The morning after our very early night in Niigata we woke up feeling refreshed and popped to the 7eleven for a cheeseburger for me (such a healthy breakfast!) and a nikuman (steamed pork bun) for Tom before hitting the road on our next adventure back into the mountains to Zao Onsen and Mount Zao. Zao Onsen is a traditional popular hot spring and ski resort in the mountains of Yamagata Prefecture and it is one of only a few places in Japan where "snow monsters" exist!
We woke up super early after a fantastic night out in Nagano and it was absolutely freezing in our room at the ryokan. It is fair to say I felt a bit fragile from the amount of beer consumed the night before and struggled to convince myself to crawl out from my cosy futon to the bathroom and into the shower. I should have trusted my instincts because when I eventually did haul myself out of bed the bathroom was even colder than the room we had slept in!
We spent one night in Nagano as part of our 2017 road trip around Honshu and thoroughly enjoyed our short amount of time there. Our accommodation was the Matsuya Ryokan our first ever ryokan stay and we drove there following a day visiting the snow monkeys and Nozawa Onsen. The drive was very pretty and the sun was just starting to set:
Update - 3 September 2017
Okay, so I know I've been utterly appalling at blogging this year, I'm still only part way through writing up the February 2017 trip and it's almost time for us to go away again! In my defence we have been very busy selling our house and prepping for our move but even so, I need to try harder!
We again woke early despite the bed being one of the most comfortable we've ever slept in! We'd planned ahead and bought breakfast from a convenience store on the way back to the hotel the previous night so we ate this whilst watching the sunrise over the mountains from the window:
We woke up in our Shinjuku hotel very early even by our own holidaying standards. This was partially due to jet lag but in a more substantial part stemmed from nervousness (picking up the car and driving in Tokyo for the first time), and anticipation for the day that lay ahead (hello Mt Fuji!). The previous night we visited Family Mart on the way back to our hotel for some supplies including breakfast so ate a small meal at the hotel before rearranging our suitcases.
Our 2017 Honshu road trip begins on Wednesday 1 February 2017 when we arrive in Tokyo, our overnight destination before we pick up our rental car and begin the road trip part of our journey. This trip has been our hardest to plan yet because each night is in a different hotel in a completely different location, and we had to balance the travelling between destinations with having enough time to see and do everything we wanted on the way as well as ensuring Tom wasn’t too exhausted from all of the driving.
We’re doing something different in 2017, we’re going on a road trip! Road trips have always been out of scope for us due to our lack of driving licenses but in September 2015 Tom got his and we haven’t looked back. So far our only experience of driving abroad is in Majorca but Japan is clearly the next logical step!
Wednesday was my 30th birthday and what better way to spend your birthday than in Tokyo. This was the last full day of our holiday and we always make sure we do some amazing things on our last day. That combined with it being my birthday ensured it was to be a perfect day. You can read about how we spent the previous day here.