And Mountain (Toyama)

Dan and I decided to spend our first Christmas after three years in Japan. Partly a decision fuelled by funding, but also we had been lucky enough to get an Airbnb voucher to use in Japan after a failed holiday in the summer. This meant we had £350 to spend on accommodation anywhere in Japan…the choices we’re almost endless!

At first we decided to escape the winter cold and head very south to Okinawa. However, having visited previously, and after checking out several overpriced and underwhelming accommodations, Okinawa was struck from the list.

Next we though that perhaps a stay in a tepee in some forest in Hokkaido was a good idea. The snow looked divine and the accommodation very cosy. However, after checking out the forecast of predicted -30 Degree temperatures; learning we had to venture outside into the snow to find the toilet; and a night in a tepee costing around £78 we concluded this, too, was not for us.

Finally, we narrowed the search down to the whole of Honshu island. Nice and easy. After what felt like days of trawling through Airbnb listings, and suddenly this £350 feeling like some absurd burden, we found a place. A 300 year old original (not burnt down and rebuilt!) house, with an open fire, large wooden bath, tatami rooms, and, the best bit…dogs! It seemed perfect. With a price tag of £35 a night, we were fully sold and very excitingly able to spend almost two weeks there. Thank YOU Airbnb!

After booking, we took a look into our Christmas destination 2018. Toyama prefecture. “Never heard of it” I said to Dan. Turns out the top five things to do here are mountains. That explains the name then: ‘To’ meaning and with ‘Yama’ meaning mountain. “I think we’ll be in for a peaceful and relaxing holiday with perhaps a few hikes thrown in for good measure”, I said. Little did I realise we’d actually find my favourite place in Japan so far and have one of the best holidays ever!

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