Black eggs of Owakudani (Photo: favorstyle / Shutterstock.com)
Black eggs of Owakudani (Photo: favorstyle / Shutterstock.com)

Black Eggs of Owakudani, Hakone

Feasting on boiled eggs in "the Valley of Hell"

Owakudani is an active volcanic valley in the famed Hakone region west of Tokyo. It’s known to locals as "Jigokudani" (the Valley of Hell) and is famous for its black eggs, which are boiled in the sulfurous waters to give the egg shells a distinctive color.

The Owakudani area will surely take your breath away, not just for the magnificent view of nearby Mt. Fuji on a clear day, but also from the rising volcanic gases that originate underneath the valley itself. When you look around, there is an infinite amount of steam pouring up through vents scattered around the mountain and a very distinct odor that will remind you that you are indeed traversing an active volcanic valley.

Owakudani’s Black Eggs

Black eggs of Owakudani
Black eggs of Owakudani (Photo: favorstyle / Shutterstock.com)

Black eggs, you say!? Don’t worry — they are regular chicken eggs. The albumen and other parts of the egg still look the same as a traditional boiled egg, but it’s the manner in which they are boiled that makes them a little bit special.

These eggs are cooked in natural spring water for 60 minutes at a temperature of 80 degrees Celsius. They are then steamed at 100 degrees for 15 minutes in steel baskets.

The water that they are boiled in contains sulfur and iron, thus giving the shells their unique color. The black eggs, commonly called Kuro-Tamago by the locals, are perfectly safe, although they may smell like sulfur. In fact, eating them is believed to add a few years to your life span – on average, five to seven years!

The price for four eggs is ¥500 (as of April 2024). You can purchase these special eggs at Oowakudani Kurotamagokan, a store near Owakudani Station. There are also plenty of other omiyage (souvenirs) to choose from, if you are not too keen about bringing home the eggs. There are manju (bean jam buns) that have been designed to look like the black eggs, as well as tasty cookies!

The egg and Mt. Fuji are twins
The egg and Mt. Fuji are twins (照片由: TZIDO SUN / Shutterstock.com)

Please note that the trail to the egg boiling site (called Owakudani Nature Study Path) is ONLY accessible with a guided tour. The trail closed to individual tourists in May 2015. The tour occurs four times a day, and prior reservation is required. You can make a reservation through the booking site (Japanese only). This trail is perfect for people who want to more deeply explore Owakudani Valley. Please be aware that you cannot purchase eggs at the egg boiling site.

Path to Owakudani Egg Boiling Station
Path to Owakudani Egg Boiling Station

Owakudani Ropeway Closures

In recent years, an increased level of noxious gases caused the closure of the ropeway and trails around Owakudani for a prolonged amount of time. While the ropeway is currently running its full route once again, some of the trails remain closed to visitors and the volatile nature of the region means the area's accessibility is subject to change. For up-to-date information on the status of the ropeway and the trails around Owakudani, please visit the Hakone Ropeway homepage.

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