Peeping out as soon as the snow begins to melt, green shoots and the shining white mizubasho flowers (photo below, left) herald the coming of spring. The mountains slowly change from snowy white and brown branches to new soft green leaves, with the occasional soft pink of wild cherry trees in bloom. It's the season of sansai—wild mountain vegetables—as people gather to enjoy the slender local bamboo shoots and other flavors of the season.

Myoko is a favorite getaway for the residents of the hot, humid cities of Japan. A high plateau area, Myoko has a relatively short rainy season compared to much of the country, and summer temperatures in the low 20s Celsius (70s Fahrenheit). Some enjoy a leisurely onsen holiday, perhaps trying some of the area's rotenburo, or open-air hot springs. Myoko is also a well-known mountain climbing and hiking area; both Mt. Myoko and Mt. Hiuchi just to the north are among Japan's 100 Famous Mountains. Myoko has established the Nature Sommelier organization, a group of local guides introducing visitors to everything from bamboo-leaf crafts to multi-night-stay mountain climbing tours. For more information, please contact info@myoko.tv.


The cool evening breezes that make Myoko so pleasant through the summer (no air conditioners needed!) begin to get a chilly edge as August turns to September. The tall grasses covering hillsides and ski slopes turn to silver, their feathery heads becoming swaying waves in the winds. Autumn is a time of rich autumn colors and high blue skies—a great time for mountain hiking (but be sure to bring warm wear!).


Myoko’s peak usually turns white for the first time by mid-October, a beautiful contrast to the autumn colors and lingering greens of the lower slopes. Slowly the snowline descends, until the town itself gets its first snowfall in mid- to late-November. Tracing across this new, open white world are the footprints of foxes, rabbits, tanuki (raccoon-dogs) and other wild residents.


Winter is both a time of quiet and of excitement in Myoko: the quiet that comes from the heavy, sound-absorbing snowfalls and high walls of snow around houses and hotels; the excitement as skiers and boarders from Japan and farther away flock to make the most of the powder.


Thanks to the moisture provided by the nearby Sea of Japan, Myoko sees some 13 meters (40+ feet) of snow in a year; one recent winter recorded more than 16 meters (50 feet)! It’s a truly magical experience to walk down the streets at night in the midst of a heavy snowfall—or to enjoy the view from the warmth of your hotel room! And it’s magic to know that, the next day, that fresh snow will mean outstanding skiing on Myoko’s many ski areas—there’s truly something for everyone, from beginner to expert, on skis, boards, snowshoes or cross-country skis.

I LOVE MYOKO Long-time resident Bill Ross shares some of the reasons why he settled in Myoko.


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