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Trip Report Snow adventures in North Japan for the non-skier

Discussion in 'Japan' started by fennekeg, Mar 16, 2019.

  1. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    As requested by some of you, and as a thank you for the wealth of information available here, the trip report of our non-ski :eek: winter tour of Hokkaido, Tohoku and Chubu. Perhaps it can give you some new ideas for non-ski day trips. And if you have any non-ski tips for our next winter tour, let me know!



    For any other non-skiers who are interested in visiting Japan in winter: do note that winter here is very different from winter in e.g. the European Alps. The snow can get really deep here, several metres is not unusual, and it can also be very powdery. There might be some prepped walking trails, but they are far less common than the winterwanderwege in Switzerland, France and Austria. This means that you can't just go out in the forest with your hiking boots and gaiters, the snow is simply too deep. Snowshoe walking is a great alternative though, as we discovered on this trip, even if you have never done that before.



    We visited from 14 Feb to 3 March. After three days of frost unfortunately the temperatures rose prematurely and never really dropped below freezing after that :( However the deep layers of snow take quite some time to thaw, so there still was plenty of snow to enjoy at most places. For others, well we'll just have to return to see them covered in snow :)



    We got ourselves a three week Japan Rail Pass, which was ideal because you can reserve train seats for free and add last minute train trips whenever you want. My husband is a train buff, so a couple of times I went shopping or sat in a cafe reading while he picked a train line he fancied and just rode it into inaka and back.
    We had opted for a Green pass, mainly to treat ourselves and because we would be spending quite some time in the train. But the extra space also came in handy for the shorter legs where I didn't feel like hoisting up my heavy backpack up in the luggage shelves above the seats. And it was so much more quiet in the Green car! No kids, and especially on Hokkaido no loud Chinese tourists. I was a bit high-strung from work so I really enjoyed the peace and quiet.

    The route we took might seem illogical. My husband wanted to ride the steam train in Kushiro, but tickets are hard to get and can only be booked one month in advance. However in lots of places you have to book hotels way earlier. So we picked two time slots where we might go there and ride the train, and booked business hotels that could be canceled for both options (I made sure not to book any family ryokans that might not easily find new guests if we canceled so late). So there was some riding up and down the country involved, but we didn't mind riding the trains anyway. It was even more enjoyable that I had anticipated, with the great views of snowy valleys, and delicious lunch boxes to eat on board.



    We also went on a station stamp hunt and got a stamp at each station where we got on or off. Great fun and a nice memento.

     
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  2. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    14 feb - Arrival - to Hakodate
    We flew Finnair, one of the safest airlines in the world (together with Qantas), and they always offer good service. We arrived a bit before 10AM, and customs and luggage pickup all went smoothly. After withdrawing some yen from an ATM and picking up the Japan Welcome SIM card, we went to get the rail passes. I had made a whole bunch of reservations for almost the entire trip, but I had anticipated to only get the first few reservation tickets here, they don't do more when it's busy. However, we were in luck, there was no line when we got there and the girl behind the counter offered to print them all in one go. Well yes please :) She was impressed that we had managed to get tickets for the steam train, even showed it to her colleagues, and when I asked her about the station stamps to collect (hadn't done that before) she even closed the counter and walked us all the way to the station entrance (leaving the long row of waiting customers that had accumulated in the meantime, sorry guys!).

    I had made the train reservations mostly via the English Ekinet reservation page, which I can recommend even though the website is closed for maintenance each night and you can only pick up reservations until the day before you travel. However, not all trains are on there (e.g. the Kushiro steam train and the Shinano Wide View to Nagano), so I booked some via the Japanese Ekinet, which was quite the adventure... If you think the english page has a lot of warnings, wait till you see the japanese version. And you have to read them all, because some warnings are actually useful, e.g. some lines have limited pick-up options.

    Armed with all our tickets and passes we set off. First to Hakodate, because all the way to Kushiro wasn't feasible in one day. We could've just flown to Chitose, or even Kushiro itself, but we had the rail pass, so why not use it?

    The Narita Express arrived soon, and while I was a bit disappointed to see no snow around Tokyo, I hadn't really expected it anyway, and it got much better when we took the shinkansen to Hakodate. It even snowed when we got there!



    Dinner was in a tiny grill shed in Daimon Yokocho, an area with lots of small eateries near the station. The place was an outlet of a pork seller, so there was only pork on the menu, but it was good :)

    15 February - to Kushiro

    After our first Japanese breakfast, and even some reasonable coffee (my husband had considered taking along his own grinder but decided not to in the end and hope for good local coffee, living on the edge!) we took the morning train to Kushiro via Minami-Chitose. The train follows the bay for a large part which resulted in beautiful sea views. At Noboribetsu the train got really crowded but luckily not in the green car. The second leg between Minami-Chitose and Kushiro was much more quiet.







    In Kushiro we took a taxi to a short freight train line that was then still running (but scheduled to close down this month, so we were just in time). Husband walked around and took some pics, while I stayed in the warm taxi and got a chance to practice my japanese a bit with the driver. Managed to convey about half of what I wanted to say, even though he said it was jozu after I only uttered a few words. He had understood though that my husband was mad about trains, so he offered to take us to an old steam train that was placed nearby in a local park.

    Finding a nice place to eat in Kushiro was a bit harder, but we ended up in a nice izakaya with great food and friendly people.

     
    #2 fennekeg, Mar 17, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2019
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  3. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    16 February - Kushiro

    So we basically travelled two days by train to... ride a train. But it was fun :) The SL Fuyu-no-Shitsugen is an old steam engine they restored back to its former glory. The carriages were considerably newer, except for the cafe car that had a distinctly old-fashioned feeling to it. Each car had a little stove, and you could buy dried squid to grill on it. The smell was less bad than I had expected.



    The train travels through a marshy area and other nature lands for over an hour, so next to travelling with an old steam locomotive there's the added excitement of spotting wildlife. There's a spot where they lure cranes over with food (pic below), but we also briefly saw a couple in the wild, as well as a sea eagle and quite a few large deer.



    The end point was Shibecha, where we had about 1.5 hours before the train went back again. There were a few restaurants for lunch, but they were all reservation-only if you wanted to be done before the train departed (understandably). However the local 7-eleven had anticipated this and was well-stocked with bentos etc.

    It's great fun if you like trains, and even if you're not really into it it's a nice ride through beautiful nature, and the locomotive is impressive to see. Of course there are lots of people on it but it's not overly touristy, like the Sagano Torokko train near Kyoto or other tourist trains. However Kushiro is quite far away from everything. Theoretically you can do it in a day from Sapporo if you take the 06:57 early morning train and there are no delays. But I would recommend going the day before and staying overnight in Kushiro. Looking back we probably could have added another day to check out the nature around town.



    As I said earlier, tickets are hard to get, but are hardest for Saturdays and holidays. Weekdays and Sundays should be easier, but if you want a window seat on the marsh side (the other side is mainly steep hillsides), book early. You can book from a month ahead, or even a week earlier if you do the pre-booking thing on the Japanese Ekinet. The train only runs for a few weeks in January and February. The schedule is announced somewhere in November I believe.


    My husband was not the only train fan in town

    Upon returning in Kushiro we went to the other end of the small local freight train line and walked back into town from there. There was a nice temple, and a lighthouse you could climb for a view of the bay. And we saw more wildlife, a fox checking out the suburbs.

    Dinner was... interesting. There was no English menu so I had to make do with google translate and my limited kanji knowledge (so glad the Japanese are so into English loan words). There were all kinds of western food like spaghetti, schnitzel etc. I went for a set plate of stew, spaghetti and fried 'something'. The 'something' turned out to be oysters... It all tasted good on its own, especially the stew, but why on earth would you serve all this together on one plate? I guess it's because the Japanese kitchen often serves little bites of different things together as well. It's just not what you expect in a place that serves western food.

    After dinner we checked out the local supermarket, which is always a nice pastime. We got some new kitchen knifes and food stuffs like odd sweets and rice sprinkles, and marvelled over the mega size apples and strawberries, and the extensive range of fresh seafood.

     
  4. Mike Pow

    Mike Pow One of Us

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    Excellent. More please.
     
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  5. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    17 February - Noboribetsu and Hakodate

    Husband had requested me to book hotels that had at least some western breakfast options, a bed that he would fit in (or at least could stick his legs out), and proper chairs in the room (or being able to sit on the bed against the wall). Oh and close to the station. Meaning that most of the time we stayed in business hotels (I managed to sneak in two ryokan stays though). The hotel in Kushiro had an excellent Japanese breakfast buffet (and some breadrolls and jam). Curry for breakfast! I love this country.

    It also had an elevator that apologized for being crowded (even though it still ran). Only in Japan...


    On the way back west we had to change trains at Minami-Chitose, a quick 6 minutes transfer, but we got caught up in a minor snow storm and ran 9 minutes late. However as quite few people had to make the transfer, and the second train was a local line, the next train waited for us. This was the only delay we had in 2.5 weeks of train travel (but that might also have to do with spring entering the next day, so there wasn't any snow falling anymore).



    We made a stop at Noboribetsu for the Hell Valley (yes, there are several Jigokudani/Hell Valleys in Japan, next to the snow monkey one). It was quite busy and all the lockers at the station were full, meaning we had to board a bus with lots of people and lots of luggage (local bus so no luggage compartment). But the tourist office in Noboribetsu Onsen had plenty of storage room.

    Noboribetsu Onsen is your regular onsen town with the added bonus of lots of hot steam vents, boiling mud pools and other vulcanic activity. There's this whole mountainous park that you can walk though and see the different pools and steam vents. However it turned out that almost all trails were closed :( one for maintenance and the rest because of the snow. The snow wasn't deep at all, it looked like you could easily walk there on hiking boots, but perhaps with the number of tourists they get it would turn to ice quickly? Either way, only the first part was open, so we were done in about 15 minutes. It was quite impressive though.



    If it's like this every winter I wouldn't recommend making a detour for it, only visit if you're in the neigbourhood anyway. Or maybe stay a night and make it a ryokan/onsen/good food outing like the Japanese do.

    On to Hakodate. It was already dark when we got there, but my husband was ecstatic: it turns out they have this tram system, and inbetween the regular trams there are a couple of old ones running. And the first tram we took happened to be one of the oldies :) It certainly had charm, with wooden floor planks and old signage everywhere.


    This one dated from the sixties I think, there were some older ones

    We got off close to the ropeway station. Hakodate has a small mountain with a great view over the city from the top. We had planned to go up by ropeway and then walk down, but it turned out in winter they only sell return tickets (plus the road down appeared not to be lit, at least not the first part). It was a bit crowded but doable, and the view was quite something. And when we got down again there were lots of streets to walk with nicely lit trees.





    We didn't get to see the fort this time, and of course there are more trams to ride, so I think we'll be back here some day.
     
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  6. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    LOL

    I loved your Noboribetsu tale.
    Reminded me of ours last year.
    We drove for hours in the clunky old Hiace Van over potholed roads (and some nice motorways) to get to Noboribetsu to take the parents to the Bear Park. We had checked the website opening hours well in advance, and thought it would be a good activity for a particularly inactive parent who loves animals and isn’t too concerned about animals and cages.

    Arrived to handwritten notes in Japanese on the door.... turned out the park closed a few days before for repairs to the ropeway and there was no other way in. I phoned them in the carpark to confirm there was no chance - should’ve trusted my Japanese and called them before we left Niseko! :rolleyes:

    However we did find an Aquarium nearby and we actually had a fun day there.

    I’m really enjoying your trip report.
    Lots of highlights on areas that are often overlooked in this region because “”skiing””.
     
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  7. Mike Pow

    Mike Pow One of Us

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    Definitely return to Hakodate.

    So much to see.
     
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  8. ojisan

    ojisan station master Ski Pass: Gold

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    very enjoyable reading this.. thanks for sharing :thumbs:
     
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  9. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    Haha, Japan has millions of train fans called 鉄ちゃん = Tetsu-chan. 鉄 = Tetsu of 鉄ちゃん is 鉄道 = Tetsudo, meaning "rail way". - Chan is one of many Japanese honorific titles such as Fennekeg-sama, Fennekeg-san, Fennekeg-chan, etc. -Chan sounds the cutest, so it's often used between close friends or for kids. So Tetsu-chan sounds like "Rail boy / girl". Tetsu-chan has very good cameras and many of them are good cameramen as well, I wonder if your Tetsu-chan(your husband) is one of them;)
     
    #9 Ramenman, Mar 19, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
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  10. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    Aww yes I will call him Tetsu-chan :) he doesn't have a large camera because he thinks those are too bothersome. He likes to record the sound of trains as well, so he does have a mini wind jammer for his iphone :) For the good pics he uses a Canon Powershot (compact camera).

    Here he is using his own legs as a tripod:

    Note that this was of course a 'boring' train, he was actually waiting for the diesel-hauled freight trein behind it

    And here is enjoying the front view (we don't have trains like that at home). BTW isn't he too tall to be called -chan? ;)


    Edit: I'll ask him for his favourite train picture of this trip, so you can judge whether he's any good ;)
     
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  11. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    Yep, agree, when travelling, visiting local supermarkets can be a good pastime. Did you go to mega depachikas in Tokyo?. I saw many foreign tourists are surprised at depachikas, especially the biggest ones in Tokyo, they are full of unique and yummy foods from all over Japan:nerd:
     
  12. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    Haha, then he is "音鉄" = Oto Tesu" tooLOL. 音=Oto of Oto Tetsu is "sound". There are some different kinds of Tetsu-chan, and Oto Tetsu is the Tetsu-chan who is especially interested in recording the sounds that trains issue:). Tetsu-chan loves old trains, and thanks to them, Japan still make a lot of old trains run. C-11 is one of them. C-11 = the steam locomotive you showed in the picture above. C-11 is a bit related to my life. I mean, C-11 is a steam locomotive that a Japanese mega company Hitachi made in 1930, and why we moved to Ibaraki is because of Hitachi related job(Hitachi, the company was founded in Hitachi city, Ibaraki prefecture, so Hitachi has many offices and factories between Ibaraki and Tokyo):)

    Oto-Tetsu(Tetsu-chan who focus on recording sounds that trains issue)
    [​IMG]

    Tori-Tetsu(Tetsu-chan who focus on taking pictures / videos of train)
    [​IMG]

    There are a lot of Oto Tetsu(Tetsu-chan who are into sounds of trains) here in Japan, so even JR sell this kind of things (it's the sound track that JR Yamanote line issuesLOL)
    [​IMG]
     
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  13. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    Yes he was surprised at the number of cool old trains we encountered. Every now and then he asked me to translate a train poster he saw at a station, and that's how he ended up at the old Ohayo liner from Matsumoto to Nagano one morning.
    Oh wauw I had no idea :thumbs: cool that he's not the only one
     
  14. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    Um... am I reading that correctly and is that train also calling it quits this month? Perhaps that's why there was a poster up for it
     
  15. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    Yep, it seems the final run was March 15th, so 4 days ago. By the way, in recent years, Japan has started having more and more tourist trains. They are slow, but offer you touristic views, delicious local foods, cultural experiences, etc. Recently, a very long one from Tokyo to Hokkaido started running. It takes 3 days or so between Tokyo and Hokkaido, visiting many different places in between. They have Ryokan to stay too. Most people fly between Tokyo and Hokkaio and some people use Shinkansen, but for someone like your husband and you, travelling by those slow tourist trains might be better than Shinkansen:)
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Ohayo Liner with Tetsu-chan:p
    [​IMG]
     
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  16. 2ESki

    2ESki Addicted

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    Loving the read, :thumbs: there's just so much to do and the scenery is stunning :)
     
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  17. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    18 February - Akita Nairiku Scenic Railway to Kakunodate

    The goal today was the Akita Nairiku Scenic Railway, a railway line known for its pretty views. However the local line we took to get there was already pretty, and the train ride between Hakodate and Kushiro had also been much nicer in terms of views than I had expected beforehand. I had brought lots of e-books, mini puzzles and other things to do on the train, but half the time I was just looking out the window (or enjoying a box lunch). At the end of this trip I had only finished one book! The Japanese countryside is really pretty, especially when covered in snow.



    The first leg was Hakodate-Takanosu (via Shin-Hakodate and Shin-Aomori). We went past Hirosaki, which I had skipped this time because the castle is closed in winter, but we might go there next time for the snow lantern festival. For this trip I had skipped all festival things because I don't like crowds, but when I planned it I had the Sapporo Snow Festival in mind, which is of course much bigger than all those local festivals. So I think next time I will buck up and add a small festival or two. The pictures I've seen of lots of lanterns in the snow look really pretty.


    We also saw mt Iwaki rising up in the distance, I think there's a ski resort on there somewhere? On the other side.

    In Takanosu it was time for lunch. Takanosu is a reasonably-sized town, however places to eat on a weekday at lunch time were really hard to find... But after walking around for what felt like 30 mins (but my backpack was already getting way too heavy with all the souvenirs so it might've been less) we stumbled upon a beef seller (butcher? not sure if they also did the butchering themselves) who also had a restaurant. We had a set menu with that thinly sliced beef in soy sauce? I've forgotten the name but it was good, and served in a traditional Japanese room (with western chairs, to the relief of Tetsu-chan).

    Then the Scenic Railway. Spoiler: it was indeed scenic :) Tetsu-chan was a bit worried beforehand, because we were taking the midday express, and he had seen pics online that looked very modern and touristy. But apparently that's only in the busy weekends, we had a charming old single-car train. And for people worried about toilets & long train rides (including me) : even this tiny train had a toilet on board, and a clean one at that. The only trains we encountered that didn't have a toilet were the commuter trains around Tokyo, and the Nagano Dentetsu (Nagaden) line. However it's always a surprise whether it'll be a western toilet or a Japanese one. And a Japanese toilet on a moving train is an adventure in itself.





    The Akita Nairiku Scenic Railway is a private line, so the Japan Rail Pass isn't valid and you have to buy a ticket in a historic little station building with a stove in the waiting room. The line starts off in the lowlands and then gradually moves into more mountainous area (so I think riding it from Takanosu to Kakunodate is the best way as it gets prettier and prettier). We also passed a tiny station hut that starred in the anime 'Your Name'.
    If you are heading south to Kakunodate anyway this is certainly a good way to get there.







    In Kakunodate we had dinner in the hotel. I had a 'modern vs oldfashioned' curry, with the oldfashioned one being in the style as they made it about a 100 years ago here. It came with an extra sauce that you could add to give it more flavour, but that was quite sour; I got to say I like the modern curries better :)



    After dinner we took an evening stroll in the samurai district that Kakunodate is famous for. It looked really pretty with all the Japanese houses with lights on in the snow, although I only saw half as much of it as Tetsu-chan did because of the high fences here and there.

     
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  18. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    It's fun watching the journey unfold from the front of the train (video)
     
    #18 fennekeg, Mar 20, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2019
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  19. LDJ

    LDJ One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    2017 we went first week of March 1 trail closed but still managed to walk along the road to the crater lake in national park behind and do various other trails in the area with decent hiking books. Was a few hours of fun!!!
     
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  20. TACKIE

    TACKIE One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    @fennekeg
    Relating to your liking of trains, I thought you might like this.
     
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  21. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    yes, it's little things like that... I also like the way she counts on her fingers a few times, right the opposite of how we do it in the west
     
  22. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    19 February - Kakunodate - to Oishida

    Kakunodate has two old town districts: the samurai district and the merchant district, both with streets lined with beautiful old houses and museums. The merchant district also has some shops, and miso and soy sauce producers. We spent the morning strolling through both, and the samurai district looked totally different by day than it did the night before (still pretty though).

    But first: a shave at this brilliant barbers' that hadn't changed a thing since the seventies, it was like walking into a time capsule.



    The police station is all in style with the rest of the old town


    An old miso factory with storage house in the merchants' district




    The gate of a house in the samurai district

    After we picked up our bags from storage at the hotel, we bought lunch (and some souvenirs which we stupidly threw away later together with the lunch packaging; damn all that plastic you get with everything :( ) and set off south. The train ride was a funny juxtaposition of two 10~15 mins shinkansen rides with 2 hours on a local train inbetween. The local line took us well into the mountains and had awesome vistas! The scenic ride yesterday was pretty, but this was way more scenic :) But of course the Scenic Railway is private and small and has to put itself on the market, whereas this line was JR East so no need to advertise your pretty existence. They might as well do, it was really worth it. And even though it had been above 0C for a few days now, there were still layers upon layers of snow! We spoke to the first (western) foreigner we met, a French guy, and he said he'd never seen this much snow, even though in France they have the Alps. And this was not even a good year, snow-wise.


    The Komachi shinkansen on the Akita line


    Quite a bit of snow here



     
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  23. PMG

    PMG One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Kakunodate's samurai and merchant district are something aren't they? We were there in 2016 which was a lean snow year as well but it was still very snowy. Bitterly cold when we were there. It would be absolutely beautiful in spring. Your photos bring back memories as our hard drive crashed and we lost most of our pics from that trip. The only photos we have are the few that appeared on Heinz's trip report from that year. :(
     
    #23 PMG, Mar 22, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2019
  24. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    ow that's too bad :( good reason to go again some day though :)
    And yes, it's also very famous for watching cherry blossoms, I'm sure that's really pretty there.
     
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  25. PMG

    PMG One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3600.html
     
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  26. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    19 February - Ginzan Onsen

    From Oishida station we had a hotel transfer service to Ginzan Onsen, a small onsen village with old (and new) bath houses in the Yamagata mountains. That's where the whole idea for this trip had started. I had seen pictures of Ginzan Onsen covered in snow, and thought it looked wonderful. I had been to Japan before but never in winter, and looking at the pics I thought 'why not? let's do this'. And here we were :) Because of the early spring there wasn't as much snow as in the pictures I'd seen, it even rained when we got there, but still it was lovely, especially at dusk with the lights on.





    There are only a few buses per day, and to really experience it it's best to stay the night. However to get a room you have to be quick: at most places they open up reservations only three months ahead, and then in a few days all rooms are taken. I made sure to plan it on a weekday so we'd have a better chance of getting a room. And it's not really cheap either. But a kaiseki dinner and breakfast are included, and it's quite the experience. For me it was a bucket list item ticked.


    The only time I couldn't find a room with 'proper' chairs, but I was glad to have gotten anything here at all, and the place was really nice

    After dropping off our bags we walked around town in the early evening. After a while most people went home and the lights turned on, it looked really wonderful. It's a small village, one street basically with a river running through. When the snow is gone you can walk a bit further up the valley, but now the snow was still really thick, which limited how far you could go but made it very pretty.







    Dinner was a traditional ryokan kaiseki dinner, lots of small bites, the pic shows only half of it. We also had ordered yamagata beef, a kind of wagyu beef, because I wanted to try that once to see what it was about (you had to pre-order it 3 days in advance). It was all really tasty, but rather much, and because it was all so good we didn't want to be impolite and leave anything. I was absolutely stuffed and couldn't even get up for an after dinner stroll anymore...



    Dessert was really odd by the way. I've had slices of fruit and jelly before as dessert with a kaiseki dinner, but this was something else. In a banana leaf was a waffle, and stacked upon it were a piece of fish wrapped in bacon and some broccoli, with melted cheese on the sides, topped off with a slice of pineapple (core out) and kiwi (core out), the holes filled with spaghetti + sauce?! It was so at odds with the otherwise very tasty and balanced Japanese dishes. Has anyone ever had something like it?



    20 February - to Matsumoto

    Breakfast was perhaps even better (or so I thought; Tetsu-chan was less charmed by it all, with the fish and all kinds of unidentifiable stuff, and no coffee). We walked around town a bit more and bought curry bread for lunch, and even found coffee!



    The next stop was Matsumoto. Not quite in the neighbourhood, but it was in the second time slot we had planned for doing the Kushiro steam train. I was glad we could do that earlier in the trip, Ginzan Onsen to Hokkaido would've been doable but tricky.
    The train ride started off with heaps of snow everywhere, and even a kamoshika! Quite close to the tracks, near the forest at the edge of a snowy field.
    As we left the mountains the snow gradually became less and less, and when we got to Matsumoto it had totally disappeared. Temperatures were way too high for the time of year, but what can you do? Luckily Japan is almost as pretty without snow.





    For dinner we found a 'Genghis Khan' restaurant, lots of different parts of mutton to grill by yourself on a mini BBQ. I must've eaten the wrong sheep all my life, this tasted really good.


    Dessert was better this time :)
     
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  27. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    21 February - Narai and the Nakasendo trail

    The day started with breakfast with a view :) The hotel in Matsumoto had its breakfast room at the 10th floor, with a beautiful view over the city and the mountains in the distance.



    From Matsumoto we did a day trip to Narai, and walked a stretch of the old Nakasendo trail to Yabuhara, where we took the train back.
    Narai is a small historic town, and used to be a resting place along the Nakasendo way, one of the old routes from Kyoto to Edo. It consists of two roads lined with historic wooden houses and small craft shops, and is very charming (even without snow). You can also stay there in a ryokan instead of in Matsumoto.







    We had a nice ramen lunch in a lovely Japanese restaurant. Tetsu-chan had a bit of trouble fitting his legs under the table, but the food was good.



    After lunch we walked to the start of the old Nakasendo trail, where we were surprised by some wild monkeys crossing the road. A nice lady in a woodblock print shop was very surprised that we were going to go all the way up to the Torii pass and gave us sweets for on the way (she wanted to give us clementines first but then found out she did’t have any)






    the start of the trail

    The trail was a bit steep here and there but no problem if you're used to walking in the mountains. The highest point, the Torii pass, even still had some snow and ice :) It took us two hours from the start of the trail at the one end of the village to the train station of Yabuhara. We went from Narai to Yabuhara because I wanted to have lunch first and still have energy for enjoying the town and shops, and in Yabuhara there is much less of that. On the other hand, if you were to approach Narai from Yabuhara, you have a wonderful view of the entire town as you descend. And if you think a two hours' walk is a bit too much, but you'd like to do some walking, you can also walk in the other direction towards Kiso-Hirasawa, which is about 30 mins over flat terrain, and take the train back from there.






    There were bear warning signs all along the trail, and at two spots you were advised to ring a bell to alert the bear that lunch was on its way, or preferably, to scare it away. I was a bit worried that ringing the bell in winter might wake any bear in the neighbourhood up from hibernation, but decided to comply anyway. Luckily no bears were met.


    at the other end of the trail (for us), in Yabuhara



    Note: if you are station stamp hunting: the stamp at Yabuhara station is kept behind the counter, and the ticket window closes pretty early (about 15:45 I think?). We arrived there later, so this is the only station we don't have a stamp of :(

    Back in Matsumoto we visited the lit-up castle, which was quite the sight. At night the castle itself is closed, but we'd already visited it once before. I can recommend visiting it, it still has lots of original features from the 16th century.



     
    #27 fennekeg, Mar 25, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
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  28. Ozgirl

    Ozgirl A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Ah that explains the news story we saw on repeat on our last night in Japan.
     
  29. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    22-23 February - Tokyo

    A (planned) snowless intermezzo: two days Tokyo (no worries, there will be plenty of snow in the next leg of our trip). We had discussed skipping Tokyo altogether, but there were a few things I wanted to see and do there, so off we went.
    Tetsu-chan's day started a bit earlier, he had seen an add for an old commuter train he wanted to take. So he was on the 07:00 Ohayou-liner from Matsumoto to Nagano, then went back with a local line to pick me up, because we had front row seats on the 10:07 Wide View train to Nagano.
    On the Ohayou-liner he wasn't the only train fan, he was seated next to a high school kid that had a day off school and who wanted to ride that train as well. They talked quite a bit via google translate and limited English, and showed each other train pics.
    In the meantime I started the day slowly by dropping off some heavy souvenirs at the post office to send home, and then a coffee at the local Starbucks.


    In Matsumoto there's a scramble crossing as well. Fewer people though


    The Shinano Wide View train to Nagano


    In Tokyo we dropped off our luggage at the hotel in Ueno. Then the first stop was Hakubutsukan-Doubutsuen Station, an old disused subway station that was temporarily opened for the public. Unfortunately they had decided that they wanted to attract more visitors and had opened an art exhibition in the station as well. As a result so many people came that it was fully booked for the rest of the day.

    Plan B: walk through the streets of Nezu and Yanaka to Nippori station. That was a perfectly acceptable alternative. In this mega city we walked through a large park and then small windy streets with low-rise houses and tiny front yards. It didn't feel like a metropolis at all.



    At Nippori station we watched the trains for a bit and then we went back to Ueno, where we had dinner in a polynesian restaurant, to fully match the break of style of this trip.



    The next morning Tetsu-chan went on his second steam train ride (another last minute addition based on a poster he had seen two days earlier). This was the SL Gunma from Takasaki to Yokokawa, a shorter ride than the first one (and no snowy views) but nice nevertheless. And much easier to get tickets for, this was on a Saturday and he got his ticket only the day before. There's a railway museum in Yokokawa as well, and you can easily get to Takasaki from Tokyo by shinkansen (both shinkansen and SL are free with the rail pass).

    In the meantime I went on a bit of a shopping spree, or so I had planned, but I didn't get any further than the 4 storey Maruzen book store (right outside Tokyo Station). Heaven! It was great fun just browsing, in addition to Japanese books they also have lots of book-related items like t-shirts and toys (of children's book characters), a large stationery department, and a sizeable English department with lots of books about Japanese culture. I also got a new station stamp booklet for our next trip, and was tempted to buy some train books for Tetsu-chan but he wouldn't be able to read them... so I got him a children's book with all the different Japanese trains and their names :) Then it was off to the post office (luckily close by) to send home all the heavy books and stationery I bought.


    The Maruzen main bookstore opposite Tokyo Station Marunouchi North exit

    In the afternoon, with Tetsu-chan back in town, we first visited a train memorabilia store (on his list) and then Kappabashi street (on my list). Kappabashi street is a street where they sell all kinds of kitchen-related stuff, for tourists but largely for restaurant owners. So lots of earthenware stores, knife stores, kitchen utensils stores, and: stores where they sell the plastic food you see so often on display outside Japanese restaurants. Some still cater mainly to restaurant owners, but others have diverted to tourism, so I am now the proud owner of a piece-of-grilled-salmon fridge magnet and a slice-of-tangerine key chain. The latter looks exceptionally lifelike.



    Dinner was a delicious bento on the train to Sendai, on our way to some snow again.
     
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  30. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    24 February - Yamadera - to Zao Onsen

    From Sendai we took a morning train to Yamadera. It's a series of temples built on a cliffside, and you have to climb lots of stairs to see them all. At the top you have a great view over the accompanying village.


    Back in snow country! Not much, but at this stage we were happy with anything remotely white

    At the station we put our backpacks in a locker, only to find out that the restaurant outside stores luggage for free if you eat there. I had read about this but somehow forgot... Well we weren't really hungry yet anyway. We bought a konyaku+egg skewer which we ate while seated outside in the sunshine, and then set off for the temple.







    It starts off as a regular temple, and then there's just lots and lots of steps. But the trail leads through a beautiful forest with very tall fir trees, dotted with little jizo statues and stone lanterns everywhere. We went at it at a relaxed pace and somehow when we got to the top I wasn't tired at all. And the view was indeed beautiful!






    And then, at the top of the thousand steps, there was a mailbox that was emptied six days a week.... Is there really a mailman climbing these stairs almost every day? Or is there a back road somewhere?

    We then continued on to Yamagata, where we had ramen for lunch in a lovely family-run restaurant.






    Yo, Coca-Cola and Nestlé, look, it's possible to put drinks in a bottle without any sugar! And it tastes good! (cold oolong tea)

    Back at the station we bought combination bus-ropeway-bus tickets for Zao Onsen and the snow monsters. You can use the different parts of the ticket on different days, very convenient. If you take the ropeway all the way up and down again it's even cheaper than separate tickets, but we were to skip a part of the ropeway down so for us it was the same price, just the convenience of already having all tickets.

    There was already a long line for the bus to Zao 15 mins before departure, but as far as I could tell everyone could ride. It was a bus ride of about 40 mins up the mountain, further and further into the snow, yay! Although even in the village the temperature didn't drop below zero.

    We stayed at Lodge Scole which I can recommend. Spacious rooms with en-suite bathrooms (toilet down the hall though). It looked a bit dated here and there but had a great atmosphere.



    After checking in we walked back to the main part of town and watched an amazing sunset from a viewpoint behind the bus station. We had a simple but good dinner (curry) at Oto Chaya, a funky little restaurant with very friendly owners. And the first place where we suddenly weren't the only westerners anymore! So that's where all of you were hiding, at the ski resorts ;)

     
    #30 fennekeg, Mar 27, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
  31. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    We were there about 3 weeks ago. Apparently there are 1015 steps. Our 9yr old counted 980 and felt we had been ripped off. This was one of my favourite things we did on our trip.
     
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  32. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    25 February - Snow action on Mt Zao

    Time for some action! One of the attractions of Zao is of course the snow monsters, and we thought it might be nice to take a walk amongst them instead of just going up and down with the ropeway. When I started planning this trip I just assumed that this could be done on regular hiking boots, like you can do in the Harz mountains in Germany with the snow monsters there. I quickly learnt on this forum (thanks!) that is not possible in Japan, at least not in ski resort areas, with the snow being several metres deep. So then what? Tetsu-chan had walked on snowshoes once but I'd never done it before. However everyone said it was really easy and that we should absolutely try it.

    So we had rented snowshoes the night before at Best Rental. Friendly and helpful people, and they even had large size snowshoes for Tetsu-chan. We tested them out in front of the rental shop and sure, it seemed easy enough.

    In the morning we first had coffee at the restaurant at the base of the Zao Central ropeway, and then we went to the Zao ropeway a bit further down the street. It seemed quiet outside but inside there was quite a line already, I think we waited for about 15 minutes. There might have been Chinese but I mostly heard Japanese around me, and it was a mix of about 40% skiers/snowboarders and 60% sightseers.



    At the top the wind blew very hard, so we could only stay on the observation deck for a few minutes. The visibility was good, but there was hardly anything left of the snow monsters (they already warned for this at the bus ticket office in Yamagata). We had lunch in the restaurant, and then we put on our snowshoes and set off walking down.


    The ex snow monsters

    The Zao Ropeway consists of two parts, and the plan was to walk down to the middle station and do the rest by ropeway again (the lower part is too steep to walk comfortably). Lots of thanks to @Ramenman who gave us some last minute tips, which boiled down to 'at the top of the ski slope, take a left into the forest where there are already other snowshoe tracks, and then just keep the ropeway in sight'. There were no other snowshoe tracks as far as we could tell, so we just went left somewhere that looked nice. And it was great! It felt like you even have more options than walking in boots in the snow, like you could go just about anywhere. Except for the steep parts of course, so we checked our digital map with altitude lines on the ipad every now and then to make sure we steered clear of cliffs and ravines.




    Only at the end did I notice that I had switched left and right... hadn't bothered me at all when walking


    Testing the snow depth - over a rabbit's track

    Sometimes we crossed snowboard tracks but mostly it was just pristine snow. Lovely! The ex-snowmonsters at the top looked a bit sad with their bare branches, but lower on the mountain the trees were still intact with some snow here and there. We saw tracks of deer and hare everywhere. Really a beautiful walk.





    It was a bit of a workout but no more than walking through 20cm snow in hiking boots. I had brought my walking poles (no snow tellers) for balance but Tetsu-chan did fine without. It took us about two hours to reach the middle station. Unfortunately the restaurant there was closed, so we took the ropeway down again. When we got down I was quite tired but in a good way. It was fun! But I was glad we had our digital map with altitude lines, so you can see where you are and where the steep parts are, as there are no paths you can follow.


    We descended 330m

    Dinner was in a tiny old yakiniku place. They got a steady number of customers but for some reason decided to close up really early, around seven o'clock, and even turned customers away. After dinner we walked around town a bit, past the bath houses and the tempel. It was nice but the town had a rather deserted feeling after dark.

    26 February - to Nozawa Onsen

    We had wanted to get coffee at this little coffeehouse next to the bus station, but they weren't open yet at 09:00 so we went to the bus station and got coffee from the machine there. We were way too early for the 09:40 bus, but weren't even the first ones there, and after a while we were glad we got there early because it got very crowded soon. At some point they started counting people and splitting the group, so I think not everyone could ride, or perhaps a second bus came later.



    This was a train day again, two shinkansens, from Yamagata to Iiyama. We had delicious bentos for lunch. They're not the cheapest, but dinner kept being cheaper than we had anticipated, so lunch being a bit more expensive luckily was no problem.





    And we were glad to see Iiyama also still had snow, even more than Yamagata. The bus ride to Nozawa went smoothly, but it was funny suddenly being surrounded by Australians :) Hi guys! Good thing you're a kind bunch.



    In Nozawa we stayed in Resort Inn Chitose. It is managed by an old man, things all went quite slowly, and we were wondering how much longer he could continue, but nevertheless he did a great job and was very friendly. The lobby and hallways looked a bit run-down, but our room was lovely! A spacious tatami room with en suite, and a view of the temple right outside our window.





    For dinner we decided to go all western and went to The Corner Steakhouse. Staffed by both Japanese and Australians, all equally good-humoured. And the food was good! I had an avocado bacon cheeseburger-without-cheese, Tetsu-chan went for steak, both delicious.

    Both before and after dinner we walked around town a bit. Nozawa is a very charming little town, personally I enjoyed it much more than Zao. It was really nice just strolling around the hot springs and all the beautiful bath houses.





     
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  33. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    27 February - More snowshoeing

    Another ski resort... another day snowshoeing :) We really got hooked and wanted to have a go at it again. On the map we had noticed a nice mountain plain where we could walk from one lift to another, via a lake. Apparently there were snowshoe tours going there as well, so it was probably a good choice.

    First stop: St Anton rental. To get there we had to take the moving walkway! Is that an Only in Japan thing? I'd never seen it before. But it works :)



    The rental shop only had one size snowshoes but thought we'd probably be OK. They had some doubts about my smallish hiking boots, but I could strap on the snowshoes snug and tight so that was OK too.

    Then we walked (on boots) via a groomed road to the bottom station of the Nagasaka gondola, where we had coffee and brownies at Mt Dock Gondola Cafe. Good coffee, too bad they don't have more seating area, it was rather crowded even with just a few people.
    We bought a single ticket for the gondola and went all the way up to Yamabiko station. The views you can have in a ski gondola never cease to amaze me.



    At the top we strapped on our snowshoes and set off in the woods behind the other lift. Apparently there is a mountain road buried under the snow there, funny to see a large road sign just sticking out of the snow with no road in sight.
    We walked through an extensive birch forest, the first part along the edge of a cliff, with some beautiful views. Halfway we came across Lake Sutaka and what looked like a camping ground.


    Tetsu-chan checking directions on the ipad. His snowshoes were a bit too small for him, here and there he sank away in the snow for about 10cm


    The snow was really crusty. And yes, only at the end did I discover that I had gotten two right shoes. Hadn't bothered me at all while walking




    Lake Sutaka


    What appeared to be the washing facilities of the camping ground

    Whereas the first part was all flat terrain, the second part had lots of hills and we had to check the map a few times to find the not-too-steep parts. We also came across one or two snow cat trails, so you can probably also walk there on regular boots? But we had our snowshoes and could choose our own trail. Lots of animal tracks again, we even saw a white hare sprinting away through the trees. The last part was a beautiful open plain skirted by trees and mountain tops in the distance.



    At Uenotaira station we had a late lunch and then we took the Hikage gondola back down (the ride down was free!), where we ended back at the rental shop. A great way to enjoy the snowy mountains :)





    There was a small trail next to the moving walkway so we took that (on boots) to get down again. I needed my poles here and there but it's a nice trail, and you end up going past the temple giving you a nice view from above.
    I was quite tired so I went back to the hotel, while Tetsu-chan checked out some more trails at the edge of the village.


    The view from our room

    For dinner we went to Billiken, where they have adorable store cats, one even had a throne on the counter with a heating pad! We had ramen, and for 'dessert' Tetsu-chan had a warm sake and I had hot cocoa from real cocoa powder. Great little place with a cozy atmosphere.



     
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  34. zarik

    zarik Hard Yards

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    I was wondering what is the name of the one for Tokyo to Hokkaido? Do you have a link where you can book it by any chance
     
  35. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    Till 2015 or 2016, there used to be Hokutosei, the train used to leave Tokyo(Ueno station) at 5pm and arrive in Sapporo station at 9am next morning(so 16 hours travel). It was very reasonable and nicely touristic too(had some different kinds of bed rooms). Now, there are only very luxurious one and Shinkansen as far as I know. The very luxurious one is TRAIN SUITE 四季島. 四季島 = Shikishima. 四季 = four seasons. 島 = island(s). There are several routes. The longest one is 4 days 3 nights route from Tokyo to Hokkaido. This is the longest one.
    [​IMG]

    The train has bed rooms for guests, but guests stay at luxury Ryokans at night JR pick. I mean, the train tour takes guests to several tourist destinations between Tokyo and Hokkaido by use of the luxury train and bus, and guests stay at luxury Ryokans in the tourist destinations.


    This is the video. Of course, there are English speaking staff in the luxury train.
     
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  36. zarik

    zarik Hard Yards

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    Interesting, thanks a lot
     
  37. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    28 February - Nozawa

    A rain day :( so we decided to take it easy and make it a day of relaxing. We started at Tanuki with coffee (note: when the girl at the counter says it's already pretty strong and doesn't need an extra shot, don't be stubborn and just believe her), reading a book/doing some programming stuff, and more coffee/hot chocolate (both recommendable). Then some souvenir shopping, checking out the hot springs by daylight, and lunch at Cafe Bell across the bus terminal (good curry and a nice, chatty owner). In the afternoon more reading and writing postcards at the hotel.








    Trees and shrubs protected from the heavy snow

    For dinner we had wanted to go to Fortissimo but couldn't find it, so we went to Totorina Yakitori instead. We had yakitori (of course) and chicken karaage, one of my favourites next to curry and ramen.




    It came with a side dish of fern tops, I had no idea these are edible! It tasted OK, no distinct taste, more like lettuce or cucumber

    It had finally cleared up a bit so we went for a final evening stroll through town.






    Nice to see a ryokan taking western sizes into account. Tetsu-chan had brought his own slippers on this trip, for usually he can hardly fit his big toe in the slippers provided.

    1 March - Morimiyanohara

    Cafe Bell also does takeaway coffee, so we grabbed a cup there before taking the bus to Iiyama. It was crowded at the bus station, but they had three buses at the ready so everyone could ride. In Iiyama we checked out the supermarket next to the station. Lunch (bento-like and other) is so much cheaper at supermarkets than at stations! Several hundred yen in difference.

    We hadn't really planned anything for today except that we had to end up in Yudanaka by evening. We both wanted to ride trains in snowy areas some more (I was surprised at how much I liked it), so we dediced to take a train up to Morimiyanohara from Iiyama. The train follows a windy river bank and has lovely snow views.









    Morimiyanohara station is know for being the spot where a record amount of snow fell, almost 8m, in 1945




    Almost 8m is pretty high

     
    #37 fennekeg, Mar 31, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2019
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  38. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    Greetings from the other side Duved Station
    Train to Malmö (Sweden).






    I wish there was onsen and Japanese food here. :(:crap:

    For future trips try Ookayama - Yonago from one side to the other through the mountains.:):thumbs:
     
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  39. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    Ow! Sweden <3 We went there in 2015, did a Scandinavia tour (by train of course) via Copenhagen, Malmo, Stockholm, all the way up to Narvik, and then down again via Trondheim, Bergen, and Goteborg. Beautiful!

    Thanks! I'll add it to my list :) Oh and Yonago is close to Daisen I see, which I have on my list as a good snowshoe area :)
     
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  40. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes Daisen is a nice mountain -also a little west is Sanbe - san in a national park. Near Oda.
    My wifes gandmother was already skiing on Sanbe-san 1920.
    There is also a great undeground museum of buried trees - mudflow after vulcanic eruption. Not big but deep.
     
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  41. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    How rare cranes are in Europe?. I think they can be seen in Europe too, right?. I mean, last week, a Japanese tv program was interviewing old Swiss couples who came to all the way to Hokkaido to just take pictures of cranes!



    Haha, he isn't too tall for you to call him "his name + chan";). I mean, -chan is mainly for kids because it sounds cute but we often use -chan for adults if we are in very close relationship with them. He is your partner, so he is -chan for you forever even if he is 200cm or taller;)



    Yes, there is Aomori Spring Ski resort on the other side. It was bought by a Singaporean company and they have English speaking snowshoe tours to Mt.Iwaki and Hakkoda mountains for foreign tourists now. Mt.Iwaki is the tallest mountain of Aomori prefecture and Hakkoda mountains are one of the snowiest mountains in the world(snowier and colder than Zao and Hakkoda is also famous for Juhyo). This incident happened in Hakkoda, so you should not try snowshoe walking without a guide there:eek:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hakkōda_Mountains_incident
     
    #41 Ramenman, Apr 1, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2019
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  42. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Now that’s a new dish to me!!! Never knew they were edible either. I’ll be on the look out to try it now.
     
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  43. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    It's Zenmai. Zenmai is one of Sansai. Sansai is written 山菜. 山 = mountain, 菜 = vegetable, so 山菜 = Sansai = mountain vegetable. I really like Sansai soba!. Many Japanese hikers go to mountains in green season to get yummy Sansai;)!

    About Sansai : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sansai

    Zenmai is often seen by mountain stream / lake.
    [​IMG]
    Zenmai : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osmunda_japonica



    This is Sansai soba(some different kinds of Sansais are used)
    [​IMG]
     
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  44. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    It seems JR Iiyama Line looks like this when it's snowing.


    And another very snowy train line filmed on December 29th, 2018(so this season)







    They are the bestest:thumbs::cool:
     
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  45. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    OK we *have* to go there again! But then a bit earlier in the season
     
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  46. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    There are some cranes in Europe, mainly in Scandinavia, but they are of a different type and colouring. The cranes of Hokkaido have this whole story of being almost extinct but now slowly coming back again, but still being rare. Plus they look beautiful with their black and white colouring against the white snow and blue skies. They featured in a couple of tv programs (e.g. Joanna Lumley's Japan) as being really special, so that's how we see them here :) For me it was also one of the reasons to go all the way to Kushiro, we went there for the train and the cranes (and got even more).
     
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  47. Amelia1810

    Amelia1810 One of Us

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    Melbourne's Metro experience 1mm of rain and it goes into meltdown! :p Simply amazing that snow
     
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  48. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    Haha, it was filmed in an average season. If it's once in 10 years very snowy season, it looks like these videos:p. Steam locomotive with deep snow, it's something fennekeg-san's husband likes:p?. These videos were filmed about 60 years ago, when all railways were steam locomotive in Japan.



     
    #48 Ramenman, Apr 1, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2019
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  49. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    Just found some info sites:

    https://www.japan.travel/en/spot/2308/
    https://www.japan.travel/en/spot/2311/
     
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  50. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    https://trainspo.com/photo/98626/
    Tagi station train picture


    My favorite spot in JP



    The area is my third kind of home from 5:00 to 9:20 (Shimazuya)
    At 7:00 min it is my daughters great/grandfather memorial stone.

    The trains come out of one tunnel - drives along the village and into an other tunnel just under the community house.

    Nimo5 is person you might like. He made also the above film.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqKB0Jjt4zNSQEmsRDEIVwA
     
    #50 Hyst, Apr 2, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019
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