Tuesday, December 31, 2013

And a very snowy new year to all!

Ice over the gutter on our cabin.
It's evening here in Japan, with just over four hours left for 2013 in Japan. You find me in Yokohama with the inlaws, having taken the Shinkansen down last night. It was around 12 degrees here today and lovely sunshine. It's a far cry from Ichinoseki, which got a sizable dump of snow on Friday night last week. I woke up on Saturday morning heading to Hachimantai.

Hachimantai, where as you may recall I have already visited this year, is home to some creepy apartments and the Lava Flow. The Lava Flow, set lava from an old eruption of Mount Iwate, is known locally as Yakehashiri. And not too far from it is an onsen and a group of cabins. In fact there are something like 48 4 or 8-person cabins in the woods next to the lava flow. The place has an English translation which is somewhat baffling to say the least - Iwate grilled run international exchange Village.

Inside the cabin.
Yes, not only is it a mouthful and a half, it makes no rightly sense at all! But the cabins were WARM! You have to pay an extra fee to use the heater incidentally, but you wouldn't in your right mind not. Despite it being something like minus 7 outside, we were toasty and warm inside. We were there basically to shoot a short little film as I am want to do from time to time, but if I thought we had had a lot of snow in Ichinoseki, I was to see more than double that at Yakehashiri. Never the less, a very beautiful place indeed, and as we had a lot of fun. It wasn't so cold whilst we were active.
The Onsen turned out to be cooler than the last one I visited. I enjoyed it much more as I could bear much longer in the water in one go. The only issue was the driving - three hours each way on the snowy roads. In fact it wasn't nearly as bad as I feared it might be. Snow does not pose the same issues (slipping, sliding and crashing) as ice on the roads does. There's far more traction. I hope you enjoy the photos. 

And the curtain sets on 2013, and 2014 dawns. Please watch this space for more blogs and of course, the top five of my top destinations. Wherever you are this New Years' Eve, stay safe and all the best for 2014!

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