I was trying so hard to decrease the length of my stories… its fuckin impossible. I still feel im saying only half of the stuff i d love to share… anyway. I keep talking.
So 3rd day in my journey, second day in Nozawa Onsen. As i mentioned before – if u are not skiing there is not much to do in this village… apart from visiting the MONKEY PARK!!! Hahahaha, its very close to Nozawa Onsen. First i was trying to get there as a part of a tour – using local travel agencies – thought this is the only way to get there. Unfortunately me as an individual person cant book a ‘tour’ – minimum 2 people needed. Fuck them – u can just pop in to the local bus going there couple of times in the morning and coming back in the evening. The ticket didint really cost much – and the ride took 1 hour and arriving at the Snow Monkey Park Resorts. The truth is that from the bus stop u still need to walk up the hill like 1 hour. To be fair was quite a nice walk in a mountain path. U buy ticket in the entrance – 800yen (groups and kids cheaper obviously lol) and step in the Empire of Snow Monkeys!!!! lol
What u need to know about them is all in wikipedia hahaha – about the location… Basically it was in a Valley where u had natural onsen spring – lovely hot water. Monkeys used to come here warming up in the cold winter – people just started to feed them regularly so the Monkeys now not going anywhere. Thats the little story. They dont be afraid of people anymore – on the contrary. U need to be very careful with them.
Was a very cool experience (if u have a bit of David Attenborough inside of u just watching other creatures for long time of period) – however it was freakin cold so i didnt spend there more than 2 hours. It was just about lunch time – after all the expensive tourist traps finally found a great local restaurant where they had 13 different local beers on tap!!!! I felt in heaven – tried a couple with an easy lunch menu for 2000yen.
Back to the bus- back to Nozawa. I felt very tired but the sun started to shine full power and was snowing in the same time – was such a picturesque view over this little village – encouraging me for some more discoveries. This place has about 13 natural onsens – i visited 5 of them in the rest of my afternoon. As i mentioned before – i met only japanese women inside (i kept listening tourist how much they want to try but not without swimming suits – just to let u know, the MOST HORRIBLE and UNRESPECTFUL thing u can do there- is get into an onsen with swimsuits without having a special permission for that). Women kept asking me about my tattoos not knowing proper english but still trying to communicate about the pain, time, price… very friendly people.
Sun disappeared behind the mountain when the party started in the village. Some sort of celebration with free food, sake, dance, market and a very interesting traditional band with drums. I had a ‘reservation’ in one of the best izakaya in town (unfortunately have no idea of its name considering the fact that there are no written signs outside)- one man was cooking (towel in his head lol) and a lady was serving wearing traditional clothes (like kimono but not for geishas). Sat down at 8pm – was very quite – i was sipping some gorgeous sake (with salt) and let the Chef choose me his signiture dishes – I HAD THE BEST PORK IN MY LIFE. Slow cooked, sweet and sour pork belly. Served with its on ‘juice’ and with horseradish. Melting in mouth experience. Ohhhh real good. Second dish was a whole grilled mackerel with daikon puree, wasabi and soy.
Challange of the day- eating this with chopsticks!!!! Was sitting there almost like one hour and slowly slowly i did finish the whole fish. Meanwhile the izakaya turned very noisy and busy place with all the locals coming over ordering lots of beers and yakitoris (everything in skewers what you can imagine from simple chicken breast to gizzards, heart, intestine, skin etc). I paid 2500yen for my dinner. Worth every single penny.
DAY 4. – SNOW IN NOZAWA
I wanted to pin here the last morning i was spending in Nozawa. Just because it was absolutely hilarious. First of all my friend Paco invited me to have breakfast in his Hotel on the top of the hill. I wanted to see him before i leave cause since the dinner i havent seen him at all and saying thanx of course letting me sleep at his place for free. So the plan was to wake up – climb up the hill and having a breakfast, then get down, get my backpack and take the bus to take me to the train to take me to Kanazawa. Sounded like a great plan. BUT. I woke up. Was cold. Very. Anyway. Got dressed. Open the door… and snow. SNOW. Not little. FUCKIN MASSIVE AMOUNT OF SNOW COVERED EVERYTHING!!! I mean it was absolutely beautiful, i loved it, it changed the whole dark-gray background to heaven. I loved it. Till i realised i dont really have proper skii clothes or waterproof stuff. EEEEEEEEEEh. Ok. I still wanted to stick to the plan so was walking up the hill to find that special lift to take me up to the skii resort to find my friend. Was another experience. I mentioned before i never skii – so this was new. Very new. I found the ‘lift’, the lift was a walking moving staircase. Loooooong. I think it took like 15 minutes to arrive. OMG. More snow. MORE SNOW.
How is that possible. And it was continously snowing of course making my life harder not seeing properly anything. Just WHITE. People up there all dressed up for skiing and snowboarding, enjoying the late surprise at the end of March. Except me. I hated it. I could not see anything, i was asking for informations about the hotel, people tried to navigate me there… but i simply could not make it. My shoes, my spring jacket, jeans were getting faaaar to wet, i could not walk in that deep snow. Had lots of struggles before i gave up. Hahahahahaha. I turned back before all my stuff get soaking wet and i lose more time for no reason. It was very funny. I just simply wasnt prepaired for these weather circumstances. Crazy. So i apologised bigtime to Paco and was heading to get that bus downtown…