A lone house in a wintery mountain landscape. Central Hokkaido, Japan.

The Bitter Cold of Hokkaido

Photo above: Winter in central Hokkaido.

The bitter cold of Hokkaido is serious business. It makes you feel alive, reminds you that it’s the environment, not you, that’s in control. The summer can do that too. Go out unprepared and you’ll quickly be in trouble. Yes, it’s probably insane, but I relish that experience. It never gets that cold in central Japan.

For the last couple of years I’ve used the camera as an excuse to take trips to the far north in December. Not this year though. The pandemic and an addition to the family has put a stop to that. I’d love to go, but it makes no sense this year. My father-in-law and his friend (both in their eighties now) went on a road trip there a couple of months ago. I was jealous. Extremely jealous.

Lake Akan in winter, northeast Hokkaido.
Lake Akan, northeast Hokkaido.

Nevermind. In a few years when the insanity of 2020 is over it would be wonderful to huddle up with family in a remote Hokkaido house and hide away from the world for a few weeks to enjoy the bitter cold. Nothing but snow, long northern nights and short dark days reminiscent of my childhood home back in England, birds of prey and foxes off in the distance, a camera for exploring, and no Internet.


My family might have other ideas. But I can still dream.

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Lived in central Japan since 2001 and spend free days exploring.

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