On flights, particularly long-haul overseas ones, my seat of choice is an aisle one. They offer a (relative) feeling of freedom, make it easier to take multiple strolls and negate the need to scramble over fellow passengers for toilet or boredom breaks. The exception for this snow-deprived creature of the sub-tropics is flying in and out of Hokkaido in winter, because of the potential for glimpses of majestic Mt Fuji, just out of Tokyo, the towering snow-covered northern Alps of Honshu, and the black-and-white patchwork of paddies nearing Chitose airport. So a window seat must be booked in advance, just to be sure.
My most recent visit was not disappointing…Fuji loud and clear on the port side, minutes out of Narita, and minimal cloud cover offering captivating views of the Alps. And generous snowfalls earlier on the northern island guaranteed a thick blanket of chequered fields, frosted farm buildings and whitened trees glimpsed through obliging clouds.
Approaching Chitose Airport.
Yotei, late afternoon.
Yotei, early morning.
Setting sun on Yotei.
Bucketing down in Niseko.
Hokkaido does its snow seriously. It buckets or blizzards down, rather than sprinkling politely. Such a thrill for those of us from the subtropics. And no matter how often you see it, Hokkaido’s Fuji-lookalike, Yotei-san, delights in all its moods.
No need to interpret the road sign.
Tomamu, central Hokkaido.