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4 days skiing in Japan mid-April. Where?

Discussion in 'Japan' started by Piste Again, Feb 6, 2015.

  1. Piste Again

    Piste Again Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Hi all.

    I'm mulling over the idea of burning off a few frequent flyer points and taking M8 for a couple of days in Japan during the next school hols - arriving around April 11 or 12. I was quite surprised by the FF options - I can pretty much pick and choose what dates I want to fly both ways (though it's all bloody Jetstar with multi-sector flights both ways).

    I imagine it could well be getting to spring skiing by then. Is there normally any major benefit in going up to Hokkaido in search of colder weather and better snow, or would the Honshu resorts usually be OK at that time of year? I don't plan on booking accommodation until a week or two beforehand but I'd like to have a general plan of which island to research.

    Cheers
     
  2. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    Hakuba or Shiga imo.
    Altitude
     
  3. MisterMxyzptlk

    MisterMxyzptlk Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    either that or latitude
     
  4. ojisan

    ojisan Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yep.. Go high for the snow.
    Kagura holds up pretty well also
     
  5. Sandy

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

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    April in central Japan is about corn snow in the morning and slush in the afternoon.
    I'd go Hokkaido
     
  6. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    But is it worth the extra flights for just 4 days? You'd be likely 'spring skiing' in any case. Should allow a day or half day in Tokyo for some cherry blossoms also.
     
  7. Toto Warmlet

    Toto Warmlet One of Us

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    I'm with Heinz.
    Spent a day , maybe 2 in April one year in Hirafu.
    There should be an Ancient Thread.
    Nice and sunny, but tres boggy.
    Wouldn't do it again.
     
  8. Go Native

    Go Native One of Us

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    April in Hokkaido is mostly Spring snow unless you head up high to say Asahidake or Kurodake. Kiroro and Sapporo Kokusai have considerably higher base areas than Niseko and can have slightly better conditions later in the season (can't remember exactly when they close for the season though). Still going at that time of year I'd expect Spring conditions and hope to be pleasantly surprised. You can occasionally get a half decent snowfall or two in April.
    With only 4 days at your disposal though I'd go for Kagura.
     
  9. MagSeven

    MagSeven Early Days

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    Kiroro, Kokusai, Teine and Niseko areas are open till Golden Week, but by mid April it's definitely spring skiing. Fun charging the slush or messing about in the park, but not serious riding. Asahidake etc still gets the odd bit of snow and can be decent, but you definitely can't count on it if you're just around for a few days. Usually good touring conditions though if you're into that.
     
  10. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    Heinz went to Hakuba In April and got powder...
     
  11. Go Native

    Go Native One of Us

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    It can happen. I just wouldn't expect it to happen.
     
  12. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    Its like Australia in august
     
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  13. Toto Warmlet

    Toto Warmlet One of Us

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  14. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    umm, yeah with damian, rimey, bush patrol, brian wilson & inky. It can happen and it was very good although that clearly wasn't the plan. We were there intentionally for some backcountry spring skiing, but got a brief blast of winter, so had to adjust plans.

    Best of it was away from the resorts and at that time of year some of the resorts do certainly wind down and start to close.

    It is a good time for touring but I don't think that is what you are looking for.

    I would probably go along with the suggestions of looking at higher elevations and likes of Shiga Kogen or Kagura where the snow should hold better and that are also as easy trip from Tokyo.
     
  15. Rimey

    Rimey One of Us

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    Myself, April is hiking above the resorts. Plenty of good there.
    Yes, two years ago, we got pow. I wouldn't rely on it.
    The resorts in April were a good "intermediate experience".
     
  16. Piste Again

    Piste Again Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Interesting comments and thanks to all who've made suggestions. Japan seems to be less about finding stuff on the net and more knowing who to ask...

    2 return tickets to Narita on Qantas FF points will cost about $600 in fees and charges. I priced up a transfer to Sapporo but for 4 days skiing the cost is stupid, either in $$$ to fly or in time to do it by train. So from what's been said, I think for 4 days it has to be Honshu.

    I think our main wish is for half-decent snow and an easy transfer to and from Narita. So now I'm thinking it's likely to be Shiga Kogen or Hakuba in search of higher altitude.

    So - a place that is comfortable for me and M8, has a decent ski hire shop nearby, is easily reached by train/bus for a non-Japanese speaker, where meals can be got cheaply (or in-house), is walking distance to an english-language ski school for M8 and is equally close to lifts for both ot us would be perfect. I*'d appreciate some thoughts on this.

    Though I'm not booking it until a week beforehand just to be safe...

    Thanks all!
     
  17. Slowpony

    Slowpony Addicted

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    hakkoda? couple more hours on shink than Shiga or Hakuba but prob's better snow?
     
  18. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    You probably would have got It cheaper using the 2for 1 deal...buggar
     
  19. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Hakkoda would be good, but not for an 8yr old as well as needing an english language ski school.
     
  20. Piste Again

    Piste Again Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Flights booked. Depart SYD April 7 with 4 full days skiing. Now waiting on what the weather does to decide where to ski. :woohoo::woohoo:

    If the snow holds up we'll probably go to Myoko. We've been there before, but access by train is easy and we already know how to get there - big bonus with just me and an 8-year-old!

    Paid for the whole flight with points plus pay, and ignoring the FF points (280,000) the trip will cost about the same in $$$ as taking him to Thredbo for 4 days.
     
  21. Piste Again

    Piste Again Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Oh well, looks like Myoko's out (all but 2 lifts will be closed and Myoko Snowsports closes at the end of March). The other resorts in the area also seem to close the ski schools by then so it's looking more like Niseko (probably Hirafu).

    The airfares and rail tickets from Narita to Hirafu run to about the same as the JR fare to Myoko so it could be worse. I can stomach Jetstar for 90 minutes each way I guess.
     
  22. Sandy

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

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    Shiga kogen. Closes first week in May. Is higher, will retain snow quality better.
     
  23. Piste Again

    Piste Again Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    I looked at that and it's got a lot going for it.

    But...

    The other ski schools in Honshu seem to close around the end of March, and I just got a reply from Niseko saying they close of April 12 (our last day skiing). I've told M8 I'll ski with him the first and last days but I want 2 days in the middle to rip it up myself, so english-language kids' ski school is #1 priority. I emailed Sugiyama Ski School at Shiga Kogen the other day but haven't heard back yet - do you know if their kids' school operates that late in the season?
     
  24. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Reigniting a zombie thread im thinking similar with a 12yo this year in first week school hols, decent skiier. I would love a tour day or 2 but that maybe ambitious. Anything changed since 2015? Probably 7-9 days melbourne to melbourne Cheers
     
  25. Skimum77

    Skimum77 First Runs

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    Following this for 2019 reply's too...we are also heading to Japan for a week from 30th March with 3 kids - 2x5 year olds and a 7 year old, all decent kid-skiers (blue/easy black runs in Aus). Were planning to go to Hirafu but the snow seems pretty bad?? Appreciate any suggestions for better snow options (hubby and I have accepted we're not getting any powder )-: so just looking to avoid rain and rocks. Happy to change plans to Honshu if there are better options??
     
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  26. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    The way this season is working out late March may be tough in Hakuba, not sure about elsewhere but most places except those very high are getting rain tomorrow and more to come by the looks of it. :(
     
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  27. Sandy

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

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    Shiga Kogen should be ok in the next week, if contemplating central Japan.... probably just wet snow, not rain, because of the elevation.
     
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  28. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Given the way conditions are going/looking - Shiga Kogen or Kagura.
     
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  29. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    thanks all.......shiga kogen is also national park yeah? and some side-temple action as well for the family (its turning into a family trip very quickly after a bit of a chat last night). Never been to japan
     
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  30. Sandy

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

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    No temples... well, there is one shrine at Terakoya.
     
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  31. Skimum77

    Skimum77 First Runs

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    I think there are snow monkeys at Shiga Kogen?
     
  32. mr

    mr Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    I beleive so
     
  33. BoofHead

    BoofHead One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    There are lots monkeys around Shiga Kogen. Not the snow monkeys that lounge around in the local Onsen. Just normal monkeys who happen to live in the snow.
    The Onsen snow monkeys are not far away for a day trip.
     
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  34. BoofHead

    BoofHead One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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  35. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    After the snow monkeys take a walk through nearby Shibu Onsen - very traditional.
     
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