What fresh hell is this?

On the southern island of Kyushu, in Nagasaki Prefecture, lies the city of Unzen. It’s an area famous for its natural phenomenon known as jigoku, which literally translates to “hells.” These sulphurous geothermal vents of steam are quite literally hot as hell, reaching temperatures over 100 degrees Celsius (212 Fahrenheit).

Although scalding and toxic, there’s certainly an exotic charm to them and walkways have been setup to allow people a casual stroll through these circles of hells. There’s also a historic significance to them as the sites where various Christian martyrs were killed, thus making them “holy hells.”

For these reasons and more, these features have been a draw for the area for ages, but on 23 December, 2019, all hell broke loose again.

In a small parking lot along National Highway 57, a section collapsed and steam rose from the hole. The lot was closed and a survey revealed that the ground underneath it had become hollow. When the remaining asphalt and soil were excavated last December, hot water and steam emerged. The 450-square-meter (4,800-square-foot) area had totally gone to hell, and the city couldn’t be happier about it.

Conservation expert Kyoya Hattori explained that “this is a valuable phenomenon that shows how hells move over the years.” And to take advantage of this new piece of natural beauty, the city is building a park on the other side of Highway 57 with lush maple trees and a hell of a view.

The development is expected to be completed in late August, but before then, they are looking for a new name for this place. Strictly speaking, it is geographically a part of the existing Seishichi’s Hell, so it will technically be a “nickname,” but whoever comes up with it will receive a 30,000 yen (US$274) gift voucher for a trip to this hell and back.

▼ A trailer for the new hell and nicknaming campaign

Netizens weren’t sure more hell was needed on Earth, and also struggled with what anyone could possibly name it.

“Parking Hell”
“Yet another hell?!”
“Don’t we have enough hell?”
“Hell Angel”
“A nickname for hell, eh…”
“They’re being awfully flippant about the ground opening up and hell coming out.”
“A map of that place must be fun to read.”

Finding a nickname for a new hell is tricky, and unfortunately the window to submit is rapidly closing. But if you can come up with something good before 4 June, a ride along the highway to hell might be in your future.

Of course, it would have to work in Japanese, which rules out “Raising,” “Bloody,” “A Living,” “What The,” “Like,” “Bat Out Of,” and “Snowball’s Chance In.” There’s sure to be something though, and when you come up with it don’t forget to send it over to his new hell in a handbasket via the Unzen Portal website as soon as possible.

Source: Unzen Portal, Nagasaki Shimbun, Hachima Kiko
Top image: YouTube/雲仙地獄チャンネル
Insert images: Unzen Portal
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