It feels properly rural and alpine. There are signs to lay-bys for the changing of tyre snow chains. Snow shovels are still stacked by house door ways. Roofs are steeply pitched with timber slatted screens fixed against dwelling walls and windows to keep wind blown snow away.
People were skiing last week high up at Nozawa Onsen, beneath which we cycled today. The terraced fields are busy with the planting of rice seedlings. A women was drying root vegetables in the weak spring sunshine, something we’d not seen since Vietnam.