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19 day japan itinerary

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

  1. Any

    Any One of Us

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    Shinkansen is pretty much of a muchness. the 4 hours on bullet train from Tokyo to Hakodate isn't any different to the shorter trips elsewhere.
    It's a normal train from Sapporo to Otaru, but the train from Otaru to Kutchan (Niseko) is a 2 carriage diesel rattler for over an hour. Its not the 4 hours of 1 carriage rattler stopping at every station from Oshamambe to Kutchan (which you would take if you took the Shinkansen from Tokyo), but it should be enough to tick your box.
     
  2. Any

    Any One of Us

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    I found the train vs plane from Tokyo to Niseko is about the same time. The train costs twice as much, and if you time it perfectly the plane might be a bit quicker.
     
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  3. blowfin

    blowfin One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Seen this said various times, but the flat bits at Zao aren't particularly bad. As a boarder I wouldn't steer someone away from there based on that. I'd like to go back someday for 2-3 days.

    Pros of being a proper ski village up on the hill with a bit of traditional charm, and good onsens. Access is fairly simple too.

    IMO the main Con is that the interesting terrain can take a bit of finding, secondary issue being the wait for the Juhyo cable car on busy mornings.
     
  4. Sandy

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

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    Better to go to Yuzawa, and hire from there (or Takasaki). Then drive to Naeba / Kagura. Kagura is usually the first resort to open in central Japan.... And plenty of side country, although may not be well covered off the runs.
     
    #54 Sandy, Aug 30, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
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  5. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Check with those who’ve driven in Tokyo before but that wouldn’t be my choice.

    We hired a car from Iiyama station after catching the Shink from Tokyo when we did Myoko region. Having a car in the countryside was great, it meant accessing whichever resort we chose on the particular day. Driving in Tokyo would give me a nervous breakdown LOL

    Hokkaido driving. No problemo.
    But that’s just my experience.

    Yep. Weather dependent of course.

    But there’s plenty of other less massive ventures - Iwaonupuri, Goshiki Onsen for a start, Shiribetsudake to step up from there. Local guiding companies will all have the local knowledge to choose the best aspects for the conditions and snowpack history. Yotei is awesome, but it’s a full day commit for one run (plus the crater if you’re quick getting up).
     
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  6. M1sh4

    M1sh4 First Runs

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    thanks! will look into that ticket.. this could be a nice option for sight seeing around Tokyo and would scratch the bullet train itch.
     
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  7. M1sh4

    M1sh4 First Runs

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    Now you have me reconsidering flying.. your trip report post is what originally gave us this idea to do Tokyo > Niseko by train. If its possible to leave early on the 7th to arrive by early evening same day we might be in for paying extra just for the train experience. This is not getting any easier haha.

    I imagine hiring the car at the airport or train station would be reasonably easy access to the motorway? I am fairly confident in driving in big cities.. even on the wrong side of the road lol.. but will look into this a bit before we make the call.
     
  8. Sandy

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

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    Motorway.... They're called Expressways in Japan, and they are ALL tollways. So from Narita Airport to the nearest exit to Hakuba will cost around 7000yen +, one way. And it's unlikely you will get 4WD and snow tires (tyres) at Narita.
    Will you get a prepaid SIM for your smartphone? Because the Japanese GPS in cars are mostly Japanese, and even the English ones only have destinations in Japanese, which is one reason why you can use a destination phone number instead(if the destination has a phone number!!).... It's much easier to use a smartphone!!
     
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  9. Hermannator

    Hermannator One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Don't forget to check requirements for / get an international licence...
     
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  10. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Jan 7th - Matsumoto - Sapporo. Price is in AUD from Skyscanner. JAL luggage would be better than FDA
     
  11. Hermannator

    Hermannator One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Well yeah I agree, because the train ticket gets you to Echigo Yuzawa, which accesses Kagura (short bus ride). I'm assuming the OP is set on Hakuba though...
     
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  12. Sandy

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

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    I think because the way marketing is, those in North America have mostly only ever heard of Niseko and Hakuba. 25 years ago, Naeba was the best known resort in Japan.
     
  13. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    This is true. Naeba & Shiga Kogen were the first places in Japan I skied in 1986. No one talked about Niseko back then and I didn't get there until 1990. Most people back then only used Japan as a stopover on the way to Europe without thinking of skiing there.
     
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  14. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    @M1sh4

    Here is the formula for driving to Hakuba from Narita vs Train/Bus etc .
    Not knowing what time you get in ...however .
    A base compact car will be around 4000 yen a day. Thats a 4 door 1300cc type thing.
    You'll need to add snowtyres at 2000 yen a day
    4wd is preferable for snowy regions at 1600 a day.

    To drive to from Narita Hakuba will cost you 8000 yen in tolls .
    Its a incredibly simple drive by North American standards.
    Majority of it is on wide freeway style roads .. with the last 60kms or so on smaller single lane.
    gas at 3500 yen for the journey (small car).

    Though once you're there. Hakuba is a much better spot with a car. (Same for Niseko IMO, put thats another conversation).
     
  15. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Using public transport.
    It will cost approx 12,500 yen from Narita to Hakuba per person on the train-shinkansen-bus.
    Thats 50,000 round trip vs

    37,000 for driving Narita - Hakuba (including snowtyres )
     
  16. M1sh4

    M1sh4 First Runs

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    Strange.. that flight didn't show up originally on Skyscanner, after changing my region to Aus it did.. I wonder why that is. This flight would be ideal as it would shave 3-4 hours from the Hakuba > Niseko tip and make it relatively comfortable for one travel day.

    Thanks for breaking that out for us!

    I think if we go Hakuba we will either.. (1) Rent a car in Tokyo (NRT is prefferred over HND?) 5 day rental at ~55,000Yen + flight from Tokyo to Sapporo. This looks like about a 14h travel day including drive from Hakuba > Tokyo > Flight to Sapporo > Shuttle Niseko. No issues with luggage on this route.

    (2)Rent car in Nagano 5 day rental ~30-40,000 Yen + (2) one way shinkansen ticket @ 18,000 + flight from Nagano to Sapporo. This looks like a ~10h travel day for drive to Hakuba > Nagano flight > Sapporo > Shuttle Niseko. However departure for this flight is later so arrival time would be the same as option 1, no real issues with luggage as we will ship ahead of Shinkansen trip.

    (3) Purchase 7 day JR pass 60,000Yen travel Tokyo > Habuka by train, no dedicated rental car. Is it possible to book same day rental car in Hakuba area for day trips or do we need to arrive with a car? Travel Hakuba > Niseko via Shinkansen and train all in one go.. 13-14h travel day, possibility of leaving early morning? Issues with travelling with snowboard bags on Hakuba > Niseko Shinkansen and train route.

    Seems like costs are similar for all options and a 3-4h difference in travel time, all long travel days but doable I think?

    Alternate option is to scrap Hakuba and stop along the way in Appi or go straight up to Hokkaido for a few days (somewhere?) before our check in at Niseko.
     
  17. Sandy

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

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    The flight is Matsumoto -> Sapporo (Chitose). Don't make the mistake of going to Nagano City to catch the flight.
     
  18. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Appi option would be my choice, less back tracking and no need to rent a car or get a flight. I was under the impression you were set on Hakuba tho?
     
  19. M1sh4

    M1sh4 First Runs

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    So we have decided to Bullet train to Nagano and hire a car for the stay in Hakuba, than fly to Chitose from Matsumoto airport.

    Is it possible to hire a car at Nagano Shinkansen train station and return it near the Matsumoto airport? Or should we take a train all the way to Matsumoto city and hire and return the car there?
     
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  20. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes to both.
    What time do you arrive in Tokyo? How long for?
     
  21. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    The super asuza train to matsumoto is a good option.

    I'll look up that one way rental fee for you later
     
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  22. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    The car is king in Hakuba. Just so you know there was one new car rental in Hakuba last year (Shell servo) and another will open this year - will post details once I know and am permitted to post them. Renting from Nagano is a solid option and if you cant do a different drop off use Hyperdia.com to see what trains you will need from Nagano to make everything happen for your flight.
     
  23. M1sh4

    M1sh4 First Runs

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    We are in Tokyo from the 30th - the 2nd. Will probably take an early train to Nagano on the 2nd.

    Thanks! ideally we would like to return the car in Matsumoto airport since we will be travelling with our snowboard bags from Hakuba.
     
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  24. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    It's 8400 yen for a drop off at matsumoto airport
     
  25. M1sh4

    M1sh4 First Runs

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    Thanks! what rental agency would that be with? This seems like the better option that messing around with local trains and buses to get to the airport with snowboard gear.
     
  26. blowfin

    blowfin One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Best to wait until about November before booking in your rental car, that's when the companies will release their winter specials, and we found we couldn't even select dates more than 3 months out. Best pricing I found for us last year was through Nippon with 20-30% off the price with a voucher code. Ended up at about $35 a day each for a Kei class with snow tyres, for two people). Around Nagano station you have a choice of most of the major rental companies (Toyota, Budget, Nippon, Orix) so just keep checking until you can book the window you need at the best rate.

    Quick check of the Nippon website, they are running a 40% off special (might be compact cars only though) until the end of March 2020. Again though you might have to wait before locking away the booking.
    https://www.nrgroup-global.com/en/50th/

    Edit: Oh and you'd want to make sure the company you rent from has a depot in Matsumoto so you can return the car there.
     
    #76 blowfin, Sep 4, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
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  27. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    I’m trying organise my winter car now (3 month booking) and I can’t. Can discuss, but can’t book until 6 months from the return date - so 3 months before arrival. That freaked me out when booking my 5 month stint two years ago so I went with a different company that serviced gaijin almost exclusively in Niseko. This time I’m trusting the Japanese process and going through Toyota in Chitose.
     
  28. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Times car
     
  29. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    https://www.timescar-rental.com/en/
    Around 40% off.

    They offer 4wd and snowtyres at Nagano.

    Nippon only offer it on a couple of models.

    Nissan will come in similar price as Times .
     
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  30. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Also look here as you get closer
    https://www2.tocoo.jp/en/

    They may have some better deals in around a fortnight
     
  31. blowfin

    blowfin One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    The trend seems to be advising people to get 4wd in addition to snow tyres? Asked a local before my trip last year and taking their advice, got by easily for 2 people in a 2wd Kei class with snow tyres. No A/4wd.
     
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  32. M1sh4

    M1sh4 First Runs

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    Cool, that's actually very reasonable.. 40k YN with one way drop off seems worth it for convenience of dropping off right at airport! We will likely stick with 2WD, living in Canada we are pretty confident driving in snow.. as long as it has decent snow tires.

    I think we have this itinerary sorted after all this awesome expert advice!

    Dec 30 - Jan 2: Tokyo
    Shinkansen > Nagano, Rental Car > Hakuba
    Jan 2 - 7: Hakuba, 3-4 days of riding plus non-snow sight seeing.
    Return car Matsumoto airport > Fly Sapporo, Ski bus > Niseko.
    Jan 7 - 14: Niseko, 5 days resort riding with one of those days hiring a guide to learn the gates, 1 day of BC touring with black diamond or rising sun.. maybe not Mnt. Yotie tho.
    Jan 14-18: Base out of Sapporo, do 2 days in Tiene and Kiroro.
     
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  33. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I'd hire a car in Hokkaido....
     
  34. Any

    Any One of Us

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    Seeing as you're going to/from Niseko only, and If you're based in one of Niseko's ski villages, especially Hirafu, then Id say you don't really need one. Shuttle busses to from the lifts (can be quite busy at 8:30 rush tho) and Hirafu has a pretty good supermarket (sapporo drug) and lots of restaurants.

    I can vouch for Rising Sun guides.
    yes Yotei is probably way way overkill, but there are heaps of other options nearby. plus any of the guide companies will provide transport.
    come to think on it, rising sun probably do guiding out the niseko gates too. wonder if they do 1 day slack 1 day back packages or something.
     
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  35. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Car junkie! :p

    But yeah...I agree.
    But can hire as required by the day or even 8hrs in Hirafu
     
  36. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    Much more refined now.
    I keep looking at whether the Super Asuza from Shinkjuku to Matsumoto would be better logically to avoid the 1 way transfer fee on your car. But remembered you want to experience the Shinkansen, so probably best as is.
    You will probably make do in Niseko and Sapporo without a car, but I reckon after experiencing the freedom in Hakuba, you’ll soon miss it.
     
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  37. hotsaki

    hotsaki One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Make sure you drive on the right side of the road which is the left!
     
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  38. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    The right side is the right side - look at the Brits now can't get anything right and that they brought to a lot of other countrys.:whistle:
     
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  39. Paradox

    Paradox Addicted

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    I've hired though most car companies at Nagano. Times Car Rental are good, and I would use them again. Only negative is a 10min walk to the premisis from the shink station. Easy walk though.
     
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  40. Paradox

    Paradox Addicted

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    Yep. Couple of threads that have good discussion on this in here.
     
  41. rugbyskier

    rugbyskier One of Us

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    I think you'll find that the Romans used the left side of the road and that all of Europe was on that side until the French changed at the time of the 1789 Revolution and then Napoleon forced most of Europe to change to the right in the early 1800s. Britain remained on the left as it was unconquered. The Americans started using the right in the 1800s because of the type of horse-drawn wagon that was used there.

    Two-thirds of the world's population live in countries that drive on the right and one-third drive on the left, including Thailand, Indonesia and Japan, which were not British colonies. So your anti-British bigotry is incorrect.
     
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  42. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    But still, they are not driving on right side - hope we can agree about that.:)
     
  43. hotsaki

    hotsaki One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Yes,but what did the Romans ever do for us?
     
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  44. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Aqueduct?
     
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  45. Mitchthewitch

    Mitchthewitch Hard Yards

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  46. rugbyskier

    rugbyskier One of Us

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    But, aside from the aqueducts, the sanitation and driving on the left, what have the Romans ever done for us?

    Got to love Monty Python.
     
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  47. rugbyskier

    rugbyskier One of Us

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    At the risk of derailing M1sh4's thread, the reason Japan drives on the left is remarkably similar to the Romans, most people are right handed so they can draw weapons more easily if encountering a threat on the road. Apparently using the left side of the road was mandated during the Shogun era for the benefit of samurai travelers and was maintained when Japan entered the automotive era.
     
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  48. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I thought that as well.
    Same reason the buttons on a man's tunic were opposite side to that of a woman's blouse
     
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  49. Paradox

    Paradox Addicted

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    soooo.... to summarise the derailing of this thread :eek::eek:....countries that drive on the left are warrior countries :emoji_dagger::emoji_dagger::emoji_dagger: and those that drive on the right are women's blouses? :emoji_dress::emoji_dress::emoji_dress:
     
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  50. Paradox

    Paradox Addicted

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