Food Hakone Japan Travel

Owakudani Black Eggs

Owakudani eggIt was meant to be a picturesque ascent by cable car all the way to Owakudani in the Hakone region but the dense fog that enveloped the atmosphere had other plans. The temperature dropped to goose pumps under skivvies and raindrops dotted the glass windows leaving fellow travellers staring at one another in disbelief. On a clear day, you could see for ever. At least towards the peak of Mount Fuji.

Below the moving suspended car, sulfurous fumes rose majestically from hot springs and volcanic grounds, their rancid smell adding another ethereal dimension to the cable car trip. Owakudani certainly lives up to its name, the great boiling valley.

At the destination, the air was rarefied and fog greeted the nostrils. A whiff of sulfur permeated the air luring visitors towards the comforts of the souvenir shop and its prized items, Black Owakudani eggs.

The eggs are boiled in hot springs and due to the sulfuric contents, their shells darken to black. Popular folklore has it that eating one egg extends one’s life by seven years.

Armed with a bag of six longevity eggs and a cold Asahi beer, in case an acerbic taste had to be washed down quick, it was time to disappear into the fog and crack one open.

One disappointing bite later, it tasted like an ordinary boiled egg. But I persevered and ate another. Who am I to refute a popular legend?

Tempted as I was, I stopped at two. After all, who wants to live for ever?

Hakone Cable Car
Cable car to Hakone

Owakudani black egg

Owakudani black eggs in carrybag

Owakudani black eggs

Owakudani black eggs

Owakudani black eggs


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.


  • ah…we went to Japan last year & were in Hakone…and saw the black eggs.  But, i was kind of wimpy & chickened out when it came to eating one.  i guess I’m glad to hear I didn’t miss much more in terms of taste than a boiled egg.  Could have used those extra 7 years though!  🙂

    • Forest: Maybe next time 🙂
      At least it wasn’t a balut egg or a century egg to gain those 7 years. That would be more confronting! 🙂