular hot springs for viewing rather than bathing. They are presented to visitors in a rather touristy fashion, which might not appeal to everybody. Six of the hells are located in the Kannawa district and two in the more remote Shibaseki district.
Pudding, made by hot spring steam, are sold at some hells
One of the more beautiful hells, the "sea hell" features a pond of boiling, blue water. In its spacious gardens, there are a few secondary, orange colored hells and a large, clear water pond with lotus flowers whose large leaves are strong enough to carry small children.
This hell is named after the mud bubbles, which emerge from boiling mud pools and look like the shaven heads of monks. Besides the mud pools, it features a foot bath with clear water. Adjacent to the hell is a public bath with multiple pools that costs an additional 600 yen.
True to its name, the "white pond hell" features a pond of hot, milky water. The pond is surrounded by a nice garden and a small, run-down aquarium that has seen better days.
The "cooking pot hell" features several boiling ponds and a flashy demon statue as cook. On the grounds, visitors can drink the hot spring water, enjoy hand and foot baths, inhale the hot spring steam and try various snacks cooked or steamed by the hot spring.
A large number of crocodiles are bred and kept on the grounds of the "monster mountain hell".
The "mountain hell" features small ponds of steaming hot water and a run-down zoo with large animals in small cages.
The "blood pond hell" features a pond of hot, red water and a large souvenir shop. It is one of the more photogenic of the eight hells.
The "spout hell" features a boiling hot geyser, which erupts every 30-40 minutes for about 6-10 minutes. A stone plate above the geyser hinders it to reach its full height. A short walking trail leads up the forested slope in the back of the hell grounds.
Get There and Around
The six hells in the Kannawa district can be easily accessed by frequently departing buses from JR Beppu Station in about 15 minutes. Bus number 5, 7 and 9 are the fastest. Get off at Kannawa bus terminal, from where all seven hells can be reached on foot.
Bus number 16/16A runs twice per hour from Kannawa to Shibaseki (5 minutes) where the remaining two hells are located. The bus then continues via Kamegawa Station to Beppu Station (40 minutes). Bus number 26/26A runs in the opposite direction of bus number 16/16A.
Bus tours in Japanese, which visit all eight hells in about 2.5 hours, are also offered. Beppu is also easily explored by rental car. Free parking is provided at all the hells.