Owakudani - the valley of the black eggs

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Posted on Fri, Nov 07 2014 16:47:22

In the trees of Owakudani valley there are hanging pictures of something that resembles strange round animals. Actually, these are the pictures of  black eggs, which are the symbol of Owakudani.The black eggs of Owakudani are usual eggs, but cooked right in the sulfur springs, which causes the eggshells to become black. Surprisingly, they do not stain your hands and do not leave any traces of soot. 

The raw eggs are taken up with cable cars for cooking in the springs. When they are ready, they are taken back down to the local cafe. Those fresh hot black eggs are so much yummier than the regular eggs, that one can eat more than one at  a time. 

Owakudani is located near the resort of Hakone. The valley was formed in the crater of a long dead volcano. By earthly standards this happened relatively recently - about three thousand years ago, however the seismic activity in the valley still goes on. There are boiling springs which eject hot fumes and steam, and the air is permeated by a strong sulphurous smell. Surrounded by bare rocks, Owakudani valley looks very impressive – the only way to realize you are still in Japan and not inside a hellish cauldron is to turn and look at the beautiful view of mount Fuji. No wonder that Owakudani literally means “The Great Hell”.

On the other hand, the life in the vicinity of the valley is quite peaceful: the daily cable car brings dozens of tourists to the valley to admire the clouds of steam and watch the eruption of the flows of hot water. There is also sulphur processing factory on the slopes of the mountains. In addition, Owakudani valley has several Shinto temples, with the deities' statues made of volcanic lava.

Gallery: Owakudani - the valley of the black eggs

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