The Owakudani volcanic area was created when Mt. Hakone erupted some 3,000 years ago. Today, there are a number of hot pools and steam vents that you can visit, made easy by a short walking trail, accessible from the Owakudani stop of the Hakone Ropeway cable car. Watch as the clouds of the volcanic gas erupt from craters in the ground—and don’t be put off by the sulfuric smell, which is often likened to rotten eggs! A local speciality you should try is the Owakudani eggs sold on-site—the blackened eggs are cooked in the mineral-rich water and it’s said eating a single egg will prolong your life by seven years.
After your visit, you can continue on to Lake Ashinoko and Hakone—a popular beauty spot with views over Mt. Fuji. The area offers plenty to do including hot springs, boat rides on the lake, the famous tori gates of the Hakone Shinto shrine, traditional hotels, restaurants, and more. The Hakone area makes a great day trip from Tokyo and there are regular guided tours to the area from the city to ensure you see all the important sites on your visit.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The area might be closed to the public when there is increased volcanic activity.
- Enjoy great views of Mt. Fuji from Owakudani.
- While the Hakone Ropeway cable car is wheelchair accessible, the area around Owakundai has steps and uneven ground that may not be suitable for people with limited mobility.
How to Get There
Owakundani is accessible via the Hakone ropeway cable car that travels from Togendai station to Sounzan station, stopping at Owakundani along the way. Hakone is 50 miles (82 km) southwest of Tokyo and is accessible by car, guided tour with transport included, or bullet train. Regular train services run to Hakone from Tokyo’s Shinjuku station.
When to Get There
Owakundani and then Hakone Ropeway are usually open all year round—although the whole area can be closed if there’s bad weather, or when there’s an increased threat of volcanic eruptions. The ropeway can get especially busy during holidays and summer weekends so allow extra time for your trip if you’re visiting at peak periods.
Visit Odawara Castle Immerse yourself in 15th century Japan at Odawara Castle in Hakone. The traditional style castle was first built in the 15th century, then rebuilt in the 17th after an earthquake destroyed the original. A century late the buildings were sold and moved—what you see today is a painstaking reconstruction made in 1960 from ancient drawings. The building, with its sweeping tiered roofs, looks particularly impressive during the spring when the surrounding cherry trees are in bloom.