We stayed in Odawara, on the coast an hour or so south of Tokyo, and gave ourselves a whole day to spend around the National Park area of Hakone so, having got up early, we left our Airbnb and got the various means of transport to the start of the cable car ropeway at Owakudani, and it was there, as we stepped off the bus, that we smelt the sulphurous smell of the volcano. Indeed, Owakudani means ‘great boiling valley’!
We wandered around the top, enjoying the wintry views and watching the steam pouring out of the green lined vents scattered around the mountain and a vague smell of sulphur to confirm that you are, indeed, on top of an active volcano. We learnt from the fascinating Geo museum nearby that this crater was formed 3000 years ago by a huge eruption. This is what also gave the area the famous Japanese onsen, or hot springs.
We treated ourselves to the famous onsen tamago or hot spring eggs/black eggs. 5 for 500¥.
They are cooked at 80 degrees Celsius for 60 minutes in the hot springs containing sulphur and iron then steamed at 100 degrees for 15 minutes in steel baskets. They end up with a black shell. Ours had just been delivered so were deliciously hot! Apparently eating just one adds 7 years to your life….is this the secret to the Japanese having the longest life expectancy in the world?!!