The day brought more mist and drizzle, but Hakkoda was far from deserted. Parked cars lined the road over the pass, but these were not  of hikers. The sansai (mountain vegetables) must be special, for the collectors were serious, dressed in full goretex waterproofs or rubber overalls worthy of a Tsukiji fisherman. Periodically during the climb, from the seemingly impenetrable bamboo grass on either side of the thick muddy path, came the sounds of Sunday morning NHK. Enka singing. And by the time I descended, the pickers were carrying bulging rucksacks filled with their hauls.  The dog was happy too – an exceptionally muddy path to roll in, and snow to play with.

2 thoughts on “Hakkoda

  1. Looks like Hana had a blast in the snow! Sounds like the sansai pickers heavily outnumbered the hikers. Did you have a dip in the huge bath at Sukayu Hot Spring?

  2. My wife went in Sukayu onsen while I was climbing, but said the water was very acidic and painful in the eyes, hence the kanji for Su of Sukayu. When I came down, in spite of the attractions of mixed bathing, I couldn’t face the hoards of tour coaches and cars outside the onsen, so we headed further down the valley, where I found a wonderful local onsen for Yen 200, with *only* local people there, coming to clean themselves after working in the rice fields. In fact, right outside that local onsen, there were hoses and scrubbers for the farmers to use – perfect for me and the dog too!

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