In Otaki we are seeing in the landscape the first bitter-sweet notes of winter. During a hike in the back part of the Otaki Valley I caught a glimpse of Mt. Ontake 御嶽山 in white. The previous night it had been dusted with the first snow of the season. The mountain huts have closed for the season, but with the proper equipment and a bit of experience you can still climb the mountain.
Down in the valley the leaves are well into their yearly display of color. Yellows and reds mix with the greens of pines to create variegated slopes that dazzle the eye. I’m guessing the peak will be this weekend.
Now, not only the nights, but the days too, are cold. A trip to the hot spring tastes even sweeter now, and delicious “nabe” 鍋 (pots of hot soup with meat and vegetables) have become a staple.
Winter in the mountains can be tough, but what joys it brings.