Owakudani crater, black egg, major tourist and sightseeing location and attraction in Hakone Japan

Owakudani in Hakone, Japan

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Owakudani, a major attraction and destination in Hakone.

Thermal smoke around a charred rock at Owakudani, Hakone
Charred remains of a rock at Owakudani after volcanic eruptions

Owakudani or Jigokudani means "The Valley of Hell". Owakudani is located along the Hakone Ropeway and lies between Sounzan and Togendaiko. It is still spewing and bubbling with sulphur and thermal smoke about 3000 years after the last volcanic eruption of mount Hakone. black egg or 'egg of life' cooked in the thermal heat source at owakudani, Hakone The entire area is still hazy and smells of sulphur and egg. Around the crater at Owakudani is where you find what I call the "Egg of Life". It is known locally as kurotamago or black-egg. The name is derived from the color of the eggshell which is black from boiling in the thermal hot spring. It is worth mentioning that while the shell is blackened by hard boiling in the hot spring, the albumen and all content remains the same like in any other egg.
Priced at 6 for 500 yen, the local myth is that eating one of these eggs can add seven(7) years to your lifespan.
Owakudani is a major destination for any visitor to Hakone.

There are always lots of tourists and sightseers in and around the Owakudani crater all year round, many of them eating "kurotamago" or black-egg. The recommended way to enter Owakudani is by the Hakone Ropeway which gives tourists and sightseers a clear aerial view of the crater and the opportunity to take photos from the air. On a clear fall or winter morning, there's also the added bonus of having a great view of Mt. Fuji. To continue your sightseeing experience, when you get off the Hakone Ropeway at Togendaiko, get onboard the Pirate Ships and cruise the lake Ashi.


Below are some photos of Owakudani craters taken from the Hakone Ropeway car showing smokes still coming from the crater thousand of years after eruption and ongoing construction works on the crater.


aerial photo of owakudani crater taken from the Hakone Ropeway car  owakudani, an aerial photo taken from the Hakone Ropeway car

A major means of transportation within Hakone is the Hakone sightseeing cruises or replica pirate ships called kaizokusen in Japanese. These sightseeing cruises got their names "pirate ships" from the ancient pirate ships after which they were modelled. They cruise along lake Ashi or Ashinoko(Japanese) between Togendai and Hakone-machi with stop-over at Moto-Hakone and they are themselves another form of attraction. Cruise lake Ashi and see the beauty of Hakone onboard of one of these ships below.

the sea pirate ship, Royal at port Hakone on lake Ashi  the sea pirate ship, Frontier at port Hakone on lake Ashi  the sea pirate ship, Vasa at port Hakone on lake Ashi

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Best Views:

  • Mount Fuji - Autumn/winter, early mornings and late evenings from the boats along the Ashi lake, from the mountains or from Moto Hakone.
  • Cherry blossom - April
  • Chinese silvergrass - Autumn
  • Another great view in Autumn is along the lake when all the leaves on the trees turn yellow and red.
  • Hakone is a mountainous resort, the driveway is complete with viewing spots all along the mountain range to the top, from where the beauty of the sprawling Ashi Lake can also be viewed. You can also view the mountains from the boats along the Lake Ashi.
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