Yamanouchi Machi

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    • Day 222

      Snow Monkey Park

      January 22 in Japan ⋅ ☁️ 5 °C

      Vom Snow Monkey Park hat mir ein Reisender in Thailand erzählt. Eine heiße Quelle soll es dort geben, zu der Affen aus der Umgebung kommen, um sich zu waschen und aufzuwärmen.

      Als ich nach langer aber reibungsloser Zugfahrt am Bahnhof ankam, holte mich der Inhaber meines Hostels ab, da dieses weit außerhalb liegt. Der Aufenthaltsraum war dafür super gemütlich: Boden, Möbel, Decken, Tresen - alles aus dunklem Holz. Dazu ein leichter Geruch nach Lagerfeuer aus Richtung des Kamins, der Wärme für den ganzen Raum spendete.

      Am nächsten Morgen fuhr ich zusammen mit drei anderen Hostel-Gästen zum Parkplatz beim Snow Monkey Park. Dort beginnt das Schutzgebiet, in das Besucher nur zu Fuß gelangen. Meine Sneaker, die schon den thailändischen Dschungel überlebt hatten, habe ich mehrfach durch gründliches Schrubben und Waschmaschinen wiederbeleben müssen. Nun wurden sie vom frostigen Boden des festgetrampelte. Weges noch ein letztes Mal geprüft - aber das war kein Problem und der Weg war nicht weit.

      Bei dem Park handelt es sich um ein Stück Flussufer und das heiße Bad, das die Affen zum Baden benutzen. Abends verziehen sie sich zum Schlafen in den Wald, morgens kommen sie wieder zurück. Gegen die Kälte kuscheln sie sich oft in kleinen Gruppen zusammen. Besonders im Winter bekommen sie am Fluss auch Futter - wahrscheinlich würde eine so große Population sonst Schwierigkeiten bekommen, durchzuhalten.

      Dass die Affen tolle Fotomotive sind und generell schön anzuschauen, hat sich natürlich rumgesprochen. Als ich mich noch gegen Vormittag auf den Rückweg machte, strömten mehr und mehr Menschen in Richtung Park. Aber das sollte nicht mehr meine Sorge sein. Ich wurde vom Gastgeber noch zu einem Restaurant mit Onsen gefahren, wo ich mich gut entspannen konnte. Beim Essen schnackte ich mit einer Gruppe netter Japaner, die hier Skiurlaub machen, mir bei meiner Bestellung halfen, und mich an ihren Tisch einluden.

      Heute habe ich mir einen gemütlichen Tag im Aufenthaltsraum gemacht, bin an Apfelbaumfeldern vorbei zum Späti spaziert und schon mal eine To Do Liste für die nächsten Wochen angelegt. Morgen geht es dann zurück nach Tokyo, in ein Museum und dann ins Hostel in Flughafennähe.
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    • Day 8

      Day 8 - Windy snowy Shiga Kogen

      February 25, 2023 in Japan ⋅ 🌫 -7 °C

      Day 8 - Windy snowy Shiga Kogen.
      It started off with a carpark weather check, a few centimetres of snow at best. Buffett breakfast was had. Potato gems today, no waffles. These are the 2 items I have noticed them rotating.

      We rode the link chair over to Family, during this ride we had perfect snowflakes landing on us. We went and did the green run with family finding hidden paths off the sides. During one such detour, Dale did not appear following the other 2, so I went back up a bit to find her, as she had fallen. I noticed her pocket was open, she asked is my phone there? Which it wasn't. Hubby had then come back up the slope to see what was happening (didn't read my message I sent). We luckily found the phone in a few minutes.

      Then we went up to Terakoya, where it was a bit more windy and freezing. The goggles were not coping with fogging. Visibily was challenging, so after a run or two, it was into the cafe to warm up with a hot chocolate.

      From here we rode the lift out of the bottom of Terakoya that leads to Takamagahara, we skied down and attempted to go over the bridge. Snowboarder obstacle and not enough speed, so side stepped over that - not fun, especially for Oscar. We did a few runs on Nishidateyama, before ending up at Alpen Shiga at the bottom of Giant for lunch.

      Lunch was spaghetti and meat sauce, the hamburger curry rice and corn and potato soup. The place was packed when we entered, but a short wait got us a table. After lunch we rode the new gondola on foot to see what was in the bus stop building as we had never been inside it previously. A shop, ski rental and some food for those curious.

      We were quite cold, it had not stopped snowing all day, though the sun did try to poke through at times, it was noticeably more windy than before, and there was still a lot of hard surface on most ski runs. The new snow wasn't doing much for the run surface. So we headed back to Yakebitaiyama via the 2 gondolas up Higashidateyama, where we encountered some lines. Then down family again, up over to Diamond and then back to C1 to finish the days sking.

      Dinner was at Narutoya, a ramen place. We had gyoza, pork ramen and udon. It was lovely, and only 5,450 yen. We then walked back to the hotel rather than waiting 50mins for the shuttle bus.
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    • Day 19

      Shiga Kogen Day 1- Okushiga Mtn

      March 9 in Japan ⋅ ☁️ -8 °C

      The powder turned up overnight and we got a decent 20-30cm. So boogied up the hill in the new Van and Vikki didn't miss a beat with 4x4 drive, as we passed some other drivers in the middle of trying to get their cars moving on the ice.

      Decided to hit up the biggest field first with Okushiga, with massive terrain and a bunch of pillow soft powder lines!!!
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    • Day 8

      Day 6 - on snow (the last one)

      February 24 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ -1 °C

      Woke to a cloudy sky with small bits of snow falling few and far between. As it was our last snow day, we decided to head over to the Okushiga kogen side of the mountain.

      At 8:30, we were full of our usual hotel breakfast fare and riding the quad chair up to do runs E1, to D4 and over to the A gondola. At the top of this gondola, we headed off towards Okushiga-kogan, walking the traverse that goes uphill.

      From here, we played around on the runs off the chair at the edge of the resort. They had some fun kids runs, a mellow through the trees experience, and some bigger rollover jumps (last ski day they were under instruction not to break anything). The sun came out while we were over this side enjoying some blue sky. Around 11am, hubby reminded me we wanted to have pizza for lunch from the place beside the bridge at Takamagahara. (Oh, and my previous reports I have Tanne and Takamagahara switched around)

      So we headed off up the chairs, back across to Yakebitaiyama, down B1 to C2, and to the chair to take us up to Diamond. Down Diamond, across the bridge, up the middle chair at Family, through Tanne, and across to Takamagahara. Then it was unclip and walk across the road. The pizzas are fantastic (around 1,400yen) and their fries are great too (at only 350yen old). The view from our lunch table was just beautiful under the blue sky.

      After lunch, it was time to head back. The snow was a lot more sugary, boarding on slushy in the sunlight, but sure beats sheet ice, though that was still lurking in places. We reversed our journey without incident. Dried and packed the ski bags up (each just under 25kg) and sent them to the airport for 6,300 yen. Money well spent.

      Had our last dinner at the Ramen place, and our last onsen.
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    • Day 7

      Day 5 - on snow all mountain

      February 23 in Japan ⋅ 🌫 -4 °C

      Today is Dale's 14th birthday. We woke to some snow on the ground and a bit in the trees. Regular breaky routine took place, and we were out by 8:30am. (Today is an eating and snow day, you are forewarned).

      The plan for today was to head straight to Aspen Shiga to actually have some pastries before they sold out. So out of Prince, down Diamond (less sheet ice today thankfully), across the bridge and up Family quad. From here, we deviated into Terakoya and then down to Hoppo- Bunadaira. Then powder had been well and truly tracked out.

      It was 10am, Aspen Shiga was open, there was pastries. But they were all savoury (I'm a sweet tooth). Hot chocolates were had Jason and Dale had a pastry. As we were sitting there, out came a few more trays of bakery goodness. The custard bread that is just devine. Oscar and I got one, hubbyhad one too (to split with the b'day girl).

      From here, we decided to head to Yokoteyama ski area. We have never been in all our trips to Shiga Kogen. Probably best to visit the 2300m elevation when its not like pea soup, but alas, we ventured onward and upward. By the time we got to the top. We were very cold. We saw the crumpet cafe but also saw the Mt Bakery. So we headed into the bakery for more hot chocolate and some lovely filled bread. Hubby got curry, Dale got cheese, and Oscar and I split a chocolate and custard one.

      We worked out which way was down and began our descent. Some of the switchbacks were very icy. The lower parts under the chair were nice. It was 12:20 when we were down, so we decided to ski Kumanoyu area. Now I'm sure there is an easier way to get to it from the bottom of Yokoteyama chair #1. We were directed to go down the road and then decend off the side, a path that was frozen solid and looked like it had 2 tracks where everyone had slid down. This was with skis off, after we all made it down (kids but slid) we put the skis on and headed through what seemed to be a carpark towards a hotel entrance. Now where do we go we thought. We a guy skis past us and heads to the door, but then turns left, there was another path. Equally as dubious as the first, this one however we climbed a bit, ski on and went through some garden and around a few buildings. The rest of my family skied down the icy path and ove rthe bridge to where we found some lifts (up on a hill). I, however, saw a remove skis here sign, and did so, trying not to slip on my pick you way through the frozen footsteps down the path.

      We ended up doing one run at Kumanoyu, before deciding we should aim for the 2:20 bus. Now we just needed to find where the bus stop was. Asked a local, found it, got in line, a bus came, but those in front of us did not get on. A person behind us got on, so we did the same. The bust went back up to Yokoteyama. As it was the last stop, the driver made us get out, so we joined the line and got back on. 3 out of the 4 of us got a seat. Now we realise why those in front of us did not get on.

      Back at the Shiga Kogen bus station, we caught the gondola back down, the quad up, and headed through Takamagahara to Ichinose, over the bridge and back up Diamond and down to Prince, the back up C1, and down to the door. The return journey was cold and just as icy as the day before. The new snow was all but scraped off.

      Back just after 4pm, freezing cold, the onsen was calling loudly. Then we were on the 5pm shuttle to Dale's birthday restaurant selection, the junk food cafe. They gave her a complimentary piece of cake and took our picture on a polaroid. She had never seen on before and was astonished by being given the picture. We were back at the Prince via the 6:15 shuttle to end our day.
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    • Day 6

      Day 4 - on snow all mountain

      February 22 in Japan ⋅ ☁️ -2 °C

      Something different today. We woke to maybe 1cm of snow on the ground. Today was the start of our all mountain time, so after breakfast we purchased our all mountain tickets for the next 3 days. They were 21,900yen for adult child pack, 21,500 for adult and 18,400 for student. So the adult child pack saved us about $100. While we were buying the tickets the snow started for real, yet the rain affect slush had now all turned to sheets of ice. So we had dust on sheet ice. With the top temp of -5 it was not going to soften.

      We left Yakebitaiyama and skied down a hard ichinose Diamond, and over the bridge to Family. This too was hard and icy, and the quad chair to the top was not yet loading people. We ventured further to Takamagahara and skied a few runs here. Still hard ice, but the snow had started to add a bit of dust on top. By now the kids were cold, it was 10:30am, so we headed in for some hot chocolate, and found they also had a cake set. So cake and hot choc it was. Oscar and I had a lovely choc cookie piece cheesecake, Dale had strawberry cake and Jason had apple cake. We watched the snow fall steadily while we ate.

      Warmed up we headed up Takamagahara's quad to the top then headed over to hoppo-bunadaira. Here we found some creamy powder, it was devine, and a nice change from scrapping ice. So we lapped this using the small gondola about 4 times. We ended up at the bottom of Giant and went to our fav, Aspen Shiga for lunch. As it was a bit later, around 1pm, they had sold out of their devine pastries. The kids got spaghetti, I got corn soup and Jason got pizza.

      From here we walked to the gondola and went to the post office to send a postcard to Oscar's Principal. We also withdrew some cash. The machine charges 220yen fee. Now it was time to head back, all the higher elevations were in cloud. We caught the quad from near the small gondola, and skied towards Takamagahara and ended up on the other side of the road. So we crossed over and rode the quad up. Shortly after getting off we hit a slope full of sheet ice. Both kids had a few falls and butt slide the rest of the face. Once we were back in Takamagahara greens it was still hard ice, with a bit of dust to turn in.

      A run of ichinose Family finished off this side, we then crossed the bridge rode up Diamond back to the Prince at 4pm. Ending with a last run of C1, which was scrapped and icy in places. We were cold, and headed straight for the onsen to warm up.

      For dinner we thought we'd try something new. We caught the 5:35pm shuttle to ichinose and went to the izakaya down from the teppa room. The food was good, but not ideal for our family's tastes The 500yen per person table charge added an extra $20 to the bill. We left as a fight was breaking out between a group of patrons and the owner, and walked back to the Prince rather than waiting 45min for a shuttle.
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    • Day 5

      Day 3 -on snow

      February 21 in Japan ⋅ 🌧 4 °C

      Went started our day like all others, getting ready and heading down to breakfast. After this we went out all set to ski and it started with light rain, we pushed on and skied in and out of rain, heading to the gondola and seeing if we could get above it, which we did in part. The wind picked up a bit and the rain came back, so we webwet and didn't want to get stuck by shut gondolas, so we called it a day early around 11am. We then dried out a bit and rested, before walking into Ichinose, where we noted a lot of places were shut. We grabbed lunch at Hi Happy cafe. Their sandwiches are huge. After walking back to the Prince we did some laundry, while the kids hit up the family fun park. It was raining again around 5pm, so we just dashed across to the ramen place again for dinner. We were back in the room by 6pm.Read more

    • Day 4

      Day 2 - on snow

      February 20 in Japan ⋅ 🌫 3 °C

      A fine mist was around this morning. We still headed out and skied for most of the day in a cloud, at least all lifts were running today. We had some fun at the hooded quad and the D runs from there. The gondola we rode was the love one. We had lunch at the same place as yesterday and were sqeezed in between ski school groups. Dale and Oscar hit up all the trees they could find, with Dale coming unstuck a few times. We finished skiing around 3 pm and hit up the fun park to cap off the day. The onsen was a treat at the end of the day. This was followed by chocolate Coolish today. We then headed out to Ramen for dinner at 5pm. I had the miso corn ramen.Read more

    • Day 3

      Day 1 on snow - Monday

      February 19 in Japan ⋅ ☁️ 6 °C

      Woke up early to a blowy day. Breakfast was at 6:45am where we were happy to have our usual assortment of food that was on offer. We got ready and headed down to the snow around 8:30am. We rode the quad chair up to C1 run and did that, then we repeated the chair, this time taking E1 to the South hotel, here we discovered the gondola was on lift hold. So we were now faced with a long line of many school groups. Luckily the line moved pretty quickly. So we headed back over to the West hotel via the slow romance pair chair.

      Here we just lapped the C1 run, it was spring snow and getting quite moguled due to the traffic. So we hit up the Family fun park for a few laps on the ski bikes.

      At 11am, we decided to head over to the South to go to the izakaya under the South gondola. They now have ordering via QR code and no table menus. I noticed the prices had gone up a fair bit since last year, but still reasonable at 1,700yen for a pork katsu curry with rice. 600yen for fries. The portion sizes were large and quality was good.

      After lunch, as only 2 lifts were operating and only 2 runs were available we lapped them alternating between C1 and E1. The ski schools seem to have gone during lunch. At 2pm we called it quits and headed for the onsen, followed by the obligatory Coolish.

      We caught the 5:05pm shuttle to Ichinose. Dinner was at Shiga Kogen tacos. They are now in the Olympic hotel. The vibe is not as good, and prices are higher. Headed back via the 6:17pm shuttle.
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    • Day 9

      Day 9 - Last day Skiing at Shiga Kogen

      February 26, 2023 in Japan ⋅ ❄️ -6 °C

      Day 9 - Last day skiing at Shiga Kogen

      We woke to a white view and a fair amount of snow falling and on the cars in the carpark. It was a chilly -11 outside apparently. Breakfast was had at the hotel buffett, waffles today.

      We decided to stay on the Yakebitaiyama side today as it was considerably windier than before, and we were only skiing a half day as we had to pack our skis to send back to the airport. So we went out and started our day on C1, yep it was colder and windier than before. But we were back to quiet skiing from the fallen snow, I like it like this.

      We headed over to D lift the hooded quad, but it was not open at 9am, even though it has a start time of 8:45am. So we joined the queue at the A gondola and rode it up, heading down towards the B gondola at South. The snow was fun and the family had fun finding stashes off to the side.

      From here we criss crossed heading back towards A gondola, hoping the quad chair would be open, and it was, so around 10am. We joined the queue and rode this, having fun on D1 and D2 in the powder. We then headed back to South gondola, and had an early lunch at 11am. Unfortunately they had no pork cutlets, so it was karaage and fries for lunch.

      It was cold, so we skied a bit and made our way back over to Prince west, where we began the joyful task of repacking the ski bags, and shipping them off to the airport. We also shipped our luggage to our last night stay, as we will travel light for the next few days. We had to have our bags ready by 3pm here, and we got it done at 2pm. Onsen time was had, followed by Coolish.

      Dinner tonight is Shiga Kogen Tacos.
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Yamanouchi Machi, 山ノ内町

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