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August: The Return of Souls

August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, ...

Winter Vacations Diary

I'd like to continue from the 31. So, after check out we headed up to Takayama City to enjoy some fantastic Gifu beef, then headed back to Hirayu onsen for check-in.. The drive back through Gifu's icy roads on summer tires was a heart pounding experience for me, you see, I'm from Southern California, so this is not my kind of weather.

At any rate, things worked out well and we made it back safely. We were allowed to check-in 30 minutes early, which was good cause' I needed to freshen up a bit before dinner and I needed a little more time to whined down. Also, for me, whenever I check\in to a hotel I like to reserve the private bath since there are usually no people, and it's nice too because you can enjoy the person you're with.

On that day, the 31st of December, there were so many people, families, friends, lovers – full occupancy that night. I have a slight aversion to being around so many people. There's a common belief that an onsen should be enjoyed with other people and that you should socialize and chat the night away. While all of this may sound good often times a person misses out on the real purpose of being in an onsen.

The water, the surrounding nature, the sounds, and quiet solitude that I find to be the most memorable experience for me. It's the water I remember the most, not the stranger I just met.
I am there because I want to get away from people and enjoy my time with someone special. I think many people forget this and wonder why they haven't fully relaxed and enjoyed themselves, it's because they had gotten so worked up chatting the experience away. I guess everybody is different.

Just about every night I had a delicious steak. Before dinner it's always nice to take a dip first, drink beer or nihonshu second then eat something really nice.   Dinner was excellent! The beautiful taste of nihonshu buried in white powdery snow.


  1. The servings look awfully small but...the Sake in snow is a great pic!!

  2. Hi Chris,

    Thanks! Yes, those servings were quite small, but they served us plenty of different dishes which actually made me full! I have a few other sake in the snow pics.



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