Last updated on May 28th, 2022
Experience the unique Jigokumushi Kobo Kannawa when visiting Beppu. This hell steaming cuisine is a simple yet fantastic local dish and a must-try in Beppu.
When visiting Beppu, for sure you will amaze by its numerous hot spring water and steam jetting out across the city. But do you know, locals have been harnessing the naturally hot steam and come out with a very special local cuisine since the Edo period. The hell steam cuisine (Jigoku mushi, 地獄蒸し) is developed by using the abundance of hot steam and water. It is a very simple yet healthy cooking method that brings out the true flavors of the food. Most importantly, you have the chance to experience and cook the hell steam cuisine on your own. A unique experience and must-try food in Beppu.
Read on our fun dining experience in Jigokumushi Kobo Kannawa for the hell steaming cuisine.
Jigokumushi Kobo Kannawa
The Jigoku Mushi Kobo (地獄蒸し工房鉄輪, Jigokumushi Kōbō Kannawa) is a famous restaurant in Beppu. This self-service restaurant is not your usual place where you order your food and have them cooked and served to you. It features an interesting hands-on workshop where you have the opportunity to steam your meal in the searing hot spring steam.
Many visitors will come here to experience the hot spring steam cuisine when visiting Beppu. Understand the wait time can be long during peak hours, we decided to stop by Jigoku Mushi Kobo after visiting the five Kannawa Hell valleys. It was about 3 p.m for late lunch. But we were so glad fewer people were waiting in line.
The restaurant has an indoor seating area with tables where you can eat your food. The hot steam setup is attached beside the seating area with stone or concrete cooking spots. Hot spring steam was kept piped from jigokugama (hell pots) directly to the cooking spots. Staffs were busy helping the visitors to steam their food in the steaming area.
Firstly, you need to order the food by selecting and paying for them at a vending machine. The ordering machine was allocated nearby the entrance with a picture menu and price listed.
A wide range of food with prepared plates can be ordered here. For example seafood, fish, beef, chicken, bun, vegetables, or even rice bowls. Prices range from as low as ¥200 up to ¥4,000. Alternatively, you can also opt to bring your food here and steam it. But as tourists, we choose to purchase the food at the restaurant.
How To Make Your Hot Spring Steam Food
We decided to get the fish and vegetable set which comes with such as shiitake mushroom, and pumpkins. You will also need to rent your steam chamber based on the usage time. We get the small steam set at ¥340 for 20 minutes.
After we got the food ticket from the machine, pass it to the counter behind. The staff will check through the order and proceed with food preparation.
There was also a brief instruction to guide you on how to enjoy your food in the store. Next, following the guide, we passed the food order slip to the counter beside and collect the food.
The staff was busy preparing our order. Depending on what type of food ordered, the steaming time was slightly different. So they will place it in a different layer. The top one is the fastest and also will take out first. For fish, it needs about 10 minutes. While for the vegetable set, it took a long time 20 minutes. Think meat and rice may take a longer time.
Together with the steam set and food is given, we head over to the number counter in the kitchen area and pass to the staff. One friendly staff guided us through the steaming process. She checked through our food and explained how to operate for food placement.
We were given a chance to put in and take out the food by ourselves into the steamer. The timer was set to remind us came back to take out the food when it was done.
Following the guide, we put on the gloves and placed the food in the steaming pot. Once open the wooden lid, the force of steam jetted out was so strong. It was a fun experience when place the food to steam it.
Overall experience in the restaurant was easy and well organize follow the process flow.
Waiting For Food
While waiting, we waited patiently in the dining area. Tea, cup, utensils, and condiments such as salt and soy sauce are provided. While the cooking center is staffed by volunteers, please help yourself to take it and clean up after finishing the food. Added, please take note alcohol is prohibited on the premises.
Outside, there was a drinking fountain where you can taste the natural mineral water. Too bad it was under maintenance during our visit. Free foot bath and steam foot bath are also available to spend your time while waiting for the food.
The Taste of Hot Spring Steam Food
Time flies while we explored around. As our food is ready at different times. My friend and I take turns operating the food-taking process so that both of us can experience it once.
Here comes our steamed food. The fish set came first as it took only 10 minutes. For the price of ¥2000, the portion can be rather small. The taste was average but we finish almost everything including the vegetables. You can dip it with the salt or soy sauce if you think it was too blank.
Next, the vegetable set which needs to steam for 20 minutes. Surprisingly, all the vegetable was truly fresh and natural. We all love the vegetable set and especially like the pumpkin. It was so sweet and tasty even without adding any seasoning. You won’t forget the unique original taste of food from hot steam. It can be quite filling to finish the vegetable set
After finishing your meal, don’t forget to clear your table and placed it in the washing area.
Overview: Must Try Food in Beppu
All in all, it was truly a very cool experience to have. I feel that the fish was not truly amazing. But both of us agree that vegetable was delicious. The hot steam cuisine from Jigoku Mushi Kobo was the best way to taste the freshness and original flavor of local Kyushu agricultural products without any special seasoning. We enjoy the fun experience and highly recommend it.
Getting To Jigokumushi Kobo Kannawa
The Jigoku Mushi Kobo is located a few steps down the street from the Kannawa bus terminal. It can be accessed by frequently departing buses from JR Beppu Station in about 15 minutes. It is the best place for local unique dishes if you are looking for what to eat in Kannawa, Beppu.
Operating Hours: 9:00 to 21:00 (last start for cooking at 20:00)
Closed: Third Wednesday of each month (or the next day if Wednesday is a holiday)
Expected to Pay: Ranging from ¥2,000 to ¥4000 per person depending on what you order
Lastly, this Beppu food blog is part of the Kyushu travel post. We truly enjoy our Beppu trip and local food here. My Beppu itinerary and food tour are listed below:
- Beppu Itinerary: Ultimate Travel Guide Blog
- Toyotsune Beppu: The Best Tempura Rice Bowl
- Rokusei Beppu: A Bowl of Handmade Reimen
If you are interested, please read our travel guide to Fukuoka, Kumamoto, Yufuin, Miyazaki, and other Kyushu places.