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Welcome to Hell Valley

Welcome to Hell Valley

If you're looking for something different to do in Japan, take a trip to Jigokudani - otherwise known as Hell Valley.

This valley sits just above the town of Noboribetsu Onsen and is the source of most of Noboribetsu's hot springs.

Here, steam vents and mist rises above the landscape, creating the eerie atmosphere it is known for.

There are many walking trails throughout the hills, some of which lead to Oyunuma, a sulfurous pond that is 50 degrees centigrade at the surface and a nearby mud pond, which is even hotter.

It is about a 20 to 30 minutes trek to Oyunuma but is well worth it for the wonderful views of the hot pond and the river Oyunumagawa flowing through the forest.

If you follow the river, you will soon come to a clearing where there is a natural foot bath. When you dip your feet in the water, it helps to stir up the mineral-rich deposits on the bottom of the river. There are lots of benches here, allowing you to sit down and enjoy the natural foot spa.

If you feel inspire to head over to Noboribetsu, try and schedule it for around mid-October time, where the autumn colours of the trees start to come through. This adds another depth to this already rich landscape. For photograph enthusiasts, this is the perfect time for pictures as the rising steam merges with the oranges and reds of the leaves, creating a wonderful and varied set of pictures.

The nearest airport to Noboribetsu is Shin-Chitose in Sapporo, which is about a 40 minute journey by train or a drive of about one hour, passing through various tolls on the way. Taking a local train is cheaper but it does take slightly longer than the more direct train journey.

Shin-Chitose Airport is about a 90 minute plane journey from Japan's capital of Tokyo and there are dozens of flights a day by many different operators, allowing you to plan your trip to waste as little time waiting around as possible.

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