F is for 冬

F is for fuyu, or the Japanese word for Winter. While autumn is my favorite season for its cool temperatures and fiery colors, winter in Japan is easily one of the most beautiful times to be here. Especially in Kyoto and Hokkaido, the snow is thick, powdery, and pristine. Japan’s placement on the Ring of Fire ensures that there is also enough thermal activity going on to melt the snow before it turns into black ice, meaning we either have lots of beautiful snow absolutely everywhere, or clean roads to drive on.

Basically, there is very little to dislike about the snow here. Kyoto doesn’t get snow too often (once every five years, roughly), but when it does, it positively dumps. And it’s gorgeous. Of course, Kyoto has nothing on Hokkaido, which hosts an internationally known festival every year, aptly called the “Snow Festival”, or Yuki Matsuri. My trip there remains one of my favorite memories of my time in Japan.

Images hosted on Flickr. 

Sapporo Snow Festival 2011

Sapporo Snow Festival 2011

Sapporo Snow Festival 2011

Sapporo Snow Festival 2011

Sapporo Zoo & Beer Garden

Sapporo Zoo & Beer Garden

https://flic.kr/p/pMjDVm

https://flic.kr/p/pNVAgk

Winter Wonderland Redux

Winter Wonderland Redux

First Snow in Kyoto

Kinkakuji - Winter60

59 thoughts on “F is for 冬

    • Alex Hurst says:

      The sculptures were fantastic, Tasha. In Kyoto, the snow doesn’t stay long enough for that kind of snow-sculpting… The last picture, of the Golden Pavilion? The snow was there 9am, when I took that picture, and was all gone by 11am.

      Like

    • Alex Hurst says:

      It was actually much warmer in Sapporo than it was in Kyoto… all that snow insulated the city! It was quite pleasant. 🙂

      Like

  1. Tarkabarka says:

    Wow, they don’t mess around with the snow sculptures, do they… Their winter sounds a lot better than the one in Ohio…
    Btw a friend of mine just spend a couple of days in Kyoto 😀 She had gorgeous pictures too.

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary – Epics from A to Z
    MopDog – 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

    Liked by 2 people

  2. somberscribbler says:

    The snow and ice sculptures are beautiful! They do similar things here in Quebec City and Ottawa for the winter festivals. There is even an Ice Hotel you can stay in! I saw the Golden Pavilion in May. It was lovely then, but I think I like it even more with snow!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Gene'O says:

      Wow! What photos!

      Winter is not the best time here. Mostly it’s gray, and it snows every five years, maybe, but it does not DUMP. Snows just enough to make us wish for more.

      Spring is the best season on the Gulf (of Mexico) Coast, IMO. Fall would be next. But summer is my favourite because we get the long days.

      This is your official visit from the list from me. I made it way before I thought I would, but honestly, haven’t left as many comments as I should have this week.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Alex Hurst says:

      Those were taken at the Sapporo Zoo. The snow-living animals were VERY happy, but the African animals were not (they have to be kept indoors during the snowy periods).

      Like

  3. zannierose says:

    what wonderful images, what interesting writing. I wish I could teleport. I have written a short story based in a snow festival and another one- a ghost story- based in Kyoto..tho I have yet to visit. will sign up for your newsletter when I have posted this so I can keep up to date

    zannierose A-Z

    Liked by 1 person

  4. strangepegs says:

    The snow sculptures are amazing. I’m in awe of these people, not just because of the skill it takes but because they are willing to pour themselves into something which is so fleeting. At least, now, we have cameras to preserve the images.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Alex Hurst says:

      Yes… They sculpt for upward of 20 hours, let them sit through the weekend, and there’s a ceremony (involving dousing the statues in alcohol for their service) before the bulldozers tear everything down. They really were amazing.

      Like

  5. gapark says:

    Your photography is brilliant (Loved the fireworks one) and you have a wonderful way with words as well. A combination of talent that will take you far! Do you consider Japan “home” now or just a stopover?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alex Hurst says:

      This A-Z is my homage to Japan. I’ve lived here for five years, but am finally heading back west, to live in Vancouver for a time and hopefully attend grad school for publishing.

      Thank you so much! I have a long way to go, but I’m glad you like the photos!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Romi says:

    The snow sculptures in Sapporo are amazing, and the Kinkaku-ji Temple covered with snow is beautiful.
    I’m also wondering where in Japan that tiger in the snow is. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alex Hurst says:

      Romi, the tiger shot was actually at the Sapporo Zoo. Same with the wolf photo. The enclosures there are quite open, so the animals have lots of space to prowl about. They also had red pandas! And it was FREE entry!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Alex Hurst says:

      Thanks so much for the compliment, Tee. I’m greatly looking forward to a camera upgrade I’ve been saving up for…. hopefully even crisper, better lighted photos!

      Liked by 1 person

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