Catching a Glimpse of Hell on Earth in Hakone, Japan
Hakone in the Kanagawa Prefecture is famous for its hot spring resorts and can be visited as a day trip from Tokyo. The aerial gondola ride via the Hakone Ropeway from the Sounzan Station to Owakudani Station lasts only eight minutes, but offers an unforgettable view of the Owakudani Valley, also known as the Great Boiling Valley or the Valley of Hell. Formed thousands of years ago after the eruption of the volcano, pungent sulfuric fumes still hover in the air and volcanic smoke pours from vents in the ground; this, and the tracks and factory-like structures at the base of the vast crater, all give visitors inside the aerial tram the outlandish sensation of hovering over a Dantean inferno. On a clear day and with some luck, you may be able to spot the elusive Mount Fuji during the ride. If time permits, stay overnight at one of the town’s traditional hot spring inns.