What to know before hiking Mt. Taebaek in the winter

Mt. Taebaek is in Taebaek Provinvial Park in Gangwon-do on the eastern side of the country. It is the highest peak in the Taebaek Mountains at 1567 vertical meters. It’s famous for it’s beauty and is a popular hiking destination, even in the snowy winter months.

I hiked Mt. Taebaek during the weekend of the Taebaek Snow Festival in January, and it was very busy.  It was cold, but luckily the weather was clear and not too windy. This was my first experience doing any kind of mountain hike in the snow and ice, and I was unprepared, to say the least. Still it was a magnificent experience that I will always remember.

If you are thinking about hiking Mt. Taebaek in the winter, here are some points to keep in mind before you go.  Continue reading “What to know before hiking Mt. Taebaek in the winter”


Filling up on deep-fried food in Japan

A fun thing about going out to eat in Japan is that a lot of restaurants have meals that are very hands-on. Meaning you choose your own individual ingredients and cook the food yourself at your table. A lot of these places are buffets, so you can eat as much as you want and get your money’s worth.

One unique place is called Kushiya Monogatari. Kushiya means grilling on little wooden skewers, and monogatari means story.

In the middle of each table is your own little pot of oil that has been built into the table. The host will turn it on for you, and that’s pretty much the last you will see of him or her. They are not servers in the traditional sense, bringing you drinks and dishes, though they might take your dishes away if you have a tall pile. Continue reading “Filling up on deep-fried food in Japan”


My first blog award: Liebster Award

My first chain letter…I mean blog award!!

I am honoured to have been nominated for my first blog award, the Liebster award. I’ve only been blogging for less than two months, so this is quite unexpected. Continue reading “My first blog award: Liebster Award”


Mini guide to Shuzenji hot spring

What is Shuzenji?

There are many hot spring resort towns scattered throughout Japan. One of the oldest and most famous of these hot springs is Shuzenji Onsen. It is located on the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka prefecture, and the peaceful scenery is popular among Japanese people. Built along the Katsura River, there are hot springs, restaurants, small shops, museums, Shuzenji temple, and little walking paths for all your exploring needs.

Shuzenji is doable as a day trip from Tokyo, but if you are coming from Nagoya or Kyoto/Osaka, you will want to spend at least one night in a nearby town, like Mishima, Atami, or Numazu.

How do I get there?

To get to Shuzenji you need to take Tokaido Shinkansen or the Tokaido Main Line to Mishima Station. From Mishima station, you need to change to the Izu-Hakone Line, which will take you to Shuzenji Station in 30 minutes. From there, you should take a bus into the hot spring area of the town.

When my husband and I went, we decided to walk from the station into town instead of take the bus. This probably wasn’t the best decision because it is about a 30-40 minute walk. We did, however, get this lovely view of the Kano River.

IMG_6433.jpg Continue reading “Mini guide to Shuzenji hot spring”


Taebaek snow festival, part 2

After spending an hour walking around the Taebaek festival snow sculptures and watching kids sledge across the frozen pond and slide down ice, my friend and I headed over to the coal museum to warm up. We learned a bit about mining and how coal is used, but I don’t seem to have any pictures my computer.

Next we decided to go over to the little food area. On the way, we passed a chain link fence with orange paper hearts attached to it. They all had handwritten wish/hope/dream on them. Love, money, job, school, etc. There a lot of these in Korea, even outside the smallest temples.


We passed underneath the yellow and pink lanterns outside the temple, and I noticed that the Buddha statue had a large flat box on its head. I’m not sure what this is supposed to be, but somebody told me it was a pizza box.

img_2162 Continue reading “Taebaek snow festival, part 2”


Mt. Taebaek snow sculptures

Although I have lived in Japan for the last five years, I have not yet made it to Hokkaido. Thus, I haven’t been to the Hokkaido snow sculpture festival that is held in February each year. However, I did get a chance to do something similar in South Korea when I was  there.

For about one week in January, Mt. Taebaek in Gangwon-do, Korea holds an annual snow festival. There are snow sculptures, snow sliding, hiking, food, and ceremonies. I did this trip with the tour group Adventure Korea. It was a two-day trip costing around 79,000 won, or roughly $80 Canadian Dollars. This covered transportation to and from Seoul, accommodations, some meals, various entrance fees, and English speaking guides.

At the time, I was living about an hour outside of Seoul, so I had to wake up early on Saturday morning to be able to make it to the 7:00 AM bus pick-up area in Seoul. I went with my friend from Bucheon who was an English teacher at a different school. After getting on the bus, we made one more stop in Seoul to pick up the rest of the adventurers and were on our way. Continue reading “Mt. Taebaek snow sculptures”