Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley

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  • Hakone Ropeway takes visitors from the top of Gora through the hell valley at Owakudani, and down to the beautiful and tranquil Lake Ashinoko. Do not miss the opportunity to experience this unique ride, check out the steam vents, and try some longevity black eggs at Owakudani.

    Gondola above Owakudani Hell Valley - Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley | www.justonecookbook.com

    There are many activities to do in Hakone and one of the most popular is riding Hakone Ropeway and take in the view high above Owakudani Hell Valley in the gondola. Our family has ridden the Hakone Ropeway a few times and it’s always fun and exciting. Ready to check out the hell valley with steaming vents? Let’s go!

    What is Hakone Ropeway

    Hakone Rope starts at Sounzan Station (早雲山駅) at the top of Gora, stops at Owakudani Station (大涌谷駅), Ubako Station (姥子駅), and ends at Togendai Station (桃源台駅) near Lake Ashinoko (芦ノ湖) or vice versa the other direction. You can buy either a one way or round trip ticket, and get on and off at any of the stops that your ticket covers.

    Hakone Ropeway is included as part of Hakone Freepass so do not miss the opportunity to ride the gondola if you have purchased the pass. The ropeway is sometimes closed due to volcanic activities so do check the status before making your plan.

    Gondola near Sounzan Station - Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley | www.justonecookbook.com

    Sounzan Station 早雲山駅

    Our ryokan (Japanese inn) was right next to Sounzan Station so that was the start of our latest journey to Owakudani. There are 36 parking spots available for cars at the Sounzan Station in case you needed to drive there.

    Sounzan Station - Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley | www.justonecookbook.com

    Before boarding, there are signs warning visitors with breathing problems due to the volcanic gas that is present on parts of the ride. Do take precautions if there is anyone that you’re traveling with that might experience difficulty.

    Warning signs for volcanic gas inside Sounzan Station - Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley | www.justonecookbook.com

    Each gondola is quite spacious and they can hold up to 18 people. The gondolas are also wheelchair friendly.

    Gondola inside Sounzan Station - Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley | www.justonecookbook.com
    Hakone Ropeway gondola
    Looking at Sounzan Station from gondola - Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley | www.justonecookbook.com
    Gondola leaving Sounzan Station

    As the gondola starts climbing, you can see Gora down below.

    view of Gora from gondola - Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley | www.justonecookbook.com
    View of Gora
    view to the north from the gondola - Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley | www.justonecookbook.com
    View to the north in Hakone

    Owakudani Station 大涌谷駅

    The main attraction of the Hakone Ropeway is Owakudani. Owakudani is known for steam vents and it’s desert-like landscape. Another must-try experience at Owakudani is eating eggs cooked in sulfuric hot springs which turns them black.

    view from the gondola above Owakudani hell valley - Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley | www.justonecookbook.com

    On the way to Owakudani from Sounzan, you can see steam coming out from the ground and the pipes carrying hot springs to the hotels and resorts.

    view of steam releasing at Owakudani - Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley | www.justonecookbook.com
    Steams releasing from vents
    family next to Owakudani sign - Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley | www.justonecookbook.com
    The Chen clan in 2012

    When you arrive at Owakudani, there’s the unmistaken smell of sulfur in the air. Looking around, you can see that Owakudani is the largest station on Hakone Ropeway with shops and restaurants for visitors.

    Besides the ropeway station, there is also Owakudani Kurotamago Kan (black egg building), an observation deck, and a few smaller structures that house gift shops and restaurants.

    Owakudani ropeway station - Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley | www.justonecookbook.com
    Owakudani Station
    Owakudani Kurotamago Kan - Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley | www.justonecookbook.com
    Owakudani Kurotamago Kan

    So, besides checking out the steam vents and the incredible landscape, you have to try eating the black eggs cooked in hot springs. Folklore has it that each egg will add seven years to your life and good health. Warning: the eggs could smell pretty bad so our kids just pinch their nose while eating.

    black hot spring eggs - Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley | www.justonecookbook.com
    Kurotamago (black eggs)
    Owakudani on a large stone black egg sculpture - Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley | www.justonecookbook.com
    Owakudani carved into a large black stone

    On a clear day, there’s a great view of Mt. Fuji from Owakudani.

    view of Mt. Fuji from Owakudani - Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley | www.justonecookbook.com
    Mt. Fuji behind the clouds

    Inside the gift shops, there other “black-themed” gift items you can purchase for gifts. Such as smoked black egg or black pickled vegetable, peanuts, etc.

    Black egg souvenirs - Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley | www.justonecookbook.com
    Black egg souvenirs
    Owakudani Jizo Temple - Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley | www.justonecookbook.com
    Owakudani Jizo Temple

    Nature Research Path at Owakudani

    looking towards Kurotamago Teahouse from Owakudani Station - Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley | www.justonecookbook.com
    View of Mt. Hakone

    Prior to the small volcanic eruption of 2015, visitors could walk up to Kurotamago-jaya shop and see the black eggs being cooked in hot springs.

    volcanic activity info - Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley | www.justonecookbook.com

    Since 2015, construction started on safety shelters and redevelopment of the nature path and they were still not ready when we visited in 2018.

    safety facilities info - Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley | www.justonecookbook.com
    A sign detailing safety facilities being constructed

    We were able to observe the egg cooking process on one of our previous visits. You can see workers lowering the entire crates of eggs in the boiling hot spring water. When the eggs are done cooking, they are pulled out and the white shell turned completely black from the sulfur.

    staff dropping uncooked eggs into boiling hot spring - Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley | www.justonecookbook.com
    Working dropping eggs into the hot springs
    eggs turned black after finished cooking in hot springs - Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley | www.justonecookbook.com
    Black eggs getting moved by staff

    After eating some black eggs and adding seven years to your life, head back to the ropeway station and head on to Ubako station.

    Ubako Station

    Ubako station is the third stop and there is usually no reason to get off unless your hotel is nearby. During this portion of the ride, it is the best chance to see Mt. Fuji if it’s not hiding behind the clouds.

    view of Mt. Fuji from the gondola - Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley | www.justonecookbook.com
    Mt. Fuji
    snow-capped Mt. Fuji from gondola - Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley | www.justonecookbook.com
    Snow-capped Mt. Fuji

    Togendai Station

    The last stop on the Hakone Rope is Togendai Station. As the gondola approaches the station, you can see lake Ashinoko just ahead on the left side and golf courses nearby.

    Togendai Station and surrounding area - Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley | www.justonecookbook.com
    Togendai Station

    Lake Ashinoko is one of the largest recreation areas in Hakone with plenty of activities to do and things to see. We’ll cover the many options at the lake in the next post.

    Lake Ashinoko - Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley | www.justonecookbook.com
    Lake Ashinoko

    Driving Tip: We usually drive when traveling around Hakone so typically we don’t ride the Hakone Ropeway the entire way. To enjoy the ropeway we would park at Sounzan Station and hop off at Owakudani. When we’re done, we would head back to Sounzan to pick up our car and then drive towards Lake Ashinoko for the rest of the day.

    girl behind Hakone Ropeway paper cutout - Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani Hell Valley | www.justonecookbook.com

    As always, thank you for reading our guide to Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani. We’ll see you soon at Lake Ashinoko post.

    Just One Cookbook Hakone Travel Guide

    1. Suzuhiro Kamaboko Museum
    2. Odawara Castle Guide
    3. Hakone Yumoto and Hakone Freepass
    4. Hakone Gora
    5. Riding Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani
    6. What to do around Lake Ashi in Hakone
    7. Museums of Hakone

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