Monday, January 30th, 2023

The snow fell in Kobe

Photograph of snow clinging to the circular tiles of a temple roof

It would have been funny if people hadn't been hurt. Overnight 20-30mm of snow settled on the hills around Myohoji. Nothing substantial, you might think, but it was enough to cause chaos. Apparently unprepared after all the warnings, not a single road was gritted. Not a single pavement cleared. 

Unwise in an area where signs warning of 9% slopes are common.

When I stepped outside at 9:30am, it was still below freezing. I expected the morning commuter traffic to have vanished. It hadn't. Instead it snaked up hill and down dale, engines running in stationary vehicles to keep occupants and working parts warm. 


My route took me into the valley behind my home. Normally a buzzing hive of small holding owners and  farmers, it was silent. There was no one around, bar a lone soul trying to light a fire. He wasn't having much luck. And a young woman taking photos of her boots in virgin snow, endlessly shuffling forwards to capture that perfect shot for her Instagram.

For an hour I meandered, pausing here and there to capture some detail that caught my eye. I enjoyed the quiet and the solitude. The way familiar land had been transformed into something new.

Then the demands of life crashed in and the supermarket beckoned. A swift walk back past the traffic snake to shelves emptied by nervous shoppers, and delivery vans yet to make their way through.

I bought enough for the evening meal, certain there would be more tomorrow. 

With my chore complete it was time to make my way home and settle in to the day's work. But there was enough time to take a small diversion to the Myohoji Temple. After all, when would it snow again?

More silence, save for the children enjoying a day free from school and the universal rules of the snowball fight.

I would have joined in if they'd offered.

Myohoji Valley

Myohoji Temple

My name is Ross Hori

I'm a freelance writer, designer and photographer. By day I create articles, features and reports. At night I take photos and write fiction. Find out more.