Hakone is an enchanting place to visit in Japan, just a day trip from Tokyo, with breathtaking views of Mt. Fuji. Among the various landmarks of the area, like Hakone Shrine and the red torii gate in Lake Ashi, the volcanic valley of Owakudani is a definitive must-visit in Hakone.
Owakudani is the area around a crater that came to be roughly 3,000 years ago due to a volcanic eruption. It is filled with active sulfur vents and hot springs, and is accessible via the scenic Hakone Ropeway. Hop on in one of the cable cars and enjoy the staggering view of Mt. Fuji while being lifted to Owakudani Station at the top!
One specialty of the area is the kuro-tamago, literally “black egg.” The eggs take this color because of being boiled in the sulfur and iron-rich hot springs of Owakudani, and it is said that eating them can promote longevity. Trek to the boiling site to taste them hot or savor them together with the spicy curry at the Owakudani Dining Hall!
Make sure to check out the weather forecast and visit the valley on a clear day, to ensure that Mt. Fuji will be visible from the site. Also, remember to check beforehand that hiking trails and the ropeway are open when you will be there, as they might be closed due to volcanic activity. If you have respiratory problems, a pacemaker, or are pregnant, it would be better to avoid Owakudani.