Here we are, a boy and a girl, thousands of kilometers from our home country of Mexico.  I´m Norma, an artist originally from the central part of Mexico, a town called Aguascalientes.  My partner is Alexandro, or Alex for short, another amazing artist, from the northern city of Tijuana.  We’ve always dreamt of visiting and living in Japan. And now we’re here – experiencing the culture, learning the language and trying to see as much as possible over the past two months.
Alex and I have similar stories of why Japan is such a special place for us.  Before we met, we spent our teenage years dreaming about one day visiting or living in Japan.  Anime partly deserves the credit.  Neither of us sought it out, it more or less found us.  It opened our eyes to the culture, way of life and traditions of Japan, all of which we immediately fell in love with.  So you could probably imagine that these past two months have been nothing but a dream come true for us.  Being part of the Yadoya Guesthouse for Backpackers team has helped us really experience a life of the locals.  In our short time here we have met the most friendly and helpful people we’ve ever met, which of course include the fantastic folks who took us to the Yatsugatake Mountain.  And that’s where this story begins. 
Alex and I were filled with the excitement of visiting Yatsugatake Mountain.  We couldn’t help but daydream about (what would be for us) a very different landscape, having really only been accustomed to the landscape of Mexico.  We spent days exchanging our visions, building up excitement for our trip.
Sagamiko Station
The bubble of anticipation eventually burst, and we were on our way to Sagamiko Station to meet up with Mr. Aikou Katsuhisa, who we would be sharing this adventure with.  It was our first time leaving the giant city of Tokyo, it’s completely possible to spend weeks in this city and still not see it all.  Immediately upon entering the small town of Sagamiko, we noticed a sense of relaxation.  Sort of the quintessential rush of tranquility you get when leaving a large metropolis.

Sagamiko view
Upon exiting Sagamiko Station we were immediately greeted by Mr. Katsuhisa, who had Alex and I pose for our first picture of this adventure. “Smile,” he kindly said.  We walked over to his car, where Mr. Ii Masato was also awaiting our arrival.  We entered the car and almost immediately were handed two maps.  These weren’t maps of the town we were in, nor were they of Japan.  They were maps of Mexico.  “Where in Mexico are you from,” they wanted to know.  It was such a cute gesture.  Alex told them he was from Tijuana, showing them the city on the map.  I then mentioned that I was from Aguascalientes.  They asked us how far the two places were from one another and were amazed to hear that they were about a 40 hour drive from each other.

We started driving through the town.  Our eyes feasting on the amazing views we passed by.  We were like little children, our faces lit up with joy, taking pictures and videos of practically everything we passed.  The gold leafed autumn trees only got better as we moved higher in altitude, where red began to mix in with the gold.  Mr. Katsuhisa wanted to take us to a viewing point right outside the town of Kofu.  When we arrived we were amazed at the sight.  From the upper walls you could see the bold mountains in the distance.  Unfortunately it was too cloudy to see Mt. Fuji, but from this point you can typically see it.

Yatsugatake from Kofu city 

We continued to another viewing point they wanted to show us.  This time we were right in the middle of the mountains.  Breathing the fresh air, humbled by the magnitude of it all.  Air this crisp can only come from a place as natural and unpolluted as this.  We walked to a small bridge which was near a rest stop we would spend lunch at.  Beautiful meadows painted with the beauty of autumn colors flowed in the soft breeze, while small ponds daintily dotted the landscape.  The horizon was filled with mountains and picturesque gold trees.  Mr. Masato told us that in the spring the meadow is filled with the most beautiful color flowers and is a very popular destination for tourist and locals. 

After taking in all of the beauty that surrounded us we went to the rest stop  to eat traditional ramen and tonkatsu with rice, before exploring more.  After our meal we were out seeing the most beautiful things.  I couldn’t help but wish we had cameras in our eyes so we could easily keep and share the sights of these beautiful lakes, strikingly large hotels for spring and winter guests, and small villages peppered with cabins and cottages lost in the thick oak woods.  As we went higher in altitude the densely populated forests of oak trees made way to frost covered pines. A moment of time catching a glimpse of winter.  A windy road lead us back down the mountain, the familiar oaks appeared again, shrouded by the cloak of mist.

<3 Ramen!

We had finally arrived at a quaint wood cabin, where we would call home for the night.  Mr. and Mrs. Mamoru, the owners of the cabin, invited us in and treated us to freshly brewed coffee and homemade apple pie, a taste that still happily lingers on our tongues.  Mrs. Mamoruhanded us a couple of towels for bathing and for the nearby onsen, a natural hot spring.  The local onsen is the second highest hot spring in Japan.
Alex and I separated as he went with the males and I with the females of the group, a tradition of Japanese onsens.  It is also traditional and often expected to enter into the hot springs nude.  It was an interesting yet relaxing experience for the both of us.  Imagine meeting a person for the first time and shortly after talking about your life expectations and dreams while entirely naked. 
The warmth of the outdoor hot spring counteracted the crisp chill in the air.  The day had succumb to night as we sat, hoping for the sky to open to reveal the night stars.  Despite that not happening, it was an amazing experience nonetheless.

As soon as we where back in the cabin Mr. Mamoru started preparing dinner for the group.  Words cannot begin to explain how delicious and abundant (including the alcohol)  it all was.  So probably an image can show you.
We ate and laughed, told jokes, shared songs, everything was pure, everything was simple.  I had been messaging  my mother, who also joined in on the fun.  She sent a few songs in Japanese that impressed our hosts.  All of the joy gave way to tiredness as we lit the fire place and all fell asleep in it’s warmth.  Few things compare to the rest one gets in a place that calm. 

Sashimi and Vegetables  



Konnyaku Daikon

Mr. Mamoru cooking



Nabe <3  


Home made soba
Everybody enjoying and singing, even us sanged a few mexican songs for them.

Time to sleep

The smell of coffee and breakfast woke us up.  We made our way to the kitchen to be astounded by another feast of delicious foods.  Scrambled eggs, sausages, apples, cookies, milk and tea, all as delicious as the dinner the night before.  After eating we headed to a shinto festival in a village nearby. During this festival locals cut down one 100-year-old tree. First a shinto priest blessed the workers, tools, and thank the gods for providing their spirits to the trees which have been growing for such a long time, then provided everyone with soul purifying sake and a cheering crowd as the tree hit the ground. We were told we are very lucky for seeing this festival because it only occurs every seven years. After winter, around May they will bring the tree to a bigger shrine near the mountain.

After the festivities ended, we met up with Mr. and Mrs. Mamoru ted to show us their little farm and sweetly gave us some of their daikon and hakusai they had grown as a parting gift.  It is almost impossible to express the gratitude we had for everyone’s kindness and joy.  We parted with a grand and sincere “Thank You!” and headed back to Sagamiko Station.  We arrived back in Nakano with heavy hearts and equally heavy eyelids. 

There are not enough words to express how thankful and happy we are with all the people we’ve met so far in our journey, this whole experience was amazing.  Remembering all that we saw, shared and experienced brings a glowing smile to our faces. Japan is truly an amazing country, from its astonishing landscapes, its bright cities, from its traditions and culture, to its style.  But nothing compares to its people.  If it weren’t for all of the wonderful people that have shared their beauty with us and shared in these experiences, it wouldn’t have been the same. Domo arigatou godzaimau

YADOYAGUESTHOUSE for Backpackers (Office):

*Dorm bed only 2300yen/night, Private 3700yen~, cheapestHOSTEL IN west Tokyo, Nakano.


YADOYAGUESTHOUSE for Backpackers D (3min walk):

*Dorm bed start from 2500yen~3000yen/night.


YADOYAGUESTHOUSE Tokyo for long stay:

*Dorm bed only 40,000yen/month(including utilities),PRIVATE ROOM from 45,000yen/month. It`s nice to live in Nakano, and we support your Tokyo life!


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