Hakone's Owakudani

My cousin Jay with the rising volcanic fumes of Owakudani in the background.

Hakone is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park which is less than 100 kilometers from Tokyo making it one of the top tourist destination one must visit when coming to Japan. It is home to more than a dozen onsen (springs) providing hot water to the many bath houses in the Hakone region. Owakudani (meaning The Great Valley) is an active volcanic valley meaning this place literally welcomes you to hell. LOL, just kidding.

It was a weekend and we're back in Tokyo where we started our day by having lunch at Ginnoho in Hakone.

Ginnoho specializes in traditional Japanese rice dish cooked in an iron pot called kama. Basically they serve kamameshi rice and this is an example of their seafood menu.

We grabbed our desserts outside the restaurant. If I'm not mistaken this is like an extension of Ginnoho. They serve awesome matcha ice cream by the way. YUM! :)

Right across the restaurant is the Sengokuhara Pampas Grass Field. From summer, autumn and winter, the fields of pampas grass gradually change color from green to gold. The burning of the dead grass (locally known as yamayaki) occurs during the start of spring.

The fastest way to get to Owakudani is through the Hakone Ropeway. Here are our roundtrip tickets from Togendai Station to Owakudani Station and trip lasts for around 10 minutes per way.

Upon arrival you'll get a panoramic view of the volcanic fissure of Mt. Kamiyama which is itself part of the larger Hakone volcano. Gets? Very Tagaytay and Taal Volcano minus the steam and smell of sulfur.

I read somewhere that when in Owakudani, one must try the kuro tamago or black eggs which are eggs boiled in the hot 100 ℃ natural spring waters. Legend has it that eating one of these eggs will prolong your life by seven years. Sayang because it was too damn cold (plus it smells bad, like scientifically bad) to stay outside for more than 10 minutes! Hahaha.

Off Topic: On a regular sunny day ganito daw ang view from the Hakone Ropeway!

It would've been nice to checkout the view but then it started snowing once more. I ♥ snow!

Another alternate way to get around Hakone is by boat rides. The Hakone Sightseeing Cruise serves the 3 ports of Togendai Port, Hakone-machi Port, and Moto-Hakone Port on Lake Ashinoko. The boat in this photo is called Royal II and a one way trip to all ports takes approximately 35 minutes.