Bright lights Big City of Tokyo. Finally after kipping down in a very modern Incheon Airport in Seoul, Korea it would be rude not to stop into one of the world's mega cities!
After having a tough year of Earthquakes in my home town of Christchurch, New Zealand Tokyo is a city that's just about seen it all. In 1923 an earthquake of biblical proportions flattened the city killing 140,000 people. In WWII American planes firebombed the city creating an inferno and again rendering the city useless. What can we take from this? Resilience.
2011 again saw quakes shaking Tokyo to its core as Fukushima, north of Tokyo was engulfed by tsunami's and a nuclear melt down! Am I mad coming to a place which has lingering radiation, a huge history of seismic activity? Nah let's go ski some of the legendary powder, dine on some of the finest quality cuisine in the world and kick back in the relaxing hot springs that are ONSEN!
As I write this in Seoul airport my new powder destination for sunstone is getting puked on...over 90cms creating a nearly 2m base and it's not even January!
But before I arrive to the hallowed HAKUBA it's the excitement to explore one of the coolest & most interesting metropolises of the world - Tokyo. Japanese seafood is legendary, but to feed this nation of seafood lovers - it has to come into the Largest Fish market in the World - the Tsujiki fish market!
So to Hakuba, the small township which held the downhill races for the 1998 Nagano Olympics in Japan. I guess the attraction here is the lifts go up to nearly 1800m altitude but the range continues up to nearly 3000m = a huge amount of back country to explore!
Happo-One the big mama of some 9 resorts accessed from the Hakuba area!
Even the bloody man holes are stylish in Japan!
And what to do after skiing....oh it's a hard life! Soak it up in the Onsen. They're everywhere...what a great tradition!
Yep that's Happo Ski Resort in the background!
The gorgeous Hakuba Valley!
The nice thing about Japan is they're soooooo bloody organised. Train ticket machines, ATMs are in English and people at airports or any customer service peeps speak basic English and a super helpful!
Check out those old skool Craig Kelly snowboards!
Top of Hakuba Goryu with the sublime Japanese Alps in the background that rise to nearly 3000m!
So what's next - storm approaching (now there's a surprise....) let's ski some powder Japanese style!
JAPOW! All the best for a prosperous and powder filled New Year!