It’s been a long time since I was back in Japan and I keep promising that I will finally take Tawny. With airfare being so cheap from Seattle right now it looks like this might be the perfect time to go someplace like Aomori or Fukushima. As it happens, I think this is the most extraordinary time of year to visit the Tohoku region. Not only because this is the season for cherry blossoms but it is the best time to get some sweet powder skiing in.
The winters here in the Pacific Northwest have been a little hit or miss lately and the usual hot spots for skiing aren’t as reliable as they used to be but places like Tohoku in Japan always seem to get amazing snow. It isn’t just that there is a ton of snow either. What really appeals to me is that the area is wild and open. You have so many options for explorations and blazing your own trail in the mystical land. Looking at pictures of the area it seems surreal, even more so because you can explore to your heart’s content.
It isn’t just the powder that calls us though. Both Tawny and I are huge fans of hot-springs, whether in Banff, the Sawtooths, or just across our backyard in the Olympic mountains, we are no strangers to deep winter hot springs. I think we all remember our expedition out to Stanley hot-springs back in the glory days of 2009. One particular set of pools that we’ve never had the chance to enjoy though are the spectacular springs near the Mt. Hakkoda ski resort. The local Onsen (traditional public baths formed around volcanic hot springs) is one that has called to us for years. Melting into one of these natural hot pools is made so much better by a long day of slicing through powder. Not to mention the food. You can work up quite the appetite skiing and the food at some of the resorts has become world renowned. Both in the freshness and the dedication to flavor, you won’t be disappointed. It is truly out of this world. The combination of high altitude slopes, dry snow powder, and volcanic hot springs is a pretty rare combo in the world but you can find it all over in places like the Fukushima and Aomori prefectures. Urabandai Area and Hakkoda are great destinations for the avid skier and snowboarded too. It is just a spectacular level of snow that you can encounter.
Imagine yourself in the perfect beauty of Japan, surrounded by perfect powder snow, volcanic hot springs, and traditional beauty. We are. We are imagining it right now. Add to this the fact that the food is perfect and you’ve got yourself the ideal winter trip. I think now is the perfect time to make our plans for Japan.