Question Help! for last minute Honshu trip in Jan

Discussion in 'Japan' started by Ofmontreal, Nov 12, 2018.

  1. Ofmontreal

    Ofmontreal Hard Yards

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    Hey all,

    Due to work constraints I am only just arranging a Honshu tourist/ski holiday now (November).

    I am used to snowboarding and lodging in Niseko Annupuri, however on this trip, I am bringing a beginner and we want to spend a bunch of time in Tokyo I decided to limit the scope of the trip to Honshu, which I am unfamiliar with.

    Flights are booked Perth-Tokyo for 30 Dec to 17th Jan.

    Now we are planning to spend a week in Tokyo and then start exploring the snow. Can anyone assist with recommendations for where to snowboard given the following:
    • Male 29 - experienced snowboarder. Female 27 - first timer snowboarder. I am happy to spend most of the time with her on beginner slopes so off-piste/challenging terrain/ large variety is not a huge requirement. It would be a bonus if the hill had a terrain park or something playful next to a beginner run so I could stretch my legs on some laps.
    • Would like cheap accommodation to be available (pension style) - targeting between AU$100-150 for a twin private. Bonus would be the ability to walk to lifts (or at least the accomodation does drop offs).
    • Don't need large nightlife, though options for restaurants/drinks would be appreciated but not in expense of enjoyable snowboarding conditions (crowds etc).
    • Preferably have soft snow more importantly than large dumps (to help the beginner).
    • Would be a bonus if the area is quite scenic, and maybe some other attractions around for us to explore. We have quite a bit of time available so we could move between locations.
    Obviously we have left it pretty late for accomodation, please help! Looking for possibly that honshu ski resort which is upcoming or more orientated for beginners such that it isn't so busy... Appreciate your ideas.

    Cheers!
     
  2. Donzah

    Donzah Part of the Furniture
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    The biggest issue is you'll be visiting during Japanese holidays over nye.
    Try to stay in Tokyo during that time. Then head to somewhere like Myoko after the crowds move on.
     
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  3. skichanger

    skichanger A Local
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    If you are interestred in Mt Myoko or Madarao PM me.

    Both fit your requirements.
     
  4. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete Addicted

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    If you choose to come to Hakuba (which ticks all those boxes) contact Monkey Rider and Wasabi Lodge as a start. You may get lucky with some accomm.
     
  5. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    And I think Jan 12 - 14th will be crowded too. The second Monday of January = Coming of age day, and it's a Japanese national holiday. So it's a long weekend.
     
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  6. Zimbooo

    Zimbooo One of Us

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    If skichanger can fit you in take it. Both Myoko & Madarao have english speaking lessons. Get her lessons......at least in the morning for a few days.
     
  7. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again
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    Myoko fits the bill well. Ticks all your boxes and six resorts nearby to visit. Can do you a deal 3-16 Jan at Red Warehouse (see sig below) as we have had a late cancellation on one combo room. As Donzah said, I'd spend the first few days exploring Tokyo then go skiing, whether that's here or somewhere else.
     
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  8. Pat42

    Pat42 One of Us

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    How busy is that first week in january likley to be (its when im going)

    Never been that early

    Are we talking chinese new year busy? Busier?

    Should it be ok in the smaller lesser known resorts?
     
  9. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local
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    IMO there are better beginner oriented resorts than Myoko. The English ski school is a plus, but the separated smaller ski areas aren't great for a leaner/advanced combo.

    I'd be looking at a resort that is sizeable enough for a whole week and that has decent beginner runs. Madaro, Zao or Shiga maybe?
     
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  10. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again
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    There are national holidays up to Thu. 3 so it will be busy busy up to that point. Maybe still a bit up till Sun. 6 if people tack that Friday on.

    Akakura Onsen is one giant beginner slope. ;) Shiga unticks some other boxes. Madarao, yes, but not for 10 days or so.
     
  11. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again
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    Presuming by his silence that OP has just booked something online.
     
    #11 M_G, Nov 14, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
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  12. Ofmontreal

    Ofmontreal Hard Yards

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    Nope not yet! Thanks for the suggestions. Spent some time researching myoko and it looks good.

    What would we do If we outgrow myoko? If this resort is low elevation are we at more risk for melted/hard snow while learning?

    Considering the accommodation suggestions now, thanks !
     
  13. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty!
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    You could hire a car and visit many resorts in the area. Maybe do the first week in Myoko finding ski legs and taking things at a laid back pace, then hire a car and head out to Tangram, Madarao, Suginohara, maybe even Shiga Kogen for day trips.

    We are talking about January right?
    Weather is weather and anything can happen, but in January, unlikely. Japan snow is not AS dependent on elevation as other ski regions in the world. There is nothing quite like seeing fluffy snow on the beaches.
     
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  14. skichanger

    skichanger A Local
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    I think you are unlikely to outgrow "Myoko". Maybe Akakura Onsen, well you will probably have outgrown it after 1 day but not sure about the first timer.
     
  15. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete Addicted

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    As a 1st time skiers I reckon, in particular, your Mrs will tire of Myoko after 4 to 5 days due to the limited non skiing options. I would plan to spend some time somewhere larger with more options for non skiing activities as part if not all of your trip or plan day trips away from the mountain as she wont want to go every day.

    I STRONGLY suggest you only do 1/2 days on the mountain the 1st few days, maybe nearly all of them. This is particularly critical for a beginner. It is a taxing physical activity and no matter how fit you think you are you will use muscle groups you dont normally use. If you try and do more than that, especially at the start, you wont want to go near the mountain day 3. I see this ALL the time.

    As a new skier have you booked lessons for your Mrs with a reputable English speaking school? If not I would get onto that too. Do NOT try and teach her yourself - if you do your holiday will be a misery. Get her in a class in the morning, go ride by yourself. Meet at lunch then call it a day. As a bar owner I hear lots of stories how guys get it wrong and their holiday suffers.

    This is her 1st ski trip. Make it memorable, enjoyable, fun and make sure she has enough gear to be WARM and you will get to do it many times again. Have her in pain, cold, bored and hating on it and that will be it.

    Rather than starting with a week in Tokyo maybe 4 days there, 5 days at a place to ski, 3 days away doing something else, go somewhere else to ski 4 days there and a few days somewhere no ski on the way out? An extra bit of travel but if you get a rail pass maybe a solid option?
     
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  16. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again
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  17. chriscross

    chriscross One of Us
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    Surely the Saaka/ Wadano area at Hakuba happo-one would be suitable. Very user friendly beginners terrain with an English language ski school close by (Evergreen). Plus there is an intermediate level terrain park at the top of the next lift. Just a suggestion. Bullet train to Nagano, bus to Hakuba. Easy.
     
  18. Ofmontreal

    Ofmontreal Hard Yards

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    Does Hakuba happo-one bring a lot of crowds? I wouldn't mind splitting the trip up, if it means some new off-snow activities/ nightlife.
     
  19. Donzah

    Donzah Part of the Furniture
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    Happo is the worst ski area in the Hakuba Valley IMO
     
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  20. Donzah

    Donzah Part of the Furniture
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    IMO Myoko is a better bet
     
  21. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete Addicted

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    For my mind happo is not an ideal place for a beginner, in fact I dont have much love for it at all being a snowboarder. That being said you can stay anywhere in Hakuba, enjoy the numerous places to go out, cafes, bars etc and catch the bus to Tsugaike which has the best beginner terrain the valley and the top part offers some of the best advanced terrain in the valley. Its the perfect combo and Evergreen are opening a school there this year.

    Immori also offers the same too with Hakuba Snowsports which is widely recognised as a great school based there and its at the bottom of Goryu which is connected to 47. Both of those offer epic inbounds riding when its on and great beginner terrain.
     
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  22. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete Addicted

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  23. Sbooker

    Sbooker Hard Yards

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    This is fantastic advice.
    I personally would ski every day of a holiday and my wife and kids are avid skiers but I never have them ski more than three days in a row. I always have an excursion planned for a day or two between skiing. I find North America and their multi hill passes like Ikon is a great way to have this style of ‘ski and sight see’ holiday.
    I find this method has the kids absolutely wanting to ski. Sometimes they’re asking to ditch the tourist activity so they can ski more.
     
  24. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again
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    It is!!
     
  25. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local
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    All you can eat and drink! They had to roll me out of the door haha. The Myoko dark beer is bloody delicious too
     
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  26. Ofmontreal

    Ofmontreal Hard Yards

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    Thanks for the replies. To ask for ideas one more time.. if we were planning to split up the ski trip (starting at Myoko akakura) and then somewhere else for a change of pace (More food, activities), what would you recommend, considering logistics from Myoko?
     
  27. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again
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  28. skichanger

    skichanger A Local
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    It depends on whether you are talking about day trips or actually staying somewhere else. And it depends on what you mean by food activiities. Last season we had some guests who had a week on snow - his ting and week doing all sorts of other stuff - her thing. They had been doing this for a few years and had done several cooking classes, lots of interesting travel and some craft classes. People on here are unlikely to be able to help a lot with the non-snow stuff so you may need to look further afield to find the other things. But I am sure that there will be some suggestions from here. But the more specific you can be about what you are looking for the more likely you are to get help.
     
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  29. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local
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    Nozawa would be a nice option IMO, fun village with enough non-snow related stuff to see and look at in town for a couple of days. Accom will be difficult to find this late though
     
  30. Neoh JH

    Neoh JH First Runs

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    For beginners, I think Tsugaike is still the best option. Wide, gentle slopes that are perfect for first timers. You'll want to stay in Wadano / Happo area for better access to food / apres ski.
     
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  31. Ofmontreal

    Ofmontreal Hard Yards

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    We have booked:
    tokyo for dec30-jan05
    moyo for 6jan-11jan
    looking elsewhere for the last 6 nights - wish you hadn't mentioned nozawa because we think it looks amazing, but can't find accomodation! Is there anything similar.

    Great recommendation on the lessons and halfdays btw. Will be adhering to this advice :)
     
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  32. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local
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    Yeah definitely peak period middle of Jan for the popular Nagano resorts. For the second resort to visit, are you still looking for an English speaking ski school?
    If you want to go from Myoko to somewhere a little more lively Happo One in Hakuba is your answer!
     
  33. Ofmontreal

    Ofmontreal Hard Yards

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    We are hoping that after first location she won't be needing lessons anymore. She would get uncomfortable spending that much on lessons regardless!

    Looking at Happo - one .. appears to have accommodation available. What about Yuzawa to finish off the trip? Stunning views apparently.
     
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  34. Nozawaman

    Nozawaman A Local
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    Shiga Kogen
     
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  35. Donzah

    Donzah Part of the Furniture
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    This
     
  36. elSpike

    elSpike Hard Yards
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    Shiga will have accom. So much variety of terrain. And super easy to get to from Myoko.
     
  37. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again
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    Stay in Myoko another 3 nights, then 3 in Madarao.
     
  38. Ofmontreal

    Ofmontreal Hard Yards

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    I hear Shiga is very quiet at night so that is off the list. Have tentatively booked Hotel El Mayo in Hakuba.
     
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  39. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete Addicted

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    Easy stroll up to Echoland where you will find enough entertainment. Start at Whitehorse for a few, walk over to Goldilocks then into Mockingbird.
     
  40. Joe

    Joe Hard Yards

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    The wife and I had a peaceful trip planned for Shiga until the extended family wanted to tag along. When I showed them my accommodations I was subjected to an intervention LOL....Back to Hakuba Valley ( which I love ) but I wanted less crowds and Hakuba has grown. But the youngins like to go out!
     
  41. Idris

    Idris First Runs

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    Minakami area (5 resorts nearby) and or Yuzawa (20 resorts) area, both fit your bill in terms of soft snow and easy access.
    Starting point for your info and accom. search
    http://www.hiiragilodge.com/ and http://www.tenjinlodge.com/ if they don't have what you need they will point you in the right direction.
    If she gets the hang of it, take her cat skiing - if you pick a day when we are quiet (see my other thread I'll put my number there when I get it) - we can justify (just) ruining with just 2 clients.
     
  42. mannyk

    mannyk One of Us
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    Great advise for the wife, going to hard to early will catch up.