Japan’s oldest natural hot spring, registered as a National Site of Scenic Beauty, isn’t what you might first expect it to be. Devoid of a beautiful blue pool to soak your tired body in, it instead is a boiling spring of dark red that will make you feel as though you’ve been transported right to the gates of hell.

A photo posted by YOKARI09080 (@jirurun) on

Chinoike-Jigoku, translated as the “Bloody Hell Pond,” is one of the most popular tourist spots in the famous Beppu Onsen area of Oita Prefecture. Though it certainly makes for a remarkable one-stop visit, it is also part of the well-known Hell Tour (Jigoku Tour) where travelers are taken around to see the 8 “Hells of Beppu” in the area, each representing a different theme of hell.

A photo posted by Maria (@amapola_sola) on

A photo posted by まなか♡ (@yulove114) on

But no hot spring compares to Chinoike-Jigoku. Possessing a history of over 1,300 years, it is a 90-foot-deep churning spring of red mud with a temperature of 78℃ (172°F). It is named after an image of hell found in the Buddhist religion, and is even said to have been a place used to torture people, before boiling them to death in the dark red pool.

A photo posted by あゆむ (@ayumu4141) on

A photo posted by Mu Wa (@w.mu) on

It’s not all hellish at Chinoike-Jigoku, though. Despite how it may look, the hot spring is known to be good for the skin, and you will be able to purchase skin care products made from its mud. They even offer drinks and snacks, such as little cups of red pudding, that look like they were cooked up in the fires of the underworld.

And although you won’t be able to dip directly into Chinoike-Jigoku, they do have a foot spa that uses water from the spring where you can soak your feet. So if you’re looking for an unforgettable travel destination where you can get both stimulation and relaxation, you might consider penciling in a visit to Chinoike-Jigoku.

A photo posted by Yuka Nakamura (@okayu86) on

By - grape Japan editorial staff.