Kyoto is much better explained through photographs than words. We spent three days exploring the temples, gardens and historic streets of Japan’s old capital city.(more…)
A willow-lined canal crisscrossed with bridges, kimono-clad visitors hopping between the town’s seven onsen, a rainy beach walk, an amazingly friendly innkeeper, fat flakes of snow, and king crab fresh from the Sea of Japan. There was nothing not to love about our 24 hours in the coastal town of Kinosaki.
It isn’t until you look at it from above that you get a feel for just how big Tokyo is.
Wandering the streets, the buildings don’t seem excessively huge, the views aren’t especially impressive—in fact, the only remarkable thing seems to be how many people are riding the subways. But from the 45th floor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, it’s a different story. Buildings, large and small, stretch off in every direction, disappearing into the horizon. Literally. You can’t see the end of them. We could go on and on trying to describe it, but…it’s big. Very big.
Like their name suggests, the Japan Alps are massive— bigger and more extensive than any mountains I’ve ever seen. Steep, spired, and caked with snow at the top, they smooth into long open slopes with patches of beech, willow, birch and tamarack trees. From Alaskan-style steeps to some of the best tree skiing in the world, they hold a staggering variety of terrain— all within reach thanks to an extensive lift system and open backcountry gates.
The Japan Alps rise 7,000 feet above the valley floor and are right up there with some of the more impressive mountains ranges I’ve seen. Though the snow is wind-effected in spots, the forecast looks sunny and temperatures mild, so hopefully we can do some more exploring this week. Here are just a few quick pictures from a ski tour today with three fellow Americans at Hakuba Tsugaike. We were wearing t-shirts during the middle of the day, a nice respite from cold and blustery Hokkiado. (more…)