Release | Takako Chiba
In Noboribetsu you'll find a whopping nine different kinds of hot spring to experience! Here the hot springs naturally cycle through over 10,000 tons of hot water a day. This is Hokkaido's cure for the cold winter nights, so let's go take a look at what makes it so great!
So what exactly are the nine unique styles that make the hot springs at Noboribetsu stand out?
(1) Sulphur springs which are characterized by a boiled egg-like scent.
(2) Table salt pools which are colorless and completely clear with a strong salty taste.
(3) Brownish-yellow water in the Meiban pools, which is great for building healthy skin.
(4) Boshou hot springs with a high sulphur and salt content that are said to be good at improving blood circulation
(5) Green pools with a high aluminum content, which is said to be beneficial to those with anemia or chronic eczema.
(6) Iron heavy pools that turn a red-brown tint when exposed to air, which leave white towels with a light red tint.
(7) Colorless and transparent acidic iron springs which stimulate the skin.
(8)Pools with high levels of sodium bicarbonate which soften the skin and are often called "Fountains of Beauty."
(9) Radium springs, which have long been said to be effective against many kinds of disease.
What do you think of that!? It's such a wide selection of hot springs to enjoy! The many hotels in the Noboribetsu area offer a varying selection of pools, but each hotel has several kinds to choose from. If you'd like to know which hotels have which styles of hot spring, be sure to check out the homepage below for a thorough explanation. You don't have to stay the night at the hotel to enjoy their hot springs either, meaning you can pick a choose different hot springs to visit during your trip!
▲ Summer in Jigoku Valley. Here various types of hot springs release 3,000 liters of water per minute, supplying the many hot springs hotels and inns with natural hot water for their pools.
▲ Winter in Jigoku Valley. The hot waters flow throughout the cold winter weather.
▲ Tessenike (Iron Spring Pond). This is a small geyser located near the center of Jigoku Valley. Visitors are able to view the steaming waters up close.
The history of Noboribetsu is long and interesting. It all began in 1845 when Takeshiro Matsuura, one of the first pioneers of Hokkaido wilderness, visited the area and recorded his fascination with the amount and variety of its hot springs. In 1857 the Omi merchant Okada Hanbe opened up a road into the area which led to the building of the first hot spring hotel by Takimoto Kanezou. The area has continued to grow since then and now is a thriving hot spring tourist area.
▲ Noboribetsu back in the old days.
Nearby Taisho Jigoku you can find a large natural footbath overflowing with hot water. Nothing beats a hot footbath in the middle of winter! However, due to the location it is dangerous to venture out if the weather is bad, so please check with the tourist office before heading out to warm your toes.
▲ Don't forget your towel!
In 2012, during the 26th annual Japan Hot Spring Ranking competition (held by Keizai Tourism Newspaper), Noboribetsu placed 2nd out of the top 100 hot springs in Japan! This competition is voted on by travel agencies and agents and helps grow the popularity of top quality hot springs all across Japan. Last year Noboribetsu placed third, and this year they came behind only the first place Kusatsu Onsen.
▲ Here's the certificate proclaiming Noboribetsu's second place ranking in Japan.
By all means if you visit Hokkaido during the winter months be sure to visit a hot spring hotel in Noboribetsu and warm up! There are many kinds of quality hot springs to choose from meaning you can relax how you want!
■ Noboribetsu Tourist Association
■ Noboribetsu Tourist Association on facebook
■ Noboribetsu Tourist Center's Blog
(Hokkaido Likers Writer - Takako Chiba)
(Photographs provided by Noboribetsu Tourist Association and Center)