Journey Through Japan

Day 5, 05JAN2017

While the boys managed to throw in two-three runs between 1100-1200, the truth of the matter was that today was a necessary rest day. All four of us were tired and by lunch time – which was a massive feed on local ramen, we were ready to call it quits.

One of the most popular lunch time haunts in Hirafu also happens to be a hugely popular dinner locale as well. Tozanken serves piping hot ramen in bowls large enough to fit nearly a gallon of milk. The process is in high demand and if you arrive at anytime other than when they first open up, you’re guaranteed to have to line up and down a set of stairs waiting for people to vacate.

The boys grabbed four seats by the kitchen and we snacked on fried cheese waiting for our ramen to arrive. I ordered the fried chicken ramen and Josh ordered the pork cutlet ramen. Both were satisfying and far too much food for one to finish on their own. The concoction is stuffed with vegetables, noodles, meat and seaweed.

After lunch we all retired to our respective lodges and slept/relaxed the remainder of the afternoon.

Since we spent most of today lounging around our bed and breakfast I’ve decided to use today’s post and take you readers on a tour through our pension.

The North Point Pension is owned by a pair of Aussies and managed onsite by Carmen and Tony, who are also Aussies. The outside of the pension hearkens an alpine lodge with a steep roof to allow the snow to fall off and not accumulate. There are eight rooms in the pension and our room has its own balcony. Not that we hang out on the balcony – it’s far too cold – but Josh does use it to air out his stinky socks.

The common areas are all clean and well maintained. The upstairs landing houses the shared sinks and toilets. Downstairs there is a warm lounge room and the dining room where coffee and tea are available 24/7.

Also downstairs is the drying room. This room is located directly beneath us and so our room is always hot, which is fabulous after a day in the snow. There is a section for laundry – which also happens to host another Japanese invention I find extremely intriguing: the beer vending machine. Beer vending machines are all over the place here in Japan, and I suppose it is due to the Japanese culture’s strict adherence to rules that these alcoholic machines can be found in public, unregulated areas. Think near the bathrooms on the slopes, while walking along the street in downtown Hirafu, at your pension – everywhere dude. Lastly, the showers are located downstairs in our pension and they are designed similar to the ones you find at an Onsen – so if you were confused with my description of the bathing section in yesterday’s post, check out the photo below for what the stool looks like in the Japanese bathrooms.


Josh and I whittled away the afternoon with naps, hot tea, and a game of chess (yes, I lost, and no, I did not do so happily).


We then met the boys for dinner at Jam again. This place truly is wonderful! Josh ordered the PBC tonight and accompanied the dish with an order of, get this, chicken wing gyoza. Now, some of you may be imagining gyoza made exclusively of chicken wing stuffing. Wrong. This is actually a chicken wing, the meat removed and mixed with traditional gyoza stuffing, and then said stuffing is repacked under the chicken wing skin and deep fried. Perfection. I ordered a steaming hot plate of bean sprouts fried with bacon, onions and soy sauce. I also ordered one of the weirdest meals I’ve had thus far: a hot pot of melted Camembert cheese with garlic shrimp and croutons. Utterly amazing.

Post dinner we all called it a night, glad to have broken up our snow trip with a solid day of low key rest.


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