Hell on earth is actually freezing cold.
In the 7 days we were fully immersed in Japanese spring weather, the full extent of Mother Nature was felt as we were elevated to the tippy top of a mountain to see the Owakudani Hell Valley. Never have I ever been so cold than in this very tour stop right here – other than the time when my first long-term boyfriend dumped me after semestral break in college.
To cut your Wikipedia-ing short, the Owakudani Hell Valley is basically a valley with volcanic activity in the form of sulphur springs and hot springs. The landscape isn’t as hell-ish as described but I can imagine that the sulphur steam coming out from the springs can give you an eerie feeling.
The steam rising from the ground is a sight but nothing to exciting – hence, I think they had to have the concept of the black eggs!
The black eggs are brought to the valley and dropped into the springs via a ropeway pulley system. They are left in the springs to cook. They turn black and have a sulfuric smell on the shell. Supposedly, eating one will give you 7 more years of life. The eggs really don’t change in flavor or color on the inside – they taste like any other Manila-bus-terminal hard-boiled egg to me.
The novelty of the Owakudani was so… well, novel… that I couldn’t resist buying a Hello Kitty souvenir dressed as an Owakudani egg. Owakudani – Owakudani – Owakudani – it’s a pleasantly sounding name that I just love saying, if you haven’t noticed. Try it – Oh-wah-koo-dha-nee!
Another cute little thing about this place is the little hot spring that you can dunk your hands in while full gale-force winds smother any exposed skin. Tonie loved having the hot little bath her hands had and wouldn’t want to take her hands out of the small basin.
The best part of being in the Owakudani Hell Valley? You *should* be able to get a freaking unobstructed view of Mt. Fuji, should the said master mountain reveal himself. It seems that the entire time we were in Hakone, he just hid behind clouds. Tooootally unfair.
Oh well, another day. But for the most part, this trip was to just show you how cool and eerie sulphur streams look like and that “Hey, you can eat eggs cooked from it!”