It is smoking at Owakudani, Hakone. Owakudani (大涌谷) literally means “boiling valley”and there’s no other name more suitable than that because the whole place is indeed an active volcanic zone with bubbling hot onsen and overwhelming pungent sulfuric fumes.
Hot, milky sulfuric onsen which is used for cooking black eggs or “kuro tamago”.
The egg shells turn black as a result of chemical reaction with sulfur+iron. The eggs have a faint smell of sulfur which might deter you from eating it, but as you break the shells open, the egg tastes normal, couldn’t tell it apart from a standard hard boiled egg! The eggs come in a packet of 6 pieces (500 yen) and are thought to prolong life by 7 years. Gary and I each had 2 pieces (3 is way too much to take), so woop woop ! We have extended our life expectancy by 14 years! Hello Kitty is a big thing too in Owakudani! You will find her dressed in black egg suit in limited editions! (Black egg picture credits to owakudani.com).
With Owakudani at a level of 1044 m, luckily for us it was a clear day and we had a spectacular view of Mount Fuji.
The Hakone Ropeway is a scenic way to get to Owakudani. You board the ropeway at Togendai (桃源台) which is a 10 minutes ride to Owakudani and you get to see awesome views of Mount Fuji and panoramic views of Lake Ashi and fuming Owakudani beneath.
Enjoy more photos below 🙂