The next morning, I headed to Gontran Cherrier for breakfast, before heading for snow.
The pastries were delicate and very delicious.
After breakfast, and a quick stop off at a convenience store for supplies, I headed for the JR station, to take a shinkansen north towards Yuzawa.
Before long, it was time to depart.
The shinkansen accelerated smoothly out of the station, and as we pulled out of Tokyo it began to pick up speed.
The landscape quickly changed before my eyes
The shinkansen was heading for the rolling hills, getting closer all the time. And with it, the stormy looking clouds overhead.
And then, quite suddenly, the shinkansen entered a tunnel in one of the mountains…
And emerged on the other side into…
Snow. A lot of snow.
I exited the platform and headed through Yuzawa station.
Thankfully, the station itself had a lot of cafés, shops and attractions. Considering how heavy the snow was falling, this was a nice fallback to have.
After taking a moment to get my bearings, I headed out of the station and into snow, for the first time in my life.
It was falling heavily. There’s something gentle about the way snow falls which seems so innocuous. This is at complete odds with the havoc it wreaks, as I soon learned to appreciate.
I headed down the snowy street, in search of a highly rated lunch place.
Slipping and sliding, I realised how inadequate my boots were for this weather. Every footstep had to be measured and taken deliberately, and with no side walk, I was sharing some of the road that cars were slipping and sliding on.
The restaurant in question was not that far from the station, and yet, with having to walk carefully, stop to navigate cars, and avoid the slush their tyres kicked up as they drove past, it seemed to take forever…
Finally, I arrived, spending a good five minutes outside the restaurant getting snow off myself and my bag.
Inside was pleasant and warm, a nice refrain from the snowy conditions outside.
I opted for a warming Katsu set.
Before long, it was time to turn around and face the freezing temperatures again.
It didn’t take too long to have my fill of snow for the day, before feeling content to head off.
It was an amazing experience, but I had a newfound appreciation for some of the practicalities of snow, that my romanticied notion of it from the media hadn’t conveyed.
Soon, I was speeding along on a shinkansen back to Tokyo.
Some time later, I headed out for a bar near my hotel.
A warming cocktail and some pizza later, and it was time to turn in for the night.