It’s almost the third month of the year and that means season of spring is also just around the corner! So we planned a trip to the northern side of the country to make the most of what the winter season has to offer before we say our hello to the beautiful cherry blossoms.

I remember one weekend morning, my husband randomly exclaimed let’s go and see a snow! Just that and everything went spontaneously! Luckily we were able to book a hotel the day of the travel. We packed up for an overnight stay and then reached to the train station.

After a long 6 hour travel riding 5 different trains (I know, that’s a lot), we finally reached our destination in the city of Shinano Omachi of Nagano prefecture and we were also just in time for the city’s festival.

Our hotel, a connected two 7 floor buildings was like a modern day Ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn). The entrance, the interior and even the rooms were an influenced from the old country’s culture (with a touch of modernity of course). It has indeed a cozy atmosphere to balance with tired guests from the travel, and I guess we were no exemption.

And the room view? Spectacular! The window area feels like it’s purposely made for a place to be emotional and sentimental about life and whatnot. You get a good view of the neighborhood and the mountain areas all covered with the last night’s snow.

Inside our room was of course surrounded with every Japanese interior (except some few electronics here and there). Now if you haven’t encountered yourself a Ryokan, its floor is covered with tatami ( a traditional flooring material, and a bed that directly lies on the floor called a futon.

Also, in every traditional hotel is the idea of wearing a Yukata ( a traditional Japanese clothing wear much lighter and more casual than a Kimono) by the time you arrived and while during the course of your stay. These are all something that make the Japanese hotel rooms far different from the typical hotel rooms I think, and plus the fact that Japan is known for its outstanding service quality especially to staying and visiting foreigners like me.

Okay so me and my husband got really hungry after the long trip. We head to the dining area where each guest has their own small dining room and a line of Japanese delicacies, yum! After the dinner we also headed to a small Izakaya (a Japanese drinking place) inside the hotel to make a toast for the night.

Just in time, we went out to the hotel to witness the town’s festival. It was quite a challenge walking through the slippery and icy road but the marvelous fireworks display followed by a musical presentation was worth it. As part of their tradition, they also lit candles inside a triangular shaped igloo surrounding a warm bonfire. It was our first time to witness a festival together and although the road was covered with snow and it was basically a long day for us, we decided to wrapped up the night with a hot bath in the onsen (a Japanese hot spring).

The next morning, we woke up early for some breakfast buffet and relaxed into a steaming foot bath just in front of the hotel’s panoramic view of the garden which was now obviously covered with a lot of ice.

That day, we concluded our stay in the hotel and traveled to another side of the city. The whole place was such a refresher after a long weekday and after the long trip.

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Twenty-two (22) Forward is inspired from personal experiences, intimate thoughts and life adventure created and authored by LOLISA MAE SAKURAI. A special mark to her 22nd chapter, the things in between, and everything beyond there is.

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