Hakuba has a lot of natural beauty however it does not have any Geisha girls living in the village. Today I took a drive to Togura Kamiyamada Onsen about 80 minutes away via Nagano. I was invited to the Kamesei Ryokan to sample their Kaiseki lunch where they have some local Geisha girls performing traditional dance, song and play the shamisen. A great afternoon and definately worth checking out if you have a day off from your busy skiing schedule in Hakuba. The area is a traditional onsen town and the Kamesei Ryokan has a beautiful soft water onsen bath to relax in before you sit down to your lunch.
The Hakuba World Series Cricket Competition is played out during the warmer months of the year bringing together many nationalities including English, Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, Japanese, Scots, and Swiss to name a few. It is a hybrid game of test, limited overs, indoor and backyard cricket with the rules evolving throughout this inaugural season. Next year we are hoping to challenge some other teams from around the globe to compete for the Hakuba WSC Cup. Today was the final game of the year as we prepare for the snow which will come anytime now. The view from the pitch is a reminder that the snow is on its way. The Cricket is an ICBO sanctioned event. (Icy Cold Beer Only)
Although most peoople live here for the winter months and the world class skiing and snowboarding there are many options for other activities in the warmer months. Saturday I woke at dawn to a crisp blue sky morning. A good friend of mine picked me up at 6 and we drove to a trusted little fishing spot where the water is so clear you can actually see the fish swimming around. Hakuba has a great selection of fishing choices in lakes, streams and rivers and the Japan sea is just 45 minutes away. After a few bites myself, today turned out to be Bens’ day with this nice little trout which was cooked up with some lemon, cracked pepper and chopped shallots wrapped in foil and cooked over an open fire. A delicious breakfast along with some freshly cooked bread and an espresso coffee. This is the life.
Some times we can all get caught up with work and end up sitting at our desks all day. Another beautiful autumn day here in Hakuba and I was determined to drag myself away from my computer to find time to take a walk by the river. It is a great lifestyle here. Originally my intention was to just stay in Hakuba during the winter and manage the hotels however I found the living here to be much to my liking for the whole year. There is a number of westerners from around the globe now living in Hakuba who have also found this balance of lifestyle and work. Clean air, big mountains, great snow in the winter and for all you office workers, fibre optic internet. Come and live the dream.
Another trip into Tokyo – just for the day. This time to source some produce for the White Horse restaurants and bars this coming winter. Tokyo is a gourmets delight and actually has the most restaurants per capita in the world. I love to try new places each time I go and I have been fortunate to have eaten at where I would consider to be the best restaurant going. (contact me if you want the details however you have to take me with you:)
The quickest and most comfortable way to get to Hakuba is to take the bullet train from Tokyo to Nagano and then the bus from there. We help organise transfers for those that come in late after the buses finish. When at Tokyo Station make sure you grab a gourmet bento box (Japanese fast food) from the Gransta Food area for the ride to Nagano. You won’t be disappointed. You could even get yourself a bottle of fine wine for the ride. Cheers
A crisp clear morning here in Hakuba and we had a full moon setting over the Japanese Alps. In the middle of winter we enjoy taking our guests out pre dawn for them to take advantage of the beautiful sunrises we get on the clear mornings. It is a great opportunity to watch the pink reflection of the sun flow down the mountains as the sun rises from your back. Please inquire about our free dawn trips while you are here.
The snow has arrived in Hakuba. This is midway up the resort of Happo One which was the resort where the majority of the events were held for the 1998 Winter Olympics
Thats all that really needs to be said. It is the first snowfall in the valley for this season and although it is not expected to stay on the ground too long it will start filling in some of the gullies and crevasses up higher. This will mean an earlier start to those who head out into the magnificent backcounrty here. When the snow starts falling it adds a great level of anticipation throughout the valley for the beginning of another legendary snow season in Hakuba.
Recovery day today after a big night in Tokyo. Back early from a great day and Evening. Tokyo holds many world sporting events and have a long history of big name sportspeople coming out to compete in their chosen fields. The Bledisloe Cup is a rugby game held between Australia and New Zealand with many nationalities coming from around the globe to watch the game. It was a perfect evening and a well run event. New Zealand came out on top this time. Congratulations.
Living in Hakuba gives me a great lifestyle here in Japan. My backyard is the magnificent Japanese Alps which has some of the best winter sports action in the world. Summer time, the weather is perfect and the rivers and lakes offer a vast array of activities. Fresh air and mountian life friendly locals along with a varied group of international expats creates a very good environment and a great place to live. Along with country living I am only 2.5 hours from the biggest and most exciting city in the world – Tokyo. Today I am off to Tokyo to watch the Bledisloe Rugby Cup and check out some nightlife afterwards. Being a city boy I certainly enjoy my trips back to hustle and bustle. Blue and calm for the sunrise today with a glistening frost on the grass.