Tag Archive | Skiing

last days in the snow

This might be the last snow weekend in Japan for now!
Had a really fun weekend at Ahsahidake beginning of February – Asahidake is famous for being on of the best the powder & free ride areas of Hokkaido. Unluckily when we arrived, there was only harsh snow left over. This was very unusual for February as I learned. Asahidake has only two ski slopes and one gondola, therefore the first day was not really demanding. So we visited the snow festival in Asahikawa which was a funny alternative, even so it might be a smaller festival than the famous one in Sapporo.
Next day the wind was so strong the gondola did not work at all, so we packed some snow shoes and hiked up. Beautiful landscape and even a snow rabbit to see!
Luckily weather and snow were perfect at day three and we enjoyed a real powder day with the local guide Toshi (Totori Powder station), who really knows the area and showed us amazing free ride slopes trough the woods! Thanks for that!
Conclusion: Ashaidake is really a place to go if you are an experienced skier and you want to have some real Hokkaido Powder! But be aware – there is not much else to do (which was perfect for me) and you should not underestimate this mountain! It’s worth spending the money to be guided trough the area!

Now – this weekend it was the time to visit one of Honshu’s famous powder locations: Myoko Kogen, which consist of around 5 ski areas. Best description here: powderhounds. The snow was even higher than in Hokkaido, but also quite different! Even so we had fresh snow it was much more wet and less fluffy. But this is complaining an a real high level! Because on the one hand this years snow is said to be extra wet on the main island and on the other hand: come on – 4m snow and 20cm fresh powder, how bad can it be 😉 I visited Seki Onsen, which is the smallest of the ski areas, but known for a lot of nice back country. I really liked this snowy small village with the tiny Onsen and the nice ski huts! Worth a visit!

So – eventuell war das jetzt das letzte Mal Skifahren in Japan! Snief! Wir waren Anfang Februar in Hokkaido, Asahidake – bekannt für jede Menge Tiefschnee zur Wintersaison. Nach etwas Pech an den ersten Tagen hatten wir dann einen super Tag mit einem Lokalen Guide, der uns die Gegend gezeigt hat! Dank schlechtem Wetter gab’s auch noch einen Kurztrip nach Asahikawa um das dortige Snow Festival zu besuchen.

Und dieses Wochenende musste es noch mal ein Skigebiet auf der Hauptinsel sein, Myoko Kogen liegt in den japanischen Alpen und man fährt entlang 4m hohen Schneemauern hoch in die Berge. Der Schnee ist hier zwar wirklich weniger fluffig als in Hokkaido aber es war auf jeden Fall den Besuch wert 🙂

hokkaido in winter

Pre-warning.
If you are not interested in winter sports, no need to watch this video. It mainly shows snow. A lot of snow.
in addition to my powderBlog entry, some moving images for Japan tourism promotion and to pay off my GoPro 😉

Achtung.
Falls dich Wintersport nicht interessiert, dieses Video am besten nicht angucken. Denn es geht darin nur um Schnee – und davon jede Menge. Eindrücke von meinem Winterurlaub in Hokkaido hab’ ich ja schon geteilt. Jetzt gibt’s dazu das passende Bewegtbild, damit sich der Kauf der GoPro auch gelohnt hat 😉

Musik: ZOE.LEELA,  Pop Up

tokyo tip: ochanomizu

If you stay in Japan for longer than a holiday, you might get into the situation of searching something specific but not finding it in this huge city! Here is one tip for those, who are looking for:

a) All kind of Guitars & Violins
b) Snowboards, Skis and clothes as well as Bikes

Ochanomizu (so called Tee-water-street), close to Akihabara, might be your solution! Not far from the station you find a street where you can ONLY buy guitars!
Going further you end up on Yasukuni Dori, where one wintersports-shop is followed by the next! Floor by floor stuffed with skis, snowboard and everything else you need to survive the winter.
Be sure you have time when going there….

powder, powder and powder again!

First of all: Happy new year! Hope you all had a great start into 2015!
Speaking for myself, I had quite a adventurous holiday.
After spending Christmas time in Germany, Sascha & me packed our Camper van for some days in the Hokkaido snow paradise!
Just in case you wonder:
Yes, with the idea of sleeping in the car! Yes, it gets quite cold in Hokkaido in winter time 🙂

Because again we were too lazy to book the ferry from Aorai or Niigata to Hokkaido upfront, we drove to Aomori and took the ferry to Hakodate which goes more often and is more flexible to book short-termed.
Arriving on the northern island, suddenly streets were covered with snow, and I was happy that we came with winter tires and brought snow chains.
After another 2 hour drive we arrived in the Niseko area. Puh, in total our journey took 16hours, and I was not convinced at the first day, it’s gonna be worth it.
The first Ski Area we visited was Niseko Moiwa, known for being less crowded. Which is true, but as well it is somehow small.
But anyway a good, easy start with not as much powder as I expected. This changed over night!

Covered under blankets, the first night was surprisingly warm with only -5 degrees. We parked the Car on a parking area close to the Gondola in Hirafu and next morning we had snow up you the lower door ridge. So therefore the day in the Niskeo Hanazono Ski area was just perfect! Even new powder on the slope and in the backcountry you could totally sink into the fresh powder.
And it continued like this! Only disadvantage was, also the temperature decreased and the wind got very strong for some days, so extra clothes and a hot Onsen bath after the day in the snow was necessary to warm up again.

New Year’s Eve we spend outside with a bunch of Australian people, and a fireworks in front of Mt. Yotei!
And the résumé, of 4 days winter camping in Hokkaido? I have to say, the North of Japan is getting my favourite part of the beautiful country and I’m afraid, I will never have such nice powder snow again back in Europe. Therefore, all the freezing was worth it!

1,5 years in Japan

Over 1,5 years in Japan! Time for another video. Some scenes are already from last year, so I hope you don’t mind o.O!
I just recognized, I don’t show Tokyo any more…. So next video should be more about Tokyo I guess 🙂

Tokyo, Shibuya // Okinawa, Ishigaki // Nikko, MTB // Niseko, Skiing // Shimoda, MTB // Mt Yufu, Hiking // Kyushu, Waterfall

vom frühling ins schneechaos

Sorry, ich war ein klein bisschen Blogging-faul die letzten Wochen.
Aber jetzt geht’s mit volle Elan wieder los 🙂
Nach dem weihnachtlichen Aufenthalt in Deutschland, nun seit Mitte Januar wieder in Japan. Und gleich mal mit einer fetten Flugzeugerkältung gestartet. Nerv!

Inzwischen aber wieder fit und Tokio hat sich in den letzten Wochen schon frühlingshaft gezeigt, mit bis zu 18 Grad. Deshalb hieß es “nix wie raus”, und wer der großen Stadt mal entfliehen möchte ohne sich in den Zug oder da Auto zu setzten, findet immer schöne Ecken & Parks wie Todoroki Valley, in der Nähe von Futako Tamagawa. Man kommt sich ein bisschen wie im Urwald vor, wenn man durch diesen Park spaziert, und vergisst ganz schnell den Trubel außen herum.

Das Wochenende darauf war Skifahren angesagt, Naeba Mountain, knapp 180km von Tokio entfernt. Aber: wer auch wirklich um 9:00 auf der Piste sein will muss früh aufstehen. Ab 5:30 steht man erstmal im Stau raus aus der Stadt und kann für die Strecke mit knapp 4-5 Std rechnen. Deshalb: Abfahrt um 4:00 Uhr Morgens. Doch dank tollem Schnee hat sich auch das gelohnt. Dummerweise hab ich im Halbschlaf die Snowboardhose vergessen und musste mir dann ein fesches, überteuertes Teil im Skigebiet leihen. Ärgerlich.

Und dann hat sich das Wetter dieses Wochenende noch mal umentschiedenen und denn Winter zurück nach Tokio geholt: Schneechaos, Bahnen fuhren nicht mehr, die Tokioter spannten sich die Schneeketten auf die Reifen. Den ganzen Trubel konnte ich dann doch nur verwundert beobachteten, schließlich war es jetzt nicht so als wären wir im Schnee versunken, also sind wir trotz Wetterwarnung noch draußen gegangen…Und wer kann sonst noch von sich behaupten ‘ne Schneeballschlacht in Tokio miterlebt zu haben?
Weiterer Vorteil: kaum ein Japaner traute sich noch aus dem Haus und wir hatten Shibuya Crossing, Restaurant und selbst am nächsten Tag noch Ikea fast komplett für uns alleine!

got a little bit lazy… sorry!

So what happened after the Christmas trip to Germany? Tokyo was already getting ready for spring! 18 degrees, that is why i was happy to get outside and have a nice walk through Todoroki Valley, a beautiful park which makes you forget the big city!

The other weekend we went skiing at Mt. Naeba, which is around 180km from Tokyo. Nevertheless it is really important to get up early! Otherwise you will get stuck in the early morning traffic yam, starting at 5:30. But as always, the snow was nice in Naeba an worth to be a little bit tired.

And than the weather changed completely and the winter came back to Tokyo, with snowstorm and chaos in the city! Not really understandable for me…. Almost all trains were delayed or cancelled and most of the people didn’t leave their homes. Therefore we could enjoy Shibuya including snowball fight, without the usual crowded surrounding! Good days for shopping as well 🙂

hokkaido

kitsch im tiefschnee