When pulling into our hostel in Hakuba, skeptical doesn’t even begin to describe what I’m feeling. Imagine a little wooden house with signs advertising a bar/restaurant combo in flickering neon lights. No mention of there being a guesthouse. To make matters more interesting, there doesn’t seem to be anyone home. Kris and I take one look at each other and pull out our phones in search of another hostel to stay at. Just as we agree on a new place to check, the “open” sign flicks on. Continue reading
Despite the apparent lack of snow, I decided the Snow Monkey Park in Nagano might be worth a visit. You know those pictures of monkeys bathing in hot springs with snow in their fur? Yea, those are taken at this place. We drove up some pretty windy, random roads in an effort to find this place. As we pulled up to the gates, Kris and I noticed that there was a 500yen fee to even get into the parking area. We debated turning around for about one minute, when, right on cue, a monkey strolls up and sits in the drive. Sold. We pulled our coins out faster than you can say “Nagano Monkey Snow Park.” Continue reading
Lake Aokiko is nestled just south of Hakuba and is by far one of the most beautiful lakes I’ve ever seen. What makes this lake so amazing is the rich, teal color of the water. It’s a snow-melt fed lake that is one of the purist lakes in all of Japan. Nothing with a motor is allowed out on this lake, preserving it’s crystal clear state. The locals also believe that the water is so cold it will stop your heart. Although, in the summer time, it’s the perfect temperature for swimming, so don’t let that deter you. Continue reading
Summer vacation has finally began! It was a long time coming, with many days of hard work, but it’s such a relief to have some time off! What does one do with time off? Well, this girl gets in her car and drives, drives, drives.
I drove about 6 hours northeast to Hakuba, famous for hosting the downhill ski event in the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. Hakuba means “white horse” as those who first came saw the mountains and thought of a white horse. It’s a small village that for most of the year is fairly quiet. However, come winter it is normally crawling with ski and snowboard enthusiasts from all over the world. My travel buddy, Kris, and I decided to try out this winter wonderland in the summer to see what we could see. Continue reading