Monday, March 11, 2013

Japan (Dec12): Day 8 Nagano to Nozawa onsen

It's Christmas Eve today! Looked out of the hotel room window in the morning and found that it was snowing lightly. There have been news reports of this Christmas being colder than usual...with possible heavy snow in the region (parts of Korea, Russia and Japan). 

From Nagano, we took a 1hr train from Nagano to Togari-Nozawaonsen station.

Even though it's a small 2 carriage train, there's a toilet onboard the train.

Hubby with his breakfast on the train.

10mins into the train journey, and the outside scenery starts to look really snowy. 
20mins into the train journey, the outside scenery looks like Hokkaido in mid feb (mid winter)

30mins into the journey, this is what's outside the window... heavy snowfall.

Finally arrived at Togari-Nozawaonsen station. Look at the huge amount of snow on the train platform!  I was 1 of the first few to alight from the train and the snow came up to above my knee level !

train station.  We only had a couple of minutes to catch the bus to Nozawa Onsen village.

Caught the bus.

I sat next to the bus's back door, and you can see the amount of snow on the train platform.

 The bus journey between the train station and the village itself took about 25mins.
Nozawa onsen village was also under a blanket of heavy snowfall.

I'm telling you, it was a torturous 10mins walk from the bus stop to our ryokan. Normally, it would be a nice stroll, but the snowfall is really no joke. The roads were full of snow and icy slushy water. Snow went into my boots from the top opening of my boots, therefore my socks and feet got wet.  Anyone who ever experienced wet socks in winter will know the feeling. Those who don't, just imagine (just imagine, pls do not try it at home) dunking your feet into a bowl of icy cold water for 10mins in a giant walk-in freezer.  That's probably how I felt.

Luckily I had anticipated the difficult walk with my luggage in heavy snow, so I had already sent my large luggage bag from my hotel at Nagano the previous night to the hotel I would be staying at Tokyo (day 11) via luggage forwarding I only had a small handcarry bag with me (plus my camera bag of course) at Nozawa onsen. The best 1200yen I've spent on this trip...

I love luggage forwarding courier services!!  

Slushy roads

Finally arrived at our ryokan. 
I was about to turn into ice when I arrived at the ryokan. This day felt colder that the day we had at Asahikawa in Hokkaido back in Feb (which was -10 degrees C), but probably not as cold as the day we had at Sounkyo onsen (-20 degrees C). I would estimate the temperature for this day to be somewhere between -10 to -20 degrees.  Luckily there wasn't much wind, or else it would have been even colder.

Since my winter boots wasn't waterproof enough (later on, I found out that I walked so much that I wore a hole in the soles of my boots), so we loaned rubber boots from the ryokan.
Alfred with the boots we loaned.

For the entire day, we kept seeing and hearing people shovelling snow.

Finally found a place for lunch. 
Guess what...


Alfred's Katsu Curry Rice
Convenience store

After lunch, Alfred decided to try skiing. Since I'm not really too adventurous, so I chose not to ski and go relax at a cafe near the ski slopes with a cup of coffee and my e-book reader while waiting for Alfred to be done with skiing.

Rental shop

While walking towards the ski slopes, I fell and broke my camera's lens hood. :(

The small booth is where you buy the ski lift passes

Trying to clip the ski boots into the ski...but difficult to do so due to the heavy snowfall. 

Enjoying a cup of coffee, gyoza, chocolate cake while waiting for Alfred. 

A strand of his hair turned into icicle.

After skiing, we head back to the ryokan for check in.

Our room, Chikuma.

Our room at Nakajimaya ryokan. Cost us about 14000yen for just the room (no meals).

View from window

White Pepsi. Tastes kinda like a mix of 7-up and Pocari Sweat to me.
Since we didn't get the room with meals, and it was too cold to venture the village for dinner, so we just got some Cup noodles and eat in the room.

 While doing some channel surfing, we came across One Piece on TV. 
It seems like 1 of the programmes trying to sell products, so I was curious why is One Piece on it.

Guess that is it?
One Piece GPS navigation system!
With One Piece icons!

Nearly S$600
 Saw a few other cute commercials on TV as well.

And that's how we spent our Christmas Eve 2012 at Nozawa Onsen, Nagano.

Go next to Day 9 Nozawa onsen

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