There are some things I will never learn. Like the fact that sulphur is supposedly amazing for your skin and health, but also, that it stinks like rotten eggs.
So, I thought it was the most amazing idea ever to visit one of the most famous onsen towns in Hokkaido, Jigokudani, which is part of a national park and located about halfway between Sapporo and Hakodate.
|Welcoming devil shrine|
... until we got off the train and the smell of rotten eggs hit me. In all honesty, unless you are a serious hiker who is out to explore the surrounding national park, I am not sure if I would recommend this place. We visited in high season, early October, and found a very sleepy onsen town - in the creepy and neglected way, not in the charming atmospheric way, plus the walk ways around the "Hell's Valley", the much photographed area, crawling with tourists from tour buses.
We had expected a day of hiking, but what we found were completely covered tour buses. Yes, the landscape is fascinating - for twenty minutes or so - and the walk around the forest is somewhat nice, with a quiz on some interesting trivia about the area, but we felt a bit disappointed. This wasn't quite the magical, remote Hokkaido we had been promised by travel bloggers and brochures.
Overall, I would say: Skip this one, there's much better to be seen in Hokkaido. Unless you are physically handicapped or with children, then I would expect it one of the best things to do in the often inaccessible part of the country.
Or could it be that some places are popular simply because they are easy to access?
|Hell's Valley, with strange rocks that formed from the sulfur that's boiling underneath|
|Steaming lakes and puddles abound throughout the area|
|The highlight of our trip: The natural footbath. We skipped the full body egg onsen.|
|I can't help but think even the devils seem a bit disappointed|