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川原毛地獄 Kawarage-jigoku Kawarage Jigoku

Jp En

Kawarage Jigoku located at the foot of Mt. Takamatsudake in Yuzawa City, Akita Prefecture, is one of Japan’s three great spiritual places; others are Mt. Osorezan in Aomori Prefecture and Mt. Tateyama in Toyama Prefecture.

Kawarage Jigoku is the ruins of the sulfur mine, which had been flourished since the Edo period (1603-1868). It is said that the mountain was first trekked by the priest Doso in 807. Fumes of hot water gush out of the mountainside covered with grayish white lava, giving off strong smell of sulfur. The desolate scenery of naked hillside evokes us of the horrible images of Hell.

There are as many as 136 small and large Jigokus (geothermal pits) in the mountain area, 800 m above sea level. Jigokus include Chinoike Jigoku (Blood Pond Hell), Tsurugi Jigoku (Sword Hell), Bakuro Jigoku (Horse Dealer’s Hell), Hariyama Jigoku (Pincushion Hell) and Nusubito Jigoku (Thief Hell).

This high-temperature hot water flows down into 20 m high Kawarage Oyutaki in the downstream. The waterfall then flows into the basin in the huge rock, where people can enjoy soaking in a natural hot spring.
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桂昌寺跡 地獄極楽 Keishouji-ato Jigoku-gokuraku Jigoku-Gokuraku (heaven and hell) Cave at Keishoji Temple Ruin

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Jigoku-Gokuraku (heaven and hell) Cave at Keishoji Temple Ruin
This is a cave dug out under the supervision of the monk Godo Hoin of Tendai sect, who intended to teach Buddhism to common people by experiencing Jigoku-meguri (hell tour). The cave is historically very precious in that it has been well preserved as it was when completed with only chisels. Walking into the cave, you will first be judged by Enma Daio (the gate keeper king), then go along the hell road (40 m) guided by Gozu (steer-headed executioner) and Mezu (horse-headed executioner) until you reach the Chinoike-jigoku (Blood Pond Hell). On the way Datsueba (Old Hag of Hell) will be luridly waiting for you. Beside the Blood Pond Hell, Aka-oni (Red Demon) and Ao-oni (Blue Demon) await you. After passing through the Hell Road, you will go along the Heaven Road (30 m) helped by the thirteen Buddhas and then welcomed by Raigo-Amida (Amida's Welcoming Descent), Kannon, and Seishi-Bosatsu (Guardian of Buddha Wisdom), who will lead you to Gokuraku-Jodo (the heaven). Climbing up the 5-meter vertical hole with the help of the chains, you will get to Gokuraku-Jodo, where you can enjoy the fine view with Amida-Nyorai (Lord of Gokuraku) and many other Bosatsu (Bodhisattvas).
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霊場 恐山 Reijyou Osorezan Mt. Osorezan

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Mt. Osorezan is said to have been first settled in 862 by the monk, Jikaku. It is one of Japan’s three great spiritual places. Strong smell of sulfur and the desolate scenery of volcanic rocks evoke us of the images of Hell. Beyond this desolate rocky stretch lies the white sand shores of Gokurakuhama (Heavenly Beach) and Lake Usoriyama, which makes a strong contrast. Mt. Sacredness of Mt. Osorezan comprises the specific natural settings and religious devotion of the local people. There is a folklore that every dead spirit goes to Mt. Osorezan. This mountain was long known as the place to hold a memorial service to the dead. After World War II, when “Itako no Kuchi Yose (the calling of the spirits of the dead)” at Osorezan Festival and “Aki Mairi (autumn festival)” came to be known nationwide, Mt. Osorezan became popular among tourists. Thousands of Japanese make a queue to see the itako (oracle) during the great festivals.
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大分別府海地獄 Ooita-beppu-umijigoku Umi Jigoku at Beppu Hot Spring

Jp En

Beppu Hot Spring town in Oita Pref. has the largest volume of hot water in Japan. There are as many as about 3,000 hot spring sources around the areas known as “Beppu Hatto (eight major hot springs)” including Kankaiji, Kanawa and Kamegawa. Also the tour called “Jigoku Meguri (Hell Tour),” through which you will go around the eight Jigokus (geothermal pits) such as Umi Jigoku (Sea Hell), Yama Jigoku (Mountain Hell) and Kamado Jigoku (Cooking Pot Hell), is a very popular sightseeing program. Umi Jigoku is the largest Jigoku of the eight. Although the water temperature is as high as 98℃, its cobalt blue water remind us of the sea in the South Pacific Ocean. This hot spring pond emerged about 1200 years ago after Mt. Tsurumi erupted. When iron sulfate content reacts to the sun light, the water looks blue. Contrary to the name of “Jigoku,” its bottomless cobalt blue is really beautiful.
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