Apr 7, 2018
The cherry blossom season already ended in Tokyo a week ago and the weather is getting warmer and warmer but also very stormy. It´s time for the spring storms, which are foreteller of the rain season.
For me it is the perfect timing to travel around. All starts to bloom and the weather is still very chilly and comfortable, especially if you want to go hiking. Last Monday I´ve been on a trip from Tokyo to a small town in Niigata. When I started in Tokyo it was 20 degree and very sunny outside and the weather forecast for Niigata was slightly the same. But as soon I came closer to the mountains of Gunma/Niigata I was kindly shocked. The train ran from the green and cherry blossoms fields of Gunma (the neighboring prefecture of Niigata) through a very long and dark tunnel to the very popular Ski resorts of Yuzawa. When I looked out of the window I was kind of shocked. The whole mountain area was full with snow, even the thermometer told me that there are 20 degree outside.
I was just wearing a thin sweater and shorts and thought, that I will be totally frozen, when I leave the train, but it was no problem. My goal the small town Itsukamachi is popular for their good quality rice and of course all the great rice fields you can see everywhere. The best place to see the rice fields of the town is from the mountain Rokumangi, which is around 20 minutes walk away from the station.
The mountain is 321 m high and the way up is kind of steep, but it is absolutely worth it to go to the top. The great view over the rice fields and the town, which is surrounded by high mountains is breathtaking. Even so all the rice field were still covered with snow, the mountain itself was snowless and somehow it was kind of hot on top.
During spring the mountain is also very popular for thousands of little purple violets, which you can find along the whole way up the mountain. That´s why you can also see many older hikers there, who like to enjoy those flowers. Even so if you are lucky you can see many butterflies dancing on top of the mountain.
I´ve just could spend a few hours in that small town, but it was a very nice trip and I learned a lot about rice fields, during my walk around. Also that I should always prepare for every kind of weather, even the weather forecast tells me something different.
I´m a german girl living in the center of Tokyo, but my true love belongs to the countryside of Japan (especially Chiba and Hokkaido). I love traveling in Japan and explore hidden areas.
I want to help people with my articles to get in touch with the Japanese culture and all the beautiful places you can explore.
Besides traveling around, I love trains, handcraft and my little rabbits.