Hit the road, Jack: skiing Japan by bus

The taxi ride from Aomori Airport to downtown Hirosaki was both a journey into winter and into the provincial life of a Japanese small town stuck in the 1960s. The city centre, an unruly scramble of ugly high rises, post-war cottages and a scattering of quaint medieval and 19th century officialdom, was panting under relentless snowfall. Shop owners and dwellers were stoically shovelling snow from the sidewalks into open manholes, some of them, it seemed, clearly too frail and too old for the job. After a walk through Hirosaki Castle’s parkland, I soaked in the outdoor onsen of the Dormy Inn, waiting for Hiro. Hirofumi ‘Hiro’ Ishizaka has been my mountain guide in Japan for 15 years…Continue Reading