During our research of what to do in Kyushu Island, Japan, one attraction that piqued our interest was the Seven Hells of Beppu in Beppu. This city is located in the Oita Prefecture and is famous for its geothermal hot springs. Imagine bubbling mud and colorful waters with lots of steam everywhere similar to experiences at Yellowstone National Park in the United States or Rotorua in New Zealand.
As an iconic attraction in Beppu, these Hells (Jigoku in Japanese) are exciting to visit. The best part is that you can go on a tour of these Hells (Jigoku Meguri) and visit these places in one day either on your own or with a tour.
In this post, we’re sharing our experiences of the Seven Hells of Beppu, how to get to these Hells, and other insider tips.
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How Long to Stay in Hells of Beppu
Located in the Kannawa and Shibaseki areas of Beppu, visitors have the chance to see 7 Hells in a day. Chinoike and Tatsumaki Jigoku are in the Red Hell Shibaseki area while Shiraike, Oniyama, Kamado, Umi, and Oniishi Bozu Jigoku are in the Blue Hell Kannawa area. Technically, there are Eight Hells but Yama Jigoku is not included in the Jigoku Meguri ticket.
We suggest that you see the Red Hell first and then go to the Blue Hell as the ones in Blue Hell are larger.
Some of the Jigoku are smaller so you can breeze through them in 10 minutes. The larger ones require more time. Expect to spend between 3-4 hours exploring the 7 Hells. We spent over 4 hours as we walked between the Red and Blue Hells and wanted to take our time seeing everything. (More information about how we walked between the areas is listed below.)
How to Get to Seven Hells of Beppu from Beppu Station
Take the local city bus.
From Beppu Station (別府駅) to Hells of Beppu, the easiest way is to take the local city bus. At the Beppu Station, buy the My Beppu Free Pass 1-day bus pass from the Visitor Information Center. You can use the pass to travel throughout the city and to the Hells. Plus, you’ll receive the bus schedule for the various routes.
Cost: 900 yen ($8.30) adults, 700 yen ($6.40) students, 450 yen ($4.10) children
Take the train and bus.
Another way is to take the train from Beppu Station (別府駅) to Kamegawa Station (亀川駅) via the JR Nippo Main Line. You can use your Japan Rail (JR) pass if you have it.
Afterward, you can take Bus #26 to go to the Red Hell Area (Chinoike and Tatsumaki Jigoku), and then Bus #26 or #29 to get to the Blue Hell Area. To return to Kamegawa Station, take Bus #16 from the Blue Hell Area stop. Or, you can use cash and IC card for individual rides or use the My Beppu Free Pass 1-day pass.
Take the train and walk.
If you have more time, consider walking! This route isn’t for everyone since it is a lot of walking. Wear comfortable shoes if you plan to use this route.
Follow the instructions above to get from Beppu Station to Kamegawa Station and then walk to the Red Hell area. It’ll take about 30 minutes to navigate through the residential area and walk along the mountain and side of the road. Don’t worry, it’s perfectly safe to get there by walking.
From the Red Hell to Blue Hell, it was another 30 minutes to walk to. We followed the instructions from Google Map so we went through the back roads of residential and even went on a small trail next to a farm area. While this route is not recommended for everyone since our GPS didn’t always work all the time, it was a fun opportunity to explore the countryside. We got to see some amazing hillside views of the steam from the onsens.
Take a Tour.
It’s easy to visit these hot springs on your own by using public transportation and walking. If you prefer a Jigoku tour, choose this private tour option.
You can also reserve a tour in advance at the Beppu Station Visitor Information Center. The tour is 2.5 hours and includes the admission fee and bus transportation.
Cost: 3,650 yen ($33.60 USD) adults, 3,060 yen ($28.15) high school students, 2,750 yen ($25.30) junior high students, 1,740 yen ($16.00) children
Admission Cost & Where to Purchase Tickets
If you prefer to visit the Jigoku yourself, the admission cost to visit the Hells of Beppu is reasonable. You can buy a pass to visit all 7 Jigoku or visit an individual Jigoku.
Buy tickets at any Jigoku.
The admission cost is 2,000 yen ($18.40) for high school-university students and adults to see 7 Jigoku, 1,210 yen for elementary and junior high students, or 400 yen ($3.70) to see 1 Jigoku.
Buy tickets at the Beppu Station Visitor Information Center.
The cost is 1,800 yen ($16.50) for high school-university students and adults to see 7 Jigoku and 900 yen ($8.30) for elementary and junior high students.
We didn’t expect to have a 200 yen ($1.80) discount when purchasing at the Visitor Center so it was a nice surprise. Credit cards are accepted here.
Everyone receives a voucher and it must be exchanged at any of the Jigoku to receive your day pass booklet. Once you enter each Jigoku, the representative will tear off the appropriate ticket from the booklet.
Buy tickets ahead of time.
Visitors can pre-purchase tickets and redeem the voucher at the Fukuoka International Airport. Check out the options below and save money!
What to See at Hells of Beppu
Now we’ll delve into more details of the 7 Jigoku. Feel free to change up the order on which Hells you want to visit.
Helpful Tips for Your Visit:
- Opening hours is 8:00am-5:00pm
- Try the custard pudding and the steamed egg when you’re visiting the Jigokus. These are offered at several of the Jigokus. Both of these items are cooked by the steam of the hot springs. Expect to pay 350 yen ($3.20) for the pudding and 80 yen ($.75) for one egg.
- Some of the Jigoku have free foot baths. Don’t forget to bring a towel or purchase one from the gift shop.
Chinoike Jigoku (血の池地獄)
Chinoike Jigoku is known as the “Blood Pond Hell” and is the oldest hot spring in Japan. The red clay color is due to iron oxide, magnesium and other minerals in the springs. You’ll love walking around the hot springs to see the bubbly orange waters. For another view of the hot springs, climb up a small set of stairs to see an overlook point. The site has a large souvenir shop and an opportunity for a free foot bath.
Water Temperature: 78°C (172.4°F)
Address: 778 Noda, Beppu, Oita 874-0016, Japan (〒874-0016 大分県別府市大字野田778)
Tatsumaki Jigoku (龍巻地獄)
Tatsumaki Jigoku is called the “Tornado Hell” and is one of the smaller hot springs. This one gushes out a geyser. The hot spring builds pressure for 40 minutes and then releases upward for 6-10 minutes. Out of the seven Hells, this one has the hottest temperature. When you stand next to it, you can feel the heat from the water.
Water Temperature: 150°C (302°F)
Address: 782 Noda, Beppu, Oita 874-0016, Japan (〒874-0016 大分県別府市大字野田782)
Shiraike Jigoku (白池地獄)
Shiraike Jigoku is the “White Pond Hell” due to its opaque blue hue waters that look whitish in the light. If you’re sensitive to sulfur smell, this spring has a strong smell. Other attractions include piranhas and other fish in tanks. The piranhas are bred in the hot springs so they’re used to the warm temperatures.
Water Temperature: 95°C (203°F)
Address: Japan, 〒874-0000 Oita, Beppu, 大字鉄輪278 (〒874-0000 大分県別府市 大字鉄輪278)
Oniyama Jigoku (鬼山地獄)
Oniyama Jigoku is the “Crocodile Hell” as about 100 crocodiles swim and lounge in the hot springs. Crocodiles have been bred in these hot springs since 1923. This place has a small museum that has the history of the Jigoku and a skeleton of a crocodile. Depending on the day of your visit, you may catch the crocodile feedings. They occur every Wednesday at 10:00am and Saturday and Sunday at 10:00am and 2:30pm.
Out of the seven Hells, this one was not one of our favorites as the crocodiles live in small tanks. Many of the tanks are covered for the safety of the guests. If we’re to return, we would skip this exhibit.
Water Temperature: 99.1°C (210.4°F)
Address: 625 Kannawa, Beppu, Oita 874-0045, Japan (〒874-0045 大分県別府市大字鉄輪625)
Kamado Jigoku (かまど地獄)
Kamado Jigoku is the “Furnace Hell” since there are different kinds of hot springs here. It has an amusement park feel as this Hell has a mythical creature as its mascot. Follow the trail to see boiling mud pits and bubbling cobalt and clay-colored hot springs. There is so much steam everywhere so it’s like staying inside a sauna. The workers provide tours about the hot spring but they are in Japanese. You can also enjoy a free foot bath here.
Water Temperature: 90°C (194°F)
Address: 621 Kannawa, Beppu, Oita 874-0840, Japan (〒874-0840 大分県別府市大字鉄輪621)
Oniishi Bozu Jigoku (鬼石坊主地獄)
Oniishu Bozu Jigoku is called the “Shaven Monk’s Head.” The bubbles that come up from the mud pit look like a monk’s head, thus, the name of this Hell. Who knew seeing mud pits can be so pretty?! There are several grey mud pits scattered in the area with a larger pit in the back. This is one of our favorite Hells of the day! You can also soak your feet in the free foot bath.
Water Temperature: 99°C (210.2°F)
Address: 559-1 Kannawa, Beppu, Oita 874-0000, Japan (〒874-0000 大分県別府市大字鉄輪559-1)
Umi Jigoku (海地獄)
The last one, Umi Jigoku, is called “Ocean Hell.” It’s recommended to save this hot spring as the last stop of our Jigoku tour since it’s the largest and most impressive out of the seven Hells.
The main attraction is seeing the vibrant cobalt color hot spring with the steam coming up. This hot spring was created after a volcano exploded 1,200 years ago. If you look close enough, there is a long stick holding a basket that is used to steam eggs.
Other places of interest are the shrine with red torii gates, a greenhouse with lotus flowers, and a small museum on the hot spring’s history and photos of the area in different seasons. The museum is located on the second level of the main building. The first level of the main building is an opportunity to purchase souvenirs or try snacks. You can also relax in the free foot bath.
From May-November, you’ll see giant water lilies on the lake. They’re able to withstand the weight of small children (up to 20 kilograms/44 pounds).
Water Temperature: 98°C (208.4°F)
Address: 559-1 Kannawa, Beppu, Oita 874-0000, Japan (〒874-0000 大分県別府市大字鉄輪559-1)
Yama Jigoku (山地獄) (Optional)
Yama Jigoku is an optional Hell to visit. Located between Kamado and Umi Jigoku, this place is not a part of the Seven Hells tour. Therefore, you’ll need to pay an additional fee to access this place. This Hell caters to children as it’s a zoo with animals such as goats and a capybara. The animals love the warm temperatures from the steam. We skipped this place as we wanted to focus on the other Hells.
Water Temperature: 90°C (194 °F)
Address: Japan, 〒874-0045 Oita, Beppu, 鉄輪御幸6組 (〒874-0045 大分県別府市鉄輪御幸6組)
Admission Cost: 500 yen ($4.60) adults, 300 yen ($2.75) children to high school students
Hope you enjoyed visiting Beppu and seeing the Seven Hells of Beppu! It’s a unique place in Japan to see geothermal hot springs.
Looking for other places to visit in Japan? Check out our Japan posts below:
- Dazaifu day trip from Fukuoka
- Hiroshima in 2 days
- Miyajima Island day trip
- Naoshima in 1 day
- Okayama in 1 day
- Tokyo day trips