Up bright and early on Boxing Day, we embarked on our delicious 10 day holiday visiting chums down south.
After five hours of travelling, and five different trains our first stop was a small ski town called Hakuba where long lost BFF Julia teaches ex-pats how to ski.
Look at her, isn't she delightful! If I liked skiing I would choose her to teach me the art.
Hakuba was a glorious winter wonderland with snow like you wouldn't believe.
This was the view from our accommodation - swoon.
The houses were not at all Japanese but quintessential European gingerbread houses fit for a postcard. It was all extremely foreigner friendly; Gareth was even able to get his first flat white in Japan here.
This poor house was unoccupied while we were there and with no one to clear a path to the door the snow stacked up and up!
Gareth made a snow angel of sorts... maybe its a Rorschach Test - or Hello Kitty!
Being the only non-skiers in the village we amused ourselves by stomping through snow, looking at icicles, general scenic admiring and our first onsen experience.
The onsen was nice, just like the hot springs at Hanmer only nudity is required. I was a little nervous at first but you learn very quickly that nobody gives a hoot that you are naked, everyone just wants to relax. There was an indoor and outdoor bath, the outdoor one being particularly lovely - watching steam rise from the water and from bathers and seeing the stars and the snow! Oh lovely! Sorry there are no pictures.
Then it was time to farewell Julia and pack our bags with the delicious lollies she brought us from New Zealand. (Jet Planes, Pineapple Lumps, Black Forest and Skittles - AMAZING.) We were off to catch several more trains to meet Darlene in the comparative tropics of Kobe.