Snowshoe hiking – Takamine

So with winter ending soon and spring coming (Sakura!) my friends and I thought we better enjoy the last of the snow.

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And visit Takamine.  A couple hours out of Tokyo, this place is famous for its outdoor onsens.  More on this in the next post.

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At 2000 metres, its a bit difficult to get to.  We had to take the metro, bullet train from Tokyo, a bus and finally a snow tractor.  Now, I have always wanted to ride in one of these, after seeing them scoot by me on the ski slopes.

Now I won’t ride again if I can avoid it.  You see, those big tractor treads sure look cool.  But they lack suspension.  Any suspension.  I guess it’s a bit what it was like to ride in a wagon in the days before rubber tires.  I think some of my teeth (real and fake) almost fell out.

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After a 10 minute teeth chattering ride, we arrived at Takamine onsen, 2000 metres.  I felt a bit lightheaded at this point, whether this was due to the altitude or the “massage” I had just been subject to, I wasn’t sure.

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And this was the inside.  What a pretty ryokan!  But we weren’t there for the decor.

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But for the hiking in the snow.

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To see things like this.

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And marvel at the scenery.

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I realised that snow shoeing was quite fun.  Except, if you step in the wrong spot and disappear into deep deep snow.  As long as its not you, it can be quite funny…  More of this in the next post.  Also, it is quite a slow exercise to hike with these on…  But then again, its better to be slow then slip and plunge off the edge of a cliff…

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But after a couple of hours, we realised that we had forgotten something.  When you go up, you have to come down eventually.  Down was harder – mainly because it was much easier to slip!  At least the snow was soft.

And we were hungry.

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Following the little red flags, kind of like breadcrumbs, to food.

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Salmon sashimi and soba.  Mhmmm

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And it only tastes better with a view like this!

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