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19 day japan itinerary

Discussion in 'Japan' started by M1sh4, Aug 29, 2019.

  1. M1sh4

    M1sh4 First Runs

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    Hi! Me and my GF are heading to Japan for from December 30th - January 18th. First time in Japan for both of us, we are travelling from Canada and mostly coming for that Japow. We are intermediate/advanced looking for mostly back/side country riding, have back-country gear and training. Been doing a lot of research on Japanese snow holidays and this forum comes up a lot with good information! We have the following itinerary planned, any comments or suggestions are much appreciated!

    December 30th - January 2nd:
    - Land in Tokyo, send snowboard bags to accommodation in Hakuba
    - NYE and sightseeing around Tokyo.

    January 2nd - 6th:
    - Travel from Tokyo to Hakuba via bullet train (will have 1week railpass).
    - 2 riding days in Hakuba, potentially 1st day in Happo and 2nd in Cortina.
    - 1 day sight seeing in Hakuba valley (monkey temple?) potentially a third day of riding instead if weather is good.
    - Ship snowboards to accommodation in Niseko.

    January 6th - 7th:
    - Travel from Hakuba to Niseko via bullet train and local rail.
    - Stay one night in Hokadate to break up the trip.

    January 7th - 14th (this accommodation is already booked):
    - Ride Niseko united resorts on January 8th, 9th, 10th, 12, and 13th.
    - Possible day trip on January 11th to Rusutsu or other neighboring resort.
    - Ship snowboards to Tokyo airport.

    January 14th - 18th:
    - 1-2 nights in some other Hokkaido resort, potentially to do some Cat skiing or back-country touring?.
    - 1-2 nights in Sapporo.
    - Fly from Sapporo to Tokyo and back home.

    So far the only accommodation that is set in stone is the 7 nights in Niseko since we had to book that wayyyy early. Would love some suggestions on what to do outside of that especially the tail end of the trip!
     
    #1 M1sh4, Aug 29, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2019
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  2. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Can I ask, what are you going to ride Dec 14-18 if you’ve already shipped your boards back to the airport?

    I think your itinerary is good.

    The stop over night in Hakodate is smart. I’ve done Hirafu to Tokyo in one go on the train, but adding in Hakuba to Tokyo, it’d be a long haul. And checking out Hakodate could be fun. You could probably do it all at once, but you’ll probably enjoy it more breaking it up.

    Welcome to the forum.
    Have a great trip :thumbs:
     
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  3. M1sh4

    M1sh4 First Runs

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    If we end up riding more after Niseko we will wait to ship them, or take them as checked luggage between Sapporo and Tokyo but i hear that is $$$.. We are still undecided if we will sight see after Niseko or do more riding at neighbor resorts.. but I feel we will likely end up doing a few more days of riding :D.

    I checked the train travel time between Hakuba and Hirafu and its just under 12h.. don't think we want to do that in one haul and the seafood market is supposed to be cool in Hokadate!
     
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  4. silva

    silva One of Us

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    Itinery looks good. My only suggestion would be to book in for a backcountry day with Evergreen Backcounty tours while you are in Hakuba. Backcountry is a bit different in Japan than Canada/US - its worth getting some up to date hazard knowledge and you will get much more out of your day.
    https://www.evergreen-backcountry.com/hakuba-backcountry-tours/
     
  5. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I'd skip Honshu and spend the entire trip in Hokkaido.
    You're moving around way too much IMO
     
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  6. chicski

    chicski A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    And early season less chance of rain up north.
     
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  7. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    And hakuba 2nd January.
    Overcrowding (like legit madness) , less chance of snow and BC options limited..
     
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  8. chicski

    chicski A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Have never been that early, have seen rain in Feb. skied at Furano the week before Xmas and was mostly open with fresh.
     
  9. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Firstly you appear to have a typo - the dates December 2-18 should be January.

    I don't think combining Hakuba with a rail trip to Niseko works very well. 2 days riding in Hakuba is way too short, then you have to back track most of the way back to Tokyo before you can head north.

    I would suggest instead stopping off to ski somewhere like Geto or Appi or both on your way north by train. You can also use a 14 day JR East Tohoku South Hokkaido flexi rail pass which will be cheaper and more flexible than a full 7 day JR pass.

    For the few days at the end I'd probably just base in Sapporo where you were going anyway and day trip to nearby ski areas or else Otaru. If you had a week I would have suggested Furano.

    Also why would you ship your boards back to Tokyo from Niseko before heading to Sapporo if you are flying back to Tokyo anyway? No problems taking gear on train from Sapporo to Chitose.
     
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  10. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Just beware travelling on trains and using TarQBin at new year.
    So busy.
     
  11. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Meh../ sounds like he can handle it.
    His first trip to Japan - wants to see lots.
    And no kids or reluctant snow partner to drag around.

    PB and I did a 2 week trip in the January before the Tohoku quake. Overnight in Tokyo so we could shop at Ogawamachi - 1 week in Hakuba (train, fly from Haneda, coach to Hirafu), one week in Hirafu. We dragged two tweenagers along with us. There were logistical reasons we needed to do both unrelated to skiing, but it was doable and enjoyable.

    ^^^
    These are much better reasons to change plans.

    If you do decide to head north for all of it, given your bc desires and bc experience, Furano with an overnight at Tokachidake, might tick some boxes for you.
     
  12. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Many people seem to forget that there are quite a few ski resorts just off the train route heading north from Tokyo. Japan is way more than just Hakuba and Niseko. Seems a waste to do that trip without stopping to ski.
     
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  13. M1sh4

    M1sh4 First Runs

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    Wow thanks for the replies all!

    Noted and fixed thanks!.. regarding the extra travel time, I saw the rail trip from Tokyo > Niseko is around 8h and Hakuba to Niseko is just under 12h.. Doesn't seem that bad especially travelling without snowboard bags. It's just the two of us and we don't mind long travel days. I would actually prefer this over flying since we have never been to Japan before and traveling by bullet train seems like a cool experience.

    Thanks! i will have to start looking into Geto and Appi.. It definitely makes way more sense to stop along the Tokyo > Niseko route instead of back tracking down to Hakuba. We are complete Japan newbs so you can imagine Niseko and Hakuba are the first and only places that come to mind.. will definitely look into this option thanks!

    I read that the checked luggage fees for the local airlines between Sapporo and Tokyo are really expensive and shipping boards back is preferred if you have time?
     
  14. M1sh4

    M1sh4 First Runs

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    Thanks! was not aware that first week of Jan is iffy for snow in Hakuba.. that is definitely a deterrent along with the crowds. We had it in mind due to the larger elevation and contrast to Hokkaido terrain but if we can expect overcowding and poor conditions that I we will save it for another trip.

    If we go straight to Hokkaido after Tokyo what area is recommended to look at as a base? We won't have a car so moving around every couple of days is not ideal.
     
  15. M1sh4

    M1sh4 First Runs

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    Thanks again! will look into basing out of Furano for the 4-5 days before hitting up Niseko. Especially if weather conditions are questionable in central Japan this time of year.
     
  16. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Weather is weather.
    The year I did the Hakuba/Niseko combo in Jan we got slammed. Knee to thigh deep on piste. But odds for first week of Jan based on historic averages say ok on piste, not yet filled in enough for back country. Same could happen in Hokkaido, but odds are stacked in your favour based on past history. Basically by Niseko you should be right to go for a wander - anything before that is warming up the legs, or a bonus.

    Remember to ride the backcountry a virtual forest of sasa grass and vegetation has to be covered.

    I took this photo day before yesterday in Hirafu
    It’s ON PISTE. The height of the foliage around the tree behind my husband is all through the trees to the side of the piste as well. That bell gets so close to the ground that if you’re tall you can hit your head on it.
     
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  17. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    @Sandy
    Re New Years holidays and travelling on shinkansen etc
     
  18. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    January 1st is a public holiday. There are usually 2-3 "Bank Holidays" around this time, which companies will usually give as company holidays. If these fall on a weekend, there may be one day less. But you need to understand and predict when most Japanese will be on the slopes riding.
    e.g. 2019/20
    Sat 28th - Sun 29th - Mon 30th - Tue 31st - Wed 1st - Thu 2nd - Fri 3rd - Sat 4th - Sun 5th
    Red
    = Public holiday, or weekend.
    Blue = Bank holiday
    Green = normal day

    In this case, workers will almost certainly take off Monday 30th. So this period will be crowded on the slopes and for transport, including the Shinkansen.
     
  19. Slowman

    Slowman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    If you want to organise some backcountry guided days when you are staying at Niseko I can recommend Rising Sun Guides and Black Diamond Tours. Both of which happen to be run by Canadians gone native. Black Diamond also have an interesting cat skiing operation called Shimamaki Snow Cats based in a fishing town on the coast about two hours drive from Niseko. (Most of the cat skiing operations around Niseko use rather low pitch terrain but Shimamaki's is much better.)
     
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  20. Hermannator

    Hermannator One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I think you've done pretty well with your research so far... Takkyubin, Shinkansen, rail passes etc.
    Some tweaks to consider:
    • Get an IC card for the Tokyo subways/trains when you arrive (e.g. SUICa). This can also be used to buy snacks/drinks
    • Consider Honshu resorts that are better serviced by bullet train lines (e.g. Myoko, Yuzawa, Nozawa)
    • Use a 'Japan air pass' (or similar) from either ANA or JAL. They should be less stringent on baggage
    • Get a shuttle bus from Niseko to Chitose (better than train IMO).
    (edit: your rail pass wont work on the Tokyo subway or non-JR railways hence IC card)
     
  21. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Especially if you’ve had your fill of the whole train experience by then! The train from Kutchan to Otaru is an old country rattler. Then from Otaru through Sapporo to New Chitose Airport is much better, but it’s no Shinkansen.

    Price comparison is about even (train fare varies due to express or not/time of day etc). But the convenience of leaving from the Welcome Center in Hirafu rather than having to get dropped off in Kutchan, then just sitting back until arrival at the airport is worth its weight in gold at the end of a big trip.

    The one time the train might win out (except for the train experience itself) is when the roads are closed due to a massive storm. But if that happens your plane isn’t going anywhere either so you may as well stay in Hirafu rather than sleep on the airport floor.
     
  22. blowfin

    blowfin One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Yeah as per others I would drop Hakuba and look at doing a couple of days somewhere else on your way north. 2 days really isn't enough. If you simply must see the snow monkeys (monkey temple?) then it can be done on a day trip from Tokyo via Nagano.

    Yamagata (Zao Onsen) and Fukushima (Urabandai) prefectures are some other options on the way North from Tokyo.
     
  23. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    At that time of year I would try to avoid areas close to big cities. Ie Nagano,Niigata,Gunma.

    Tokyo people will travel for snow.
     
  24. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Not sure that is true. In first instance try and book a flight connecting with your international flight and make sure it uses the same Tokyo airport ie. either Narita or Haneda (most likely Narita). Don't make the newby mistake of flying into one and out of the other without allowing transfer time.

    Otherwise get on one of the budget airlines. These you can only book 2-3 months in advance. They do charge extra for luggage but it isn't an exorbitant amount.
     
  25. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    The amount of golf clubs and ski gear I've seen on domestic airlines is remarkable.
    I don't think I've even been questioned? Re my oversize gear.
     
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  26. Tanuki

    Tanuki A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    All the info and insights you've received are spot on, there is however one thing that Hakuba has that the rest of Japan doesn't: The Japanese Alps which are truly spectacular (though perhaps you've had your fill of big mountains back in Canada).
     
  27. blowfin

    blowfin One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Provided you can see them too, odds are they'll be covered in clouds for the majority of days in January.
     
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  28. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    *hopefully between the 8th and 28th January specifically
     
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  29. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    I see some issues with the itinerary.
    - Sending your gear. I mentioned previously that New Year is busy. Since many Japanese people will send their gear on via takkyubin at that time, there may be more delays than you expect. Normally, you can expect sending on a Monday night will get there by Wed night, but this is peak season and there may be delays.
    - NYE. Were you expecting fireworks? (because that's a summer thing).... or intending to go the local/big temple or shrine, where most of the Japanese go on NYE?

    - Hakuba has 6 main areas (Happo, Goryu/Hakuba 47, Iwatake, Tsugaike, Cortina/Norikura) plus a number of smaller areas. 2 days (Happo & Cortina) is too limiting. First you need to find out what all the areas are like, and work out what the best inbounds powder options are (there are often many in Japan).... And then work out the back/side country riding options. There are usually reasonable inbounds powder options if you understand the way each resort is laid out.
    e.g. Cortina might seem to be the best powder day option, but it gets super crowded on a powder day, and the main back/side country gate at the top through the trees, ends up being totally chopped up inside of 10min. I always go elsewhere on a powder day, because everybody is at Cortina!!!
    On that basis, I'd ditch Hakuba for 2-3 days.

    Not true. If you go with Skymark (for example) excess baggage is 1000yen per 10kg. Skis & snowboards up to 280cm long.
     
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  30. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Generally, most domestic airlines fly out of Haneda (a smaller proportion run out of Narita). These days, more and more international flights use Haneda, because there is no curfew. (e.g. Delta Airlines will soon fly ALL Tokyo flights into/out of Haneda)
    As Heinz say, if you have a direct connecting flight, make sure it's at the same airport.
     
  31. Any

    Any One of Us

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    Say Hi when you're in town.
    I believe @LMB will also be be in town also.

    Early Jan might be too early for central Hokkaido backcountry.
    They get a lot less snow (quite a bit drier, but quite a bit less) and I'm not sure it will have been filled in by early Jan. Even backcountry Niseko region probably not completely filled in yet. Not to mention the wind in Jan/Feb.
    Because of this combination several central Hokkaido backcountry locations don't even open to visitors until march or april.
    Furano and resorts probably ok tho.
     
    #31 Any, Aug 29, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2019
  32. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Info on the rail passes: https://www.jreast.co.jp/e/pass/index.html?src=pcbtn
    The JR East-South Hokkaido pass allows 6 days of travel in a 14 day period and costs Y26,000.
    http://www.jreasthokkaido.com/easthokkaido/e/
    In comparison the full JR Pass for unlimited travel in a 7 day period costs Y29,000.
    So if you head north from Tokyo instead of out to Hakuba you will be much better off with the first one. Stop off somewhere around Morioka where there are several ski areas for a few days on your way.

    edit. I should also add that an individual fare for a trip on Shinkansen from Tokyo to Sapporo comes to around Y27,000. You check this on Hyperdia.
     
    #32 Heinz, Aug 29, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2019
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  33. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    I use the Jr east - south Hokkaido Pass
    Great value!
     
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  34. fennekeg

    fennekeg Hard Yards

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    Just wanting to add that the trains are totally a personal preference; some might be annoyed by the 'old country rattler' slow trains, especially if they're the final leg of a whole day travelling; while others find them charming and part of the Japan experience.
     
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  35. M1sh4

    M1sh4 First Runs

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    Hmm lots to consider here! It looks like the biggest concern is the first leg of the trip due to close proximity to NYs creating issues with train travel and sending luggage..

    If we opt to skip Hakuba and stop at one of the resorts along the Tokyo > Hakodate bullet train is it possible to travel with our snowboard bags, or would we still have to ship our luggage when we land on the 30th? Than what is the lead time shipping it from there to Niseko, obviously risking losing a day waiting for luggage is not an option. What would be the recommended area to base out of? Appi Kogen or Zao Onsen seem to have the most to offer from my quick powderhounds search.

    Alternately if we really wanted to do the Japanese Alps, despite the risk of poor conditions and crowing, would hiring a car at Tokyo airport on the 2nd - 6th be worth it? This eliminates crowded train travel and having to ship our snowboards to Hakuba. Is there luggage storage available at the airport for snowboard bags for the 30th - 2nd in Tokyo? Would waiting until early December, once we have a better idea of weather patterns, be possible or will literally everything be booked by then? We are fairly keen on checking out the Japanese Alps as a contrast to Hokkaido for both riding and sight seeing as first time Japan travelers.

    Thanks for all the replies! we have lots to consider here.. especially for the first leg of the trip. We are pretty set on taking the Bullet train from Tokyo to Hokodate on the 6th, the 7th- 14th Niseko is already booked and we are going to look into booking some cat skiing between the 14th -18th in Hokkaido.
     
  36. silva

    silva One of Us

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    For various reasons we have always travelled with our snowboard bags and never had a problem. We just make sure that we are early for the train and try and get in and get luggage slotted away quickly. Its a bit of a pain dragging everything around be certainly doable (you do get some amused looks).
     
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  37. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    That is a bit tricky with your arrival date. I haven't experienced that time myself but have traveled on trains quite a lot with my gear over the years. Just about my only issue with the new Komachi & Hayabusa Shinkansens that head north is the lack of storage space. There are a few tricks to be aware of. In your situation though I would still use the luggage delivery service at the arrival airport. As first time Japan visitors you will easily fill 3 days in Tokyo. That should still be enough time for your gear to arrive at your first destination.

    After that you should then be ok again to take gear on the train. The busiest part of the route north is between Tokyo and Sendai. And it will then also be after the new year.

    With luggage for travel in Japan though the lighter the better. I always travel with a single ski bag with just my skis, so I can easily store that in the overhead racks. I wouldn't attempt to do this with a fully packed 30kg snowboard bag. Also you need to be a bit organised. Line up by the carriage at least 15 mins before departure, grab the storage area at the end of the carriage (if there is one) or else stash gear behind the last row of seats.
     
  38. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    As for where to go first up I'd probably suggest Appi Kogen as the easiest option. It is a well developed resort just north of Morioka. They have an option of a day trip to Hachimantai and also some backcountry options. I think you would enjoy the riding powder in the trees at Geto Kogen, but it is a much smaller resort with little in the way of on snow accommodation apart from the dorm, otherwise you stay down the road and catch a shuttle bus. Zao Onsen is an old school type of resort having started from different lift companies so has a large flat transition areas which doesn't work so well for boarders.
     
  39. PMG

    PMG One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    If he's going to stop at a mid point I think this would be the best option. Forget Morioka or Kitakami. Too complicated for a first trip.
     
  40. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yokohama, Japan, Melb. Expat.
    If you're stopping to go snowboarding off the Shinkansen route, then it makes no sense to send your bags ahead.

    When are you arriving at the airport? If early morning Monday 30th, then there may be a window where it's not quite as busy. If people are taking Mon 30th off, then they will probably travel Sat 28th or Sun 29th. Or if not taking off Mon 30th, they are likely to travel in the evening of the 30th.
     
  41. TJ

    TJ One of Us

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    It is busy everywhere in Japan during the New Year Holiday period. Hakuba would be one of, if not the premium backcountry resort area of Japan. If you have the kit and experience then you would certainly not want to miss it. Do your 2 -3 days there to suss it out. You'll go back there. I wouldn't plan to ride a specific resort though. Play it by ear. You can message me and I will give you the inside word.
     
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  42. M1sh4

    M1sh4 First Runs

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    How crowded would Hakuba be over the NYs break compared to say Breckenrigde or Whistler on a long weekend? Should we expect every lift to be 15+ minute lines all day or are certain areas better than others?

    We are leaning towards doing Hakuba despite being warned of overcrowding and poor weather. We want to include some sight seeing and Japanese culture into the first leg of the trip. I have looked into Appi Kogen and it seems to be a resort town only without much else to do but ride the resort?

    Right now we are planning on changing up the itinerary as follows:

    December 30th - January 2nd Tokyo:
    sight seeing + NYEs in the city... We land late afternoon on the 30th so hopefully shipping bags as soon as we land gives enough time.

    Travel to Nagano via bullet train

    January 2nd - 7th Hakuba: Ride 3-4 days depending on weather and crowds.. Do a bit of site seeing and tourist stuff in the area.. Temples, izakayas, onsen. May rent a car if recommended. Goal for this leg would be 60% riding and 40% other.. GF wants some cultural experience as well as see the higher alpine terrain compared to Niseko.

    Travel to Niseko via plane to Sapporo and ski shuttle to hotel.. This should save quite a bit of time and buys us an extra day to make Hakuba worth it?

    January 7th - 14th Niseko: This is already locked in.. have 5 resort days at Niseko United with Ikon pass, may do a 2 days at moiwa or Rusutsu.

    January 14th - 16th: Possible Cat skiing in Hokkaido if budget allows.. quick search shows 2,000CAD/pp for 2 days which is out of budget :(.. alternately extra days in Rusutsu.

    January 17th - 18th: Sapporo and flight back to Tokyo.
     
  43. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    If you're set on Hakuba, then 100% look at getting a hire car. Having your own wheels in Hakuba is an absolute must IMO, especially considering you and your partner want to do lots of non-ski related activities whilst there. Some of the most beautiful onsens, and best restaurants are so much easier to access with a car. Plus the shuttle bus system isn't fantastic for chasing powder, they arrive too late after lifts have already started.

    PS - If you have Cat skied in Canada you might be disappointing with whats on offer in Japan. Amazing dry snow, especially on Hokkadio, but much shorter runs for what you pay for. Maybe look at doing a day or two guided tour at Asahidake. If you and your partner have your own back country gear you would love it!
     
  44. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah Appi is just a resort village, not a town so you are only really there to ski. There are other facilities like swimmimg pools etc but not really a cultural experience. Hakuba is a town in a spread out valley with several unlinked ski areas. Still wouldn't say it is much of a cultural experience. The sightseeing and cultural stuff is best done in Tokyo. Flying from there if you can get a reasonable flight from Matsumoto may save you a bit of time to make the Hakuba stay viable.
     
  45. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Also regarding the crowding at that time, I don't think it is too much of an issue at the ski areas, it was more to do with the general travel - trains and luggage delivery.
     
  46. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    With regards Hakuba, Listen to this one @M1sh4

    And if he has accom avail I can highly recommend it. I’ve stayed with TJ twice and each time he gave us the good oil and transport for exactly what we wanted/needed for the stage we were at. We went away very happy.
     
  47. Hermannator

    Hermannator One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Information overload, but @M1sh4 would also want a car for Asahidake - it's quite inconvenient to get to from anywhere. Would suggest hiring a car from Chitose airport for last leg of trip if chasing interior Hokkaido BC missions.
     
  48. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Very true. Plenty of back country skinning tours up Mt Yoti too which would prob suit their Niseko location better
     
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  49. M1sh4

    M1sh4 First Runs

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    Yeah! talk about information overload haha! definitely came to the right place.. thought I had this tripped firmed up but now we are moving things around quite a bit based on all this great advice.

    Agreed, I am thinking for this portion of the trip since we want to do some non-ski activities a car will be key.. looks like a car hire in Tokyo from January 2nd to 7th is $400CAD on Expedia (are there better car hire websites?). That's about the same as two shinkansen return tickets from Tokyo > Nagano so it seems like the most economical and convenient option.

    I am looking at flights and it doesn't look like there is many connections between Nagano Matsumuto and Sapporo.. I see one flight on skyscanner with "FDA" not sure what kind of luggage rules we can expect there? Tokyo > Sapporo obviously has way more flight options and much cheaper. Seems like the best option is to rent a car in Tokyo for the 2nd - 7th, drive to Hakuba and back flying from Tokyo to Sapporo than shuttle to Niseko. This means completely scrapping the bullet train from the trip which kinda sucks!
     
  50. Hermannator

    Hermannator One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Tried to do this in the past also (MMJ-CTS). FDA means Fuji Dream Airlines - a cheapo airline likely to give you hell about the baggage. Waste of time because the flight is at midday hence you lose the whole day travelling. If hardcore and want to maximise ski time, stay at a hotel near HND the night before, get up at 5am and catch 1st flight to CTS. You could be skiing by 11am in Niseko the next day...

    Compromise: get this ticket and use it to sight-see Tokyo, Mt Fuji and other surrounds of Tokyo. Then you can use it to get to a town like Karuizawa and hire the car from there. You can ride as many shinkansens (within the validity zone) as you like during the 3 days...
    May not be cheapest option (you'll have to do the numbers on car hire, tolls, snow tyres etc) but you tick the bullet train box.
     
    fennekeg, M1sh4 and Any like this.