Exciting Places In Kyushu, Japan Thrill-Seekers Should Visit | CoolJapan

Did you know that in Japan, it's a tradition during summertime to scare the summer’s heat away with spooky tales and test one’s bravery in the face of fear? For thrill-seekers who are drawn to the adrenaline rush and the euphoria that a new adventure brings, here are some unusual tourism spots in Kyushu to explore in the future.

The abandoned city of Hashima Island

Battle-Ship Island, Nagasaki Japan. (Photo from: kntrty/CC By 2.0)

More commonly known as Gunkanjima in Japan, this is the infamous uninhabited ghost island lying about 15 kilometres from the coast of Nagasaki. You have probably seen it in one of the scenes of Skyfall, the James Bond film. Upon arrival, you will be greeted by an eerie silence that envelopes the abandoned industrial city of Hashima Island — crumbling concrete walls, old furniture buried in dust and dilapidated buildings overgrown with nature. Back in its heydays in the 1950s, this coal-mining town had around 5,000 residents who were mostly mining workers and their families. 

By 1974, the coal reserves dried up and they ended operation. Everyone evacuated in a couple of months as there were no jobs anymore, making the place a deserted island. Gunkanjima is hauntingly beautiful and stirs emotions of sadness and awe at the same time. It has a dark controversial history associated with slave workers but it is also a significant symbol of Japan’s progress towards modernisation.

Chinoike Jigoku’s Hot Spring Of Hell

With its striking red bubbling waters and a temperature that reaches 78℃, it is no wonder how this hot spring got its name ‘Blood Pond Hell’.

Chinoike Jigoku is one of eight spectacular hot springs that is part of the Jigoku Meguri sightseeing route in the famed geothermal town of Beppu. In case you are getting all excited for a good soak, this hot spring is for viewing only because of its high temperature. However, you can enjoy free therapeutic foot baths here.

With hot steam emanating from the bloody pond, it is somewhat reminiscent of a scene from hell. Very social media-worthy indeed. Mysterious as it looks, there is a scientific explanation about Chinoike Jigoku; it actually got its vivid reddish colour from the presence of iron oxide in the earth. This steaming pool has existed for over 1,300 years and it is long believed that its waters and mud contain beneficial health properties. Today, a trip to "hell" means you can also buy the Chinoike ointment, which is said to be effective for skin diseases such as eczema and acne.

The haunted Old Inunaki Tunnel

Located in Fukuoka prefecture, the Old Inunaki Tunnel is infamously known as one of the scariest spots in Japan. Legend has it that vengeful spirits inhabit this old tunnel where workers were killed when it collapsed during its construction back in the olden days. In December of 1988, the cold-blooded gruesome murder of a 20-year-old man sealed its reputation as one of the most haunted places. In fact, the entire Inunaki region in Fukuoka is believed to be haunted.

The horrifying story goes like this: A group of youths captured and brutally attacked the innocent victim in the tunnel, just because they wanted his car and he refused. They then set him on fire and left him to die in agony.

Today, the tunnel has been sealed off by concrete blocks to prevent trespassers but an opening at the top still allows thrill-seekers to climb through. Daredevils who have snuck into this dark and creepy tunnel says they heard whispering and howling noises. This tunnel is definitely not for the faint-hearted. A horror movie titled Inunaki-mura (Howling Village), based on the tunnel and the haunted village, was released this year. Take a peek at the trailer above!

The billowing fumes of the active volcano Mount Aso

An actively spewing volcano obviously spells danger but that does not deter wide-eyed tourists from visiting. Located in the city of Kumamoto, Mount Aso, consisting of five main volcanic peaks, is the largest active volcano in Japan. 

Mount Aso(Photo from: Wegdekstreepje via Flikr)

Toxic fumes permeate the air, especially when you get close to the Nakadake crater. It is an experience that is out of this world. Inside the smouldering crater lies a beautiful greenish-blue lake that visitors can admire when the conditions are favourable. But that stunning scene can turn nasty anytime.

The most recent eruption was in 2016 but as of 1 June 2020, increased volcanic activity resulted in the surrounding areas to be cordoned off. Mount Aso is not all angry and scary though. On the way to the Nakadake crater, there is a scenic spot called Kusasenri which offers panoramic views and horse rides during the warmer seasons. If you are game to witness the potentially destructive power of Mother Nature, do remember to check Mount Aso’s current state before travelling there.

Yoneichimaru Shrine’s cursed crossing

This is a story fueled by love and evil. According to local legend, a powerful warlord during the Bunji Era fell in love with the beautiful wife of Yoneichimaru. Out of a desire for his wife, Yoneichimaru’s lord plotted his death where he was ambushed and killed. His wife, Yachiyo, journeyed all the way to the Hakozaki Matsubaru area to honour his grave, and later took her own life.

Yoneichimaru Shrine

Yoneichimaru Jizoson Hall. (Photo from: そらみみ (Soramimi)/CC BY-SA 4.0)

The Yoneichimaru Shrine is built to appease her grieving spirit and inside this small shrine, visitors can also find a nine-storey granite pagoda dating back to the early 14th century as a memorial to Yoneichimaru. The Yoneichimaru Shrine is quite a famous spiritual spot according to the local people of Fukuoka but it is also said to be cursed. Numerous accidents had occurred at the Yoneichimaru railroad crossing area over the years and if you happen to come across this shrine, just be extra careful when crossing the road.

  1. 1.Hashima Island
  2. 2.Chinoike Jigoku
  3. 3.Old Inunaki Tunnel
  4. 4.Mount Aso
  5. 5.Yoneichimaru shrine
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