Day 1 was Kinosaki via Izushi. Izushi had some cool snow-covered temples/castles/beer restaurants. I think Dan once said it, but the innate beauty of Japanese architecture and design is really enhanced by the solitude of a blanket of white and an absence of snap-happy tourists (except me, of course). Here's Izushi.
We showed up at the inn in Kinosaki (staying in inns is so much better than hotels or hostels - it makes me feel like I'm Asterix or something) ready to chow down on our Tajima Beef shabu-shabu dinner, only to find that they had prepared us a crab nabe instead. Both these dishes are very famous in the area, like burnt meat is in Australia, and I wouldn't really have kicked up a fuss if we couldn't get the beef, but we politely pointed out their mistake... and got the beef too, for free! Just to quckly recap, that's about 40 bucks extra, if not more. First time I ever really ate much crab, but it was pretty damn good. And we were pretty damn full.
If you stay in an inn in Kinosaki, they give you free tickets to visit any of the onsens (hot springs) in town. We tied up our yukatas and hit the streets in geta (wooden shoes) in the shimmering snow. Sick. After hitting the baths, it was on to the rifle range. Obviously.
Next, back to the inn for outdoor baths in the snow. This is living.
We wandered around Kinosaki the next morning before heading on to Yumura Onsen - more of the same, but a much smaller town.
Crab again in Yumura - and it was AWESOME! Fried crab, steamed crab, crap tempura, baked crab, crab crab - all there, and all so good! Nothing else seems to match up anymore.
Outdoor hot springs in the snow, with warm sake too.
The rest of Yumura.
Anyway, that was our winter honeymoon, part 1. You'd think we'd have had enough of huge snowdrifts and krazy krabs, but in part 2, you'll see that we apparently hadn't. To be continued.