The name Jigokudani, meaning “Hell’s Valley”, is due to the steam and boiling water that bubbles out of small crevices in the frozen ground, surrounded by steep cliffs and formidably cold and hostile forests. It is part of the Jōshin’etsu-kōgen National Park (wiki, map), and is located in the valley of the Yokoyu-River.
+ SNOW MONKEY RESORTS
The Jōshin’etsu Kōgen National Park is a popular tourist destination for skiing, mountain climbing, hiking, and onsen hot spring resorts. The Eastern Area holds the popular skiing areas of Sugadaira (map) and Shiga Kōgen (map).
The Shiga-Kusatsu-Kogen Ridge Highway traverses this section of the park, connecting the Yamanouchi Hot Springs, including the onsens of Yudanaka, in the north with the resort town of Karuizawa (map), Nagano Prefecture in the south.
Karuizawa is a popular year round resort offering many outdoor sport, hot spring and recreational activities. Convenient road and rail access from central Tokyo, has ensured Karuizawa’s popularity as a location for second homes and resort hotels since the Meiji era.
The town is known for its historic shopping street known as “Ginza dōri” or “Kyū-dō” (Ginza Street, or the Old Road, map) and association with both Japanese royalty and visitors such as John Lennon and Yoko Ono.