Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Escape to Snow Country

For a few quiet days during a New Year's trip to Japan not long ago, we escaped the sensory overload of Tokyo and retreated into a small mountain resort in Japan's snow country. Nasu is a quick ride by bullet train north of the capital and is famous for its onsen (hot springs). This mountain resort is also where the Japanese royal family has one of their summer retreats. Our small family run hotel was located high up in the mountains buried beneath two feet of freshly fallen snow. Every morning we donned cotton yukata (cotton kimono) and geta (wooden sandals) and slipped and stumbled outside across the snow to the hot springs. After dutifully scrubbing our bodies until they squeaked, we would then soak ourselves in a steaming hot springs overlooking the valley below. Thirty minutes of bliss later, we would shuffle back to the hotel to the dining room where we were then served a healthy and very traditional Japanese breakfast. (Jyukkokusou-Onsen, Nasu, Japan)