After our awesome trip to Mt Asahidake, I was looking for another Hokkaido adventure. We still had a couple of weeks before we had to meet my parents in Osaka, so why not keep exploring a little more of the amazing outdoors. I went down an Instagram rabbit hole and found dramatic shots of Jigokudani, or Hell Valley near the hot spring town of Noboribetsu. Wow, geysers and steam vents! Highly colored volcanic rocks and minerals! Demon statues! Free foot baths! Sounds awesome, yes? Uh…not so much.
Noboribetsu turned out to be kind of a super-cheesy town with fakey-looking demon statues (not even OLD statues, but new, plasticky-looking ones). And Hell Valley was overrun with tour buses. And there was a Bear Park (don’t even get me started on this. I refused to give them my money after I saw the brochure. Poor, sad, overcrowded kuma!). I was glad we had only booked a single night in the overpriced, tired, and kind of smelly hotel (terrible buffet, annoying people in the onsen–it all just added to the MEH of the place). Hiking for a few hours this morning was enough; we hightailed it out of there.
Just settled into our hostel in Hakodate, and I am so excited already. We have a long list of things to do and places to see, including going up to the mountain to see the (Michelin starred–who knew?) night view tonight, then planning to head to a food street. We may want to stay awhile.
Train to Noboribetsu?
Hell Valley walk, including foot bath people from Hong Kong
Arrival in Hakodate