Noboribetsu Onsen (登別温泉) is one of Japan’s most famous hot spring resorts bustling with international tourists. About 10,000 tons of mineral water gushing out every day from the volcanic valley of Jigoku-dani (地獄谷) and muddy pond of Oyu-numa (大湯沼). The valleyside onsen town is small and walkable. Most mid-range hotels, with large-scale baths, are open for day-use (higaeri nyuyoku: 日帰り入浴) to the public for ¥800 to ¥2000.
More info www.noboribetsu-spa.jp
Day Bathing – Gokuraku Experience
(夢元さぎり湯) Noboribetsu’s only but excellent public bath runs by the hot water supply company on the ground floorl. Bring your towel and soap (available rentals).
More info sagiriyu-noboribetsu.com
(第一滝本館) This long-running hotel has a variety of large indoor and open-air baths plus seven different kinds of hot water. The main bathroom offers an impressive Jigoku-dani view.
More info www.takimotokan.co.jp
Hike around the Hell Valley
Meaning the ‘hell valley’, Jikoku-dani (地獄谷) is the highlight of Noboribetsu where spewing out sulfurous gases and mineral water from the 10-hectare old explosion crater.
From here, a number of nature trails (Closed in winter) lead to Oyu-numa (大湯沼) gray hot water pond at the foot of an active volcano Hiyori-yama (日和山).
The riverside trail connects with the brook natural foot bath of Oyunuma-gawa Tennen Ashi-yu (大湯沼川天然足湯: 24hrs; Free) open throughout the year.
Buses run to Noboribetsu Onsen terminal from JR Noboribetsu Station (14min; ¥350) and some services continue to Ashi-yu iriguchi (足湯入口) at the hotel Sekisuitei (stopping at the main hotels and Noboribetsu Date Jidaimura).
There is a Donan Bus Onsen-go from Sapporo Station departing at 2pm for Ashi-yu iriguchi via Noboribetsu Onsen Terminal. Highway buses also run to Ashi-yu iriguchi from New Chitose Airport (3 daily; 1hr) and Toyako Onsen Terminal (2 daily; 1hr).