Hakuba Accommodation

Hammerhead

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May 22, 2008
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Thought I'd crystalise out a new hakuba thread in case anyone - like me - has questions for this coming 09/10 season.

I'm learning that 'Hakuba' is big. Spread out over a large valley the way some European resorts are and less like most Nth American and certainly not at all like any Australian resorts. You don't just 'stay in Hakuba'.

Apropos of that, has anyone had much experience in the Goryu area? It appears to have some on-snow or short walk to lifts accom. It sounds like it has some restaurant facilities for evening meal options, and it also hooks up with 47 on the same lift pass.

Is it a good ski option compared to Happo? Is it a good stay option as compared to Happo or Wadano. I realise there's Echo too for a stay option but prefer on-snow as opposed to shuttle to resorts and Echo appears to be shuttle to any slope.

Cheers. Hopefully I'll be one doing much of the answering after Jan.
 

Sandy

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I wouldn't say that Hakuba is dissimilar to North American resorts and similar to European resorts.

Many European resorts in one area tend to be linked directly with lifts between them.

Places like Park City Utah, Lake Tahoe, Banff, etc have a number of resorts along a valley, not linked. I'd say Hakuba is more like that.

Shiga Kogen is a bit more like a linked European area, but on a much smaller scale.
 

travelislife

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Didn't really answer hammerheads question though Sandy, but I do agree with you!

In response to your original post Hammerhead I think you will get very bored very quickly if you try to restrict yourself to the one or two resorts. 'Hakuba' the region has many great resorts and depending on the weather each resort can have very different conditions all on the same day. For this reason I think you shouldn't be worrying too much about the on snow accommodation and rather use the shuttles to your advantage so that you can have the best days skiing in the area possible.
 

Sandy

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If you stay at Goryu for a couple of weeks, you'd have to try Goryu/47, Happo, Sun Alpina, Iwatake, Cortina/Norikua and Tsugaike.

While it's good to be within walking distance of the lifts(!!), there is a REAL temptation not to go out of your way to try other places when it's just so convenient......
wink.gif
 
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DVS

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Apr 12, 2008
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It really depends on what you're looking for and the skill of your ski party. The bottom of Goryu is quite easy, but can get busy, especially on weekends. The top is also quite easy, although the altitude can be scary for beginners as the green run is on a ridge with steep drops on both sides. The descent is quite challenging for what is described as an intermediate run.

The real value of Hakuba is in getting around to the various resorts. If that is what you are thinking of, then I would suggest you pick your accommodation based on access to the shuttle routes. When you get the hang of them, they're quite good and, being Japan, they are reliable. However, they are not frequent, especially during the middle of the day (one per hour and a half).

I found Goryu was not as well located for bus access as, say, Echoland/Misorano. Staying Hakuba townsite means you are probably within easy access of the bus terminal (note, it is not located at the train terminal). Every bus starts and ends at the bus terminal, so this provides maximum flexibility.

Otherwise, whilst the routes overlap at some points, you may find that to get to where you want to, you will have to catch one bus to the terminal to connect to another bus to get to your resort of choice.

The best option is to pick accommodation that offers a transport service or, even better, has a great manager that will offer to drive you around. But these can be at the more expensive end of the range.

Finally, the resorts each have their own "personality". Tsugaike is quite flat compared to the others and is excellent for beginners and cruising runs. Iwatake is bit more challenging, but not as much as Happo or Goryu/47. My pick was Sun Alpina. Sensational views, uncrowded and extremely well "lifted" which allows you to ski from one end of the resort and back without any tranversing. The only problem was the unrelenting japanese pop music played over the loud speakers. But, hey, if it means that we were the only three people on a run for a full hour, then I'm happy to put up with it.

Have fun
 

rangerider

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Jun 14, 2008
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Yep it's spread out in a big way. It's a tough call on where to stay but next time I go I'll stay at either Goryu, Happo, Wadano or Echoland. They're all good spots for different reasons. For example, where I stayed at Wadano it was a five minute walk to the Sakka lifts at Happo One which was awesome but if you wanted a convenience store it was a fair hike to the Lawson down the road so it's a little isolated. On the upside, it's nice and quiet, has some nice places to eat and enough bars to keep you happy and is in a nice forest setting and you have easy access to probably the best mountain in Hakuba. On the other side of Happo One is Happo which has a bit more going on and imo is more conveniently located than Wadano. Goryu is great because it has just about everything you would want and Goryu/47 are great fun and right at your door. Echoland is probably the best for everything except walking to the lifts. It's a great place to stay if you want to sample a lot of different resorts and has the most shops, bars and restaurants etc. If your budget allows I'd seriously consider hiring a car, it'll give you much more freedom to go where the snow is. It can be puking not far away when it's not where you are.
 

RARRRRRRR

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Aug 22, 2008
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Hammerhead said:
Thought I'd crystalise out a new hakuba thread in case anyone - like me - has questions for this coming 09/10 season.

I'm learning that 'Hakuba' is big. Spread out over a large valley the way some European resorts are and less like most Nth American and certainly not at all like any Australian resorts. You don't just 'stay in Hakuba'.

Apropos of that, has anyone had much experience in the Goryu area? It appears to have some on-snow or short walk to lifts accom. It sounds like it has some restaurant facilities for evening meal options, and it also hooks up with 47 on the same lift pass.

Is it a good ski option compared to Happo? Is it a good stay option as compared to Happo or Wadano. I realise there's Echo too for a stay option but prefer on-snow as opposed to shuttle to resorts and Echo appears to be shuttle to any slope.

Cheers. Hopefully I'll be one doing much of the answering after Jan.

Iwatake, cortina and tsugaike have much better runs + its easier and less risky to go into trees(pass wise)
 
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sir_rhyso

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Jul 13, 2004
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I'll agree Cortina and Tsugaike were easy to tree ski (without trouble)...Iwatake has some great tree runs that aren't roped off - on the reverse side of the summit to the gondola.
But as for better runs, that is far too "skiier specific" to comment on. Skiing the Adventure Course run between Line C (Hakuba 47) and Iimori (near Goryu) rates as my favourite on piste run in Hakuba.
The northern resorts of Tsugaike and Cortina often accumulate more snow (but that depends on the prevailing wind), so staying at Goryu (southern side of Hakuba) makes it more challenging to get to, and you probably won't arrive until 9am at the earliest (an hour after lifts open). Not a probem if you have a car, or if your accommodation organises private transfers.
Of course, if you take an Australian view, arriving at a resort an hour after lifts open on a powder day might mean the hills are tracked, but you will still find fresh lines all day and the northern Hakuba resorts are definitely worth the effort to reach.
 

Wannabe

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Mar 8, 2007
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I'm a little like Hammerhead when it comes to Japan, Hakuba or Hokkaido.
Ques....given some of you have been all over Japan, where would you go for your first ski trip to Japan for a family of 4 with the kids ages being 13 & 10, that don't require ski school? A lot of variables I know.
I like the idea of Niseko & Rusutsu, don't really know why, maybe its kinda like, when in Canada go at least once to Whistler. We're planning to be there mid to late Jan2010, and want to sample some of that deepish fluffy stuff that I'm always hearing about. My +1 is thinking 10 days in Hakuba, but only because she thinks it will be cheaper, is that the case? Looking forward to hearing from anyone. Cheers.
 
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Heinz

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Haven't been to Hakuba myself, but I wouldn't think it would necessarily be any cheaper than Niseko if you are comparing like for like. When comparing similar types of accomodation throughout Japan there isn't that much variation.

Where Niseko can be more expensive is if you want to stay in luxury apartments (like in Whistler) because they are in high demand. Japanese style rooms can be quite economical for families if you don't mind sharing a room and sleeping on futons.

The other factor is the extra cost of a domestic flight if you fly into Tokyo, although that can possibly be offset by going via Seoul.

Either option would be fine, though Niseko is still probably the easist for first time visitors and if you stay in Hirafu you have more of an established base where you don't need to rely as much on shuttle buses.

Of course when you come back next time, there are dozens of other places to check out.
 

Chuck Norris

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Good one, I'll be following this thread as we just booked 2 weeks in Japan in Feb. The plan is a week in Hakuba and a week in Tokyo.

I like the idea of staying around the centre of things and just getting shuttles (i did a season in banff a few years ago so I can handle a 10 min shuttle ride!). So Echoland area looks like the go for us. Any recommendations for accom there? There will be 3 of us and we'd prefer a 1 or 2 bed apartment style accom. If it was just me it would be the cheapest backpackers i could find but 2 females who would prefer self contained apartment/chalet style (own kitchen, bathroom etc). From the couple of hours of research ive done it looks like there is a bit of stuff around for around 30-40,000 jpy.

I havent even had a look at Tokyo yet, but if anyone has recommendations for areas of Tokyo to visit/stay it would be appreciated too.

I can't wait. 7 months a long time though!
 

DVS

Hard Yards
Apr 12, 2008
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Chuck Norris said:
I havent even had a look at Tokyo yet, but if anyone has recommendations for areas of Tokyo to visit/stay it would be appreciated too.

We went in January this year and stayed at the Sunroute Shinjuku. Extremely close to Shinjuku station, which made things quite easy. The hotel was completely refurbished in 2007/08 so the rooms were quite good. The hotel is simple, rooms are small by western standards, but not by Japan standards, and the rates were very good. Staff spoke English very well.

I have also stayed at the Tokyo Dome, which is a bit more upmarket and more expensive. If I went again, I would stay at the Sunroute. The advantage of the Dome is that it is close to the Kanda Ski Stores district.

My personal preference is to get away from the Shinagawa Prince. It's too big and a bit "american".
 
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rangerider

A Local
Jun 14, 2008
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Chuck Norris said:
Good one, I'll be following this thread as we just booked 2 weeks in Japan in Feb. The plan is a week in Hakuba and a week in Tokyo.

I like the idea of staying around the centre of things and just getting shuttles (i did a season in banff a few years ago so I can handle a 10 min shuttle ride!). So Echoland area looks like the go for us. Any recommendations for accom there? There will be 3 of us and we'd prefer a 1 or 2 bed apartment style accom. If it was just me it would be the cheapest backpackers i could find but 2 females who would prefer self contained apartment/chalet style (own kitchen, bathroom etc). From the couple of hours of research ive done it looks like there is a bit of stuff around for around 30-40,000 jpy.

I havent even had a look at Tokyo yet, but if anyone has recommendations for areas of Tokyo to visit/stay it would be appreciated too.

I can't wait. 7 months a long time though!


As far as Tokyo goes stay somewhere near the subway, it makes things a lot easier because while sight seeing you'll be in and out of the subway a lot and if you have have your gear with you even better, though I couldn't recommend the Takkyubin courier service enough to ditch your gear while in Tokyo at Narita airport and have it waiting for your arrival at your accom in Hakuba . Awesome service and cheap.
I'd suggest staying in Akasaka, Roppongi or Shinjuku but really if the subway is nearby you'll be good just about anywhere within reason. I stayed at the B Hotel in Roppongi and found it excellent (there's also a B in Akasaka). I've also stayed in Kamiyacho (just down the road from Roppongi. Tokyo is awesome, you should definitely check out Asakusa (old town), Ginza, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Harajuku (Yoyogi park especially if there on a Sunday) and Ueno. If you're after a short day trip out of Tokyo, Kamakura is well worth a visit.
 
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