Hakuba Fall-ing

Japan autumn leaves

When it comes to seasons in Hakuba, winter & summer tend to get the bulk of the attention….& for good reason indeed….but if it wasn`t for my obsession with snow-covered mountains & all the fun that entails, Autumn would definitely be a contender for my “favorite time of year in Hakuba” award.


The cool mountain air scented with fall leaves is both relaxing & exhilarating, & a constant reminder that the stresses of city-life are far away & that winter`s thrills are close by. Its the perfect climate for long walks in the low lying valleys & hills or up the towering peaks of the Northern Alps where you`ll pass through technicolor-ed leaves, barren moonscapes & if you`re lucky, dustings of the coming season`s first snow.

Fall colors in Japan

Here`s a random collection of pics from Walks this past week in nearby Sarukura, Miasa & Minekata.

こうよう sarukura hiking japan おひさま Naganohakuba minekataFall colors in hakuba Nagano Japan

Banff Mountain Film festival 2011 in Matsumoto

Autumn is in full swing in Hakuba at the moment & the excitement of another winter amongst the snowy peaks of the Northern Alps is is starting to build.  It`ll be not long now that mother nature tilts her axis, once again, bringing meters upon meters of fluffy white stuff to the Hakuba valley making for one of the world`s premier winter playgrounds.

For those who need a little mountain fix asap or just another reason to get you amped for the coming season, the renowned Banff Mountain Film festival is coming to Matsumoto Sunday Oct 30th.

It promises “the World` s Best Mountain Films” with selections like Jeremy Jone`s “Deeper”, “A Life Ascending”, “Into Darkness”, & “Life Cycles”.

So if you`re anywhere near Matsumoto on Oct 30th & need some inspiration or just wanna check out some good`ol mountain films….drop on by! Its at the Matsumoto Performing Arts Center (Shimin Geijutsukan) about a 10 minute walk from the station. Program A starts @ 1:00pm & Program B @ 5:00pm.

The Banff Mountain Film festival Tour also stoops in Myoko Kogen on Nov 3rd.

For more info check out – http://www.banff.jp/index.htm

See you there!

10000 Free Flights to Japan….for real!

There`s no question that foreign tourism has taken a beating in Japan since the March 11th earthquake.  The number of foreign tourists dropped 32% last August & were down more like 60% last April.  Numbers are rebounding but its still tough times.

Obviously there are 2 main culprits for this, the strong Yen & the common misconception that travel beyond Fukushima poses health risks from radiation.

The Japan Tourism agency plans to combat this by giving away 10000 free international flights to the land of the rising sun starting sometime mid-2012.  Yes that`s right….10000 & FREE!

The idea is that those 10000 people will return home spreading the word that Japan is as fun & as safe as ever and a great destination for your next adventure. I`m confident that`s exactly what they`ll do……..especially those who will have spent their last week shredding knee deep powder in the Hakuba trees!

It`s an ambitious proposal & an interesting marketing strategy and i hope it helps.  I also hope thatmore than a few Hakuba bound travelers can reap some of the benefits.  So, check out the links below & we`ll update the blog as more information becomes available.

According to the Wall Street Journal, online applications will  start next April with lucky winners being selected next summer.

Check out the Wall Street Journal`s Japan Realtime article & also, have a look at the JNTO`s website for more info….& we`ll keep you posted!

Nihon Ganbare!



Snow on the peaks – October 3rd

First decent snowfall of the 2011 season


The first snow was actually on Sept 19th but it melted by 8am. The first decent dusting happened in the last two days. There’s a definite chill in the air and everyone is busy in the village harvesting the rice before the first frost.

Not long to go now!

SnowJapan guide to the ‘Great East Japan Earthquake’


SnowJapan.com has been one of the leading online resources for information on skiing & snowboarding all over Japan for over a decade.  Like a lot of us in the ski & snowboard industry here, they`ve fielded lots of questions concerning the implications of the disasters on the ski hills here.  In response, they`ve put together an online  “guide” providing “clear, balanced & honest information on the subject”.
Anyhow, Its full of interesting links & resources & worth taking a look at, so thought i`d pass it on here. Be sure to check out the local accounts of the disasters & the section on radiation data.

SnowJapan guide to the ‘Great East Japan Earthquake’

Can`t believe its still June & i`m already getting real excited about next winter!