One of the famous places to visit at the foot of Mount Fuji in Japan, besides the hot spring bathing area of Hakone (Hakone Onsen) and the old village of Oshino Hakkai, there is Owakudani valley. This is a place where you can observe volcanic activity. On clear days, from Owakudani, you can also see the Mount Fuji with a great view. So, how to get to Owakudani hakone and what to do in Owakudani valley, Japan (Owakudani Japan, Owakudani Hell Valley)? Let’s check out our Owakudani hakone blog with the fullest Owakudani travel guide to help you make a perfect day trip to Owakudani valley of Japan and try its specialty called “Kuro-tamago” (black boiled eggs) to find out the answer!
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Owakudani, also known as the valley of hell (Owakudani hell valley), is a valley formed from a crater and dating back as far as 3000 years ago. This valley is located in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan (about 170km from Tokyo). Today, this place becomes a beautiful attraction, is in the must-see-list of tourists when visiting the famous Mount Fuji.
Referring to the Owakudani Hell Valley, the Japanese often immediately remember the image “a valley stinks, and you risk being boiled alive”, because it is surrounded by a layer of sulfur that has a pungent odor covering the air. And moreover, around this valley is a white smoke surrounded by steam and hot air holes can “spray” at any time.
In 1873, Emperor Meiji and the queen came here, renamed the valley of Great Hell to Owakudani. Later, it was built into a typical tourist site of Hakone as you see today. May 2015, this tourist area was closed due to volcanic activity. In April 2016, the site was reopened, but it is still in danger of being closed again.
Now coming to this valley, walking around for a while, you will notice the pungent smell of sulfur in the air with dense in some spots and thin in the others, but generally if you unfamiliar with this smell and you will feel slightly shocked. (This place in the foggy landscape looks so beautiful, but in reality the air is not pure.)
Owakudani Hakone blog: What to do in Owakudani Valley?
Check-in with the Kuro-tamago black egg icon
When you come to Owakudani Valley, the first thing you should definitely do is take a check-in photo with the legendary icon black egg of Kuro-tamago. The reason why Owakudani has a black egg symbol is because the shells of the eggs after being boiled in hot water of this valley turn black because the water contains sulfur and other minerals. These eggs are called Kuro-tamago. It is rumored that eating one egg will extend your life by 7 years. The truth is that no one knows, but any Japanese visitor comes here to visit will buy at least “dozens of eggs” as gifts. Each bag has about 5 eggs, for a total of 500 yen. You have to wait a long in line for your turn. Note that it is advisable to prepare the coins in advance to pay because there are many people in the queue, and the Japanese do everything quickly so it is not convenient for you to pick up money or waiting for you get cash back.
After you bought the eggs, there will be outdoor chairs near the egg buying area to give you a seat to enjoy. These chairs are also made and painted like eggs. I bought a bag of eggs, tried one of them, and the rest brought back to my friends… And yet they didn’t dare to eat it, and put it on the table as a souvenir item,haha. This time I went alone so no one took pictures for me, I also forgot to bring Tripod so I mainly take the scene and the selfie photos were hidden because it was so disgusting, LOL. In addition, I also spent the time to filming, so I only captured few images.
Walking around for sightseeing, take pictures
The scenery in Owakudani Valley is very beautiful. You can walk around for sightseeing and photographing. In the midst of a dim space with lots of beautiful white mist (steam) is the light glistening sun. (However, do not be foolish to take a deep breath because the smell of sulfur here is very strong. Initially unfamiliar, you will be annoyed by this pungent smell). Here, people standing 5 meters apart cannot see each other.
Taking a ropeway
Besides walking or by car, you can take the cable car (ropeway) to enjoy the surrounding scenery from above.
At Owakudani, you can buy a wide variety of souvenirs as well as sweets to give to friends and family. The souvenir stalls are located close to the stall selling black eggs. There is also a toilet in this area, so you won’t have to worry.
Owakudani Japan: When should we go to Owakudani Valley?
The best time to go to Owakudani valley is in spring – summer – autumn. Spring is from March to May, summer is from June to August, autumn is from September to November. These are also good times to combine with visiting some surrounding places like Oshino Hakkai village, Mount Fuji, Hakone town, etc.
Owakudani hell valley: How to get to Owakudani valley?
Address: Japan, 〒250-0631 Kanagawa-ken, Ashigarashimo-gun, Hakone-machi, Sengokuhara, 県道734号線
Owakudani is located in Hakone, about 170km from Tokyo, so you can go for a day. From Tokyo you can take train or bus to Odawara Station with travel time about 1h 48m includes 22 min transfer, from there you will get to Owakudani.
To reach Owakudani valley, you can take a cable car (Hakone Ropeway) between Sounzan and Togendai. And to get to Sounzan, you can take the Hakone Tozan Railway from Hakone-Yumoto Station by transferring at Gora Station or take a bus (from Odawara Station, Hakone-Yumoto Station, Kowakidani Station). Alternatively, you can take the Izuhakone bus (at Ōwakudani Bus Stop). Do not go on weekends because visitors come here these days are very crowded. If you self-driving to get here, it will be very tired because all parking lots are full, if you want to send your car, you have to wait for the cars inside come out.
For travelers who want to visit Owakudani Valley and some prominent locations around Mount Fuji such as Lake Ashi, Oshino Hakkai village conveniently, healthier and more economical, you can book a day tour from Klook. They will pick you up and drop off at your hotel with tour guide.
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, to and from Tokyo you can refer to
- Private Narita International Airport Transfers (NRT) for Tokyo 23 Wards, Hakone, or Karuizawa
- Private Haneda International Airport Transfers (HND) for Tokyo 23 Wards, Hakone, or Karuizawa
- Airport Limousine Bus Transfers from/to Narita and Haneda International Airport (Free Wifi Onboard)
- Tokyo Amazing Sightseeing Bus Day Tour
- Tokyo Highlights Private Day Tour
- Nikko Day Tour from Tokyo
- Mt Fuji & Hakone Day Tour: Lake Ashi & Ropeway Day Trip from Tokyo
- Nikko Cultural Day Tour from Tokyo
- Tokyo Subway Ticket (24, 48, or 72 Hours)
- Tokyo Skyliner and Tokyo Subway Ticket
- Shuttle Bus Transfers (One Way/Round Trip) from Shinjuku/Ikebukuro to Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo DisneySea
- Sky Hop-on and Hop-off Bus Pass
- 4G Prepaid Sim Card (JP Airports Pick Up) for Japan
- 4G WiFi (Japan Pick Up) for Japan
- JR Pass for Whole Japan (7, 14, or 21 Days)
Are you finding more top things to do in Hakone: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Let’s check it out here.