Noboribetsu actually comprises the nearby towns of Noboribetsu, Horobetsu and Washibetsu. However, for most visitors the main target is the hot spring village of Noboribetsu Onsen (登別温泉), 6 km inland from Noboribetsu itself. The vast majority of (Japanese) tourists are drawn to the 11 types of water found in the local hot springs. Water contains sulfur and iron.
Noboribetsu is located on the JR Muroran Line between Oshamambe and Tomakomai.
From Sapporo, Noboribetsu can be reached by limited express in about one hour at a cost of ¥4160. The run from Hakodate to Noboribetsu is about 2 1/4 hours at a cost of ¥6500.
If you're looking for a cheaper alternative than the train, these two companies run services from Sapporo:
- Chūō bus (中央). From Sapporo train station and Chūō bus terminal (中央バスターミナル, chūō basu tāminaru) to Noboribetsu bus stop 350m away north-west from Noboribetsu train station.
- Dōnan Bus (道南バス). From Sapporo train station, 2 stops in Noboribetsu-onsen.
The main sights of Noboribetsu Onsen can be seen easily on foot. Sensible footwear is highly advisable as this area gets a lot of snow. Some of the paths around Hell Valley can be impassable even in Spring.
- 1 Hell Valley (地獄谷 Jigokudani). Sulphurous volcanic pits and geysers. Included in the Japanese Ministry of Environment`s top 100 areas of fragrance and scenery!
- 2 Bear Farm (クマ牧場 Kumabokujō). The small, crowded enclosures in which the bears are kept may be disturbing to Western visitors. The entry fee is also quite expensive - ¥2500, and there are only 3 cages of bears.
- 3 Marine Park Nixe (マリンパークニクス, marin pāku nikusu). Aquarium built like a Danish castle, with a small amusement park bolted on.
- 4 Noboribetsu Date Jidaimura (登別伊達時代村). Theme park about Edo era.
Get wet! The area boasts a huge number of hot spring resorts in all shapes and sizes. The majority are within walking distance from the bus station. If staying overnight it is de rigueur to wander around town dressed in yukata.
- Dai-Ichi Takimotokan, ☎ . This famous hotel makes a credible claim to being the largest spa in Asia. ¥2000 gets you one day's access to the 29 large baths, the largest of which is nearly 4,950m² in size. Open 24 hours.
The town has plenty of souvenir shops and there is an abundance of demon related paraphernalia to take home. Bath salts are also very popular. Keep an eye out for locally made beer, the cans come in blue or red and have a demon motif.
- Sobadokorofukuan, 30 Noboribetsuonsencho, ☎ .
|Routes through Noboribetsu|
|Tomakomai ← Shiraoi ←||N S||→ Muroran → Oshamambe|
|Sapporo ← Shiraoi ←||N S||→ Muroran → Oshamambe|