I told about my desire of a snow-walking to a friend of mine who is a mountaineering expert, and he made a plan to visit a hot spring deep beyond Nikko. I have refrained from climbing since I damaged my ligament a couple of years ago, therefore this was actually the first recovery trekking for me. We arrived at Kinugawa-Onsen station of Tobu-Nikko Line around 10:00 in the morning, and took a bus for Meotobuchi-Onsen. Further beyond, no cars are allowed except shuttle services for those staying at Haccho-no-yu or Kaniyu lodgings. Other visitors have to walk all the way, and we took the hiking road along the river. No real climbing but it will take about 2.5 hours to Kaniyu in the snow. It is least stressful as there are footsteps in the snow that you can simply follow. Our destination, Teshirozawa-Onsen, is further up with the altitude of almost 1500m to cost you some 40 minutes more of going up. Both of us once visited this area more than 40 years ago (individually), and everything looked totally different!
|Kawamata Lake 川俣湖|
|Meotobuchi-Onsen Bus Terminal|
|Such a mean behavior stealing a portion of interest from the guide display!|
|Frozen Waterfall - 凍結滝|
|Indoor Bath - 内湯|
|Outdoor Bath - 露天風呂|
Teshirozawa-Onsen lodging was renovated 19 years ago that now looks more like a standard "ryokan" than a classic mountain lodge. The fee was somewhat expensive 14,500 Yen per night incl. 2 meals. We immediately took bath after arrival as our body was chilly enough in the long walk. The water in the tub was quite hot but good with sulfur smell. Outdoor bath wasn't hot as the outside temperature was below zero. The entire lodging was air-conditioned and it was rather hot while sleeping as I was sweating. It should be lowered to 16 degrees or so, or it would be nice if controllable in each room.
We departed around 9 in the next morning, and took the wider traffic road ("Rindo" = forrest road). The actual vehicles were only the shuttles of two lodgings, therefore we enjoyed a relaxed walk. As it was basically a downhill all the way which indicated going up the opposite direction might build up your fatigue.
I had a good idea of next visit this time, which is to stay at Nikkozawa and have a whole day hiking to Kinu Marsh and Moor. I would also like to stay in the Haccho-no-Yu log house. Coupling it with a bike ride up to Meotobuchi may be possible and exciting, too.