The Fleeting Snows of the Matsumoto Winter

Mon, Jan 25, 2021

Nagano is known to many as central Japan’s winter playground. And the Matsumoto area is well included that sentiment. By the time December rolls around we’ve often already seen the season’s first snows dusting the mountains to the west.

Yet for a town surrounded by mountains, Matsumoto rarely gets buried in snow. Take a train north from Nagoya in mid-winter and you’ll likely see a Kiso Valley blanketed in white. But by the time you roll into Matsumoto Station you might think you’ve gone south by mistake.

We get our share of cold and snow. This was the scene outside my house yesterday.

But much more often than not the snow we get in town quickly melts. So when this morning brought bluer skies I knew the snow’s hours – nay, minutes – were numbered. And like most places, our town among the mountains is quite beautiful all powdered up.

Out here, east of downtown, the snow sticks around a wee bit longer. Yet by 11am the leftover straw on the rice fields was already getting some sun.

And the grapevines had all already shed their frosty sheaths. Those peaks in the distance, on the other hand, will be white until well into spring.

Children don’t waste any time getting out and reveling in the gifts of the season. Their teachers likely know that it could all be gone tomorrow, and break out the sleds while they can.

Down at Agata-no-mori Park too, folks had gotten out early. Today is Monday by the way, meaning that some folks, either before school or before work, or maybe both, had made it out to play.

I wonder if walking the dog is any easier to take with a fresh field of snow at your feet.

I wonder why the snow in this corner of Agata-no-mori Park melts so fast.

And downtown the remaining drifts are already few and far between.


No complaints about those working to keep the streets safe

(though I think those chains can come off now, boys).

So if you happen to be in town when we get some snow, get out quick and enjoy it. If you’re lucky, maybe you can borrow some kid’s sled for a bit. If not, the playground in the corner of the park should be free.