Our time in Furano went by much too quickly, and before we knew it we were packing up the car and hitting the road for our longest travel day. For the first time in 3 days the sun came out long enough for us to catch a glimpse of the beautiful mountains off in the horizon. But literally in the time that it took us to program our GPS to our new destination; Niseko; the clouds rolled back in and the snow started falling again.
I have to give Mike a HUGE shout out for his incredulous driving skills. Not only was he driving on the other side of the road, in the other side of the car, with a GPS that speaks Japaenglish (Japanese and English moshed together), a copilot who was white knuckling her seat belt the whole time, all the while it was dumping snow which gave us a visibility of 20 feet and he never once batted an eye.
Five hours and 214 km later we arrived at our guesthouse in Niseko. Only being able to book our trip 4 weeks prior, didn’t leave us with many options, and it seemed like all the good stuff was taken. So our only option ended up being an airbnb private room in a guesthouse for $160/night. Typically this is way out of our budget but supposedly Niseko is the place to be and we didn’t want to miss out on the hype.
Well the short and simple version of where we stayed was that it was far from glorious and relaxing.The house held 30 people we thought it fit 10, at all times there were a minimum of 8 children running around with runny noses, there were “harmless” beetles in our room, the house was FREEZING like you could see your breath, and to top things off our pillows were made of BEANS!!! I immediately told Mike I wanted to leave and find somewhere else…but given the fact that it was PEAK travel dates literally the entire town was booked out. So we had to just suck it up and hope the beetles didn’t bite!
Once we threw our stuff in the room we immediately ventured off to a local onsen (hot spring) which we had been eager to try since we arrived in Japan. We asked a local where to go and they suggested a natural onsen only 5 minutes down the road from us so we took our chances. We were both pretty nervous since we didnt know what to expect. Being the educated foreigners that we, are we had read up on proper etiquette in Japanese Onsens but still its a little nerve wracking. Annoyingly we got there and the Onsen was NOT co-ed which meant Mike and I had to soak by ourselves. But hey after the stressful day we just had it was probably what we needed!
- Clothing NOT optional…thats right people birthday suits only!
- Bring a small “modesty” towel that you drape in front of your yahoos and whohaas…
- Shower and rinse yourself thoroughly upon entering the bath house
- Submerge yourself in either the outside onsen, inside onsen or both
- Fold the modesty towel and place on your head until your ready to get out
Sorry no pictures allowed at the Onsen!