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Opinion First Time Skiing in Japan - best location?

Discussion in 'Japan' started by Jesse Tillman, Jun 1, 2019.

  1. Jesse Tillman

    Jesse Tillman First Runs

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    Hello All,

    Husband and I are booked for 10 days in Japan start of Feb 2020. We fly into Osaka and want to spend just 4-5 days skiing.

    Bit overwhelmed with all the resorts and options and hoping for some personal advice on this. Can't tell if its close enough to stay in Osaka the whole time or there is somewhere close or on snow that we can stay that won't kill us cost wise - only want budget accom that's comfortable since we will only sleep there. Getting accom sorted is my first priority.

    and of course whats a good place to go - because I'm going to guess its nothing like just heading to Falls Creek! Thank you

    I've skied plenty in Victoria - up to the easiest black runs, but most comfortable on blue AND i havent skied in years, husband has never skied (he thinks he wants to try snowboarding)
     
  2. Tanuki

    Tanuki A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Hi and welcome. I'd recommend taking the Shinkansen to Nagoya and then catching the direct train from Nagoya to Hakuba and spending the 5 days there. We did a similar thing on our first trip to Japan.

    In Hakuba I'd stay in either Wadano or Echoland, there's a lot of lodges with reasonable rates in both of those areas.
     
  3. Dave6

    Dave6 One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Myoko is easy for a first trip to Japan.
     
  4. 2ESki

    2ESki Addicted

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    2nd Tanuki's suggestion, first trip we went to Hakuba and loved it, Wadano best spot, eats and shuttle buses to other Mountains :thumbs:
     
  5. Shrike

    Shrike Hard Yards

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    3rd this, when about are you going?

    Ill be in Tokyo from the 25th-28th Jan and then Osaka from the 28th

    Heading to Hakuba from Osaka on the 2nd Feb and coming back to Tokyo on the 8th to fly out of Narita on the 9th

    I've booked my accom already but know of a few places that are more on the budget side.

    My question would be
    Do you want ski in/ ski out or are happy down in the village and to catch shuttles etc?
    Do you want to be in a dorm or want your own room?
    What do you class as a reasonable cost?

    I was there last Feb for a few days :)

    Also note a lot of Japanese places don't open booking until 3months out (however I know of a few places that are already booked in advance)
     
  6. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes, Hakuba
     
  7. Sandy

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

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    Location:
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    Try Penke-Panke. Close to Happo (Sakka base area, in the Wadano area of Hakuba), and near the first stop for shuttles.
    The price is quite budget.
    It's run by an Aussie, so bookings will be open.
    http://www.penkepanke.com/en/ski-lodge-information
    It's a good operation, and I last stayed there about 3 years ago.
    They also pick up at the bus/train station, and a daily late arvo run to the supermarket & onsen.
     
  8. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    My first thoughts were definitely Hakuba with the points mentioned before. But the more I think, if good solid blue groomers are what you are after + beginner hubby, then maybe think about Shiga Kogen. You are already coming up to Nagano I guess from Osaka, so when you get out to hop on a bus, it’s just another stand that will take you up to Shiga. I guess the real question is, do you prefer restaurants and apres after? Probably a bit more isolated up at Shiga. Easily enough to keep you busy for 4-5 days there.
     
  9. Sandy

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

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    The lack of restaurants & apres is probably the main reason I don't suggest Shiga Kogen as a first Japanese snow experience.
     
  10. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Agreed. Hakuba just makes it easy for first timers, esp. coming from Kansai.
     
  11. chriscross

    chriscross One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Sandy is one of the Japan experts and his recommendation re: Penke Panke Lodge in the Wadano area of Hakuba Happo-one is worth looking into. Good location, close to some easy beginner terrain but also near one lift which takes you higher up the mountain to more interesting slopes for an experienced skier. A friendly, affordable place, popular with Aussies but also international crew.
     
    Chaeron likes this.
  12. silva

    silva One of Us

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    If Hubby is a beginner then you need a good English speaking snowsports school.
    My recommendation would be lodge style accommodation where you can meet other people and get lots of information (in English)
    From personal experience Hakuba staying at Penke Panke with lessons at Evergreen is super easy - only drawback is that you need to take the bus to get to Evergreen Snowsports school.
    Would also highly recommend you look at Myoko - stay at Red Warehouse and get lessons from Myoko Snowsports - very highly recommended.
    Both these options will give you an easy, trouble free introduction to Japan skiing.
     
    M_G and nezumi like this.
  13. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Agreed, Myoko would be a good choice too. But recommending Hakuba purely because of ease of access from Kansai.
     
    nezumi likes this.
  14. nezumi

    nezumi One of Us

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    When the guy who potentially stands to profit from you coming to Myoko recommends Hakuba - that's a pretty good indication that Hakuba is the better option for your needs. (You can alway visit Myoko in future years...)
     
  15. slotele

    slotele Hard Yards

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    Just booked for February at hailodge.com in Hakuba. Run by Gavin and Julia nice people, inexpensive ( 5000 yen per person / night ) and a 4 minute walk to the gondola / chairlift.
    The lodge is in Tsugaike which has an English speaking ski school and lots of beginner runs. Went there in Feb two years ago and almost had the place to ourselves the runs are soooo wide.
    It's a Japanese style location, not much western stuff around, the bar at Hai Lodge draws in a few people in the evenings.
     
    nezumi likes this.
  16. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    That's a good end of the valley too ;).
     
    Mitchthewitch likes this.
  17. winter

    winter One of Us Ski Pass: 30 Day

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    I have travelled from Kansai to Myoko with no difficulty and a very scenic trip.
    I vote Myoko for a 1st trip. Fabulous mountain, English speaking wonderful ski school and hire, good accommodation options, smaller for your 1st trip and a great beginner area.
    I think its perfect for 5 days. You could potentially get overwhelmed with the size of the Hakuba valley with only 5 days. Keep your experience all together in a small, quaint town.
     
  18. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Well, Myoko (specifically Akakura Onsen) would work. Just not as close.
    Airport train to Shin-Osaka or Kyoto. From there you can go two ways:
    Express to Kanazawa, Shink to JoetsuMyoko, then shuttle up into Akakura Onsen
    Express to Nagano, local train to Myoko Kogen.

    But it's all moot. According to her profile she hasn't been back since posting on Saturday. So we might all just be pissing in the wind! o_O:whistle:
     
    nezumi and Amelia1810 like this.
  19. Paradox

    Paradox Hard Yards

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    Personally I cant see why Hakaba is realistically any closer/easier than Akakura Onsen from Osaka, but I have never done the route myself so just commenting theoretically.... As the crow flies its got maybe 30clicks on Myoko but if travelling by train then either way you go through Nagano right? From there it's probably similar travel time, one is a train one is a bus.

    Not sure on the OP's flight arrangements but flying out of Tokyo would be easier than returning to Osaka.

    It's just my opinion but Akakura Onsen (Myoko to many but not really correct) is a first timers delight. Plenty of budget accommodation, low crowd factor. Hire and repair shops everywhere, high quality lessons, very easy to walk to lifts, restaurants or the bus to Iki or Sugi and everything you need is within throwing distance. Hakaba may have a better Apres/nightlife if that's your scene (to my knowledge anyway).

    M_G and Skichanger on here have accommodation options in Myoko, PM them if you need more info.
     
    M_G likes this.
  20. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    If your husband is a beginner I would give Wadano a miss You will want to be spending time at Iimori for the ski school there which is still the best in the valley (Hakuba Snowsports) and after that places like Tsugaike and one of my favs Sanosaka. We suggest our guests give Happo a miss altogether unless they are solid intermediate or advanced. The beginner area at Happo which is Saka is small, often crowded and still a little steep and the ski school is not there. I would stay somewhere central near the many shuttles or stay somewhere like the Whitehorse that offers personal shuttles to resorts in the mornings. Echoland for the win or if you want to be away from the more, on occasion, rowdier elements and eat where locals do (Emu, Tottsun, Sumiya Jun etc) stay near the railway station. Yes Im biased as that's where we live and have our businesses but there is a reason why many local prominent people chose to live in that area, although I dont put myself in that group :)

    LOTS happening out that way these days, Dave from Evergreen has bought a large hotel slopeside which has a bar as has Cam from the Phathouse. Another 2 friends have bought a very large place just down from the Gondy. That area is changing rapidly.
     
    Donzah, Shrike and M_G like this.
  21. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    As far as the OP is concerned. I think...
    [​IMG]
     
    Lucky Pete likes this.
  22. Nozawaman

    Nozawaman A Local

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    I thought you were talking about skichanger hahaha
     
    M_G likes this.
  23. Toto Warmlet

    Toto Warmlet One of Us

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    [​IMG]



    Hire a car.
    Ignore all the advice.
    You can't go wrong.
     
    Dumphfish, M_G and Dave6 like this.
  24. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    :whistle: It's been a long time inbetween drinks. Quite possible I guess.