Owakudani Black Eggs
Kuro-tamago are the black eggs famously made in Hakone's Owakudani's sulfur hot springs. The eggs are steamed by the hundreds and sold for 5 for 500 Yen. These black eggs are said to add seven years to your life for each egg you consume, luckily they taste a lot like regular hard boiled eggs.
According to a sign where the eggs are boiled, the black shell is caused by the formation of iron sulfide, a result of the reaction between the iron in the water and hydrogen sulfide (H2S). Hydrogen sulfide is the cause of the egg like sulfur smell at Owakudani.
Kinubiki-no-Sato is a traditional restaurant in Moto-Hakone next to the torii gate that marks the southern entrance to the town center. This small restaurant specializes in soba, and they serve three types: udon (wheat noodle), soba (buckwheat noodle), and their special Kinubiki-udon (wheat noodle mixed with sesame).
We both decided on the Kinubiki-udon with tempura for about 1,000 Yen. the food was ready quickly, and it was pretty good. I could barely taste the sesame in the noodles, but they were good. The tempura was a bit soggy, but tasty.
Bakery & Table Restaurant
Bakery & Table Restaurant is a nice, modern restaurant along the water in Hakone. It sits in a prime location, overlooking one of the torii gates at the entrance to the town, the torii gate at Hakone Shrine, Lake Ashi, and probably Mount Fuji on a clear day. This is one of the very few modern restaurants in Hakone, and it draws quite a crowd for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
We stopped here for breakfast. We ordered our pastries and breads at the first floor bakery, walked to the second floor for coffee, then had to hike up to the third floor to find a table to eat our breakfast. The breads were very good and fresh. I had a blueberry muffin, a sweet nutty pasty, a savory sausage pastry, and a matcha cake, and all were delicious. The coffee was also fantastic... certainly better than Starbucks!
Our pastries ranged in price from 220 to 360 Yen each, and the latte and cappuccino were 580 Yen each. They also have local craft beers for 550 Yen a bottle.
This restaurant also offers a breakfast buffet on the second floor, for about 1000 Yen a person for a small selection of pastries, scrambled eggs, and some deli meats.
Daichi: Family-run, great value
On Andrew's recommendation we all headed to Daichi for our first dinner in the Hakone region. With 14 in our group we had to pre-order but that wasn't a problem as the guest house where we were staying had menus (in English, with photos) for us to consult. We all chose from the various set dinners. I had the ginger pork (the meat is thinly sliced and more like bacon) and Chris the teriyaki chicken. All our set dinners came with a bowl of chicken soup, a vegetable dish (egg-plant / aubergine), rice, pickles and salad. The portions were very generous and although the food was good I couldn't eat all of mine. We both drank sake (cold) and found it all very good value at 3,200¥ for the whole meal (set dinners are mostly 900¥ or 1,000¥).
The restaurant is family-run and that’s just what it feels like. The interior isn’t fancy (bare wood tables and seating, minimal decor) but it’s cosy and the service is friendly.
Next tip: a useful convenience store
Meihika: Great noodles
We stopped for lunch in this small restaurant in Hakone-Machi. There was a good selection of dishes and the menu was thankfully in English and with illustrations. Many of the dishes were noodle ones and I chose one of these – soba noodles in a soup with seaweed. Chris had the curry rice, a popular Japanese take on that Indian staple with a simple curry sauce over the rice. Both were tasty, though my soup was so generous a portion that I didn't finish it. Another dish that proved popular with our group included the raw tuna with rice.
We sat Western style – a large table in the centre for most of us and a smaller one to the side. There is also a limited amount of traditional seating. The service was friendly and when we paid at the till on leaving we were all given a small gift of an origami fish to thank us for our custom.
Next tip: a visit to a local craftsman
Hoshino An: The experience is everything!
We all ate here together on our second evening in Hakone. The restaurant is some way out of the village of Sengokuhara but they will collect you from and drive you back to your hotel, with prior reservation (arranged through your hotel). The setting is lovely, with a pretty Zen garden. We ate in the first floor area, where the seating is that perfect compromise between traditional and modern - low tables but with a well for your feet so no need to sit cross-legged.
There is an English menu, with photos. Most of the dishes come as part of a set meal with soup, pickles and an oddly salty egg custard dessert. The soup is a DIY affair - you are brought a bowl with a few small mushrooms and spring onions, and a larger one over a flame with steaming miso soup. When it is hot enough you ladle this into your bowl of vegetables and enjoy!
The dish I chose was of salmon with steamed rice, while Chris ahead a similar one but with chicken. Also in the dish were a few vegetables - carrot, peas, radish, and a large tasty mushroom. I rather enjoyed my salmon dish though some of our group who aren't keen on fish were a little disconcerted to find that even the non-fish dishes tasted fishy (we think because the rice here may be cooked in fish stock). And as mentioned, the dessert was weird!
Still, all in all this was a good experience. The service was friendly, the beer cold and the meal tasty enough (and reasonable value at less than 4,000¥ for the two of us, including a beer each).
The next morning we left Hakone early to travel on to Osaka, so this is my last tip. Please click here to go back to my intro page if you would like to leave me a comment.
HAKONE LAKE HOTEL RESTAURANT: YUMMY FOOD WITH SCENIC VIEWS
The food was great as expected- with great views of the mountains and rural Japan in Hakone.
We did not join the group tour set lunch of grilled chicken and opted to order our own menu and we were glad about our choice! As usual hubby got his seafood set menu- seafood tempura and seafood rice bowl with miso soup, pickled fresh Japanese vegies and dessert which seem to be the standard menu in most Japanese set menus.
For my fussy eater we went to the vendo machine just outside the restaurant and got some fried potato chips as appetizer for him as he was starving after all that touring and playing with blocks of ice around the first station on the way to the mountains. We didn't wait too long for our orders anyway.
Food is served in lovely crockery (bowls and serving dishes) which make the experience of eating Japanese food
more inspiring for me! I wish I can take them home actually!
We also had lovely fresh pork, seafood and chicken rice bowls also with the usual pickled vegies and salads, udon soups and desserts. I forgot the exact amount but it was worth it - probably less than AUS$60!
Favorite Dish: The udon soup and tempura vegies were yummy!
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Family Mart convenience store
Due to the outrageous prices in this region, going to convenience stores to eat is a bargain! This particular store has an area where you can sit down and eat with a wash basin to wash your hands.
The toilet is located at the back of the store.
Favorite Dish: Try the cold udon for 299 yen. There are also onigiri, sushi and instant noodles all to be tried.
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Fresh fish tempura
There are some restaurants by the lake Ashi.
I recommend you cold soba noodles with tempura. The best tempura there from my point of view is the one including fresh fish from the lake and some vegetables.
To drink local beer and tea, of course!
If you choose the proper restaurant you will have a nice sight of the lake.
Hard boiled eggs cooked in hot spring water
Have you ever eaten a black coloured egg? This is the place where eggs are cooked in the hot spring waters in Owakudani.
Favorite Dish: Each bag sells for 500 yen (6 eggs).
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