Owakudani, "the Valley of Hell"
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In Japan, there are about twenty geothermal areas, where heat is transferred by various processes, such as fumaroles, steam wells, hot springs, steaming grounds, evaporation from hot pools and thermal conduction through the earth. The Owakudani and Sounzan geothermal areas of Hakone Volcano is one of them.
The amount of transferred heat is enormous per year. In total the same amount of heating is transferred from inside earth to the outside similar to a medium Vulcan eruption.
Hakone is a large-scale double formed volcano, with clearly remaining central cone and somma. Lake Ashinoko is an atrio (crater floor) lake. Hakone area has a lot of hot springs. The last eruption of Mount Hakone happened around 3000 years ago. Today the area is still very active where sulphurous fumes, hot springs and hot rivers can be experienced.
Owakudani is one of Japan’s “Hell Valleys,” and was once called such until a visit from the Emperor prompted a switch to a less inauspicious name. Owakudani means Big Seething Valley, a more or less perfect description of what visitors will find here.
The valley, with its pillars of steam, smell of sulphurous emanations and unceasing threating humming produces a big impression. The place is now still boiling underground; landslides are still possible, and to prevent big eruptions, special valves let the excess steam out (hence the constant humming sound from the field below).
A short walking trail leads from the ropeway station into the accessible volcanic zone to a number of steam vents and bubbling pools. On the way you can purchase eggs, cooked in the naturally hot water, whose shells are blackened by ????? (this is your task to find out). The eggs are said to prolong life for 7 years. But never eat more than 3!! (a warning said)
--> Remark Nov 2018: The access to the egg cooking pool is apparently no longer possible
The Jizouson shrine near the shopping area is famous for its surpassing spiritual power and it is known as a guardian deity of longevity and child-raising. According to legend, the Jizouson was made on the order of the historical monk Kobodaishi over a thousand years ago. It says that the monk was shocked and distressed by the wild landscape with fuming vents and boiling mud-water of Owakudani, which reminded him of a vision of hell in his buddhism thoughts, and decided to leave a Jizou for salvation of people suffering in the hell.
For logging the cache, please find answers to the following questions. Send the answers to me before logging. There is no need to wait for logging permission. If there is a problem with the answers, I´ll contact you afterwards.
1) Which kind of gas is drifting around in this area? (have a look at the warning signs)
2) Why do the eggs get black when being cooked in the “Onsen” water pool?
3) There is a small shrine (Jizouson) near the shops. What do people do at the small statue on the right side of the shrine?
Select the most interesting view and take a picture of it, if possible with Fuji-san :-)
NOTE: Earthcaches have no container. Just do the tasks above and send them to me in an e-mail and you´re fine. You do not need to wait for a return e-mail from me before logging. If there is a problem with the answers, I´ll contact you
(No hints available.)
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum