👋 I’m Nathan

A ryokan

⭐️ a blog post

The Wife and me and two friends pre-planned a trip to Japan many months in advance and I spent this last half year seriously looking forward to it. We recently spent two and half weeks in Japan on our first ever visit to the country! 🇯🇵 We went to a few places in Hokkaido, then to Kyoto, then accidentally to Osaka, and then to Tokyo. It was great to see so many different places and people and just enjoy being in a new place.

One place we stayed, for a single night, really impacted me: a ryokan in Hokkaido named Zaborin. It’s in a town named Kutchan where it seemed many people train for competitive skiing. The pictures on the website are no joke, this is exactly what it looks like:

Screenshot of the zaborin.com website

The layout of the property and the rooms were all so pleasant and inspiring. The room we had was a nice mix of old and new: one area with a normal couch and TV and then a raised area with tatami mats for resting or enjoying a morning coffee and book.

Photo of the elevated tatami mat area of the room
Photo of a coffee cup and a water cup
Morning coffee

Every room has its own private baths with water constantly running from a hot spring: one inside and one outside. Even though it was very cold, sitting in the outside hot spring water and seeing the snowy trees and mountain was one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever done.

Photo of the outside stone bath full of hot spring water
The outside bath
Photo of the sun rising from behind a nearby mountain
One of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve seen

As you can see it snowed ⛄ We travelled up to Kutchan by train while it snowed and stormed out in the sea:

Photo of snow by the sea waves from a train
Train conductor in the snow

Enjoying the bath, the food, and reading was so relaxing and re-energizing – I really needed it! I also enjoyed our time in the other parts of Japan, and especially Kyoto, but I’ll be thinking about Zaborin a lot for a while.