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Black Eggs and The Active Volcanic Valley of Owakudani

Owakudani is an active volcanic valley in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, just outside of the Tokyo metropolitan area. Looking around, you may feel as though you’ve stumbled into Mordor with active sulphur vents and the mysterious-looking black eggs known as kuro-tamago in Japanese, but a scenic ride on the Hakone Ropeway is all that separates this valley from stunning views of Mt. Fuji.


The outer shells of kuro-tamago appear black when regular chicken eggs are boiled in natural spring water containing sulphur and iron. Peel back the dark shell and discover that the inside looks (and tastes) like a normal hard-boiled egg!


Legend has it that if you eat one of the black eggs, you’ll get an extra seven years tacked onto your life. This doesn’t mean that you’ll get more years if you eat more eggs, but the eggs are usually sold in packs of five for 500 yen.


Owakudani was closed for about a year due to volcanic activity, but reopened recently. While you can rest assured that precautionary measures will be taken, those who have certain health conditions (pulmonary conditions like asthma, heart conditions, pregnancy, etc.) are advised not to enter Owakudani. Some hiking trails and nature observation paths remain closed to the public, but there is still plenty to do, see, and eat!

Owakudani is a perfect day trip from Tokyo, or the perfect addition to your stay in the Hakone area. There are two ways to get there without a car. The first is taking a scenic boat ride to Togendai Station and then sailing over the mountainside in the Hakone Ropeway aerial lift for two stops. The second method is to take a cable car from Gora Station to Sounzan Station and then hopping on the Hakone Ropeway for one stop. For updates on closures and transportation, please refer to for more information.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.