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Hakuba – Part 5

hakuba sewer cover

In looking through my Hakuba pictures just now, for the first time in a few weeks, I realized that this is going to be about a 20- or 30-part series. I hope you don’t mind.

view from hotel room at hakuba japan

Our lodgings in Hakuba were wonderful. We booked them through a travel agent in Tokyo. After doing so we got an email saying that the owners of Mountainside Hakuba Jodel were going to throw in a free breakfast for us each morning as well. That’s not something that usually happens AFTER you book a place, but it was the first of countless bonuses the fabulous owners imparted to us.

When we arrived at Jodel (マウントサイド白馬ヨーデル) we were surprised to find no one there–no guests, no employees, no owners, nobody. We soon came to find that the Jodel wasn’t alone. Much of Hakuba had an abandoned feel to it, a most welcome contrast to Tokyo. A few minutes after we settled ourselves in the lobby the owners arrived. From the instant we met them I loved them. They were so kind. I think their names were Mr. and Mrs. Uozaki, but Mr. Uozaki asked us to just call him Uo (魚) for short.

Mrs. Uo cut the largest nashi (梨) I have ever seen and gave it to us. They came from her daughter, who lives in Kyushu, that morning. Mr. Uo showed us to our rooms. The above is an unaltered image of my first look out our room’s window. I could have cropped it, or shown you a better picture that I took later, but I like this one for a memory of the initial impression.

Mr. Uo then offered to drive us around town or pick us up (should we call) from any point in town whenever we went out. How is that for service? They fired up the hotel’s bath for us, even though we were the only ones staying there and could have just bathed in our rooms’ baths. The hotel could hold probably 200 or more people, and the bath can handle at least 10 or 15 people at a time, so we felt a bit bad that they should have everything running just for us.

breakfast at Mountainside Jodel Ryokan Minshuku hakuba japan

We were served a breakfast of about a dozen courses each morning, freshly cooked by Mrs. Uo. The views were amazing and Mrs. Uo even decorated our table in fall colors in case we didn’t get enough from looking out the window. Did I mention that we didn’t even order or pay for breakfast?

The Jodel’s owners were so cute. They came out of the kitchen to take pictures with us and of the breakfast. She said she had never made a western breakfast before so she wanted to capture it with photos. Apparently most of their guests are Japanese and the few foreigners they get are from Australia (coming to Hakuba to ski), not the USA or Europe.

ryan and ellie in jodel hakuba mountainside hotel japan

Here are Ellie and Ryan in the lobby of the Jodel. The place isn’t fancy or new, but for hospitality there is no better place on the planet. The price is extremely reasonable, and if you aren’t planning on staying on a Saturday night during the peak of the ski season you will likely have lots of elbow room.

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