While many people turn the New Year at shrines (and some at temples), not many make it out to Kamikōchi’s Hotaka Jinja Oku-miya Shrine. There was at least one visit to this shrine for the crossover this year. Mr. Tanaka, manager of the Gosenjaku Hotel and Lodge, spent the last few hours of 2011 and the first few of 2012 visiting Kappa-bashi Bridge, Taishō-ike Pond, and Hotaka Jinja Oku-miya Shrine at Myōjin-ike Pond.
Off in the darkness, we can see the faint light at the exit of Kama Tunnel, the gateway to Kamikōchi. Due to the cold this winter, snowfall is extremely low. And thus, walking is extremely easy. Blazing through Kama Tunnel and into the main of Kamikōchi only took 1 hour and 50 minutes, while coming back was a mere 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Although it is hard to tell from this picture, here at Kappa-bashi Bridge, the snow is literally sparkling in the light. In Japan, this ‘diamond dust’ is quite rare outside of Hokkaido, only occuring at the coldest places on the mainland. With temperatures often between -10 and -15℃ this winter, even your own breath becomes diamond dust.
On New Year’s Eve, the moon was shining brightly enough to see quite well. And in the distance, the snow-covered Hotaka mountain range stood out brilliantly amongst the dark background of sky. This kind of scenery is one that must be witnessed by yourself. As much as you might try, taking a good picture is extremely difficult unless you are really good.
Here, Mr. Tanaka stands before Hotaka Jinja Oku-miya Shrine at Myōjin-ike Pond. As you can see, the snow is really quite scarce.
A visit to Taishō-ike Pond rewarded Mr. Tanaka with ice-encrusted trees. These ice crystals glisten in the light providing a sight more spectacular than any normal Christmas light display. Truly a sight worth seeing…
This winter in Kamikōchi has so far been a cold one with little snow. But, this cold has created another type of winter beauty. Let’s check back again to see what else wonders Kamikōchi has to offer.
Source of Information:
– Kamikōchi Gosenjaku Group (http://www.gosenjaku.co.jp/)