Beppu boasts the largest number of hot springs in all of Japan, each volcanic beauty aptly named ‘Hell’ due to its boiling water and otherworldly appearance. One of Beppu’s many famous hot springs is Bozu Jigoku, also known as Monk’s Hell or Shaven Head Hell due to the bubbling mud resembling the top of a monk’s shaved head.
Even though the region has an abundance of hot springs, Monk’s Hell is rare in that it is one of few mud springs in the area. Those who are interested in seeing all of Beppu’s otherworldly sites must make sure to add this remarkable attraction to their travel itinerary.
Journeying to the Monk’s Hell
The journey to the Monk’s Hell takes approximately 20 minutes by bus from JR Beppu Station, which stops at the station’s West Exit. The nearest bus stop to the attraction is ‘Honbozu’ bus stop. If you’re driving, rest assured that there is ample parking space at this site.
To enter, you will have to go through the building pictured above. At this entrance, visitors will be required to pay an entrance fee of 400 Yen for adults and 200 Yen for children. Please note that free passes cannot be used at Beppu’s famous hot spring hells.
Near the entrance, visitors will lay eyes upon this intriguing statuette of a priest from the Tang era, said to be the ancestor of learning. The water pictured is not ordinary water, but hot spring water straight from Beppu’s thermal springs.
A History that Dates Back 500 Years
On a wooden board, visitors can learn all about the history of this ‘Hell’ site. Monk’s Hell first formed when a large earthquake struck the land, causing an underground mud volcano to explode to the surface. According to history, a large temple once stood at this same site and was subsequently destroyed by this natural disaster.
Since the time of this earthquake, hot mud has continuously bubbled to the surface of this region. And it is what we know as Monk’s Hell today.
Due to its historical background, rarity, and large scale, the Monk’s Hell is considered one of the Oita Prefecture’s most precious monuments. Even though Beppu is known for its high number of hot springs, few of them have been designated as natural monuments in this way.
Plenty of Beautiful Sights, Including a Japanese Garden
The site of Monk’s Hell has been well maintained and manicured, making it a glorious sight to behold and stroll through. With an abundance of greenery, those who stop by for a walk will find that it is an extremely relaxing space. Due to its proximity to the hot spring, white steam can be seen rising from various crevices. Unique to Beppu, the atmosphere feels truly divine, as if one is walking amongst nature’s powers.
In addition to the main hot spring attraction, visitors can also see the remains of the temple that was destroyed in the large explosion. Mineral-rich mud and clay bubble to the surface, but this is only open to the public in the morning.
Mud hot springs are scattered all over the site, filling the air with the delightful sound of bubbling. The mud is extremely hot at a temperature of nearly 100℃. Visitors can feel the breath of the earth up close at this fascinating location.
When in Beppu, make sure to stop by Bozu Jigoku!
Address: 6 Ogura, Beppu, Oita 874-0842, Japan
Business Hours: 8:30 – 17:00 (Updated on September 2020)
Visit the Website Here
* Please note that Bozu Hell is different from Oniishi Bozu Hell, a different hot spring in the area.
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