Blogs from Hakuba, Nagano, Japan, Asia


Asia » Japan » Nagano » Hakuba February 20th 2017

We wake up to snow. Lots of snow is on the ground. Lots of snow is falling. It is a crazy storm! The ski hills are currently closed as there is lightning and thunder with this snow storm. I've only seen a snow storm once with lightning. Brad says that it doesn't happen often here, but once in a while it does. He also said that this was supposed to be rain and the snow does turn to rain later in the day. The weather is just wild here. We get packed up and eat breakfast. We have a couple of hours before the bus comes. The old man at the hotel tells us that we can get on the bus at the station beside the hotel and that will save us from having to go ... read more

Asia » Japan » Nagano » Hakuba February 19th 2017

It snowed last night and this is our last chance to hit up Cortina. Cortina is a little ways away and we take the train to get there. We are told to get off at Minima, which is the same place we got off when we transferred to go to the coast. Then a shuttle bus will pick us up from the train station and take us up to the ski hill. When we arrive at Cortina, we are greeted with a big Sweden-looking hotel. I think it's a bit overkill. This place reminds me of Banff, it is busy and full of tourists. Beginners slide and fall through the areas where they are all filtered together. We quickly line up to get our day pass and get a combo pass that will include this resort, ... read more

Asia » Japan » Nagano » Hakuba February 18th 2017

The conditions look like they may be even worse today. As much as we love snowboarding, we are a bit snobby. We decide that we haven't explored Hakuba yet, so we will do a self-guided pub crawl today. We will walk everywhere, eat things, drink things and look at things. We go to have a shower, but there is no hot water. Awesome. This place lets me down at least once a day. I guess I won't have a shower. We eat breakfast and take our time getting ready. We still make it out the door by 10am and start wandering around the town. We have grand plans for how our day will pan out, but we are okay with our plans change if we see something we like or if we get distracted. We first ... read more

Asia » Japan » Nagano » Hakuba February 17th 2017

It is calling for pouring rain today and the freezing level is very high. We don't want to go out on the hill today, so we decide to hit up the Japanese Sea coast instead. Brad says that this weather system is common right before a big storm. They get rain, then wind, then loads of snow. It sounds like we might miss the next big dump though because we will have to head back to Tokyo. Hopefully we get some snow to ride Cortina though. We make some breakfast and are at the train station nice and early to catch a train to Itoigawa. When we leave the hotel, it is sunny outside, but we grab some umbrellas to prepare for the future. We buy our train tickets and it isn't very expensive (840 yen ... read more

Asia » Japan » Nagano » Hakuba February 16th 2017

Today we wake up freezing cold. The heaters stopped working last night. The walls are paper thin, and I could hear the heater beeping in the room beside us too. These heaters are powered by karosene. This town doesn't have central heating. We need to start the heater up when we enter a room and shut it off when we leave. This place, West Coast Inn, seems like a run down hostel. The people that run this place are nice, but the accommodation itself is not. It is dirty too. The same pee stains have been on the toilet seats since we got here. Darren was nice and cleaned one of the toilet seats for me. When something goes wrong here, it is tough to find someone. This place is run like a free for all. ... read more

Asia » Japan » Nagano » Hakuba February 14th 2017

Happy Valentine's Day! In Japan, the woman gives the man chocolate for Valentine's Day. I tried to secretly buy Darren some chocolate, but it is difficult when he is always around. I got him some chocolate covered almonds and some other chocolates that resemble Mt. Fuji. I tell him that he needs to share. It is the present that gives back. Today we are off to Happo One. We first eat breakfast at our hotel. Yogourt and granola. It is really good and Darren wants to have this for many more breakfasts. We catch the shuttle bus to Happo One. This ski resort is one of the larger ones in Hakuba. In 1998, Hakuba partially hosted the Winter Olympics and the ski jumps are located at this resort. This resort has its claim to fame and ... read more

Asia » Japan » Nagano » Hakuba February 13th 2017

We both had a terrible sleep with the heater on, it was too hot. Without the heater, it was too cold - even with the giant duvet cover on the beds. We decide to listen to the locals and save Cortina for another day. So, we head to Hakuba 47 and Goryu. Brad said that we can ride both resorts and use one lift ticket. He also recommended that we get the red vests and we can ride in the trees. We don't have much time, so we decide to eat breakfast at the hill. There is a free shuttle bus that picks us up at the hotel beside us. These buses can take us all over Hakuba and do different resorts. The buses look like a giant camper van with wheels very close to the ... read more

Asia » Japan » Nagano » Hakuba February 11th 2017

I wake up an hour before the alarm and am wide awake. I still haven't adjusted to Japan time. When Darren gets up we repack our things and head out. We decided last night to not worry about breakfast as most places are closed this early in the morning. We pack all of our luggage onto the train at the Okubo station. We are happy to see that the train isn't packed full. We only have to go one stop to the Shinjuku station. From here we have to find the Shinjuku Express Bus Terminal. We decided to use the bus system since the train doesn't save much time and costs more. We are deceived by the signs to the bus terminal and finally end up above ground and lost. We kind of know where we ... read more

Asia » Japan » Nagano » Hakuba February 25th 2015

Having had an epic amount of snow this season we have manage do arrive after a week of rain. Undeterred we set out for Iwatake resort for a days snowboarding. Thankfully we had a lovely sunny day and although the snow was a little slushy we had a lovely day. My legs were a little tired by the end but we held out for crepes and beer afterwards. Xx... read more

Asia » Japan » Nagano » Hakuba December 30th 2014

My fifth trip to Japan was to be different. A winter holiday, a white (post) Christmas, and the chance to polish up on my fledgling and fairly recent cross country and back country ski trekking skills. Having thought the next trip would be cycling in Cambodia, a dose of the travel blues after Africa ended sent my decision otherwise. Reframing the importance of facing new challenges each day, I set out seeking information for a New Years in the Nagano alp region of Honshuu and to visit both Chihiro and Hiroshi again Several emails to and from and between a friend of this hotel owner and that pension owner, and my itinerary came together as swiftly as the snow was to fall a month later. So I left Auckland, settled into a shorter than expected 11 ... read more
Your typical kiosk - futsuu na kiosk
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Macaques of Jigokudani - Jigokudani no saru

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