Hokkaido – a Japanese Winter Fairytale

Although I had read a pile of books and travel guides about Japan before I boarded the plane to Tokyo, the “Land of the Rising Sun” just took my breath away…being so completely different from what I’ve seen before. We were extremely lucky in having perfect winter weather conditions – softly falling snow for the ballerina-like courtship dances of the Red-crowned cranes, fresh snow for the majestic Sika deer and the foxes on the Notsuke Peninsula and again falling snow and lots of pack ice for the boat tours to the impressive Steller’s Sea Eagles which just flashed me. Although the boat trips started at a rather unchristian hour – at 5.30 in the morning – I was wide awake as soon as I had set eyes on the huge flock of White-tailed and Steller’s Sea Eagles which were sitting on the pack ice waiting for breakfast and then vying for fish – what a sight! We had to leave Rausu in the middle of a heavy blizzard and due to closed roads we had to take several detours on our way to Lake Kussharo but in the end we made it and were rewarded by the pretty Whooper swans on the frozen lake in yet another winter wonderland landscape… With a short visit with the funny bathing snow monkeys in Nagano which presented themselves as “rain” monkeys at temperatures of around 15 degrees this wonderful winter photo tour came to an end. 

I loved the winter landscapes. I was deeply impressed by all the birds. Watching the cranes dance was a real treat. I truely enjoyed taking a bath in a hot Onsen after spending the day out in the cold. I appreciated the prevailing cleanliness and politeness….BUT… no, there’s just one little  “but”… I don’t think I’ll ever take a fancy to the typical Japanese food… fortunately there are supermarkets all over the place so even as a vegetarian you can easily survive on cookies and bananas … I tried it myself…😀

February/March 2020