Ross Pakes dreams of skiing, spa baths and snowy days with the snow monkeys of Japan
Dream destination? Nagano, Japan. I have always loved Japan and Tokyo’s mad eclectic style, but this winter I would love to visit the sleepy Japanese town of Yudanaka to see the infamous ‘snow’ monkeys bathing in the hot volcanic springs.
Who would you go with? I would take my mother. She’s always asking me questions about Japan so the trip would answer many of her questions!
How would you get there? I’d fly to Tokyo with a 24-hour stopover in Seoul, South Korea. Seoul is an exciting, evolving destination, and I would love to spend a day eating my way around the city’s best street food stalls, washed down with a glass of Korea’s favourite tipple, Makgeolli.
Where would you stay? In a traditional ryokan with onsen spa bath, the perfect warming remedy after a snowy day with the monkeys.
What would you eat? Ryokans are renowned for their Kaseiki meals, an intricate multi-course meal created from fresh and local ingredients. I’ll also be on the lookout for oyaki, tasty steamed buns made from wheat flour which are very popular with the locals. Typical stuffings range from vegetables to sweet beans and pickled Chinese mustard.
What would you drink? Matcha (Japanese green tea) and sake (rice wine). Lots of it.
What would you buy? I’d hire out a pair of skis, so I could hit the slopes of Japan’s alps after visiting the monkeys.
Ross Pakes is senior product manager for Asia at Abercrombie & Kent