We left Awanoyu after breakfast. We were on the road by 10. We had a period of about 15 minutes panic trying to set the GPS and we madly went through the paper Japan road atlas to figure out how to get to Nozawa if we couldn't work out the GPS. The whole time it was pouring with rain too. To top off this interesting morning I've come up in a painful itchy rash over most of my body. I've had some sort of reaction the to Onsen water I think. Somehow we were able to get the GPS into the menu to enter the phone number for the place we're staying in Nozawa, Pension Schnee. Japanese GPS also work on phone numbers which is really handy because we'd never be able to enter an address.
GPS programmed we drove up out of the Shirahone Onsen valley and made our way back to the highway. Past Matsumoto, where we will be returning in a few days, then past Nagano, home of the '98 Olympics, and then up to Nozawa. A pretty straightforward 3 hour drive.
We had to park in one of the large car parks at the top of the town and then call the Pension for our over snow transport. The girl on the phone told us it would be 15 minutes. In the time it took me to tell Michelle the message a guy taps our window and said he is from Pension Schnee and asks am I Mr Nixon. He had a big four wheel drive but instead of normal wheels it had track with 3 wheels under each of the wheel arches. It turned heads all the way across the snow.