Friday, February 10, 2017

Winter months in Akita

It is now winter and snowing heavily almost every day in Akita prefecture. Most days I am unwell due to the cold weather. Everyday I think of writing the next post for my blog but somehow keep postponing it. In this post, I will write about the nature and weather of Akita for the past three months or so.

On the evening of 14th November 2016, hubby and I visited Hamadate Koen Park to see the supermoon that day. The park is located on a hill in Nishime Town of Yurihonjo City in Akita prefecture. As we all know, the full moon of 14th November was a supermoon. Supermoon is the full moon when it is at its closest point to our planet as it orbits earth. In fact, the full moon of 14th November was not only the closest full moon of 2016 but the closest full moon to earth since 1948. The supermoon of 14th November was considered an astronomical event of 2016 because the full moon was 356509 kilometers away from the earth, and appeared up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than an average full moon. This full moon was called extra-supermoon and we will not see another such supermoon again until 25th November 2034. Although a supermoon is bigger and brighter than a normal full moon, it is not always easy to tell the difference. A 30% difference in brightness can easily be masked by clouds or the competing glaring lights of the city area. So, as written earlier, hubby and I went to a small hill in Hamadate Koen Park at about 8 pm. The park is isolated and located in a place with hardly any inhabitants around. It was pitch dark and an ideal place to view the supermoon. That day the weather was cloudy in entire Japan and the supermoon was actually seen only in Akita and Aomori prefectures. Although it was cloudy in Akita prefecture also, the full moon peeked from the clouds from time to time. We were fortunate to be able to see the supermoon as the weather cooperated at the time we went to the park. We loved seeing the stunning full moon hanging high overhead. But with no reference points to provide a sense of scale, the size of the supermoon looked much like any other normal full moon though we felt that the moon was brighter and more yellowish that day. Hubby clicked a few photos of the supermoon for the sake of memories.
The full moon almost covered with clouds

The full moon peeking from the clouds

The supermoon

The supermoon looked fabulous and yellowish

Hubby clicking away on the pitch dark hill of Hamadate Koen Park

Next, I will write about winter in Akita prefecture. Winters in Akita prefecture are reputed to be among the snowiest and coldest in Japan. Winter season is rather long and too severe here which starts around November and continues until the end of March. There is almost continuous snowing from December through March. The temperature stays at sub-zero levels throughout the months of January and February. This year it started snowing in the beginning of December. But it stopped snowing during the year end, only to again snow heavily and continuously after that. On 14th January, hubby and I wanted to go to Akita City to do some shopping. But there was snowstorm that day in Akita and the neighboring prefectures, and therefore it was tremendously windy with continuous heavy snowfall throughout the day. So we just stayed indoors and watched some television programs. However the snowing became lighter by evening, and we decided to use that opportunity to go to Akita City. It had snowed heavily the previous night also, and hubby had a tough time to remove the huge amount of snow that had accumulated on his car parked at the open parking area in front of our home. He removed the snow for almost half an hour in such severe cold conditions, and I really respect him for that. On our way to Akita City, we saw blankets of heavy snow all around us. There was deep snow on the mountains and everything seemed to be purified and white in color. Although the nature looks so beautiful during snowy season, I really dislike the cold weather. I am just waiting for this cold wintry season to be over.
Snowy view in our neighborhood

Snow everywhere near our home

Whiteness all around our home

Our car covered in snow

Another view of our car covered in snow

Hubby busy removing snow from the car

Pure whiteness all around me

Everything covered in snow on our way to Akita City

Akita prefecture usually has cloudy or overcast freezing cold days with heavy snow and no sunshine during the long winter months from December through March. But miraculously on 7th and 8th January, it did not snow at all and the sun shone brightly both the days. Hubby and I decided to use this wonderful opportunity to go outside on 8th January, and view the beautiful nature of Yurihonjo City and the neighboring Nikaho Town. We went for a drive by our car, and it felt so different to see the city and its neighborhoods on a clear shiny winter day. Everything seemed so clear and pure. We noted that in just two days of sunshine, so much snow had melted away from the rooftops of homes and apartments. The snow had also melted from almost all the roads as well as from various vast plain areas like unused paddy fields. Of course the faraway mountains were still covered in snow. We stopped our car near an overbridge and got out for some time to take in the beautiful stunning views all around us. Although it was a shiny day, it was bone-chilling cold outside but we enjoyed looking at all the natural wonderful sceneries. Standing on the overbridge, hubby clicked a few photos of the nature, paddy fields, and the windmills. We also got a beautiful view of the snow-covered Mount Chokai. Afterwards we continued our car ride for some more time to enjoy looking at the beautiful nature.
Beautiful nature as viewed from our car

We parked our car to appreciate the nature

Wonderful view as seen from an overbridge

Mountains and unused paddy fields as viewed from the overbridge

Highway and the nature as viewed from the overbridge

Yet another view of the nature as seen from the overbridge

I am standing on the overbridge

Highway and the nature as viewed from the other side of the overbridge

Hubby clicking photos standing on the overbridge

A windmill

Snow covered Mount Chokai, windmills, and snowy fields

A beautiful view

We are now in the peak of cold snowy winter in Akita and we are eagerly waiting for the arrival of spring season.


Jyotirmoy Sarkar said...

Beautiful pics and specially loved the pics of Moon.

Veidehi said...

Lovely post and pictures :)

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Thank you very much for your nice comment Jyotirmoy Sarkar.

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Thank you very much Veidehi.

Ruby Ngoc said...

I really love your photos and your story.
My boyfriend live in yurihonjo, Akita, Japan, too.
We're Vietnamese.
Hope to see you soon one day in the Future in Akita.
Maybe next year ^^

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

Thank you very much for your comment Ruby Ngoc. Oh it is great to know that your boyfriend lives here. Yes, hope to meet you soon. Best wishes.