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11 Days in Japan in Winter

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    11 Days in Japan in Winter

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    My buddy and I are traipsing through Japan with our A30s. He is carrying a Co-Pilot and I'm using the NTFD for our camera gear. We have DLBP each too, tucked into the A30s, as daypacks.

    All our winter clothes are in those A30s, because we are traveling carry-on only.

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    TOKYO

    We started out in Tokyo, spending two nights there. It is around 5°C to 6°C during the day and there was some buzz around Tokyo because of unexpectedly heavy snowfall in the city.

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    So far we've traversed Mount Takao, Karuizawa and we are now in Togarinozawaonsen, for some hiking and skiing.

    MOUNT TAKAO

    We hiked Mount Takao, a popular hiking locale though I think it is more popular during the other seasons. It was our first time hiking in snow but we enjoyed it a lot.

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    This is me at the summit of Mount Takao, enjoying my rice cake and a hot can of coffee from the vending machine. Vending machines are ubiquitous in Japan. Even on mountaintops.

    And yes, I am aware that my beanie matches my jacket that matches my iPhone 6s Plus cover that matches my Daylight Backpack. I am even wearing an orange merino wool sweater inside.

    And no, I didn't plan that consciously. Haha!

    KARUIZAWA

    We have visited Karuizawa before, in autumn of 2014. But we wanted to see what it looked like in winter. I am glad to report that it is lovely in winter too.

    There was heavy snowfall. The lady at the station tourism counter told us this was the second snowfall in a particularly warm winter season, and it was going to be snowing all day.

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    That didn't stop us. We took the Number 1 bus from the station and it was uncharacteristically late, probably slowed down by the heavy snow. We were determined to see Kumoda-ike Pond, or Swan Lake, which we loved in autumn.

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    We were alone at the lake. I think we were the only foolhardy travelers willing to walk in this snow to see the lake. Totally worth the walk.

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    The Tom Bihn bags and our winter clothes held up well under the snowfall. I never worried about my stuff getting wet.

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    TOGARINOZAWAONSEN

    Jumping on the Shinkansen, we bullet trained to the next destination, Togarinozawaonsen. Togari is a small town, with great skiing and away from the usual ski resorts frequented by foreigners.

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    Our abode is a lovely little Ryokan run by a large extended family. So far the dinner and breakfast has been amazing. And we are setting off to ski now. Can't wait.

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    Last edited by mrbrown; 01-21-2016, 02:19 AM.
    @mrbrown on Twitter, happy owner of a Black Original Halcyon A45, Navy and Burnt Orange A30s, Navy Tristar, Navy WF, Navy NFTD, Navy DLBC, Navy Pilot, Navy and Burnt Orange Co-Pilots, Navy, Burnt Orange, Nordic and Black Halcyon Side Effects, Burnt Orange, French Blue and Nordic Halcyon DLBPs, Linen SCB, Nordic Halycon S25, Nordic Halycon HsJ, Burnt Orange Maker's Bag, and Burnt Orange, Navy and Original Halcyon S19s (yes three, because they are THAT awesome).

    #2
    @mrbrown, thank you for again sharing your amazing journeys with us. I am living vicariously through your pictures. Would love to visit Japan, where three of my grandparents are from. I hope to get there soon. In the meantime, I am enjoying every single one of your photos. Please keep them coming.
    Seeking Solar shop bags and Solar packing cube shoulder bag Also coveting an Iberian Synapse or Copilot

    Comment


      #3
      @mrbrown, I second what @pammy says. You have the most vivid way of telling your travel stories, and the photos are gorgeous. Love your blog too.
      Don’t make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, don’t hesitate to make it beautiful. — Shaker Philosophy

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        #4
        This is an amazing post. The pictures are wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

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          #5
          I must admit, I have a bit if a fan girl crush on @mrbrown's posts. They are always so lovely and artistic. Don't get me wrong, I love everyone's pictures (like @Ilkyway, I LOVE photos and appreciate all the talent of folks here), but my heart gets a little happy when I see that he's posted new travel photos.

          Comment


            #6
            This is a wonderful post!

            I particularly liked the photos of Kumoda-ike Pond which were absolutely stunning.

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              #7
              Wow. That is fascinating. I do not recall ever seeing unfiltered photos of everyday life and scenic vistas of Japan in wintertime. And you get to see overnight stay accommodations and Tom Bihn gear to boot!
              Owner of: Brain Bag backpack (Black), Field Journal Notebook (Blue), Snake Charmer (Small, Orange), Super Ego briefcase (Black / Indigo / Steel) with Reflective Strip, Brain Cell (Steel), Horizontal Freudian Slip, various Organizer Pouches and Key Straps, and a Side Effect (Black / Wassabi) worn as a belt-style hip-pack.

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                #8
                Ohhhhh. Thank you for sharing your journey, Mr. B! The photos are magical, even mystical. Love the atmospheres you convey - as much in the eateries as by the lake. I hope one day to get to visit Japan in the winter!!

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                  #9
                  Wow, love your latest post mrbrown! My family is heading to Sapporo and Niseko this early April. This will be our first trip to Japan and I'm quite looking forward to it. How do you navigate the language barrier?


                  Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by WenV View Post
                    … How do you navigate the language barrier?
                    Thank you!

                    The language barrier is overcome by mostly hand gestures and pointing. Haha!

                    If you're lucky, you find someone who can speak in English. Many of the essential stuff, like public transport info, have English names or info too. Some restaurants have English menus as well, if you ask.

                    It also helps that we can kind of interpret the Japanese characters because many of the characters are similar to the ones we use in the Chinese language, which we are also conversant in.

                    I also use Google Translate app sometimes. You type your question in English and show them the Japanese translation. Also handy, the camera feature of the Translate app, that can read printed text in Japanese and OCR it into English.
                    @mrbrown on Twitter, happy owner of a Black Original Halcyon A45, Navy and Burnt Orange A30s, Navy Tristar, Navy WF, Navy NFTD, Navy DLBC, Navy Pilot, Navy and Burnt Orange Co-Pilots, Navy, Burnt Orange, Nordic and Black Halcyon Side Effects, Burnt Orange, French Blue and Nordic Halcyon DLBPs, Linen SCB, Nordic Halycon S25, Nordic Halycon HsJ, Burnt Orange Maker's Bag, and Burnt Orange, Navy and Original Halcyon S19s (yes three, because they are THAT awesome).

                    Comment


                      #11
                      May I ask also, mrbrown, if you had special pants (waterproof?) for the snow conditions? I was wondering if regular jeans would be sufficient wear for the bottom half of the body? Sorry if this question seems too simplistic. I'm just unsure of the best attire for snow conditions for regular tourist activities. We don't plan to ski or snowboard as such...


                      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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                        #12
                        Jeans are okay if they stay dry but if they get wet they become unbearably cold and heavy. Speaking from Canadian winter experience.... Okay for city walking but not okay for heavy snow conditions.

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                          #13
                          I have uninsulated waterproof pants for snow activities. I've worn them over jeans for outdoor ice skating or fleece pants for skiing. They take up less space than regular snow pants. Don't forget waterproof boots.

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                            #14
                            I love your photo stories - thanks for sharing your journey and all these beautiful places! :)
                            So many bags. And I love them all.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by WenV View Post
                              May I ask also, mrbrown, if you had special pants (waterproof?) for the snow conditions? I was wondering if regular jeans would be sufficient wear for the bottom half of the body? Sorry if this question seems too simplistic. I'm just unsure of the best attire for snow conditions for regular tourist activities. We don't plan to ski or snowboard as such...


                              Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
                              Am not MrBrown but perhaps I can chime in... What, if any, cold/wet-weather gear do you already have? If I was walking around in snow as for MrBrown's trip, but not skiing or sledding, I would take merino leggings (light, can also double as PJ bottoms if your hotel room is cold), durable pants (such as jeans), and waterproof pants (rain pants; also lightweight, but less bulky than dedicated ski pants). If you tend to run cold, though, then you might like to have dedicated insulated pants that might also double as bottoms for, say, going out to eat, if you had a long walk in the cold.

                              (I have in fact skiied in such an outfit - leggings + jeans + rain pants - when I was on a very limited budget, and didn't know anyone my size I could borrow gear from. It was fine for an afternoon. The main thing is that you don't want cold wet cotton next to your skin.)

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