Apart from Jigokudani, one can choose to venture deeper to see Oyunuma & Mt Hiyori and enjoy footbath in Oyunumagawa. After looking through the map which contains information on the distance and duration required to complete various walking trails, we decided on the following route:
(1) Followed through Jigokudani Loop Course to visit Tessen Pond.
|View of Mt Hiyori and Oyunuma from Oyunuma Observatory|
As this is a up slope route, we had to overcome a manageable amount of steps (was slighting taxing for my parents). Apart from clear markers/signs to direct trekkers to the various scenic spots, quiz boards (related to some of the natural landscapes/formations in Noboribetsu) were placed at the start of each route and the answers to these questions can be found at the end of the routes - a great way to motivate trekkers (and us) moving forward!
At Oyunuma Observatory, a beautiful view of both Mt Hiyori and Oyunuma can be seen. Mt Hiyori (日和山) is an active volcano standing at 377 m high and Oyunuma (大汤沼) a gourd shaped crater formed from volcanic explosion is about 1 km in circumference. The area is masked by fumes which are continuously generated from Mt Hiyori and hot waters of Oyunuma - first hand encounter of a "living" earth with intense amount of energy.
Moving downslope this time round, the steps here were pretty steep, therefore one needs to be extremely careful (and do take short breaks in between if required). Stopped by another active geyser, Taisho Jigoku (大正地狱), which is about 10 m in circumference. This burping geyser emerged during the Taisho period (1912 - 1926) which explains how the name was given.
|Footpath leading to Oyunumagawa Natural Foot Bath|
Followed the footpath at the banks of Oyunumagawa (大汤沼川) which eventually led us to one secluded section of the stream that is opened for visitors to soak their legs into it - Oyunumagawa Natural Foot Bath (天然足汤). The sulphur containing hot spring originates from Oyunuma and temperature of waters is in the comfortable range of 30 - 40 degC - great way to soothe the aching muscles after a long walk!
(4) Returned back to Noboribetsu Park Service Center via No. 2 Oyunuma Nature Trail.
The whole walking trail took us about 2 hours with short breaks in between to rest, capture photos and soak out legs! Personally found this a great way to explore Noboribetsu Onsen especially when the weather is good. Do make sure you bring along bottled water to quench your thirst and towels to wipe your feet if you plan to visit Oyunuma Natural Foot Bath before you embark on the walking trails.
Tip: Do check out Noboribetsu Tourism Association website which contains plentiful information on how you can enjoy your stay in Noboribetsu.
- Noboribetsu Tourism Association: http://www.noboribetsu-spa.jp/?lang=en
- Noboribetsu Onsen Walking Map: http://www.noboribetsu-spa.jp/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/tekuteku_en.pdf
|Noboribetsu Onsen Map (Older Version)|