It felt way colder than the 14˚C my weather app told me. But at least sunshine and bone dry!
After packing and breakfast we set off to meet with a tour group of mainly retirees at Shinjuku station.
Everyone was on time and our tour guide ushered us towards the train we were supposed to take.
But we still had 2 minutes to quickly grab some bento.
We eventually arrived in Chino, which is the closest stop to Suwa, our final destination. We were taken by small shuttle vans to our hotel, situated by the very beautiful Suwa lake!
Upon seeing it, with its glorious jogging path, I knew I had to go run right away!
But first we settled into the hotel. This seems to be an old business venue, hence all rooms were singles! This way Julius got his very own hotel room for the first time!
While the family walked over to a nearby castle (with blooming sakura trees), I changed into running gear and managed to do a fairly speedy 10K. No red lights, no heat, just running! The afternoon sun was still giving off some gentle warmths and the trees and snow capped mountains made for a spectacular scenery.
I tagged on a bit as a cool down and also to catch up with the family at that castle. More blooming trees, a beautiful garden & castle!
Dinner was very early at 5:30PM, and while it was held in a big dining room, with people all behaving very Japanese, it never felt too crowded. And the food was just amazing, very ‘ryokan’ style, with lots of little dishes.
There was also a tempura dish which was served towards the end (piping hot) and I forgot to take a picture …
Reason for the early dinner was that the program was not over yet!
We boarded those shuttle vans again, driving by a gorgeous sunset to a boat dock, where we were treated first to a taiko drum show, then huddled onto our boats (They had swan & turtle, we got swan!) and then we were ferried to the middle of the lake.
Once it was really dark and we could only see the lights from the shore line around us, they started a very pretty firework for us! (And while I do have some video of it, it is a bit underwhelming to watch on a computer screen, you just had to be there 😉 )
Return to the hotel was this time a 1km march and being all cold and chilli now, it was the perfect time to explore the onsen facilities!
Looks like the hotel gave me a pink ladies’ robe. And gotta love those signs to make sure that even foreign guests adhere to proper onsen etiquette.
(We heard later that the ladies’ side was full of chatty Chinese ladies … )
And then finally, time for bed. I had planned already to get up before the sun, so I really needed sleep.