I visited Noboribetsu in late autumn, when the leaves have already turned deep crimson and there is a refreshing chill in the air. Noboribetsu is a well known hot spring resort in the south of Hokkaido and a two hour train journey from the capital of Sapporo. I travelled to Noboribetsu to revel in the traditional, small-town Japanese hospitality it is so famous for. As our train pulled up at the station, a wonderful Disney-like castle loomed across the main road. I later learned that was the aquarium. But we were heading to the heart of Noboribetsu and Hell Valley, so we shuffled onto the station shuttle bus along with the handful of other tourists.