May 01, 2007

Hakone - Day 1 - Owakudani

After getting to the top of the funicular railway (about 750m above sea level), I hopped on to the cable car (called a 'ropeway' in Japanese) up to the highest point, called Owakudani (1050m), which is famous for the sulphurous gases and steam jets coming from the ground, so-called 'black eggs' that have been boiled in the hot pools, as well as the spectacular view you get of Mount Fuji.

The cabins hold about sixteen people and near me there was a toddler with her mum, excitedly looking out at the sights. At one point the child said "Look Mum, there's our shadow, pointing at the trees below." Mum mentioned that it was a long way down and that it would really hurt if she fell, and after that the poor child spent the rest of the ascent whimpering that she was scared and wanted to get off. She may well grow up with a fear of heights after that utterance from her mother. I couldn't believe my ears.

Boiling hot water bubbling up from the ground. In the hour or so I was at Owakudani, I saw the water level in this pool rise by several inches. Incidentally, I have no idea if I stayed there 'long', because the warning sign doesn't give an indication of how long you should or shouldn't hang around.
One of the staff putting the next batch of eggs in to boil, with Mount Fuji visible in the background.
A 'black egg', boiled and ready to eat. If you believe the signs posted around the place, eating one of these will add seven years to your life. Seeing as they're only sold by the half dozen, it might explain why the Japanese have a high average life expectancy! Quite remarkable for something that tastes exactly the same as a normal boiled egg.
I was lucky with the weather and this meant that there was a clear view of Mount Fuji. The previous time I had been to Hakone, the weather was awful, and the hills were shrouded in clouds and thick fog making any mountain tops invisible, so it was nice to actually see this time what I missed out on previously.

1 comment:

  1. Hi!!Sean(^0^)/
    I think You are really lucky....
    I've never met such a beautiful Mt.Fuji!
    It was always crouded and rainy-sky
    when we've went there.
    Something good things will happen to you,I guess!