Today I wanna travel back in time back to January in hopes of eventually catching back up to May’s happenings. On the weekend of January 14-15th I went to a famous onsen town called Kusatsu in Gunma prefecture for the English club’s winter camp. I didn’t really know what to expect and in terms of planned activities it was pretty disappointing (because there were none), it was still the most snow I have even seen in my life so it was great.
The day started off with having my own amazing race moment because one club member was late to the meeting time and then we couldn’t find the bus stop when we were already late. The other members weren’t picking up their phone either so we ran in circles in the bus area just to find out that it was in a completely different area. After riding in the bus for over two hours with a rest stop break midway, we arrived in Kusatsu!
Even just arriving in the parking lot made me realize I had underestimated the amount of snow that we would be dealing with. The whole first day when we arrived I really wanted to go outside and play in the snow but I think everyone else wasn’t that impressed by it and just wanted to laze around inside. However on the second day I got lucky when we ventured out of the hotel to try and go see the famous onsen. According to what I may or may not have understood, the area that we went to see what the origin of the hot spring.
On our way there in the bus the traffic got so backed up that we ended up hopping off the bus and walking the rest of the way. I was definitely not wearing the right attire for walking in heavy snow (regular Nike athletic shoes and jeans) but it was still fun.
Walking/sliding down the sloped roads was also exciting but also pretty scary. Eventually we made it to the little onsen town area and it was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. The little cottage like buildings covered in snow made it seem like we were in a different country and even though the heavy snow had covered a majority of the onsen and we couldn’t see anything with the snow falling so heavily, it was still amazing.
Even though my hands were freezing since I had to take off my gloves to be able to take pictures, it was so worth it to have these photos as memories of that trip. After everyone was done and ready to head back we started our slow trek back to the hotel in the snow. I don’t know exactly how long it took but I want to say it was around 30-40 minutes. We had broken off into little groups as everyone had their own strategies to try to walk to avoid falling. At one point some of the members even had to help push a car that had gotten stuck. I remember thinking that I don’t know how people can live in the snow. I wouldn’t be able to deal with having to shovel my car out of the snow each time I wanted to go out. I would be even more scared that the car would go sliding backwards down the sloping roads since it’s in the mountains.
Luckily we made it back to the hotel safely–albeit a little red-faced and frozen. From that point on it was back to lazing around until it was time to get on the bus to head back towards Kawagoe.
Overall, although I kind of had regrets in terms of what I expected of a club camp, the trip was worth it in order to experience all of that snow with my friends. This is definitely going to remain one of my favorite memories of my time in Japan!
Thanks for reading~