Chinoike Jigoku – Beppu, Japan - Atlas Obscura

Chinoike Jigoku

Steaming blood-red hot spring from hell. 


In Beppu City, Japan, there are nine steaming hot springs. Each is unique in color and composition, and looks strikingly different from the average natural spring. Chinoike Jigoku is the black sheep of these already alternative pools.

Chinoike Jigoku diverges from the pack in its composition, appearance, and history. Only a small pool, its name is translated to Bloody Hell Pond, and its appearance immediately matches the images conjured by its name alone.

At 78 degrees Celsius, Bloody Hell Pond could better be used for cooking than a spa treatment. Its boiling waters bubble and send steam wafting off its surface into the air. Besides its outrageous temperature, Chinoike Jigoku is also rich in iron oxide at the base of the pond, which gives the pool a deep reddish color.

Since 700 C.E. sources have mentioned the pond and its appearance, which according to Buddhist beliefs, resembled a nightmarish underworld. It doesn’t help that the pool’s original uses were just as hellish as its dark, red, boiling mud. Chinoike Jigoku was used to torture people, and then boil them to death.

Today, it is one of the larger tourist attractions in the area, and people can purchase small skin products made with the mud from Chinoike Jigoku. The Bloody Hell Pond, now available as a soothing cream.

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Beppu City is accessible by train and bus from around Japan

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