Into the snowy country

After a night in and lots of sleep, feeling quite refreshed. Up early and showering, making tea for Lorraine and then she and I wandered over to Starbucks to find Toby and Romy reading papers there. A quick coffee and a bite before Lorraine and I sloped off to do a spot of shopping and bought ourselves a very reasonable Japanese teapot and a a pair of cups. Rather buoyed by finding ourselves able to communicate even though there were half a dozen words in common. The process aided by Lorraine doing a teapot impression which made the woman laugh behind her hand a good deal.

Then off in taxis from The Hotel Trusty to the station. Here we caught a local train to Kagaonsen station, in the Ishikawa Prefecture. A taxi was waiting for us there and we crammed ourselves and our cases into it. We were handed flannels by the taxi driver to refresh ourselves. Then we drove out of the small town across a plain of fallow rice fields, towards a rainy line of hills, lining the fields were stands of tree sized bamboo as well as trees. Eventually we arrived in a small town and at the Roykan Kayotei. The taxi stopped and the host and his son ran out with umbrellas to protect us from the rain. An absolutely stunning place, with its own onsen. As he was giving us a cup of tea and a dainty, it started to snow and the view from the lounge looked incredible. We were shown to our apartments which were spacious and in the luxurious Japanese style. A vase with a pink chrysanthemum, tatami mats, sliding doors and so on.

The owner personally drove us to a nearby place for soba noodles for a light lunch. Really good noodles, and friendly service. Then we walked back through the snow, diving into a few shops, and into the local theatre to nose around before going back to the Ryoken our umbrellas getting heavy with the snow. The streets here have little sprinklers in them that spurt out warm water to melt the snow on the roads. Managed to get squirted on the side of my head at one point.

Back to the Ryokan and into our kimonos, and little sock sock shoes divided at the big toe. I then strode masterfully off to the onsen, only tripping up the stairs a couple of times as I am not used to wearing almost floor length dresses.

It is difficult to describe what a perfect 45 minutes this was, sat outside in the onsen, hot water falling into the big bath and steam rising. You are naked in the open air and looking out on the side of a steep wooded hill where all the trees are a chiaroscuro of dark wet wood and snow,  a stream rushes over stones in the little valley below. Snow is falling, not heavily now but in individual flakes. I sat there in the fading light, warm and keeping my whole body in the water, with just my head poking out into the fresh air and the cold and communing with nature and a kind of timelessness. The whole thing is utterly magical and one of the best things I have ever done.

In the evening. Another feast. Lorraine and Romy had large gin and tonics which went to their heads, and the Tobster and I had a beer. Gorgeous high quality saki with the meal. Such good quality that it was served iced and not warm. Another hard to describe meal, featuring crabs which are now in season, which may have been why there were so many in the market the day before. We have our own personal hostess who is very likeable and laughs a lot, partially with nerves and having to cope with so many gaijin. Romy as ever makes everything perfect and translates for us.

Fairly early to bed. A beautiful day, and I absolutely love this place. Views from our room, me taken by Lorraine, me perfecting my Shogun face, Toby and Romy, Lorraine demure in her kimono, the little soba restaurant, and hot water jetting on the streets to ward off the snow.


Kate said…
I absolutely LOVE reading about your travels in Japan. Hope you are both having a wonderful honeymoon, sounds idyllic and amazing. Love to both of you. Kxx