Many tourists visit Tazawako for ski and snowboarding.
But to those who are not familiar with snow, such sports activities may be a big hurdle.
However, what I will introduce to you today requires no skill nor practice to enjoy the snow.
Allow me to introduce you “Snow Hiking!”
Wear a pair of snowshoes and off we go!
Our group started from Kyukamura Nyuto Onsenkyo (休暇村乳頭温泉郷）one of the seven Nyuto Hot Spring facilities.
The beech forest behind the hot spring was our hiking route of the day.
The beech forest was once cut down during the 2nd World War era.
After the war, the forest grew back to its original form without any maintenance.
Here is one of the trees that survived the felling 80 years ago.
While walking, the first thing we came across was a spicebush tree.
As names and natures do often agree, spicebush had a unique smell, and the guide told us that the branch is used as high-class toothpicks for people to enjoy the scent.
It is also utilized for medicine, tea, and aroma.
When we looked down, we could find footprints of a rabbit, and when we gazed above, we found a mistletoe on top of the beech tree(Christmas was over though)
It was interesting to see how beech trees grow in various ways.
Where sulfur is condensed in the fountain of hot spring, the pattern of the bark was rubbed off for toxic hydrogen sulfide.
Where the snow lay heavy, the tree grew crookedly.
When temperature decrease below -15 degrees, the bark cracks due to the turning of water to ice, unbearable for trees to hold the volume change.
We took a break in the wetland (now covered with snow) and had a little treat♪
Sitting in a snow bench with a cup of hot chocolate!
While we were heading back, we encountered a giant shelf fungus!
It is a fungus that is often found in trees or fallen logs in damp woodlands.
It is still used as an ingredient of Chinese medicine for anticancer drugs!
Our climax was, of course, the snow slide in the end!
The 2 hours hiking finished in a flash, enjoyable enough to forget our time.
Snow hiking has another “waterfall of friendship (友情の滝)” route which I would like to introduce to you next time.
Tazawako Area, Semboku has abundant nature that changes color many times in a year.
Visiting on winter may seem monotonous, but when you walk and see deeper inside, you can definitely feel the “quiet liveliness” within the white world!
Check it out for yourself!