Car in Myoko Kogen? Advice needed

Canuckskier

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hello all, just recently returned from our very first trip to,japan and loved it so much we are already planning next years. We went to Nozawa Onsen for 5 days, with side day trip to Madarao then Shiga Kogen for 5 then Shibu and Tokyo. This time we definitely want to start in nozawa but spend a week in Myoko Kogen skiing various resorts . My question is, for the Myoko Kogen leg, is hiring a car something worthwhile? Typically I’m all for trains and buses, but wondered if basing out of Myoko for 8 nights might warrant a car to give flexibility for driving to Seki, Lotte, Shiga, Madarao etc. Having gone thru the experience of driving in Ireland which is opposite to Canada , it was stressful but not crazy and I managed without too much trouble. I welcome insights from those who have rented as well as those who bussed it to various resorts. For accommodation we will def pick something in Akakura Onsen . Thank you
 
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Rowdy1

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I did all those resorts this year based out of Myoko. I had a car for 10 days hire and it made it dead easy. I have a family of 5 and I couldn't be bothered with the stress of getting three kids ready for the bus, so I always hire cars. There are buses that run to most of the resorts or taxis, so you don't need to have a car, I just choose to. I got the car from Nippon rental from Joetsu Myoko train station, Subaru wagon, full insurance $1400 AU for 10 days.
 
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Donzah

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I did all those resorts this year based out of Myoko. I had a car for 10 days hire and it made it dead easy. I have a family of 5 and I couldn't be bothered with the stress of getting three kids ready for the bus, so I always hire cars. There are buses that run to most of the resorts or taxis, so you don't need to have a car, I just choose to. I got the car from Nippon rental from Joetsu Myoko train station, Subaru wagon, full insurance $1400 AU for 10 days.
140 a day is pretty expensive?

I guess thats cause its a subaru?
 

Rowdy1

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140 a day is pretty expensive?

I guess thats cause its a subaru?
Yeah, it was pretty expensive and that was with the 30% off voucher code. I found it pretty hard to get wagon to fit the kids all the gear and was all wheel drive. Most sites were booked out for the peak January school holiday period. The Subaru was garanteed, so I was prepared to pay the cost. I take all the insurance as well and I was pretty keen to try out the Levorg, and it was a great car in the snow and Akakura had heaps off it.
 

Crispy013

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hello all, just recently returned from our very first trip to,japan and loved it so much we are already planning next years. We went to Nozawa Onsen for 5 days, with side day trip to Madarao then Shiga Kogen for 5 then Shibu and Tokyo. This time we definitely want to start in nozawa but spend a week in Myoko Kogen skiing various resorts . My question is, for the Myoko Kogen leg, is hiring a car something worthwhile? Typically I’m all for trains and buses, but wondered if basing out of Myoko for 8 nights might warrant a car to give flexibility for driving to Seki, Lotte, Shiga, Madarao etc. Having gone thru the experience of driving in Ireland which is opposite to Canada , it was stressful but not crazy and I managed without too much trouble. I welcome insights from those who have rented as well as those who bussed it to various resorts. For accommodation we will def pick something in Akakura Onsen . Thank you
100% car
 

nanami_JS

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We stayed in Akakura last year and had to catch the bus every day to go to different ski resorts. Came to Myoko again this year and rented a car. Got a Subaru Forester for 7 days for 86k yen, rented from Joetsu Myoko Shinkansen Station. It fits 4 adults and all of our gears comfortably. The car came with seat warmer too, it's very nice to sit on it after a long day on the slopes.
 
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Zimbooo

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Wow, $1k Aus for a week ...............I should start renting my one out!!!!!
 

Paradox

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A vehicle is definitely the go out of Myoko IMO. Just make sure your accommodation has room for parking. I hired an 8 seater minivan for $1500 for 10 days this year out of Nagano. Seemed about the cheapest I could get and was well worth it with trips to Tangram, Arai, Togakushi and others - all epic.

For those paying extra for 4wd, I don't believe it is all that helpful, and I have never needed it. Snow tyres are the key and do not under any circumstances skip these. Studies have shown a 2wd car with snow tyres significantly outperforms a 4wd without snow tyres. And I mean significantly....4wd only really helps under acceleration, so unless you are driving like Mika Hakkinen....

Braking uses ABS and 4 wheels on any car and that's where it counts most. Snow tyres and sensible driving are what makes the difference and are whats essential, not 4wd.

I noted this year that there were road blocks onto the expressway checking that you had snow tyres on or you were turned away.
 

Canuckskier

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I think I have been convinced to def get a car in Myoko. I have already booked accommodation for the week at the address in akakura, who told me they do not have free parking unfortunately. They told me there is a pay car lot 50m from them I guess that will have to do..

Good advice about 4wd vs 2wd. I also plan on using the car to drive to yuzawa for three days anyone know how difficult this drive is in general in bad weather days? ( in case I get lucky with “bad” snowy weather ) .

Also looking for rental out of the iiyama station instead of Nagano or myoko as I’m coming from Nozawa Onsen. Looks like there are some options although no Subaru’s that I can see.
 

LMB

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Car.
Do it.
All above advice is solid
 

Budgiesmuggler

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We had a car in Myoko - great decision.

They drive in the same side of the road to us :)
 

Paradox

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Good advice about 4wd vs 2wd. I also plan on using the car to drive to yuzawa for three days anyone know how difficult this drive is in general in bad weather days? ( in case I get lucky with “bad” snowy weather )

The Japanese are pretty damn good at keeping roads open and I have never had a problem getting to where I wanted to go even in some pretty heavy dumps. The biggest issue can be undercar clearance if the snow has built up and not been cleared. If it is really coming down then sticking to the main expressways will get you there.

Also looking for rental out of the iiyama station instead of Nagano or myoko as I’m coming from Nozawa Onsen. Looks like there are some options although no Subaru’s that I can see.
Iiyama has less outlets than the bigger cities but I have rented from the Nissan at the Shink station there and it was seamless. No need to get a Subi unless you are precious about it. IMO a Nissan Wingroad is the best value vehicle for up to 4 people. Perfect mix of capability and storage space, despite it looking like it was designed by Homer Simpson...
 
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Canuckskier

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The Japanese are pretty damn good at keeping roads open and I have never had a problem getting to where I wanted to go even in some pretty heavy dumps. The biggest issue can be undercar clearance if the snow has built up and not been cleared. If it is really coming down then sticking to the main expressways will get you there.

Iiyama has less outlets than the bigger cities but I have rented from the Nissan at the Shink station there and it was seamless. No need to get a Subi unless you are precious about it. IMO a Nissan Wingroad is the best value vehicle for up to 4 people. Perfect mix of capability and storage space, despite it looking like it was designed by Homer Simpson...


Ah it’s a cute car and perfect! Thanks for suggesting it and yeah I’m pretty set on renting from the Nissan at the station. Although I do love my subies,,, have a 2009 outback at home in Canada that I will probably request to be cremated in. Best car ever in Canada sh#&&#t storm weather to get you to the hill
 

Budgiesmuggler

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Last time we got a Nissan latio.

We bought soft roof racks from home for the skis ($50) which meant we saved a load on the size of car we need.
 
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M_G

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Just out of interest how many of you are there?

FYI the car park is not within 50 metres. Maybe 200-250 from car door to front door.

upload_2019-3-6_20-39-2.png
 

Canuckskier

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There are only two of us with two pairs of skis only . Hmmm I wondered about the “50”m I was told. Thank you very much for this map it’s going to come in super handy when the time comes. Looking for AWD with snow tires at the least probably other than that I’m open for any model that might work .
 

M_G

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I'll be honest, you're staying at an exxy place and paying serious yen for a car for only two of you. I can't work it out. Is money no object? Fair enough if it isn't.

If you have a car you don't need to stay in the village. If you want to stay in the village, you don't really need a car for the whole time. Just grab one for 3 nights or whatever so you can head to the further resorts.
 
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Canuckskier

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Money no object? That’s a strange assumption to make simply based on where I chose to stay. I would assume most who come to japan to ski have some extra money on hand to spend on a vacation...

Hence my original question, is a car needed or worthwhile?

“If you have a car you don't need to stay in the village. If you want to stay in the village, you don't really need a car for the whole time. Just grab one for 3 nights or whatever so you can head to the further resorts.”

This is the kind of opinion and advice I was looking for, thank you.
 

blowfin

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Money no object? That’s a strange assumption to make simply based on where I chose to stay. I would assume most who come to japan to ski have some extra money on hand to spend on a vacation...

Hence my original question, is a car needed or worthwhile?

The simple answer to that is yes, it's worthwhile.

Very valid point about the need being diminished if you're staying in Akakura though, but you'll be getting shuttle buses to any resorts bar the two right in town there. If you're not keen on that, and want true flexibility, get the car. Changing accommodation for next year shouldn't be a problem at all, certainly if you've done it through somewhere like booking.com. They do look like very nice apartments though.

Also, two people and skis will fit in a Kei class (i.e. Honda N-box w/snow tyres). Zero need for anything bigger, or AWD.
 

Donzah

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The issue with just hiring a car when you need it idea.
Its a major PITA to hire a car off and on. Hard to organise. Plus you never really know until the morning where the best location to ski will be.
 

blowfin

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The issue with just hiring a car when you need it idea.
Its a major PITA to hire a car off and on. Hard to organise. Plus you never really know until the morning where the best location to ski will be.

This is true, it's best to make the choice where you want to go on a day-to-day basis, but I think the three day thing was in reference to visiting Yuzawa for 3 days?
 

Paradox

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The issue with just hiring a car when you need it idea.
Its a major PITA to hire a car off and on. Hard to organise. Plus you never really know until the morning where the best location to ski will be.

This. Staying within walking distance of the restaurants allows freedom to have a few drinks over a meal and not worry about driving home. Having the car allows you to go to any resorts in the area on any given day and make that decision when you wake up in the morning. That said if it is your first time to Akakura then you may not use a car as much as someone who is familiar with local resorts and wants a bit more flexibility on where they go.

As I have said before paying a premium for 4wd is not really needed. Provided you have snow tyres and drive cautiously you will be well equipped to handle any situation safely with a 2wd.
 
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