The black eggs of Owakudani

17 Jan 2019 in Food Culture

Cooked in volcanic springs, these eggs are said to add 7 years to your life!

black-eggs-japan

You may have heard of onsen tamago, the soft-boiled eggs traditionally cooked in hot spring water. You may even have eaten one if you’ve had a traditional Japanese breakfast.

But what about kuro tamago? Have you ever tried a black egg?

black-eggs

Kuro tamago are eggs cooked in the bubbling springs of the Owakudani valley, an area known for its geothermal excitability.

Set in the mountainous Hakone region, this is an area filled with bubbling pools, hot rivers and plumes of smoke rising from gaping volcanic vents.

Owakudani-valley

Owakudani-valley-2

Little surprise that Owakudani literally means “Great Boiling Valley”.

Why are the eggs black?

Because the hot springs here are particularly rich in sulphur and iron. When these two elements react with calcium in the egg shell, a coating of black iron sulphide forms.

black-egg

japanese-egg

According to local legend, you’ll add 7 years to your life for each egg eaten. But make sure to eat no more than 2, as it’s said to bring bad luck!

Owakudani is just 15 minutes by car from Hoshino Resorts KAI Sengokuhara.

KAI-Sengokuhara

As well as testing the famed black eggs, you’ll be able to wander into the volcanic zone on a short walking trail. Getting close-up to the steaming sulphur and bubbling waters is a memorable experience.

Owakudani-valley-3

And hikers can carry on to Mt. Kamiyama for superb views of Mt. Fuji.

fuji-hike

fuji-view

Note that the walking paths may be closed if the mountainside starts belching out too much volcanic gas. But, either way, you’ll be able to test those fresh-boiled black eggs for yourself.


Photo credits:

eugene / CC BY-NC-SA

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