Hokkaido Tourist Attractions: How to enjoy Noboribetsu Onsen

hokkaido

INTRODUCTION

Noboribetsu Onsen, located in Hokkaido, Japan, is a world-famous hot spring resort known for its abundance and variety of hot springs. It is also known as “onsen heaven,” where visitors can enjoy nine different types of spring water, including sulfur, chloride, and bicarbonate springs. Visitors can therefore enjoy a relaxing yet healthful hot spring experience.

Noboribetsu Onsen has more to offer than just hot springs. Surrounded by a rich natural environment, Noboribetsu Onsen offers beautiful scenery in each of the four seasons. Fresh greenery in spring, flowers in summer, autumn leaves in fall, and snowy landscapes in winter, visitors can enjoy different attractions in every season. There is also a scenic area called “Jigokudani,” dotted with fumaroles and hot spring ponds, which offers a fantastic view as if you have wandered into another world.

Noboribetsu Onsen is easily accessible from Sapporo and New Chitose Airport, attracting many tourists from home and abroad. The hot spring resort town offers a wide variety of accommodations, from traditional Japanese-style inns to modern hotels, where you can enjoy a luxurious stay in a hot spring. In addition, a wide variety of dishes using delicious local ingredients and souvenirs provide visitors with a rich experience.

This article details how to enjoy Noboribetsu Onsen. It covers information on how to enjoy Noboribetsu Onsen to its fullest, including the types of hot springs, their benefits, nearby tourist attractions, accessibility, accommodations, and recommended dining. When planning your trip to Hokkaido, be sure to visit Noboribetsu Onsen and enjoy its charms to the fullest.

History and Culture of a Tourist Attraction

Noboribetsu Onsen is a tourist destination known for its rich hot spring resources and beautiful natural environment, and has a deep history and culture. This section details the historical and cultural background of Noboribetsu Onsen.

Noboribetsu Onsen has a long history. The existence of the onsen was officially confirmed in 1857. However, it was known to the locals long before that, and the benefits of the onsen were widely recognized. It was not until the Meiji Era (1868-1912) that Noboribetsu Onsen developed into the tourist destination that it is today. As the area was developed as a hot spring resort, many people began to visit Noboribetsu Onsen for treatment and rest.

Toward the end of the Meiji Era, a railroad was built, dramatically improving accessibility. This made Noboribetsu Onsen a major tourist destination for both domestic and international visitors. Ryokan and hotels were built one after another in the hot spring resort area, establishing its status as a hot spring resort.

Jigokudani, the symbol of Noboribetsu Onsen, is a scenic spot dotted with fumaroles and hot spring ponds formed by volcanic activity about 10,000 years ago. Jigokudani is also known as a hot spring source area, and as its name suggests, it is characterized by the steam rising from the ground and the distinctive sulfuric aroma. The hot spring water in this area contains abundant minerals and is believed to be good for one’s health.

Around Jigokudani, visitors can enjoy strolling around the area while feeling the energy of nature and seeing the powerful scenery of fumaroles and hot spring ponds up close. In addition, there are footbaths where visitors can relax amidst the steam and a variety of hot spring experience programs are available.


Noboribetsu Onsen offers not only hot spring culture, but also local traditions and festivals. The Noboribetsu Hell Festival, held every August, is an event where visitors can experience the local traditional culture. At this festival, local people dress up as demons and parade through the Hell Valley in a dramatic performance. This festival is popular among tourists for its unique fusion of local people’s beliefs and hot spring culture.

Places to visit

Noboribetsu Onsen offers not only a wide variety of hot springs, but also natural scenery, historical sites, and many other attractions. Here are some of the major spots that you should definitely see when you visit.

Jigokudani (Hell Valley)

Jigokudani is the symbolic sightseeing spot of Noboribetsu Onsen. Formed by volcanic activity about 10,000 years ago, the area is dotted with fumaroles and hot spring ponds, and is characterized by the steam rising from the ground and the distinctive smell of sulfur. There is a walking trail that leads visitors through Jigokudani, allowing them to feel the power of the volcanic activity up close and personal.

Recommended points of interest

Fumaroles and Onsen Ponds: Dynamic views of the power of nature.

Walking trails: Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll through the beautiful natural surroundings.
Oyunuma Swamp
Oyunuma Swamp, located near Jigokudani, is a huge hot spring swamp with a diameter of 450 meters. Steam is constantly rising from the surface of the swamp, and the heat from the hot springs causes the warm water to boil. A wooden path has been set up around the swamp, allowing visitors to walk close to the swamp and observe it.

Recommended Points of Interest

Hot spring source: Enjoy the powerful view of Oyunuma Swamp up close.
Nature Walk: A walk around the swamp is recommended to enjoy the nature around the swamp.

Oni no Ie

Noboribetsu Onsen has a theme park called “Oni no Ie” (Oni’s House). Here, visitors can see exhibits about local legends and demons. This is a popular spot especially for families with children, where you can learn about the history and culture of the area while having fun.

Recommended Points of Interest

Family activities: Exhibits and attractions for children and adults.
Local Legends: Interesting stories about demons.

Noboribetsu Onsen Town

The hot spring resort itself is a major attraction. Lined with traditional ryokans and modern hotels, visitors can enjoy the unique atmosphere of a hot springs resort. Strolling through the hot spring resort area, visiting souvenir shops and local restaurants is also an enjoyable experience.

Recommended Points of Interest

Onsen Eggs: Try the locally produced Onsen Eggs.
Footbaths: Free footbaths are scattered throughout the area.

Noboribetsu Hell Festival

The Noboribetsu Hell Festival, held every August, is one of Noboribetsu Onsen’s most popular events. Locals dress up as demons and parade through the streets, offering a variety of performances and food stalls. The festival attracts many tourists because of its powerful Hell Valley-themed performances.

Recommended points of interest

Demon Parade: A performance that allows visitors to experience the local traditional culture.
Food Stalls and Events: A variety of food stalls and events can be enjoyed.

Tsuruga View Hotel Noboribetsu

This luxury resort hotel is located in a hot spring resort area and offers a luxurious hot spring experience. The hotel has an open-air bath and a large bathhouse, which can be used by both guests and as a day spa. Bathing in the hot spring baths while enjoying the beautiful scenery is a relaxing experience for body and soul.

Recommended points

Open-air baths: Enjoy the seasonal scenery while bathing in the hot spring.
Sumptuous meals: Enjoy dishes prepared with fresh local ingredients.

Access

Noboribetsu Onsen is very conveniently accessible from major cities in Hokkaido. Below are the access methods to Noboribetsu Onsen by various means of transportation.

Access from New Chitose Airport

By train

From JR New Chitose Airport Station, board the Rapid Airport Train and disembark at Minami Chitose Station (approx. 3 minutes).
At Minami Chitose Station, transfer to JR Limited Express Hokuto or Super Hokuto and get off at Noboribetsu Station (about 50 minutes).
From Noboribetsu Station, transfer to a bus bound for Noboribetsu Onsen and get off at Noboribetsu Onsen Bus Terminal (about 15 minutes).

By bus

Airport Shuttle Bus: There is a direct bus service from New Chitose Airport to Noboribetsu Onsen (about 1 hour and 20 minutes). This direct bus service from the airport to Noboribetsu Onsen is convenient if you have a lot of luggage or if changing buses is a hassle.

Access from Sapporo

By train

From JR Sapporo Station, board the limited express Hokuto or Super Hokuto and disembark at Noboribetsu Station (approximately 1 hour).
From Noboribetsu Station, transfer to a bus bound for Noboribetsu Onsen and get off at Noboribetsu Onsen Bus Terminal (about 15 minutes).

By bus

Highway Bus: Highway buses run from Sapporo Station Bus Terminal to Noboribetsu Onsen (about 1 hour and 40 minutes). This is also a convenient way to directly access Noboribetsu Onsen.

By Car

It takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes from Sapporo to Noboribetsu Onsen by car. Take the Hokkaido Expressway, get off at Noboribetsu IC, and you will arrive at the hot spring resort in about 10 minutes. Many accommodations with parking lots are available, so renting a car is also convenient.

Access from Hakodate

By train

From JR Hakodate Station, board the limited express Hokuto or Super Hokuto and disembark at Noboribetsu Station (approximately 3 hours).
From Noboribetsu Station, transfer to a bus bound for Noboribetsu Onsen and disembark at the Noboribetsu Onsen Bus Terminal (approximately 15 minutes).

By Car

It takes approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes from Hakodate to Noboribetsu Onsen by car. Take the Hokkaido Expressway, get off at Noboribetsu IC, and arrive at the hot spring resort in about 10 minutes.

Business Hours and Admission Fees

Here are details of opening hours and admission fees for major tourist attractions and facilities in Noboribetsu Onsen. Check before you visit and plan a fulfilling trip.

Hell Valley

Opening Hours

Always open (24 hours)
Admission Fee

Free of charge
Visitors can freely explore Jigokudani 24 hours a day, and there is no admission fee. You can visit day or night, so you can enjoy sightseeing without being restricted by time.

Oyu Swamp

Hours of Operation

Always open (24 hours)
Admission Fee

Free of charge
Oyunuma is also open 24 hours a day and can be visited freely. Admission is free, so feel free to drop by and experience the power of nature.

Oni no Ie

Hours of operation

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Admission Fee

Adult: 500 yen
Children: 300 yen
Oni no Ie is a family theme park with set hours of operation. There are exhibits and attractions related to demons, and visitors can learn about local legends and culture.

Public Onsen Facilities in Noboribetsu Onsen Town

Sagiri Yu (hot spring)

Hours of operation: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
Admission: Adults: 450 yen, Children: 150 yen
Yumemoto Sagiriyu

Hours: 6:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Admission: Adults: 450 yen, Children: 150 yen
Noboribetsu Onsen Town has public hot spring facilities popular among locals and tourists. Both are reasonably priced and offer a wide variety of hot spring water qualities.

Noboribetsu Marine Park Nix

Hours of Operation

9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Admission Fee

Adult: 2,500 yen
Children: 1,300 yen
Noboribetsu Marine Park Nix is a fusion of an aquarium and a theme park. Visitors can enjoy a variety of attractions such as dolphin shows and penguin parades.

Noboribetsu Date Jidaimura

Hours of operation

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (April – October)
9:00 am – 4:00 pm (November – March)
Admission Fee

Adult: 2,900 yen
Children: 1,600 yen
Noboribetsu Date Jidaimura is an Edo Period-themed theme park where visitors can enjoy ninja shows and samurai performances. It is especially recommended for history buffs.

Special Events and Occasions

Various festivals and events are held throughout the year in Noboribetsu Onsen. Typical events include the following

Noboribetsu Hell Festival: Held every August, this festival features locals dressed up as ogres and parade through the streets. The festival features powerful performances and a variety of food stalls.
Noboribetsu Onsen Winter Festival: Held during the winter, this event features beautiful illumination of the hot spring resort area. The experience of experiencing hot springs in the snow is one of the attractions of this festival.

Gourmet

When visiting Noboribetsu Onsen, be sure to enjoy not only the hot springs but also the delicious local cuisine. Here are some recommended gourmet spots and local specialties you can enjoy in and around Noboribetsu Onsen.

Restaurants in Noboribetsu Onsen Town

Wakasaimo Honpo Oyunuma Branch

Address: 29, Noboribetsu Onsen-cho, Noboribetsu-shi, Hokkaido
Recommended Menu: Wakasaimo, Japanese sweets
Wakasaimo Honpo is one of the most famous Japanese sweets stores in Hokkaido, and has a store in Noboribetsu Onsen. Wakasaimo is characterized by sweet potato paste and makes a great souvenir.

Noboribetsu Onsen Matsuya

Address: 22-1 Noboribetsu Onsen-cho, Noboribetsu-shi, Hokkaido
Recommended Menu: Onsen egg, ramen noodles
Noboribetsu Onsen Matsuya is a restaurant located in the center of the hot spring resort area, where you can enjoy dishes using onsen egg and local ingredients. The onsen egg, in particular, is boiled in onsen water and has a rich flavor.

Kita no Shimada

Address: 24 Noboribetsu Onsen-cho, Noboribetsu-shi, Hokkaido
Recommended Menu: Kaisen-don, sashimi
Kitano-Shimada is a seafood restaurant where you can enjoy fresh seafood. The kaisendon (seafood rice bowl) and sashimi are superb, using fresh seafood only available in Noboribetsu Onsen.

Local Specialties

Noboribetsu Beef

A brand of beef called Noboribetsu Beef is raised in the area around Noboribetsu Onsen. Noboribetsu beef is characterized by its tender and juicy meat, and can be enjoyed as steaks or grilled.

Onsen Eggs

Onsen Eggs are a specialty of Noboribetsu Onsen, eggs boiled in onsen water. It is characterized by its rich yolk and melting white flesh, and is delicious eaten as is or as a topping for salads or rice.

Jingisukan

Jingisukan, a specialty of Hokkaido, can also be enjoyed at Noboribetsu Onsen. Jingisukan is grilled lamb meat seasoned with a special sauce, and goes great with beer.

Nearby Cafes

Cafe Alba

Address: 65-1 Noboribetsu Onsen-cho, Noboribetsu-shi, Hokkaido
Recommended Menu: Homemade cakes, coffee
Cafe Alba is a stylish cafe in the hot spring resort area where you can enjoy homemade cakes and delicious coffee. It is the perfect place to take a break from sightseeing.

Cafe Kabar

Address: 29-10 Noboribetsu Onsen-cho, Noboribetsu-shi, Hokkaido
Recommended Menu: Parfait, Tea
Cafe Kabar is a cafe where you can enjoy delicious sweets and tea in a relaxed atmosphere. The parfait in particular is popular among tourists for its wide variety.

Local Market

Noboribetsu Onsen Market

Address: 13 Noboribetsu Onsen-cho, Noboribetsu-shi, Hokkaido
Recommended Menu: Fresh seafood, local vegetables
Fresh seafood and local vegetables are available at Noboribetsu Onsen Market. Souvenirs are also available for tourists, so it is recommended to enjoy local delicacies and look for souvenirs here.

Summary

Noboribetsu Onsen is a world-famous hot spring resort located in Hokkaido, Japan, and is known for its variety of spring qualities and abundant hot water. Natural scenic spots such as Jigokudani and Oyunuma, family theme parks such as Oni no Ie (Oni’s House), and the elegant streets of the hot spring resort attract visitors.

Noboribetsu Onsen is very conveniently accessible from New Chitose Airport and Sapporo, and can be easily visited by train, bus, or car. The onsen town offers a wide variety of accommodations ranging from traditional Japanese-style inns to modern hotels, allowing visitors to enjoy a luxurious onsen stay.

Gourmet food is also available, and you can enjoy delicious Hokkaido delicacies such as Noboribetsu beef, fresh seafood dishes, and hot spring eggs. The hot spring resort area is dotted with delicious restaurants and cafes, where you can stop by between sightseeing to further enhance your trip.

Noboribetsu Onsen also offers the beauty of nature in each of the four seasons, as well as a wide variety of events and festivals. In particular, the Noboribetsu Hell Festival held every August and the winter illumination are well worth a visit.

All in all, Noboribetsu Onsen is a tourist destination where you can fully enjoy hot springs, nature, and delicious food. When planning a trip to Hokkaido, be sure to visit Noboribetsu Onsen and experience its charms. You will create wonderful memories along with a relaxing time.