“Sorry Kazuyoshi, I just can’t stop staring at those frozen trees.”
“Frozen trees? Why do I keep hearing such random outbursts from you.”
There it was. That’s when it all flooded back to me, why we had taken this trip. We needed to get away, we needed to escape and get back to the basics. Komiya had come to me a few days prior, moaning about the same issues. We spoke of a trip we had taken a few years back. We spoke about van life, and how it truly feels to be in nature. Nothing but the wilderness, whatever you can throw into the van, and the ocean breeze.”
A divine land of wonder; beautiful snowfalls, frozen mountain peaks, crisp foaming oceans. To a westerners eye Japan appears as a very well organised, high-tech, mystic land. They have seemed to eloquently blended technology and spiritualism, allowing for a society that see’s the value in technology, but also knows to honour nature and protect these beautiful wonders.
The Ishikawa Prefecture is no exception. With stunning surroundings and beautiful coastlines, it’s a wonder why Japan doesn’t get more hype in the surfing community. Passenger was fortunate enough to have an insight into this world.
Two young budding journalists, native to the country, decided it was about time to take a trip to the Sea of Japan. They packed up their stuff, threw their bags into the back of a van, and headed for Ishikawa. Nothing but the feeling of itchy feet, the burning desire to travel and get back to vanlife.
They decided to make the journey after getting an old map from the 70s of the coastline in the Ishikawa Prefecture. Kazuyoshi told us: “Komiya let me in on a secret, he told me he had some intel on the area … a secret spot as it were. He produced this old map, it must have been from the 1970s. There were sketches of waves, swells, notes depicting weather. Komiya explained that they’d be some work on our part as the map’s not extremely accurate, so we would have to scour the area and match the notes on weather and wind.”
They then ended up reminiscing and decided to take the journey, via Meishin Expressway, and then joining the Hokuriku Exrpessway, they explained: “means you get to see Lake Biva and some of Tsuruga Bay before briefly being landlocked again. Then you pop out around the Hamyana Misukimuch in the Hyogo Prefecture. From there you have a long haul down the coast. The Sea of Japan is much more beautiful to look at than to just drive through land.”
This time of year would lead to some harsh conditions, but as any cold water surfer will tell you, winter is always the best time to go. It’s a love hate relationship, but when the conditions provide to this level it becomes apparent that it’s a fair price to pay to lose your balls to frost bite.
All kidding aside, this trip is something that dreams are made of. Kazuysoshi explained that the two of them spent the best part of a day deciphering the map, and from then on it was days of surfing and evenings of roughing it. He told us that Komiya likes to keep old traditions alive and does this through food and culture, and that they would spend time fishing and Komiya would prepare amazing food when they weren’t surfing.
Not only were they fortunate enough to spend days surfing, and evening roughing it in this beautiful scenery, they had a little inside knowledge and their very own secret spot. Fortunately for us they have been nice enough to share some of the beautiful imagery from their trip, so we may all indulge in a little escapism.
Story and photos by KazuyoshiSasao
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