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.
The nearest airport is Sapporo's New Chitose Airport, served by Donan Bus direct to Noboribetsu (¥1,170). You can also take a train directly from the airport.
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, Chuo (中央) bus and Dounan (道南) bus offer cheap, ¥1900 yen (one-way) trips to Noboribetsu in about 1 hour and 40 minutes. Boarding happens at Hakodate Station and Chuo bus terminal [中央バスターミナル), and schedules can be found here (relevant station 登別):
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.
- 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!
- Bear Farm (クマ牧場 Kumabokujo). 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.
- Marine Park (マリンパーク). Aquarium built like a Danish castle, with a small amusement park bolted on.
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, ☎ +81-0143-84-2111. This famous hotel makes a creditable 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.
|Routes through Noboribetsu|
|Tomakomai ← Shiraoi ←||N S||→ Muroran → Oshamambe|
|Sapporo ← Shiraoi ←||N S||→ Muroran → Oshamambe|