15 Things To Do in Noboribetsu: Hokkaido

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Source: Nao Iizuka

Noboribetsu is a very attractive area packed with history, abounding in nature and interesting attractions. It is the home of the famous Jigokudani, the valley that gives off sulfurous steam. We made a list of 15 things to do in Noboribetsu for your convenience!

1. Visit Oyunuma Pond

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Source: Kentaro Ohno

Jigokudani, the Hell Valley appeared in the explosion crater of Mount Kuttara and spreads over an area of 11 ha. Thousands of hot springs are coming out from the valley, supplying the nearby hotels and traditional inns. The main attraction of Jigokudani is Oyunuma, a sulfurous pond with steam continuously coming out of it. The pond is especially attractive during autumn when warm colors fill the surroundings. There is also a river flowing from the pond which also gives off steam, making the forests look like out this world.

2. Go hiking

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Source: Kentaro Ohno

There is more to the Hell Valley besides the sulfurous waters. There are several hiking trails to enjoy with astonishing views:

  • Hell Walk – 30-minute course
    Hell Valley Observatory -> Tessen Ike -> Yakushi Nyorai Temple -> Hell Valley Observatory
  • Hell Hike – 90-minute course
    Hell Valley Observatory -> Nata Zukuri -> Yakushi Nyorai Temple -> Tessen  Ike -> Oyunuma Brook -> Taisho Jigoku -> Oyunuma
  • Path of Literature – 60-minute course
    Steps by Kiyomizuya -> Kazuko Kuribayashi Monument -> Kyoshi Takahama Monument -> Oyunuma -> Oyunuma Brook -> Taisho Jigoku -> Oku no Yu
  • Lake Kuttara – 4 hours course
    Hell Valley Observatory -> Nanakamado -> Mt.Hiyori Observatory -> Ogi Observatory -> Hell Valley -> Lake Kuttara

3. Visit the Volcano Science Museum

Less than an hour drive from Noboribetsu stands the Volcano Science Museum built next to Mount Usu, a volcano which has erupted several times throughout the history.  The facility teaches visitors about the mechanism of volcanic eruptions following the studies made around the mountain. There are also exhibitions that show the damage made by past eruptions and ways of preventing such extensive damage in the future.

Information

  • Price: 600 yen
  • Access: a 20 minute drive from Usu Station
  • Opening hour: 09:00
  • Closing hour: 17:00
  • Holiday: December 31 – January 3
  • Website: http://www.toyako-vc.jp/en/volcano/

4. Relax in a hot spring

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Source: marianne vestergaard nielsen

Noboribetsu is the most famous hot spring resort in Hokkaido, offering several types of waters. The area has radium springs, alkaline springs, iron springs, acidic iron springs, melanterite springs, mirabilite springs, aluminum springs, salt springs and sulfur springs. Each type is good in treating various diseases like arthritis, back pain, anemia, etc.  Baths can be found at various hotels and special facilities where they are available to overnight stayers as well as day visitors.

5. Visit the Bear Park

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Source: Chi King

Around 200 brown bears are raised on Mount Shihorei next to Noboribetsu. There is a special cage with windows where people can enter and observe the animals. There is also a museum where general information about bears in presented in various materials. There are bear shows held through the year on a stage inside the facility. Performances show bears playing basketball, soccer or play mathematics games.

Information

  • Price: 2500 yen (including ropeway ride)
  • Access: by Donan bus to Noboribetsu Onsen Station
  • Opening hour: 08:30
  • Closing hour: 16:30
  • Holiday: none
  • Website: http://www.bearpark.jp/

6. Ride the Usu-zan ropeway

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Source: Kentaro Ohno

The Usu-zan ropeway is a cable car that goes to the top of Mount Usu, the volcano that has erupted four times in the 20th century.  There are observation decks where visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the surroundings. Lake Toya, Showa Shinzan, the Pacific Ocean and the volcano’s crater look spectacular when seen from above. A ride lasts for 6 minutes and also offers amazing views of the volcano.

Information

  • Price: 1600 yen
  • Access: a 10 minute drive from Toyako Onsen
  • Opening hour: 09:00
  • Closing hour: 16:00
  • Holiday: irregular days
  • Website: http://wakasaresort.com/usuzan/en/

7. Spot all the demon statues

angry demon statue by the waterfall
Source: Mark Mrwizard

There are several demon statues around Noboribetsu. Big ones like the welcome demon in front of the train station, the expressway demon that shows people the way to the city, the two demons that are placed at the entrance to Jigokudani Hell Valley and the parent and child demon that can be seen on the way to Oyunuma Brook Natural Footbath. There are also small statues scattered around the city. The big ones are carefully painted while the smaller ones are just usual stone statues, but nevertheless interesting.

8. Learn about Hokkaido’s history

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Source: Rob Dicaterino

If you want to find out more about the area’s history,  Kanto Rera is the place you should visit. The facility has on display several artifacts found in the ground in several regions of Japan.  There are also programs in which visitors can learn various historical related things, like making comma-shaped beads or making a fire with like ancient people used to.

9. Visit Date Jidaimura

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Source: kslee

The Date Jidaimura in Noboribetsu is a history-themed park about Japan’s Edo period (1603-1868). The Edo period was an era of peace and abundance that came after several wars. People started developing business, cities were built and everyone prospered. The park depicts life as it was back in those years. Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities like games and street performances. There are also a number of restaurants serving traditional dishes and souvenir shops.

Information

  • Price: 2900 yen
  • Access: by Donan bus from Noboribetsu Onsen Station to Sanai Byoin Mae Station
  • Opening hour: 09:00
  • Closing hour: 17:00
  • Holiday: none
  • Website: http://www.edo-trip.jp/lng_english/

10. Go horseback riding

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Source: Phillip Larson

What better way to enjoy such scenic landscapes than from the back of a horse? Noboribetsu offers organized tours in different locations that are fitted for any kind of experience level, from beginners to advanced riders. You are also allowed to play with the horses and feed them. The tours last from 5 minutes to 20 minutes and consist of a lesson in an enclosed arena followed by the actual walk. The prices range from 1000 yen for a short course to 2500 yen for a long one.

11. Visit the New Noboribetsu Bridge

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Source: Chi King

The New Noboribetsu Bridge that goes across the Noboribetsu River is 250 m in length and 120 meters above the water, which makes it the lowest bridge in Hokkaido. What makes it special is the vegetation around it. Many visitors come to see maple trees, Japanese sumac trees, and azalea flowers. The views from the bridge are particularly beautiful in autumn when everything becomes colorful.

12. Enjoy local food

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Source: jh_tan84

As Noboribetsu is a fishing port, the town is abundant in fresh and delicious seafood! You can enjoy various types of crabs, squid, shellfish or shrimp, served as sashimi or grilled. Other local dishes include miso ramen (wheat noodles with fermented soybeans), tempura (battered and fried vegetables or seafood), grilled beef, gyoza (meat dumplings) or Genghis Khan Barbecue (grilled mutton meat with vegetables).

13. Go skiing

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Source: Barney Moss

Sanlaiva Ski Area is the place to enjoy skiing in Noboribetsu. Sanlaiva offers seven ski courses that are fit for any kind of experience level. The area benefits from the big snowstorms that bring the perfect powder snow Hokkaido is renowned for. There are three double seat chairlifts that cater to the tourists. Equipment renting is available at several shops in the area. Beginners can also book ski lessons.

14.  Visit Marine Park Nixe

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Source: Jake Mohan

The Marine Park Nixe in Noboribetsu is a theme park that is all about fish and other sea creatures. Visitors can see sharks, stinging rays, horseshoe crabs, salmon, giant octopuses and many other creatures. There is also a pool where people are allowed to interact with small animals like snakes, turtles, and lizards. Other attractions include rides for kids, souvenir shops and interesting activities like a penguin parade.

Information

  • Price: 2450 yen
  • Access: a 10 minute walk from Noboribetsu Station
  • Opening hour: 09:00
  • Closing hour: 17:00
  • Holiday: December 1 to 5

15. Have fun at the Off Road Park

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Source: daveynin

At Off-Road Park visitors can ride a variety of vehicles like quad bikes, snowmobiles, ATVs or four-wheeled buggies. Beginners can ride with an instructor to feel safer and get used to the function of the vehicles. Lunch is also available with various delicious dishes. The combination of adrenaline with the beautiful nature that surrounds Noboribetsu will make an amazing experience!

Information

  • Access: a 15 minute drive from Noboribetsu Station
  • Opening hour: 09:00
  • Closing hour: 18:00
  • Holiday: none

Enjoy Noboribetsu!

Have a good trip and travel!

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Asia, Hokkaido Prefecture, Hokkaido Region, Japan