After completing my first year with the company, which proved to be an extremely rewarding one with new challenges and experiences, I ended 2011 in the UK for a month – no surprises with the weather there – murky grey days that stingily offered a measly 36 minutes of sunlight each!
Similarly, yet in stark climatic contrast, Japan’s winter months are predictably reliable in their nature – crisp blue skies and temperatures in the single figures on the coastal plains, sub-zero and snowy in the inland areas.
Being a lover of snow, I was so pleased to run our first tour of the year this January with people not so used to the white stuff – namely tour members from Brazil and Australia. The snow brings a pristine innocence to the countryside, that is awe-inspiring when it falls as much as it does here in Japan, much to the surprise of many.
For an experienced tour leader, it also paints towns and landscapes with a new and intriguing layer, prompting the feeling of an area unchartered. I really felt that my group and I were getting to see a Japan that so few do. My tour – Japan Unmasked – one of our trips that frequents the same places as in the spring, summer and autumn, is further embellished by the ivory flakes, which leave the image of winter purity forever etched on the mind.
There are not many places on the planet that can boast as much snow as Japan can. Over 400 ski resorts dotted around the country lay testimony to the quality and amount of snow here – and 2 Winter Olympic Games (Sapporo 1972 and Nagano 1998) says it all!
However that doesn’t mean that non-skiers should stay away until the big thaw – all the temples, karaoke bars, bullet trains, neon signs and zen gardens still await – but with an added layer of something special, and if you come out of season, the welcome is warmer!
There are still 2 more months of snow left – why not come join us in this winter wonderland?! Just make sure you bring an extra sweater and gloves!!