What is Tatsumaki Jigoku?
“Tatsumaki” means “Tornado” in Japanese. Tatsumaki Jigoku is a precious geyser designated as a natural monument by the city of Beppu. It emits hot water and billowing smoke at regular intervals. The dynamic appearance of the fountain mouth is a sight to behold, like a tornado blowing through hell. The eruptions occur at extremely short intervals of 30 – 40 minutes. The water blasts for six to ten minutes.
The roof blocks the powerful hot water bursts for safety reasons, but the geyser still spouts up to 50 meters. It erupts as the pressure of the underground hydrothermal water increases to a temperature of about 150 °C.
When the water reaches around 150 °C it rises from deep underground and then vaporizes as it rises to the surface causing an explosive boiling and a jet stream of hot spring water.
While other geysers, such as those in Yellowstone National Park in the USA, Iceland, and New Zealand are world-renowned, Tatsumaki Jigoku features a shorter eruption cycle than these geysers and therefore may be less known.
In the courtyard, there is a viewing platform with chairs to sit and watch. The heat from the fountains is so intense that you can feel it up there. There is also a slight smell of sulfur in the air from the springs. While we were waiting there, we heard the sound, and suddenly the hot springs started to explode. The sight of the steam rising all at once and streaming out with great force is quite spectacular.
What you can taste
While waiting for the geyser to erupt in Tatsumaki Jigoku, you can take your time to enjoy the local delicacies. At the shop, you can buy special fresh juices made from fruit harvested from the Tatsumaki local orchard and original ice cream made from fresh Oita local ingredients.
I had the freshly peeled banpeiyu (a kind of citrus) and plum ginger juice and kabosu (local citrus) juice this time. The sweet and sour combination was delicious.
The banpeiyu is picked on the Tatsumaki farm and is known to be the largest fruit in the world. The fruit is about the size of a child’s head and has a weight of 1.5 to 3 kg. You can enjoy all parts of the fruit including the skin of the fruit. You can use the skin at home to enjoy the aroma or marinate it in sugar to make a sweet snack.
After enjoying the eruption, you can also walk in the Azalea Garden in Tatsumaki Jigoku. From mid-April to early May, bright azalea flowers can be seen around the garden’s slopes. This time, we visited in the early spring, so unfortunately we could not see the azalea flower in full bloom. It would be fantastic if you visit at the right time of year as you would also be able to see the butterflies flying around the garden.
When you leave the garden, you will pass by the souvenir shop of Tatsumaki Jigoku. You can purchase an adorable Tatsumaki Jigoku postcard set. You can then use water paints to color your postcards and mail messages about your travel memories itto your friends. You will also find lots of other Beppu local products at the souvenir shop including bamboo handicrafts and bath powder made from hot spring water.
Tatsumaki Jigoku is the one of the Beppu 7 Hells (known as Jigoku Meguri). Tatsumaki Jigoku is just next to the famous Blood Pond Hell. It only takes two minutes to walk between these two hells. So, it’s a good idea to include Tatsumaki Jigoku in your itinerary when you go to see the Blood Pond Hell. Don’t miss the chance to see the hot spring tornado in action!
If you want to know more about enjoying Tatsumaki, please visit Wander Compass Beppu located in the Beppu Station building next to LOTTERIA burger shop at Beppu station. The staff will share directions on how to get there. Why don’t you visit Beppu and enjoy the onsens at Tatsumaki Jigoku?
FEE： 400 yen or 2,000 yen for all 7 Hells (Half price for children)
How to get to Beppu Onsen, where Tatsumaki Jigoku is located.
Recommended hot springs and other attractions can be found by clicking the buttons below, so please have a look!