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Eating the mystical black eggs in Jukkokutoge, Hakone

Have you ever heard of black eggs in Japan? I saw them on TV a while ago, and the people who ate this delicacy were rather excited. However, my Japanese husband had never heard about that specialty, so I forgot about it.

black eggsHowever, I found them quite unexpectedly! When I was leaving the visitor’s center in Hakone (Jukkokutoge), my attention was caught by a little table with unusual objects on it. There were uRocks, colorful salts, and pitch-black eggs beautifully arranged on the table. I felt that it was more of a work of art than a stall with food.

black eggsThe man who sold the black eggs, known as onsen gokurakutamago (温泉極楽タマゴ, which literally means “paradise hot springs eggs”) asked us if we wanted them cold or warm. While one cold egg cost 100 yen, we could get 3 warm eggs for 100 yen just because they were a little cracked. We didn’t even hesitate because it was the middle of winter and the prospect of eating something cold wasn’t attractive at all.

black eggsThe black eggs tasted just like plain hard-boiled chicken eggs. People say the taste and smell are slightly sulfuric, but I didn’t notice that. Nevertheless, eating a black egg is already an adventure.  The last eruption of Mount Hakone happened thousands of years ago, but the area is still dotted with sulfur-rich hot water pools called Owakudani (“Great Boiling Valley”). You can watch a video online about how the eggs are boiled. People say that eating one black egg from Owakudani prolongs your life for 7 years. As I ate two, I expect a considerable increase in longevity.

black eggs

Information

Visitor’s center Hakone

Address: 1400-20 Kuwahara, Kannami-cho, Tagata-gun, Shizuoka Prefecture
Working hours: 8:30 am – 5 pm
Access: 1 min. walk from Jukkokutoge-noboriguchi Station.
Distance to airport: 100 km from Haneda Airport.
Official website (only in Japanese): http://www.izuhakone.co.jp/jukkoku-rest/

Article by Olga Kaneda

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