History of Owakudani
Owakudani was created some 3000 years ago during the last eruption of Mt. Hakone. It was finally formed in the following 100 years due to volcanic activity. It was originally called "Ojikoku" or "Jikokudani" and was renamed as Owakudani in 1873, following Meiji Emperor and Empress visiting.
Later, Owakudani Tourist Center was set up in the vicinity of volcanic craters and Sulphur springs, attracting a lot of tourists. The entrance may be closed, in case of bad weather.
Volcanic smoke valley
White smoke and smell of Sulphur drift around the stone valley and you can feel the volcanic activity right beside you. There are various alleys across Owakudani and we also recommend viewing it from a cable car. It takes 20 minutes to reach Mt. Sounzan from Owakudani. You can view the valley from 130m and it really looks like Jigokudani (Hell Valley). One-way cable car fee from Owakudani to Soun-zan is 840 yen, round-trip – 1510 yen.
Kuro-tamago (black egg)
There is a jizo (guardian deity of children) in Owakudani known as Enmei Jizo Bosatsu, who promotes longevity and child-raising, and it is said to have been carved by Kobo Daishi during the Heian Period (794-1185). According to the legend, if you eat a black egg, associated with this jizo, it would add seven years to your life. The eggs are boiled in the hot spring and their shells become black due to the chemical reaction of volcanic gases. Be sure to try them if you visit Owakudani. Kuro-tamago are sold at Tamago Chaya and Yu-Land. At Yu-Land, you can also buy fast food, Owakudani original goods and yosegi zaiku (traditional Hakone craft).