Located 112km to the south of Sapporo, Japan lies the Jigoku-dani onsen town of Noboribetsu. Jigoku-dani or Hell Valley is a 24 acre geothermal crater that formed from the eruption of Mt Kuttara 20,000 years ago and it is the main source of Noboribetsu’s hot springs.
Although it seems like a scene from hell with its red stone cliffs, bubbling geysers and steaming caves, Jigoku-dani is also many people’s idea of heaven as it is the home to dozens of onsen (natural hot water bath).
Instead of angels, Noboribetsu has demons to protect its hot springs. Known as Yukijin, these demons are around to ward off evil spirits and pray for the good fortune of the humans.
Every June till August, during the summer, there will be a Demon Fireworks Festival (Onihanabi) in Noboribetsu. The Yukijin will carry large burning torches in the shape of kanabo clubs and launch handheld fireworks into the air to the beat of the Japanese drums.
The event takes place at Jigoku-dani Observatory and admittance is free. However, you should arrive early in order to secure a good seat. The show begins at 8.30pm, every Thursday and Friday and runs approximately 45 minutes.
Watching the show, we love how each movement are choreograph in sync with the fireworks as well as the beat of the drums. Not known to many, at the end of the event, you could have a photo-opp with the demons.