Rotten Eggs and Angry Devils

Clouds of steam rise from the barren landscape in the appropriately named Hell Valley.  The rotten egg gas smell of sulphur pierces unsuspecting nasal passages small bubbling hot springs thread their way through the valley and into the hot rivers below.  Our screwed up noses and sounds of “Ewwww!” eventually disappear after we acclimatize to the environment located near Noboribetsu, Hokkaido.

Tourists flock to Norboribetsu Onsen (hot springs) to bathe in the 11 different types of water that spew from the earth around the village however many of the visitors also come to the area to see and smell Mother Nature’s display.

Mount Hiyori’s active volcano, fast flowing hot rivers and bubbling lakes are surrounded by lush forests and stunning fauna.  The well signposted walkways allow visitors to traverse the hills and valleys and take in the beauty of the area.

After walking the trails and photographing the natural spectacle you can take time out by bathing your legs in Oyunuma River, a river that flows out of one of the ancient steaming lakes below Mount Hiyori.  Stresses and strains quickly dissipate as the hot flowing water bathes your legs.  Moving your feet around on the soft pebbles embedded in the warm muddy bottom is also a great way to give yourself a free foot massage.

Descending back into the small village you can pay your respects to Oni, a demon statue that towers over the roadside.  Make sure you don’t upset him or he might decide to vent his anger through the nearby volcano!

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