Looking up from the bottom of the hill I could see the steam building up, rising into the air forming thick white clouds as I got closer I felt the heat against my face as the water boiled in beautiful aqua blue forming hell that looked like the ocean. Eggs boiled away in baskets dipped into the hell, while next door the ground shook while the steam slowly built up before water sprouted out of the ground with such verosity and power shooting the water into the air forming a geyser. This geyser erupts every 20- 30 minutes. Mud pits bubbled while crocodiles fought aggresively, another hell covered in a pool of red that looked like blood and the devil overlooked all of this with his sly smile covering his face.
This is not hell but it could be the closest thing that resembles what has been depicted in books over the years with the heat of the water ranging from 50-99.5 degrees, could one false move, one little slip be all it takes before a hand with a pitching fork rises out from the ground and grabs you, before dragging you down to the couldrons and pits below, fortunately I never made that fatal mistake.
Here in the city of Beppu (144,000 population) in Oita prefecture on the southern island of Japan (kyushu) 9 hells, hotsprings that are too hot for bathing are located in the Kannawa district. You can buy a pass for 2000yen or you can pay individual entrance fee for 400 yen.
These hells are all in walking distance from one another
umi hell (sea hell) recommend
The aqua blue water gently boils the expansive pond is definitely worth a visit. It is the most picturesque hotspring getting its name from looking like the ocean. If you only visit one of the hells, make sure it’s this one. oniishibozu hell (shaved monks head hell) recommend
If you have been to Rotorua in New Zealand then you would be familiar with the sulphur odors that waft through the air as the same smell is apparent here from the hotsprings and the gurgling mud pits that bubble. Shiraike hell (white pond hell)
Similar to the umi hell but a shade lighter with a thicker white steam that covers the hell. Not as interesting as the other hells mentioned above but worth a look.
Yama hell (mountain hell)
They have animals kept in poor conditions. We do not recommend this hell.
Kamado hell (oven hell)
This is the hottest hotspring out of the group. I could feel the intense heat no soon as we entered the hell. I was talking to the staff and told them I couldn’t imagine working here during the Summer. They laughed and said it really feels like hell
Oniyama hell (devil mountain hell)
Chinoike hell (Blood hell)recommend
The colour of this hell is red caused by clay. It is the most interesting hell especially with the story of a samurai dipping his sword in the pond only to turn the water completely red from the blood on the sword. Tatsumaki hell ( geyser hell)
The geyser erupts about every 25 minutes sprouting out a ferocity of water but there is not much greenery here as they have built a concrete barricade around it. If you have seen a geyser before then you could skip this hell. It takes about 2.5 hours to see all the hells.
What you should do at the hells?
Soak your feet in the foot hotspring, eat eggs and puddings boiled in the hotspring.