Why walk when you can ski?

Great conditions again today. Got on the slopes as early as possible. We took linking paths through spectacular tree lined routes that linked up between different runs. One minute you would be in a curving narrow course with forest all around then you would pop out into a massive downhill slope about two or three hundred metres wide. Sometimes there would just be the two of us on the whole slope. Absolutely amazing. We just kept doing runs, changing it around a it, trying different courses now and then, and slowly building up our skills and confidence. It was the most like being in SSX so far.

20140122-225401.jpg

20140122-225419.jpg

20140122-225435.jpg

20140122-225556.jpg

And then some chocolate covered chips after a successful day.

20140122-225700.jpg

We had to move to a different hotel. Being even closer to the slopes and with views like this, we are not complaining;

20140122-230012.jpg

Crunky? Ringo? Sake?

If yesterday’s conditions were the best ever, then today’s weren’t. Really cold. Snowing heaps. But you can still have fun;

20140119-223314.jpg

20140119-223344.jpg

Gave up on the skiing early and checked out the town proper in the daylight. If you would you can try some samples of local vegetables, but they might taste a little snowy.

20140119-223536.jpg

We explored a bit more and found this bit. And it was real pretty. And they cook vegetables in the onsen water below. Not today though. Too cold. That is steam you can see in the photo. Ohh, by the way, we have been enjoying onsen baths ourselves very much. No photos though.

20140119-223937.jpg

20140119-223956.jpg

20140119-224014.jpg

This gives you an idea of how much fresh snow fell last night;

20140119-224156.jpg

Shabu Shabu for dinner. Had to brave icy roads to get it, but worth it. The veggies in particular were oishii. The hosts were lovely.

20140119-224606.jpg

20140119-224638.jpg

20140119-224658.jpg

Here is the apple store;

20140119-224800.jpg

Colder than the fridge

Got up on the mountain in the morning, straight up to near the top where there is this big easy run. Really smooth and wide, and easy to go at your own pace. Blue skies everywhere. Sun on us for a lot of the day. Big views. Virtually no wind. Hard to imagine better conditions.

20140119-080205.jpg

20140119-080223.jpg

20140119-080328.jpg

20140119-080456.jpg

20140119-080847.jpg

Finished for the day. Now for some après-ski.

20140119-080723.jpg

Hello Nozawa onsen

So with everything sorted, up early in the morning, lift passes sorted, up into a gondola and onto the mountain full of powder snow.

20140118-211206.jpg

20140118-211223.jpg

20140118-211340.jpg

20140118-211419.jpg

20140118-211458.jpg

Then into town for dinner. We tried to get into this Izakaya last night, but it was too full. It was worth the wait. We sat at the bar — proper Izakaya style — and we even changed our ordering around when we saw another table get the buta Kakuni. It looked too good to pass up. Remember our favourite meal so far from Kyoto? The tofu place? You remember right? Well this place got really close to the number one position. Two very different places, but both very Japanese experiences.

20140118-212237.jpg

20140118-212254.jpg

20140118-212316.jpg

20140118-212337.jpg

Goodbye Kyoto

It is always a sad thing to leave Kyoto. We never feel we have enough time in Kyoto. Also sad to leave Bola Bola. A great place. More photos of it follow.

20140117-213030.jpg

20140117-213057.jpg

20140117-213120.jpg

But leave we must. And if we must, let’s go to the Japanese alps on the Shinkansen. Today’s Shinkansen photo features Nagoya’s specialty kit kat. What flavour you ask? Well — that would be adzuki bean with toasted sandwich. Tasted like adzuki and toast.

20140117-213548.jpg

Also, Steve had the world’s smallest desert;

20140117-213739.jpg

Then after a long day, we found ourselves in Nozawa onsen. Oh, yeah — and we found all the Australians.

20140117-214036.jpg