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Posts tagged hakuba

Paragliding in Hakuba

paragliding hangliding

Paragliding in Hakuba, Japan

Hakuba is a beautiful place to enjoy nature in Japan. If you can’t find something to do on the valley floor you can always turn to the lakes, mountains, or sky.

Hakuba lake of glass

There are few places I’d rather be in late October, on a clear day without wind, than Lake Aoki in Nagano Prefecture. The fall colors and tranquility of the place will wash a sense of peace through your being.

Hakuba mountain biking

Mountain biking in Hakuba in late October, the place was deserted. Good times.

Japanese Alps

japanese alps

This trail was part of our mountain biking tour last October in Hakuba. I don’t think I’ll ever have another October when I don’t look fondly back at those few days in Hakuba.

Kurashita No Yu (onsen in Hakuba)

Yesterday’s post, or at least the part about making friends in an onsen, reminded me of an experience we had in Hakuba back in October. We went to a great onsen called Kurashita No Yu (倉下の湯) near the river.

The reddish-brown, iron-rich waters were soothing and wonderful. The views weren’t bad either, even with a cloudy sky.

But the best part was the company. Ryan and I made friends with a couple of really nice gents from Kanazawa (金沢). We took photos with them, swapped information, were offered their drinks out of the back of their car, and have kept in contact ever since. Ryan has even been invited to come live with them in a home-stay sort of arrangement this summer.

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.