“In the valleys of this part of the country deep snow covers the ground throughout the winter, and the sky is wrapped in a dark veil of clouds so that bright days are a rare phenomenon. ‘It looks as though it were always going to rain,’ a native of this district expressed himself to the writer with regard to this appearance. This description applies especially to the provinces of Kaga, Noto, and Echiu, but Echigo, Shonai, and Akita also essentially partake of the character of this winter.
“In the upper valley of the Tetori-gawa, in the province of Kaga, 700-800 metres above the sea, 6-metres [~18-feet] of snow are the rule, and 2-metres [~ 6-feet] a rare exception. There in winter the people inhabit the upper rooms of the houses in order to enjoy daylight, and to pass from place to place, even with difficulty, they buckle on heavy snowshoes. Similar conditions are found in many other mountain valleys on this side of the country, while to the east of the mountain crest much more considerable elevations have scarcely 25-36 centimetres of snow.”
– Japan: Travels and Researches Undertaken at the Cost of the Prussian Government, by Johannes Justus Rein, 1884