The year 2015 appears to be the hottest in record, and this unusually warm winter has dealt an especially huge blow to Takayama. For areas which are not usually snowy in winter, a warm winter might come across as quite welcoming. But Takayama is different. Many tourists come expected to see snow, and the landscape painted in white.
Takayama without snow is somewhat like a piece of toast without butter or jam. I share tourists’ disappointment, and that is why a few days earlier I decided to venture deeper into the mountains to look for snow, and there, in Okuhida area, there is an abundance of snow on the ground, despite still a far cry from a regular year.
I stayed one night there, and took the opportunity to go to a special event held in Nakao-onsen. There at the event venue, I found igloos in a variety of sizes housing the likes of mini-bars and mini food stalls. I had a cup of plum wine inside the surprisingly warm igloo, and also had a half-boiled egg in hot spring water as well.
On the next day, I went to see the Hirayu waterfall, trying not to get my hopes up too high given the unusually warm weather this year. But thankfully, the waterfall was in part frozen in emerald blue, which made the slippery walk worthwhile (I slipped twice on my way…if you plan to go there, please be careful).
What awaited me after the short walk was of course hot spring, and thankfully snow. It felt so great soaking your body in hot spring while snowflakes landed on your head and disappeared into the hot spring water. Hope you will get some more snow this year before spring is upon us!