Best family holiday in Japan

Jess10

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Sep 13, 2017
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Hi I am a tad overwhelmed by all the options in Japan. Would love any great experiences ie specific resorts and accomodation for a family of 4. Kids will be 8 and 10 next year and are complete beginners. Hubby and I are experienced snowboarders (but haven't been to the snow for a few years!) We would love a cultural experience too :)
 
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Born2ski

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So you'll need a place with English ski school for the kids at a minimum. The question is how comfortable are you and the kids with Japanese culture ? Do you need a place with a lot of spoken English, western food options and western style apartments or are you ready to dive straight in to Japan ? Those choices will narrow your options.
 
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MarkGC

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English speaking ski school seems like it would be the go for the kiddies. I had a good experience in Myoko with Myoko Snowsports, the group lessons were essentially privates most days. Hakuba, Niseko and many others will also have similar english speaking ski schools.

If you have only skied or boarded in Oz, you make take a little backstep in japan if you get great conditions (like the 3 metres in 3 days we had in 2012), trying to teach kids in different conditions would be a challenge.
 
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skichanger

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Yeah it can be a bit overwhelming.And you will be told to ask more specific questions or give more info. Problem is that starting out you do not know what to ask or what is important info to provide. Some initial things to think about that will narrow down your choices:

Which island: Honshu or Hokkaido. Hokkaido is further north and thus colder. But will have better snow if you are going early or late season. Can also involve longer travel time.

You probably want somewhere with lessons in English for the kids. Probably the most limiting factor actually. There are other threads with this information.

What is your budget? This will influence your accommodation options. But there are lots of choices in all price ranges.

How long is your holiday and do you wan to spend time doing some other touristy stuff? A couple of days, say in Tokyo, either end of your holiday is a good option.

and what type of accommodation do you want? There is very little self contained accommodation apart from at Hakuba or Niseko. The other choices are hotels or pensions. Think about whether either of your children are fussy eaters as food options, e.g. Japanese breakfast, can be confronting for some kids.

Really think about the things that are important to you and that will help people provide information as well as help you narrow down the options.

First trip to Japan I would opt for English speaking places in the better known resorts. Just makes things easier, especially with the kids.
 

shabu_shabu

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Yeah it can be a bit overwhelming.And you will be told to ask more specific questions or give more info. Problem is that starting out you do not know what to ask or what is important info to provide. Some initial things to think about that will narrow down your choices:

Which island: Honshu or Hokkaido. Hokkaido is further north and thus colder. But will have better snow if you are going early or late season. Can also involve longer travel time.

You probably want somewhere with lessons in English for the kids. Probably the most limiting factor actually. There are other threads with this information.

What is your budget? This will influence your accommodation options. But there are lots of choices in all price ranges.

How long is your holiday and do you wan to spend time doing some other touristy stuff? A couple of days, say in Tokyo, either end of your holiday is a good option.

and what type of accommodation do you want? There is very little self contained accommodation apart from at Hakuba or Niseko. The other choices are hotels or pensions. Think about whether either of your children are fussy eaters as food options, e.g. Japanese breakfast, can be confronting for some kids.

Really think about the things that are important to you and that will help people provide information as well as help you narrow down the options.

First trip to Japan I would opt for English speaking places in the better known resorts. Just makes things easier, especially with the kids.
Sorry to interrupt transmission but it makes me proud to be a ski.com.au forumite with such generous and patient advice. Big thumbs up.
 

M_G

M_G_ = Make skiing great again
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For simplicity's sake I would roll with either Myoko (Akakura Onsen) or Nozawa Onsen. No extra flight up to Hokkaido (ride the bullet train instead - win/win), good ski schools for the kids (although I would rate Myoko ahead there as you can organise both rentals and school with Myoko Snowsports), bit of culture without being totally lost in translation.

If your dates are mid-January, forget Nozawa then as you won't get any accomm.
 
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mannyk

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With the 2 kids id say Nozawa, lots of stuff for them to enjoy in the village when not skiing, .. Myoko I love and this season will be my 4th time there, Nozawa, have been only once, however thinking of the kids Id pick Nozawa,
 
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Ramenman

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Tokyo + Nozawa Onsen, Tokyo +Myoko or Tokyo + Nozawa Onsen + Myoko if you stay in Japan for more than two weeks and don't mind visiting two resorts with kids. Nozawa Onsen and Myoko are close enough, so it's not tiring to travel with kids, I think.
 
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Jess10

First Runs
Sep 13, 2017
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Yeah it can be a bit overwhelming.And you will be told to ask more specific questions or give more info. Problem is that starting out you do not know what to ask or what is important info to provide. Some initial things to think about that will narrow down your choices:

Which island: Honshu or Hokkaido. Hokkaido is further north and thus colder. But will have better snow if you are going early or late season. Can also involve longer travel time.

You probably want somewhere with lessons in English for the kids. Probably the most limiting factor actually. There are other threads with this information.

What is your budget? This will influence your accommodation options. But there are lots of choices in all price ranges.

How long is your holiday and do you wan to spend time doing some other touristy stuff? A couple of days, say in Tokyo, either end of your holiday is a good option.

and what type of accommodation do you want? There is very little self contained accommodation apart from at Hakuba or Niseko. The other choices are hotels or pensions. Think about whether either of your children are fussy eaters as food options, e.g. Japanese breakfast, can be confronting for some kids.

Really think about the things that are important to you and that will help people provide information as well as help you narrow down the options.

First trip to Japan I would opt for English speaking places in the better known resorts. Just makes things easier, especially with the kids.

Wow! Thank You! Has given me a lot to think about!

Yes, I agree easy is good! Yes, would love to spend a few days in Tokyo so a resort close to Tokyo to avoid another flight would be perfect!
 

Donza

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Tokyo + Nozawa Onsen, Tokyo +Myoko or Tokyo + Nozawa Onsen + Myoko if you stay in Japan for more than two weeks and don't mind visiting two resorts with kids. Nozawa Onsen and Myoko are close enough, so it's not tiring to travel with kids, I think.
I agree with this. Both easily accessible thanks to new bullet.. (shinkansen) station. Both hills have runs perfect for your ages. Plus both get magical snow.
 
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silva

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The other thing to think about is do your kids want to ski or snowboard? Make sure the resort you are headed to has lessons available in English for snowboarding kids if that is what they choose to learn - fortunately they are over 7 so there are some options. Niseko, Hakuba and Myoko being the main ones. If I was headed on a family trip with beginner snowboarding children I would head to Myoko and prebook Myoko Snowsports - excellent service and great instructors. Snowboard lessons are more expensive than ski lessons but they keep the lesson groups small (max 4) compared to skiing which is max 8 so the snowboard lessons are sort of semi private.
Check out Myoko snowsports here: https://myokosnowsports.com/snowsports-school/

I have not stayed with them but when we were planning next years trip (eventually decided on the US instead of a return to Japan) we found Red warehouse to be very helpful and their accommodation looks great - check it out here: http://red-warehouse.com/
The reason we had chosen Red warehouse over other options included: shuttles available, family rooms, onsite onsen and a guest kitchen (rare in Japan but fantastic to have with kids when they are just that bit overtired and you do not want to drag them out for dinner), access to a washing machine and games room for the kids.

Myoko will give you a bit of a cultural experience as well as great skiing and snowboarding.

Hakuba is also a great family holiday. I can highly recommend Penke Panke lodge (all the same family benefits as above) and both Evergreen and Hakuba snowsports for kids lessons. The reason I would suggest Myoko over Hakuba for a first trip with beginners is that to get the most out of Hakuba you really need to travel around to different resorts (we had no trouble doing this on the free buses) and english speaking lessons are not available at all the resorts (only Happo and Imori/47/Goryu) so you would not really get to explore if you have kids in lessons.
 
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Rush

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Interesting thread. I'm thinking of doing January 2019 with the wife and two kids (who will be 9 and 12 by then).

I had presumed the easiest family friendly option with English lessons would be Niseko Hanazono.

Nozawa Onsen definitely looks kid and intermediate skier friendly, but would I get bored out of my brain skiing it for a week or so? What is the off-piste policy like?

We would probably stick to our Australian holiday ski routine, where the kids have lessons every morning and we ski together in the afternoons.

Youngest kid isn't parallel but can do easy blues (e.g Wombat and Summit at Buller). Eldest can parallel 90% of time down Wombat with reasonable speed.

Our kids are happy to stuff their faces with dumplings and Japanese food. We are happy with traditional Japanese accomodation. My wife did Japanese to Year 10 in high school but is rusty.
 
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fukuro-no-mori

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Nozawa Onsen.
English speaking ski school, huge Japanese cultural town.
Beginners at the bottom, and great beginners area 3/4 the way up.
I.e. It would be nice to be a beginner who is not stuck at the bottom of the mountain with no views!!

There is a beginner run with epic views of alpine terrain at the top of Hakuba Goryu. They don't make it as clear as they should but you can always take the gondola back down.

I like Nozawa a lot, but mountains above tree line provide the most dramatic views.
 

Froff Life

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Interesting thread. I'm thinking of doing January 2019 with the wife and two kids (who will be 9 and 12 by then).

I had presumed the easiest family friendly option with English lessons would be Niseko Hanazono.

Nozawa Onsen definitely looks kid and intermediate skier friendly, but would I get bored out of my brain skiing it for a week or so? What is the off-piste policy like?

We would probably stick to our Australian holiday ski routine, where the kids have lessons every morning and we ski together in the afternoons.

Youngest kid isn't parallel but can do easy blues (e.g Wombat and Summit at Buller). Eldest can parallel 90% of time down Wombat with reasonable speed.

Our kids are happy to stuff their face with dumplings and Japanese food. We are happy with traditional Japanese accomodation. My wife did Japanese to Year 10 in high school but is rusty.
Nozawa has enough terrain to keep you busy for a week, but probably not much longer. There are some really wide long green runs for your kids. In my experience they are pretty forgiving about the off piste and there are some really fun lines to be found.
 

Beerman

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Agree with all the above. I took my lot to Shiga and Nozawa for their first Japow trip. Shiga for ski area, Noz for cultural feel etc.
80-90% of accomodation will have shared bathrooms. They are always spotlessly clean. A lot of western women struggle with the share factor. It is Japan, embrace it and it will embrace you.

Accoms in Noz, mid Jan can be difficult, but keep looking and you will find, especially 12 months out. Some places only cater/take bookings from large groups, and others dont open there books until a few months from the season opening. If you look hard enough, you will find direct email addresses for accomodation places, these are gold.
Tip; look for accoms around Nagasaka Gondola, it's kinder on the legs.
 
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Born2ski

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Interesting thread. I'm thinking of doing January 2019 with the wife and two kids (who will be 9 and 12 by then).

I had presumed the easiest family friendly option with English lessons would be Niseko Hanazono.
Well there you go, our kids are exactly the same age ! My girl turns 12 next year and boy turns 9.

Niseko is one option, but likely to be the most expensive and busiest at that time of year.

Plenty of other options for English ski schools. Myoko, Hakuba, Nozawa, Madarao, Arai, Naeba, Appi Kogen, Kiroro, Rusutsu, Tomamu. There's a few more but that will get you started.

With your two being close in skiing ability you can always put them in a private English ski lesson together like we often do.
 

Rush

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With your two being close in skiing ability you can always put them in a private English ski lesson together like we often do.
At the rate they are improving my wife could join them for beginner off-piste lessons.

One complication is that I'm doing the flights on points, and I can't seem to book a flight to Sapporo via Velocity. I can go Melb - Sing - Tokyo (not ideal but it's 'free') which makes me reluctant to make an extra flight to Sapporo.

We'll have to go to the Miyazki and Gundam museum too if we are in Tokyo.
 

Born2ski

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One complication is that I'm doing the flights on points, and I can't seem to book a flight to Sapporo via Velocity. I can go Melb - Sing - Tokyo (not ideal but it's 'free') which makes me reluctant to make an extra flight to Sapporo.

A number of the resorts listed above are on Honshu so you don't have to go to Hokkaido for an English ski school.

Myoko snowsports are a good option - https://myokosnowsports.com/
 

Donza

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At the rate they are improving my wife could join them for beginner off-piste lessons.

One complication is that I'm doing the flights on points, and I can't seem to book a flight to Sapporo via Velocity. I can go Melb - Sing - Tokyo (not ideal but it's 'free') which makes me reluctant to make an extra flight to Sapporo.

We'll have to go to the Miyazki and Gundam museum too if we are in Tokyo.
TBH.
I don't get the attraction of Hokkaido skiing for a family.
It's bloody cold.
 
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