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Suggestion Hakuba Valley solo trip 19th - 22nd December, 18

Discussion in 'Japan' started by fosphenytoin, Aug 5, 2018.

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  1. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Cancellation policies is a vexed issue for lodge owners in Japan. Traditionally when Japanese people book they are genuine and turn up and pay for their accommodation. Unfortunately far to many have been burnt by westerners booking and cancelling at the last minute. Or booking multiple places and only turning up at one place. So these policies have changed.

    It might be ok for a big hotel to have a fairly liberal cancellation policy but when you are small, you turn away many other bookings and than the booking you have is cancelled the day before you will not survive. So you really need to think about the lack of respect for hotel owners shown by wanting a relaxed cancellation policy.

    And as for booking.com, don't get me started! Lets play screw the accommodation owner. They have even tried to make me pay a commission on cancelled bookings. Oh it is fun, not.

    Rant over
     
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  2. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    5 or so years ago I was on the Shink to Nagano and overhead a group of 4 Australian males laughing at how they had booked 3 different accommodation places in Nozawa all for the same dates. They were planning on having a look at each when they arrived and staying in the best one, cancelling the others.

    :mad::mad::mad:
     
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  3. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Exactly and that is why things have changed.
     
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  4. Sandy

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

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    That is just so bad in every way. ..
     
  5. Zimbooo

    Zimbooo One of Us

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    Karma - one day in the future when they least expect it.
    Every dog, or in this case dogs will have their day.
    Simple principle......treat others as you wish to be treated in both business and life.
     
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  6. fosphenytoin

    fosphenytoin Early Days

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    Thank you very much for the explanation, now I understand the context and background. Abuse the cancellation policy by reserving multiple accommodations for the same time period is very bad. Such practice makes me sad...... wish people could be more considerate and less selfish.

    This ryokan I will be staying at Nozawa Onsen only has 8 rooms.
     
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  7. hatto

    hatto One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Sports Thanx for rental - right next to Nagasaka Gondola, sometimes there are coupons for ticket deals but your accomodation will have discount tickets for you.
     
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  8. Nozawaman

    Nozawaman A Local

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    Well I find that very surprising with Booking.com asking for a commission on a cancellation ????
    I am currently looking after a property on the Mid North Coast NSW, and from my experience they are more than reasonable with situations like this . A quick call / email, and no dramas.
     
  9. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    They give you a really short window to report no-shows or people who cancel directly - not via bc. If you forget then you still have to pay.

    I just had another Australian based agency offer to sell rooms with 20% commission. They got a short email back
     
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  10. Nozawaman

    Nozawaman A Local

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    I think that this is an area that you can't afford to forget , and if I was you I would be setting up a pre payment condition, with fairly tight cancellation policies ( these can be customised in their extranet portal ) .
     
  11. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    It's cool. I don't use them (or any agents) for exactly these reasons. I collect a deposit for every booking and have a fairly solid cancellation policy. But it's good for people to know how much these companies are screwing over businesses.
     
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  12. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    Its common for Japanese to book multiple locations and then decide last minute which one they will go to, cancelling the others last minute. As an accomm owner Booking works for us, people complain about them but you use these sites to your advantage. Prices are escalated to reflect their fees (always cheaper to book direct folks) and we have a strict cancellation policy which is 30% refund up to 60 days out and 0 after that. We take the 70% at the time of booking (if longer than 60 days out) and the other 30% 60days prior to arrival hence negating the need to refund if a customer cancels. Pretty easy to manage with a spreadsheet and calendar. Its a great risk management tool and MUCH MUCH better than AirBnB will give us. We advise our customers to buy their travel insurance at the time of booking in case they cant come and claim through that not us. Just one way to do it :) :) :)
     
  13. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Not in my experience. I had to pay for two nights for my family in Nikko many years ago. I booked them a local place but they went to the wrong one (who accepted them). So the original place insisted I still paid, as it's "the Japanese way". Heard of similar things happening too from others.

    Also, if BC catch you offering cheaper prices directly then they will be having more than a quiet word.
     
  14. Sandy

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

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    But I have seen where if the ONE place they've booked is not up to scratch, they'll find something else.
     
  15. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    But you didnt cancel, much different to no show.
     
  16. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    To them it was a no show. My family went to a different place and I didn't know until they called at 11pm wondering why they hadn't shown. Because my family had no internet at the different place I didn't find out what had happened till a couple of days later.
     
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  17. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Dick Smith's take on the booking giants
     
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  18. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    great vid dick, bottom line i think is email or ring up and talk. its a bit harder when there are language issues though. accommodation should be able to offer discount if booked direct with slightly different conditions i always try. the money involved must be mega. interestingly a place in italy recently was on to it. on arrival asked if u want to pay cash if so we will cancel b.com, worked fine. trust required though. trouble is b.com etc make it all so easy. Remember when it was all word onthe road, just turn up or phone ahead maybe. must be room (no pun intended) for a 1-10% start up though.
     
  19. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    And B.com is flooding the net, to make it difficult to find direct contacts.

    In fact I see it as a net warfare against the the accomodation provider - if b.com and other services pop up with many search results they are trying to force the accomaodation provider into their hands, as one can not find the direct contact.

    Information overflow is a good weapon
     
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  20. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes, when BC hit me up to try and use them, one of their pitches was, "We appear at the top of all searches". They were quite surprised when I told them, "No, locally, we do". I put it on my tablet and showed them. That flustered them a bit. LOL.
     
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  21. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    For somewhere new where I’ve never been before I generally use Tripadvisor to work out the places via their ranking system. They actually have a good price link to B.com, Agoda, Expedia, etc that at least let’s me rule out the places way out of my price range. Once I’ve sorted the handful of places worth considering, I then ALWAYS go to the direct website of the accom provider and typically always get a better price and booking conditions. Places like b.com rely on laziness of the masses and take their skim off the prices. It might only be a couple dollars here and there, but on hundreds and thousands of bookings it adds up.
     
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  22. fosphenytoin

    fosphenytoin Early Days

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    Hi again:

    Re: travel from Hong Kong to Nozawa Onsen for 3-day ski trip on 28th December.

    I am about to finalize my flight booking. Based on availability and price, this is the "best" flight my travel agent found:
    Dec. 28th from Hong Kong to Haneda Airport, arrival time 7:15 pm.

    Looking at HyperDia website to sort out train schedule to Nozawa, this is what I see:
    1) 20:19 from Haneda Domestic Terminal to Iiyama (with stops in Keikyu Kamata, Shingawa, Tokyo, Nagano). Arrive to Iiyama at 23:40
    2) I understand from Iiyama to Nozawa is another 12 km. By the time I reach my hotel, it will be past midnight.

    Questions:
    1) Would I be able to take a taxi or bus to Nozawa?
    2) I am staying at a small Ryokan near the bus station. Is that too late to "check-in"? Or, it'd be better to inform my Ryokan about my late arrival?

    Apologize for these questions, first time travel to Japan arrange the trip by myself, prior times were done by someone else.... so I want to make sure I get it right. Thanks in advance.
     
  23. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    There must be heaps of flights from HK to Haneda. Why so late?
     
  24. fosphenytoin

    fosphenytoin Early Days

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    Because I am going home for the holiday season and I am trying to stop by Japan before returning the U.S.:
    From Washington DC to Hong Kong - 1st leg on 19th Dec.;
    Hong Kong to Japan - 2nd leg on 28th Dec;
    Japan back to DC - 3rd leg on 1st Jan.

    BTW, I understand there is a bus from Haneda airport to Nozawa (bus can drop you off at the hotel even). The last bus is 20:30, which I shall be able to catch, but my understanding is, it is a 5-hour bus ride, by the time I reach Nozawa, it'd be 3 am, which is too late.....

    Screen shots I found for the 3 train schedules from HyperDia: Did I input the search correctly?





     
  25. Sandy

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

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    December 28th is a Friday. Tens of thousands of people arrive late on a Friday night(around 1am).... let them know, but the Shinkansens may be chockers. It would make all the difference if you arrived 4 hours earlier.
     
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  26. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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  27. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    Do you still plan to bring your father allonge? He is a bit older as far as I remember. Hard trip you are planing for him?

    I would find it to late to turn up ind your accomodation - out of courtesy toward the owners. (still 8 rooms only?)

    Like outhers say "fly earlier" - and gives time to go to the wrong platform for first time visiter.

    It is one of the worst time to travel in Japan.

    https://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-...:Be.Careful.To.Travel.In.New.Year.Season.html
     
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  28. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    Whats your plan to get from Iiyama to Nozawa so late? Lodge owners LOVE super late arrivals too.

    Travel earlier, it will be better for everyone, including you.
     
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  29. Sandy

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

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    Japanese places expect very late arrivals on a Friday night, so it's normal.
     
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  30. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yep, get an earlier flight. Ideally you want to be travelling around lunchtime in Japan whilst everyone is still at work. Even if the flights are a bit more expensive, avoiding the Friday post-work rush will be worth it!
     
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  31. fosphenytoin

    fosphenytoin Early Days

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    I have not asked him if he wants to join me. It is only 3 days and I reached out to Nozawa Onsen Tourism board to inquire about non-skiing activities. Basically, it is early in the season and non-skiing activities are very limited, e.g. snowshoeing... not enough snow depth for it. There are some non-skiing activities but they require to travel (take bus) to the next town(?). He will be 80 years old soon and his sense of direction is always bad. W/ his age, he told me he is hesitate to travel alone because he is afraid he will get lost and won't be able find his way back.... Considering I will be out skiing and can't be with him. He likes hot springs (whenever we travel to place that have hot springs, he always like to go for a soak), but 3 days of onsening, I don't know if it will be too much and gets boring.
    Anyway, I will think about it, I suppose i can also ask him if he wants to tag along.

    On a different note, there is some hiccups w/ my travel planning. My ability to take time off during the x'mas and new year week is now questionable. I supposed I can push the travel dates forward a week. But I already paid deposit to the Ryokan I will be staying for dates 28th Dec to 1st Jan. Do you guys know if Ryokan owners can be flexible to switch around dates? If not, I guess I will have to forfeit the deposit.

    Anyhow, I shall know whether this will be a go or not early next week.

    If it is a go, I will look for earlier flights to arrive to Tokyo.

    One more question, flight wise, is there any difference b/w arrival to Haneda airport vs Narita? I will be taking the shink...
     
  32. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Haneda is close to an hour closer
     
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  33. fosphenytoin

    fosphenytoin Early Days

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    Thank you! Good to know, coz airfare to Narita vs Haneda is the same.
     
  34. fosphenytoin

    fosphenytoin Early Days

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    Hi again all:

    Flight booked, will fly into HND from HKG on 28th December. Unfortunately I won't be able to catch an earlier flight (only alternative is 12:35 am flight from HKG arrive to HND at 5:30 a.m. too early for me).

    Therefore I will be arriving to HND at 7:15 pm. My soon to be 80 year-old father will come along.

    Question about ways to get to Nozawa from HND:
    1) Chuo taxi - 14200 yen per person one way
    2) Shink to Iiyama = ~9300 yen + taxi 8000 yen from Iiyama to Nozawa = 17300 yen

    Is my estimation/ calculation correct? If so, it seems Chuo taxi is the more economical way to go correct?

    I was also informed that: Since I need to change train once from HND to Tokyo, it might be a "pain" and difficult if I have big luggage. Is it true? How much walking / escalators involved for this change?
    I notice from HyperDia website, from HND to Nozawa, taking Shink may involve multiple train changes, different platforms. Given some transfer time is rather short, 7 minutes, do I need to worry about miss the train? I am not familiar w/ the shinks and train station in Japan, I am worry it may take longer to find my way around. Please advise?
     
  35. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    Stop over thinking this! KISS principal is key here.

    Irrespective of the cost, with an 80 year old with you just take the Chuo Taxi. I have had my parents out a few times and they are in their 80s. Anything but the Chuo will be stress you and particularly your Dad dont need and if you miss one transfer you are stuffed. I still think you are crazy for trying to get there that night. We dont do that to my parents.
     
    #135 Lucky Pete, Oct 27, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
  36. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    If you know what you are doing the train is fine. But the first time you do it it is a bit confusing.
    You:
    • catch the monorail to Hamamatsucho,
    • change to the local train. There is a lift but ....and you need to make sure you go out the correct gate, buy a shinkansen ticket etc etc
    • catch the local train to Tokyo.
    • change to the shinkansen. Much easier change. It is a small walk, there are lifts at the southern end of the local platform etc.
    • Catch the shinkansen to Iiyama. Beautiful brand new station with lifts escalators etc. Tourist/information centre on ground floor with lovely people that will help you.
     
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  37. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    I fear that the landing time leads to only one option if you want to get to Nozawa on he same day IMO. You’ll probably get out of customs and baggage all things smoothly by 8pm? Then it’s a big effort to catch all the connections to then make the final Shinkansen out to Nagano or Iiyama.

    Go Chuo.
     
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  38. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    May be you should consider to hire a guide or porter who meets you on arrival.
    Look forward to your tripreport.:cool:
    I remember Sandy supported you plan - may be for him?
     
  39. fosphenytoin

    fosphenytoin Early Days

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    Right, keep it simple.
    Agreed. Will go w/ Chuo (to keep it simple).
    Side note, not overly crazy, but just anxious to get to destination consider I only have 3 days.
    Yes, definitely will write a TR after my trip (specially) for @Sandy (just kidding!) but also for you all give me timely advice and point me to the right directions.
     
  40. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    I wish you good luck, and hope everything turns out well for you two.:thumbs:
     
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