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Japan Coalface

Last month I shared part of my Japan trip from earlier this year and with so much to share, this month I’ll take you to Sapporo and the most incredible snow I’ve ever seen.

We flew to Sapporo and caught the train into town where I saw my first REAL snow, it was feathery and amazing. The first day saw us tick off some must-dos in Sapporo – the Sapporo Beer Museum, Teshikaga Ramen in Ramen Alley (the most delicious ramen I’ve ever had) and the softest creamiest ice cream called soft cream.

We had another day in Sapporo, so we headed to the Chocolate Factory. The building was covered in snow, and it looked like the factory out of the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie! The factory makes a unique chocolate – white chocolate cream in between two sweet biscuits. We went on a tour and then decorated our own chocolate which was a lot of fun, even for adults!

We ventured to the crab market, climbed the Sapporo TV Tower, and then went to the Donguri bakery for lunch (the bakeries in Japan are almost better than ours). That night we booked a table at a restaurant that looked good.

We went inside, had to take off our shoes, and were then escorted to our table which was on cushions on the floor. So far, so good until we discovered that not only was there no English menu, the waitstaff also spoke no English. We Google translated the menu and ordered strange combinations of food including one we thought was deep fried chicken… I cut it open to discover it wasn’t…

After that adventurous meal, the next day we caught the bus to Niseko!

When we arrived it was snowing, it was the most snow I had ever seen, incredible.

Japan Coalface

We spent the next eight days in Niseko staying at a place called Slow Life. Its shared accommodation owned by Chad Johnston, a killer kite surfer and skier from Newcastle back home.

It felt like we were back home in Australia which was so lovely after being immersed in the Japanese culture for a couple of weeks and changing accommodation every couple of days.

From Niseko there were four main ski resorts we could go to – Hanazono, Grand Hirafu, Moiwa, and Rusutsu.

Grand Hirafu was within walking distance and from there you could traverse over to Hanazono. The snow was incredible. It was falling like feathers and soft to snowboard on compared to the ski resorts here, I couldn’t help but smile my whole way down the slope.

Rusutsu was a lot of fun, heaps of nice long green runs for me to practice my snowboarding technique! Moiwa was good too, it’s more for the snowboarders who enjoy the back country rather than the beginners like me. I went up one gondola and thought I would be okay following my nose back to the bottom which was good in theory until I fell waist deep in snow and couldn’t get back up.

I ended up upclipping from my snowboard and trudging back down to where I could get up and board.

Japan Coalface

After that I treated myself to a hot chocolate before venturing out again.

We were in Niseko for Australia Day which you wouldn’t think would be a big deal in Japan, but at Slow Life it was a HUGE event. We had burgers for dinner, the Australian music was blaring, and the beer was flowing. Greg, the breakfast chef extraordinaire at Slow Life is very musically talented so we were even treated to some live music.

After a couple more day’s snowboarding, it was time to head home.

I have nothing but good things to say about Japan, I will definitely be back!

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