Yet another thing to look forward to in Hakuba in the spring: hot springs with a view of snowy mountains. There are a couple of good ones in the town proper. This one is actually in a hotel up against the hillside to the rear of the train station. You can enjoy the stunning view of the mountains even while you’re sitting in the rotenburo outside bath.

On the evening before I left, I had a great local sake (another passion of mine) called Tenka Happo in a restaurant. Deciding that it would make a nice gift, I went out to try to find a bottle... and that turned out to be quite a search. Asking near the restaurant, I was told it was available in the Happo district, a bit north of where I was, so I cycled for about ten minutes on a quiet back street in the darkness. Asked at the next shop I came to: nope, I wasn’t in Happo yet, but I was on the right track. Finally the road dead-ended at two gift shops. Walked into the one on the left and was told: Nope, the OTHER shop. (Just how local IS this sake, anyway? I wondered.) It turned out that there was a big tank that came directly from the brewer in that shop; you choose your bottle size and they fill one up like the wine shops in Spain and Italy.  For the record: I took that bottle to a party in the U. S. and the consensus was unanimous: well worth the (fairly high) price.

Don’t bother looking for it, though — this was special-ordered (OEM’d) by the gift shop, which has closed, and so Tenka Happo no longer exists.

Story & PhotosHakuba_Story_%26_Photos.htmlHakuba_Story_%26_Photos.htmlshapeimage_14_link_0
Nuts & BoltsHakuba_Nuts_%26_Bolts.htmlHakuba_Nuts_%26_Bolts.htmlshapeimage_18_link_0