We just spent three days in Hakkoda which is located near the top of the main island of Japan. Fabled for some of the deepest powder in Japan.
Our three days there certainly didn’t disappoint, getting between 40-60cm of new snow every night and snowing through the day. Some of our turns we almost submerged ourselves, especially the telemark skiers who get in to the powder a little deeper.
One of the attractions is the rimed ‘todomatsu’ forest between 1,000 to 1,300 meters elevation. One of only a few places in Japan that experience this natural wonder, where super-cooled water droplets freeze on to the sides of trees. They are translated as ‘Snow Monsters’ and skinning between them can seem almost other-worldly.
The single ropeway there is also heavily rimed from multiple trips in blizzard conditions up the mountain. It just squeezes in to its perch at the top gondola station.
Lower down are the ‘buna’ forest where perfectly spaced trees makes for fantastic tree skiing.
Each day we finished in the local hot springs. The favorite was the ‘Sennin Buro’ or 1,000 person bath with its acrid smell of sulfur and aged wooden surrounds. People have been soaking in its rich mineral water for 200 years.
Stay tuned for more scheduled trips to Hakkoda next year.