The Jigokudani Trail in Naruko


2017.12.18

NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR

  • Naruko, the hot spring village located in a steaming pocket of Miyagi Prefecture is home to not only some of the best onsen experiences in the world but also some of the most exciting outdoor activities in all of Japan. Whether it’s climbing, hiking or just casual nature strolling you’re after you can’t go past the Jigokudani Walking Trail. With its pockets of hot spring water and steam permeating through the ground’s surface, it’s a once in a lifetime trek through the untouched heart of Japan. In English the name ‘Jigokudani’ translates to ‘hell valley’ which is a very apt title with its volcanic pockets resembling a type of hell on earth.

    The Jigokudani Trail in Naruko

    The Jigokudani Trail in Naruko

    Transforming with the seasonal changes, there’s really no bad time to take on the Jigokudani Trail, however that said it’s best to go in the more favorable seasons of spring and autumn. During this time not only is the area at its most visually stunning, but also the lack of snow and the more mild temperatures supply the most ideal walking conditions. Let the network of trails webbed throughout the area lead your walk as you fully immerse yourself in the stunning natural beauty of this hot spring haven.

    The Jigokudani Trail in Naruko

    The Jigokudani Trail in Naruko

    Located near the Jigokudani trail is the Onikobe area. In Japanese ‘Oni’ means demon or ogre so don’t be too surprised if you come across a startling monster greeting you along the way. Common in Japanese folklore, different depictions of oni vary, however in general they’re part human, part monster with massive teeth and glowing red or blue skin. Chances are if you have even a passing interest in Japanese history you will have come across the figures before, so if they do pique your interest Onikobe is a great place to come up close and personal with the infamous figures.

    The Jigokudani Trail in Naruko

    The Jigokudani Trail in Naruko

    One very unique little local delicacy you have to try when visiting Jigokudani is onsen eggs. Onsen eggs are traditionally slow cooked eggs soft boiled in the low temperatures of the natural onsen water. Known as ‘onsen-tamago’ by the locals this unique snack is cooked with a careful consideration of the delicate balance of an egg’s hard boiling point. Unlike ordinary soft-boiled eggs, the egg white of an onsen tamago is much softer than its yolk. Because egg’s yolk solidifies at about 65 degrees Celsius, and typically an egg’s white solidifies at about 70 degrees, this onsen style slow cooking allows the heat to move through the whites and reach the yolk before making the outside too hard. Typically this egg is eaten with a special sauce of broth and soy, and it’s the perfect energy boost to kick you into gear and get you prepped for an afternoon of mountain trekking.

    The Jigokudani Trail in Naruko

    The Jigokudani Trail in Naruko

    If you’re not confident about your fitness levels, don’t fret the entire trail can be accomplished in about 30 minutes. The best way to get to the Jigokudani Trail area from Sendai is by car, the journey will take just over an hour. However if you’re making your way there via public transport from Sendai Station, catch the Tohoku Shinkansen heading to Yamabiko and at Furukawa Station switch to the Rikuu East Line for Naruko-Onsen. This journey will take a little over an hour and costs 3,650 yen each way.

    The Jigokudani Trail in Naruko

    The Jigokudani Trail in Naruko

    Narukonsen
    place
    Miyagi Pref
    Onikobe Onsen
    place
    Miyagi Osaki-shi Narukonsen Onikobe
    phone
    0229833441

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