I began the last day of my trip with an early morning Onsen. I donned my kimono and slippers and headed in to wash before entering the Onsen. The steam was rising off the water and the heat felt soothing to my tired body. After soaking in the indoor Onsen, I found the courage to walk out to the outdoor Onsen. The snow was still falling and I was alone reveling in the silence and calm.

Kiroro Ski Resort:

Today’s plan was to start the day skiing at Kiroro Ski Resort and finish with a visit to Otaru, the Venice of Hokkaido. We arrived to howling winds and heavy snow, but not deterred, we hit the slopes. I’m so spoiled at home where I have the perfect ski for every snow condition, so I had to work like in the old days to ski low angle deep pow on skis that were narrow under foot. The cold temps and hunger brought me back to the lodge where I tried to find the least “black diamond” option for lunch. I found some sort of pork curry rice and green tea to warm me up.

Niseko OtaruNiseko Otaru

After lunch we set out for Otaru, a town that had canals around its perimeter. It was still snowing and the wind was cold. I took my obligatory photo of the canals and raced back to the bus. We finished our visit with a tour of the town. Otaru is famous for their chocolate and cake and we were able to sample it abundantly in each of the shops. We also visited a music box museum that had every type of music box you could imagine. Including a rotating tuna sushi roll music box!

We got back in time to shower and attend the final party. We had formed a great camaraderie with the attendees by this point so we ate and drank Sake Bombs and traded business cards. I had a 4:20 AM departure so I had to leave the serious partying to the others and sneak off to bed. I knew if I didn’t that I’d be singing Karaoke till the taxi came.