A taste of Japanuary, Part 1
Japan, Japow, Japanuary… the list goes on, but the story stays the same: powder, and lots of it. Having read the stories and seen the footage, we decided it was time to check it out in person. We booked our flights back in October and waited patiently as the date of our departure neared. Before we knew it, the time had come, and so began our journey.
Emotions were mixed as we drove across BC through a snowstorm, leaving our little mountain town in what was sure to be one of the better storms of the season. The forecast in Hakuba, our first destination, called for rain up to 2500m. We had just missed an 80cm storm in Hakuba by 2 days, but at least the forecasted rain was to finish with snow followed by a high-pressure system. After an 8 hour drive, we set aside our worries and boarded the plane with high hopes and all the excitement a trip to Japan deserves.
A peak at some Japanese backcountry... see what I did there?
Arriving in Tokyo, we began navigating through the throngs of humans. After a quick chat with the fine folks at Japan Rail, we set off on a succession of trains and buses that would take us to Hakuba. It took about 4 hours to get there, and after dropping bags at the hostel we found ourselves in a pub down the road. The next morning came early but the hangover was cured with excitement; it was finally time to taste the snow in Japan!
Morning glow in the Hakuba valley.
Now before we go any further, I’ll say right now that I’m not going to give a play by play of the entire 16 day trip. That would be exhausting for all of us. Over the course of the trip we encountered sun, rain, and snow of all kinds… slush, mush, crusts, icy moguls, icy canyon walls, powder, and avalanches. We found ourselves in resorts, backcountry, slackcountry, and even had a rest day due to bad weather.Walking up the ridge in some fine Hakuba slackcountry.
What I will share with you is a breakdown of some of the zones we visited, the resources we found useful, and of course a couple photos (maybe even a video?!). So keep an eye out for part 2 where I’ll drop some details on our time in the Hakuba valley, and later for part 3: Myoko.