Monday, February 23, 2015
Scenes from Yudanaka
Here are some simple snapshots from our stay in Yudanaka over Valentine's weekend while I wait to finish up and process my rolls of film. It
was such a charming little mountain town, and total sugarcoated eye candy after a heavy snowfall. So lovely. We stayed at a Ryokan, a traditional
style Japanese Inn/ Bed and Breakfast, and it was everything we could have hoped for and more. it really exceeded our expectations in a lot
of ways. I left really sad we couldn't stay just one more night to take in the peaceful cozy atmosphere, enjoy amazing food, and explore more of the
town. Out first greeting at Yudanaka station was an adorable giant snowman Funassyi, a creepycute Japanese character.
I researched a ton online before booking this particular Ryokan, Yudanaka Onsen Seifuso. It had great reviews, and I loved the photos on their website,
and the fact that they provided snow boots and free rides to the monkey park entrance (since it's up in the mountains, and kind of a hike from the
town.) As soon as we arrived, everything was better than I had imagined. The hospitality, the quality of the food, the little details in decoration- the
gorgeous garden courtyard covered in snow- they even had three different onsens (hot baths) to choose from. Our room was huge and lovely, and kept plenty
warm despite the blizzard.
I was very eager to get out and explore our surroundings in this glorious snow. Our inkeepers told us that they only get snow like this once a year-
it snowed for 2 days straight. Looking out the window the first morning of our stay felt so exciting- big fat flakes coming down thick and fast, making
everything look like a postcard. Such good stuff. Our journey to the monkey park took us through a gorgeous forest path, and our walk home took us through
some other snowclad neighborhoods and towns as well.
The bus we had planned on taking home just never showed, so we just ended up walking back through this blizzard. It was beautiful, but by the time
we got back to the inn we were frozen stiff. My hair had frozen into actual icicles and our faces and hands were red and raw. Poor Ryan's coat had soaked
through, and most of our stuff was quite wet. Luckily I guess it was a slow day, because the inkeepers took pity on us and let us use the outdoor onsen
right away, and privately, which isn't usually the policy. They had a schedule up of women's hours and men's hours, and we had just resigned ourselves to
go separately. It was the best surprise to be able to go in together, have it all to ourselves, right after being out in the snow all day.
So many 'pinch me' moments this day. Sitting in serene piping hot water with snow falling down around me was like being in a waking dream, or in the middle of one of my daydreams. Oh japan.
Posted by Kitsune-kun at 10:30 AM