Home Japan Snow Day Debacle

Snow Day Debacle

written by Traipsing Terra January 24, 2016

I have been excited all week because today was supposed to be very cold and snowy. My plan was to hop on the train and head to up to Aso to see the mountains covered in snow, then hit the onsen before returning home to the comfort of my warm and heated home. Before I laid down last night I took one last peek out of the window to see if it had started snowing. Sure enough there were little flurries blowing in the wind. I was hoping to wake up to a winter wonderland.


I woke up early and started to work on some writing. Alas, there was no snow on the ground, but still plenty of small flurries. An hour or so passed and the flurries started to get bigger. While making breakfast I noticed actual snow coming down and sticking to cars and my balcony ledge. We were going to leave after my husband gave a lesson, but during breakfast his student canceled. At that moment I was on the fence, do I want to leave the house, or just stay here, watch some basketball and movies, and enjoy the comfort of my heated home? Just before I finished breakfast, I decided. “Let’s go!” We haven’t had any big adventures since Taiwan, and I was itching to do something fun. So we got everything ready for the onsen, bundled up, and off we went into the snowy morning.


We were walking briskly in the snow because we didn’t want to miss our train, but I was still in awe of the white wonderland that had been created in a few short hours. In between the passing cars there was a silence that only comes with the falling of snow, and the crunching from our shoes hitting the sidewalk. The snow was starting to fall a little heavier and the wind was blowing. We made it to the train station with time to spare, buy our tickets, take some photos, and wait. We were waiting for a while when we realized the train was late, which is crazy, because trains are NEVER late in Japan. But we thought the snow might be delaying trains, so we wait and wait.


More and more people arrive, a group of college kids walk on the platform playing with the snow and laughing. Snow days are not only a day for kids to be kids, but it also allows adults to partake in childlike behavior. Finally a train comes, not the one we were waiting for, but we take it as it leads to a station where we can grab the Kyushu Limited Express bound for Aso.

We get off the train a few stops away and wait again. And wait. The train attendant is saying something that we don’t understand over the speaker. The train we were waiting for still hadn’t arrived about 20 minutes later, something that is unheard of in Japan. So I asked the attendant when the train for Aso is coming. He writes down 12:31. Ok, 15 minutes, no problem. He points to the opposite track, which seems wrong to us but he kept encouraging us to go to the other track. I then remember to buy our ticket to Aso, since we had only gotten our ticket to the station to catch the express. I go to pay, hand my tickets to the attendant to get stamped. This is when he realizes that I want to go to Aso, not Higo-Ozu. He promptly tells me there are no Aso bound trains because of the snow, and refunds my money.


My spirit is deflated, I sure did want to go to the onsen, and throw some snowballs. Oh well, maybe next time. So we grabbed the next train heading home. As we exited the train it seemed like the temperature dropped a few degrees due to the wind and the snow was coming down in big flakes pretty heavily. We stopped at the grocery store to get some goodies, and headed home. Not the outing I had hoped for, but we were able to see lots of snow, and get a little exercise. So instead of mountains and onsen, we settled for homemade soup and a hot bath.

I was hoping to see Aso in every season since we have made a trip up there in Spring, Summer, and Fall but I guess I will have to wait for another weekend to see the mountains covered in snow. Although I am a little bummed I didn’t get the day I was hoping for all week, I have still fully enjoyed my snow day, and am so thankful it’s Sunday, and I’m not at work. And it’s still snowing!

Have you ever had a trip canceled due to snow? Did it ruin your day? What did you do instead?

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Mom January 25, 2016 at 12:00 am

Sorry you did not make it to Aso.

Traipsing Terra January 26, 2016 at 8:38 pm

C’est la vie! We will go another time before we leave.


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