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11 Days in Japan in Winter

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    #16
    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...
    I had Icebreaker merino wool leggings inside, and a pair of water-resistant hiking pants from Marmot (the Rockmoore) when I was there.

    When skiing, I had an additional pair of ski pants loaned to me by the Ryokan.

    As others have said, jeans are ok if you are not doing anything like skiing, as long as you don't get them wet. I wear my jeans for some trips when I know I won't see snow.

    I also tend not to pack jeans because they are such a pain to wash and dry when traveling. So I ended up looking for good travel pants like my Columbia hiking pants and my Marmots. They wash easily, don't require ironing and are comfy.

    The only exceptions are my Uniqlo lightweight stretch jeans, they are quite travel-friendly compared to full-on denim.

    Do wear good socks and shoes. I wear merino wool socks and my Columbia hiking boots are insulated and waterproof.

    You step on thick snow and water goes through your shoes, and it will be miserable. Cotton socks, like the kind we wear in hot Singapore, aren't very good for winter. At least get some Uniqlo Heat-tech socks.
    @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).

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      #17
      Thanks you jannilee, FrozenJ, haraya and , mrbrown for all your helpful suggestions. I will look into waterproof pants as well as wool leggings. I, based in sunny Perth, WA, so don't have much invested in snow gear as yet. We will have two boys traveling with us (8 yrs and 4 yrs). So, will also need to buy clothes for them.


      Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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        #18
        11 Days in Japan in Winter

        11 Days in Japan in Winter Part 2

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        SKIING IN TOGARINOZAWA-ONSEN

        We finally got around to skiing. Or as others call it, Falling Down a Lot.

        Being beginners at this skiing game, Ryan and I did our best to remember our lessons from previous trips. We parked our Tom Bihn DLBPs in the ski resort lockers and off we went, with ski gear from our lovely Minshuku (民宿) host, Junko-san.

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        We tried to find the easiest patch to practice but after trying the "Beginner's" slope, we realized we were Below Beginner. In Yabuli, China, where I recently went, they had a gentler slope for newbies with a "Magic Carpet" conveyer belt to take to you up.

        There was no such thing here in Togarinozawaonsen, Japan. I took the ski lift up to level one on the mountain. Then took another even scarier one higher (single seat, no safety bar). I held on for dear life, thinking, "What am I doing so high up? How to ski back down?"

        Then when we reached the very top, there was actually an even gentler slope for beginners. Still challenging but not as bad as the steeper "Beginner's" slope below. As in, instead of face-planting 10 times, you maybe face-planted twice.

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        We skied the whole day. Had a lunch break, and then skied again. Mostly at the topmost beginner's area. There were students learning there too. But even they were better than we were. We only stopped when our aging aching muscles told us we couldn't do it anymore. By then it was almost 4pm and sunset.

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        We walked home to our Minshuku, looking forward to Junko-san's awesome cooking.

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        ONWARD TO NAGOYA

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        Sadly, we bid Junko-san, her large family and Togarinozawaonsen farewell, and made our way towards Nagano by slow train. It was lovely to just watch the world go by. Bullet trains are nice but slower trains let you see the view. And what a view.

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        Snow fell on all the towns along our train ride to Nagoya. And we even jumped off the train at Nakatsugawa Station to look around. It's a common place for folks to walk the Magome and Tsumago trail.

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        We popped our Aeronauts into a station locker and wandered around the small town with just our day bags. We didn't have time to do the trail but we did have some lunch and admired the mountain view.

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        Then grabbed our Aeronauts out of the locker and we jumped back onto the train for the rest of our journey to Nagoya.

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        Nagoya is a big Japanese city. It has a Ferris wheel, and malls, and castles. We have seen enough malls and castles. We were more keen to use it as a base to see the surrounding areas.

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        We did want to try its famous dishes like miso-katsu and its ramen. We ate ramen at Ichiran, which turned out to be as good as the hype. You sit in a booth like you're taking an exam. And the ramen is served through a hole with a curtain.

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        The next day, we had planned to hike Mount Ibuki nearby but when we went to Sekigahara by train, we found out that the mountain was closed due to winter. Silly us. We Singaporeans don't know much about winters, I'm afraid.

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        No worries! Change of plans! Take the train to Nagahama and visit the tiny Chikubushima Island on Lake Biwa.

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        We even had time to squeeze in a visit that same day to Arimatsu, a small town near Nagoya famous for its old buildings from the Edo period and the ancient art of Japanese tie-dye.

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        To be honest, Arimatsu, while authentic and quaint, was a little quiet. I think it must be more bustling during seasons other than winter. But it was kind of nice to have the whole town to ourselves.

        We headed back to Nagoya for the night to rest early. Because the next day, we had a crazy idea: wake up at 5.30am and make the six-hour train journey from Nagoya to the deep sout
        Last edited by mrbrown; 01-24-2016, 11:45 PM.
        @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).

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          #19
          Stunning photos, as always!! Oh the skies in that first picture!! And I love the moody one with the ski slope in sharp relief.

          Love traveling vicariously through your posts. Can't wait for the next installment!!

          (If you feel like sharing, I would love to know what camera equipment you've taken along for the trip. :))

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            #20
            Originally posted by haraya View Post
            Stunning photos, as always!! Oh the skies in that first picture!! And I love the moody one with the ski slope in sharp relief.

            Love traveling vicariously through your posts. Can't wait for the next installment!!

            (If you feel like sharing, I would love to know what camera equipment you've taken along for the trip. :))
            Thank you!

            I'm traveling with a Fuji X100T and a Fuji XT-1, 10-24mm f4, 35mm f2 and 56mm f1.2 lenses. Most of the time, I shoot with the X100T and even my iPhone 6s Plus.
            @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).

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              #21
              Originally posted by mrbrown View Post
              Thank you!

              I'm traveling with a Fuji X100T and a Fuji XT-1, 10-24mm f4, 35mm f2 and 56mm f1.2 lenses. Most of the time, I shoot with the X100T and even my iPhone 6s Plus.

              Love your shots!! I traveled for the first time this summer with an X100, after years of lugging a big DSLR, and couldn't be happier! :)

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                #22
                Thank you, MrBrown, for sharing! Japan is on my bucket list.

                Everything is more fun on a Vespa! 🛵

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