Thursday, January 26, 2012

Nagano Winter Snow Extravaganza!

I`ve always wanted to try snowboarding, so I jumped at the chance when my friend/fellow JET invited some of us to his place in Yudanaka in Nagano (長野県湯田中) I jumped at the chance despite the distance (Shinkansen from Fukuyama to Shin-Osaka, then an all night bus from Osaka OCAT in Namba station to Yudanaka, sheesh)! Plus I get to go snowboarding where they held several of the 1998 winter Olypmic events!

From Yudanaka we took a bus to Shiga Kogen which is a huuuuge ski resort that`s made up of 21 fields of
skiing/snowboarding goodness. My friends and I went to 一の瀬 (Ichinose).

 The bus ride on the way to Shiga Kogen.

The snow and I got to know each other *really* well...

It was only when we arrived and I looked up at the slopes that I got nervous and remembered that A) I`m not a sports person and B) The only winter activity I`ve ever done is sledding and throwing snowballs. Let`s just say there was a lot of falling involved. BUT, near the end I was more or less keeping up with the guys who were more experienced in snowboarding and I fell down twice on my last run. Not bad for my first time ever. I think. And since we knew we were going to be sore the next day we ended the day with nabeyaki udon in みかさ (Mikasa, a local restaurant/izakaya. Best nabeyaki udon I`ve had so far) and soaking in the onsen. Bliss. We were still sore as hell, but the onsen was bliss nonetheless.

The next day we were taken to the Jigokudani Monkey Park (地獄谷野猿公苑、Jigokudani Yaen Kouen), sore muscles and all. I`m not really into monkeys to be honest, but I have to say seeing monkeys relaxing in an onsen is pretty damn cool. And how can you deny this:


Afterwards we headed back for the long trip home: 1 hour express train from Yudanaka to Nagano. 3 hour ride from Nagano to Nagoya, then another 2 hours from there to Fukuyama for the half hour train ride home. Whew. Despite the long travel time, it was definitely worth it. I definitely recommend Shiga Kogen and Nagano for any fan of the snow (and monkeys).

Tasty of the day:

Kaki-age soba (かき揚げそば). Mixed vegetables fried with tempura batter that you put on top of soba noodles.



Post a Comment

Newer Post Older Post Home

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...