In the valley of Owakudani, smoke billows up from the ground, and there are no trees in sight. Not to mention, it smells of sulfur.
You will not be surprised to know that this area was known as Jigokudani, which means the “Valley of Hell,” in ancient times.
The valley was formed about 3,000 years after the last eruption of the Hakone Volcano, and the formidable landscape is now one of Hakone’s premier tourist spots.
If you ride the Hakone Ropeway, you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the valley between Owakudani and Sounzan Stations.
The foot path is currently off limits due to heightened volcanic activity, but the views from the ropeway stations are still incredible.
If you visit Owakudani, don’t forget to try a famous black egg. The eggs are boiled in hot spring water that is rich in iron and hydrogen sulfide, and a chemical reaction turns the egg shells black. According to local lore, you will gain seven years of life for every egg you eat. When you peel off the shell, you’ll find a regular looking boiled egg inside, but the taste is much richer. You can purchase black eggs at Owakudani Kuro Tamago Kan.
The Hakone Geomuseum, located next door, has a free area and features displays on the Hakone Volcano and surrounding Geopark.
(Information current as of November 7, 2017)
Address: 1251-1 Sengokuhara, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa Prefecture (Owakudani Parking Lot)
Tel.: 0460-84-5201 (Owakudani Information Center)
Open: 9:00 – 17:00 (locked after hours)
Access: Take the Hakone Ropeway to Owakudani Station.
Parking:Regular cars ¥520 (Parking lot hours: 9:00 – 16:00)