Japan 2012- 2013 Trip Plans/Thoughts/Reviews Thread

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smitty484

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Updated Crew List


The starting point for information on Japanese travel:
http://wikiski.com/wiki/index.php/Category:Japan


Hakuba
fattwins: Hakuba resident
damian: Hakuba resident
HakubaBCbum: Hakuba resident
TJ: Hakuba resident
itchy_knee: Hakuba resident
Tackie: Hakuba resident, Christmas - March.
Slim: 21 January - 24 January
webberchoked: 18 January - 21 January
Vermillion: 11 January - 27 January

Nozawa Onsen
Fat Boy: Nozawa resident
FLI335: 18 January - 28 January
Pelm1: 30 January - 26 February
webberchoked: 01 February - 03 March

Myoko Kogen
Slim: 25 January - 31 January
skichanger: Winter resident
malibu: 29 December - 05 January
Insaneous: 25 January - 05 February
webberchoked: 04 March - 14 March

Madarao Kogen
malibu: December 23 - December 29

Shiga Kogen
malibu: January 09 - January 17

Kagura/Naeba/Yuzawa

Hokkaido

Niseko
sourmash: 23 December - 04 January
Texy and family: 18 January - 25 January
webberchoked: 18 December - 12 January

Furano
FuranoFreshPow: Resident

Rusutsu

Dynaland, Gifu

Other - add in name(s) of resorts

All over the shop:
smackies (the wanderer): January 2012 - depletion of funds

Still deciding:

Accommodation
http://wikiski.com/wiki/index.php/Category:Japan (search by region)

Travel:
http://wikiski.com/wiki/index.php/Category:Japan#Transport
For help out calculating routes and highway tolls in English - https://www.navitime.co.jp/en/

Snow reports and forecasts:
http://wikiski.com/wiki/index.php/Category:Japan#Climate

Back Country
http://www.dancingsnow.com/
http://myokokogen.net/nordic.htm
http://steepdeepjapan.com
http://nisekosnow.net/niseko-backcountry/index.php
Hakuba Avalanche Bulletin: http://nadare.jp/alert/index.html

Maps
Akakan Resort
Akakura Onsen
Hakuba
Nozawa Onsen

Similar Threads
Nozawa Onsen
Furano
Myoko
Niseko
Hakuba
 
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BofSki

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Bloody hell Smitty, only got back exactly 4 weeks ago today.

Still got NZ 2012 to go
wink.gif


Anyway +1 liked Hotel Alp at Myoko, so I think we'll be back. Try and get there a bit earlier next year, maybe just after school hols are over
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TOFF

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Donza said:
I think you should bring TOFFS thread into this one

i can make that happen.
 
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TOFF

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i need a ski travel mod to do it for me.
 

smitty484

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Sandy said:
TOFF said:
Sandy said:
TOFF, was was the rationale in the choices of Hakuba & Shiga Kogen?
Wasnt really any.
Hak as it will be better than what we got last time.
Shiga cause its big and will have great snow without having to head up to Niseko.

What do you think?

Shiga Kogen Pros:
- Shiga is high, so the snow quality is generally good.
- Even if it is raining at 1200m, it won't be raining at the lowest point (around 1350m).
- It's quiet during the week.
- It's big.

Cons:
- It's located a bit further into the mountains, so it doesn't get quite as much snow as, say Nozawa Onsen or Myoko.
- The largest vertical drop (fall line) is about 550m.
- The 21 "resorts" link together, but it can can be a bit of a push, more so for snowboarders.
- It's very much a Japanese area, which means the standard arrangement is that you eat at your hotel, there are limited restaurants to go out to, and lots of bars is not the norm.


IMO, if you go to central Japan in the last two weeks of January, you can't go wrong. It is almost always cold and snowy.
 
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smitty484

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Sandy said:
Also, if you're staying at Hakuba, the location of your accommodation is very important for the ability to get to more than just one mountain. So for example, I know someone who spent over a week at Hakuba staying at Goryu, and they didn't go to any other mountain!!
 
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smitty484

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Donza said:
Sandy said:
Also, if you're staying at Hakuba, the location of your accommodation is very important for the ability to get to more than just one mountain. So for example, I know someone who spent over a week at Hakuba staying at Goryu, and they didn't go to any other mountain!!
get a car
 
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smitty484

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webberchoked said:
well i travelled alone so renting a car wasnt an option.
i took the train at like 730 from kamshiro which was 180yen and 2 stops, i jump on a shuttle and im at happo/tsugukai/iwataki in no time. thats 3 resorts.
same train to cortina which took a little longer maybe 20 minutes. 4 resorts.
goryu and hakuba 47. 6 resorts.
i dunno, i guess that might be super difficult for lots of people, but for me it was easy.
 
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smitty484

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damian said:
Sandy said:
smitty484 said:
You don't know what hitting six resorts easily is like, without having a car. fcuk waiting for a bus.

Exactly. The bus system at Hakuba is a pain. e.g. you're leaving the mountain 4pm to head back to the airport at..... the buses stop at 11am, and start again at 4pm.

You hear repeated stories of people missing a connection - a connection that was confusing to work out in the first place - and having to wait an hour or more. Stories of taking 2 hours to get from town to Goryu.

I have a very small commercial involvement in Hakuba and for my few customers who stay in Goryu, I simply have to pick them up and drop them off - or else they would not be able to participate in my services at all. This can add a full hour of driving time to my day - an expense that rightly should be carried by either the town with a proper bus system, or the various lodge owners offering on-demand drop-off and pick-ups. Whoever should meet the expense, it certainly should not be the customer, but most of the time they are the ones "paying the price".

The ones who have the hardest time are the committed backcountry skiers who stay in Goryu and find that they need to get to Tsugaike every day. I'm slowly meeting foreigners - mostly Canadians who are not influenced by "Aussie Lodge" group think - and who come for pure backcountry who are independently booking places in Tsugaike village. They are by passing Hakuba all together.
 
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smitty484

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fattwins said:
The bus system took a down turn this season for sure. I think the resorts felt that they were going to loose money and in January they adjusted the buses to might the demand. the demand this season is not very full too be honest. In past seasons the roesorts had to run extra buses because they were too full after a stop or 2. This season they are doing a double loop. If you are a commited BC skier it makes no sense to stay in Goryu and too be honest if you are a commited BC skier in for a week to 2 weeks a rental car should be high on the list of costs for the trip.
 
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smitty484

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Sandy said:
TOFF said:
Touche.
Probably look at same accom in Hakuba.

TOFF, I stayed at Penke Panke last weekend(where we stayed last tinme you were here), and here's the drill.

Justin has improved what was already a good operation there, for what is one of the cheaper places right near the slopes at Happo. He's built a bar which is 10m from the front door, with a fire out the front!!!. The interior has been upgraded, so there's a new ski/drying room, although most people still like the one near the front door. The group I was with had the apartment at the back, and it very nice. Fits 6 people, and is very comfortable, with everything you need including a kitchen, washing machine, etc.

As you may recall, it's 70m from the slopes at Happo, and 50m distance to direct shuttle buses to Hakuba 47/Goryu and Iwatake. On the Saturday we took the shuttle to Iwatake, and we were the ONLY people on the bus there, so it when straight to Iwatake without any stops... similar on the way back. Justin will drop people off at the bus terminal to access buses to Tsugaike and Cortina (and pick you up from the bus terminal as well) There was also a van that will take you to Cortina if there is demand.(not run by the hotel but by a 3rd party)
He runs a 5pm 7-eleven van, a 5:30pm onsen van, and a 6pm supermarket run, so everything like that is dialed in.

All up, I highly recommend it!!!

All up, if you don't have a car, Panke Panke is a great option, when looking
 
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smitty484

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Sandy said:
TOFF said:
Donza said:
TOFF said:
Car might be difficult with group size and finding one of us willing (and sober) enough to drive.
Part of accom planning will be ability to be driven to different resorts
too drunk to drive , but ok to ski?
jesus

Not too drunk but possibly over legal limit (0.05) to drive.
I quite enjoy a little drink while skiing (lunch etc) its very European.

This is a DEFINITE consideration in Japan. I've heard that there are TWO rules!!
- Over the legal limit (0.03%)
- Driving under the influence. This means that the cops could sting you for having ANY alcohol in your blood, so most expats assume the limit is 0.00%. It can also mean that you will have more than the residual in your blood the morning after the night before.

I think the fine for either is 300,000 yen (about $3500)
 
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smitty484

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Donza said:
Sandy said:
Donza said:
Sandy said:
TOFF, where will you rent?

With 10 people, it will work out a lot cheaper (and more of an adventure!!) to drive from Narita to Hakuba/Shiga/Nozawa!!!!
biggrin.gif
This

and if you go Via matsumoto make sure you go via the Levee road at Toyoshina...
just look for Maccas/ mister donut
aye sandy??
laugh.gif

Yup.....

And go to Matsumoto Castle first!!!!
thumbsup.gif
Hai- taken with phone...btw take a empty backpack to the castle..to put your shoes in. The steps and stairs are steep
420772_10150581228303178_557328177_9411585_1088127361_n.jpg
 
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smitty484

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Sandy said:
randomlyred said:
I'm still thinking about it, but leaning more toward hokkaido for the reliability of the snow, especially if the jetstar flights straight to CTS really do start later this year.

If you go the last 3 weeks in January, central Japan is very reliable. And it often gets more snow than Hokkaido in that period.

randomlyred said:
Not everyone can dictate exactly when they go on holidays though. January is completely out for us with work. Maybe one day we will be able to go away just when we want to, but until then it's apply when no one else has their name down and hope it's approved.

smitty484 said:
What dates are you looking at?

As for snow, I guess it depends on your definition of"reliable snow." But if going in January or February, I would never choose Hokkaido or Honshu for snow reasons, as they both have some of the most reliable in the world. Yes, being a weather dependent sport there will still be bad times in both places (trust me, I know), but during February I have been in Hokkaido when Honshu was better, been in Honshu when Hokkaido was better, been in Hokkaido when it was better and been in Honshu when it was better. It really comes down to luck.

Hokkaido is a great place, but I wouldn't pick it purely for snow reasons or you really do severely limit your choices of places to go.

randomlyred said:
February sometime... I guess hokkaido would be my first choice, but I'm not completely ruling out honshu, just thinking of it as a second choice... I don't know if I can deal with rain (again).

smitty484 said:
Haha I do hear you. However it's still a game of luck. I have had rain on all 3 of my trips to Hokkaido (albiet only for a day or so). Hokkaido is a cool place to visit, but personally I wouldn't be choosing it only for better snow. There is plenty of times where Honshu gets a lot more snow than Western Hokkaido (Niseko, Rusutsu etc) and certainly a lot more than Central Hokkaido (Furano, Kamui, Tomamu) etc.

PS I am referring to resorts skiing here, BC is a different beast.
 
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smitty484

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webberchoked said:
question about staying in myoko and the surrounding area.
if i were to stay at mont cervin, is it easy to get around to suginohara, ikenotaira, akakura, seki and madrarao? are these the main resorts that are worth hitting?

smitty484 said:
Akakuram Ikenotaira and Suginohara are linked by a bus. Seki apparently has its own bus (although I had problems with it). Madarao wasn't linked by any bus when I was there.

Get a car, would make life a lot easier and provide a lot more freedom.

webberchoked said:
car is out of the question as i travel solo.
 
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TOFF

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Would have just been easier to get a mod to do it.
 
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Vermillion

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Smitty you must be so busy, being unemployed and all.

BTW I will be in a combination of Hakuba, Nozawaonsen and I am trying to get to either Shiga or Myoko. This is in the 2nd half of Jan, I am not confirmed on dates yet though.

Peeps/residents of the forum in these towns with accomodation, come at me.
 

smitty484

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Vermillion said:
Smitty you must be so busy, being unemployed and all.

BTW I will be in a combination of Hakuba, Nozawaonsen and I am trying to get to either Shiga or Myoko. This is in the 2nd half of Jan, I am not confirmed on dates yet though.

Peeps/residents of the forum in these towns with accomodation, come at me.

u m4d your tax dollars pay for me to lie in bed and post on the ski forum?
 
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malibu

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Nice one Smitty - 2012/13 Crew Chief

I know it's early but I missed this season and need something to daydream about at work.

Me + 7
Out Jetstar Dec 22
Madarao Dec 23 to Dec 29 - locked in
Myoko Dec 29 to Jan 5 - locked in

Then unsure;
Could be Shiga and Naeba Jan 5 to Jan 13
Could be a Zao and Appi combo roughly same dates

Tokyo 2-3 nights then home on around the 17th
 

smackies

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Who wants to gift me a season's worth of accomodation in Hakuba? Anyone?

Verm, you know there's no elephant rides right? You have to go back to Thailand for that one.
 

Donza

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smackies said:
Verm, you know there's no elephant rides right? You have to go back to Thailand for that one.
sheesh it was Vietanm and he rode a Tuk tuk
 
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smitty484

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smackies said:
Who wants to gift me a season's worth of accomodation in Hakuba? Anyone?

Verm, you know there's no elephant rides right? You have to go back to Thailand for that one.

I'll take some too please.....accommodation in Hakuba that is, Verm can keep the elephants.
 
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Donza

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smitty484 said:
Vermillion said:
Smitty you must be so busy, being unemployed and all.

BTW I will be in a combination of Hakuba, Nozawaonsen and I am trying to get to either Shiga or Myoko. This is in the 2nd half of Jan, I am not confirmed on dates yet though.

Peeps/residents of the forum in these towns with accomodation, come at me.

u m4d your tax dollars pay for me to lie in bed and post on the ski forum?

I'm comforted the notion that your arse is getting bigger each day ..
 
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smackies

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Donza said:
smackies said:
Verm, you know there's no elephant rides right? You have to go back to Thailand for that one.
sheesh it was Vietanm and he rode a Tuk tuk

Cripes. That's worse.
 
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Vermillion

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smitty484 said:
Vermillion said:
Smitty you must be so busy, being unemployed and all.

BTW I will be in a combination of Hakuba, Nozawaonsen and I am trying to get to either Shiga or Myoko. This is in the 2nd half of Jan, I am not confirmed on dates yet though.

Peeps/residents of the forum in these towns with accomodation, come at me.

u m4d your tax dollars pay for me to lie in bed and post on the ski forum?

A little bit. But I am more m4d that you havent sorted out those fcuking singlets yet. Actually you are right, I am quite m4d. I think i'll cheat on my taxes a little more now.
 
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Vermillion

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smackies said:
Who wants to gift me a season's worth of accomodation in Hakuba? Anyone?

Verm, you know there's no elephant rides right? You have to go back to Thailand for that one.

Poor troll is poor. I did not go to Thailand.
 
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Vermillion

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Donza said:
smitty484 said:
Vermillion said:
Smitty you must be so busy, being unemployed and all.

BTW I will be in a combination of Hakuba, Nozawaonsen and I am trying to get to either Shiga or Myoko. This is in the 2nd half of Jan, I am not confirmed on dates yet though.

Peeps/residents of the forum in these towns with accomodation, come at me.

u m4d your tax dollars pay for me to lie in bed and post on the ski forum?

I'm comforted the notion that your arse is getting bigger each day ..

Considering the history of his ass I would be worried by this statement.
 
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Donza

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Vermillion said:
Donza said:
smitty484 said:
Vermillion said:
Smitty you must be so busy, being unemployed and all.

BTW I will be in a combination of Hakuba, Nozawaonsen and I am trying to get to either Shiga or Myoko. This is in the 2nd half of Jan, I am not confirmed on dates yet though.

Peeps/residents of the forum in these towns with accomodation, come at me.

u m4d your tax dollars pay for me to lie in bed and post on the ski forum?

I'm comforted the notion that your arse is getting bigger each day ..

Considering the history of his ass I would be worried by this statement.
I'm worried if he stayed in Japan for longer than 6 weeks his arse would be truely huge..
 
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Donza

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Vermillion said:
If he'd gone to Tahoe for 6 weeks his ass would be a different kind of huge.
he'd need a F250 and iphone app to ski
 
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MarkGC

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Can't decide between going back to Myoko, or trying Niseko. Once again the availability and quality of english speaking ski schools for the kids is the biggest factor in deciding where to go. The Myoko guys were so very good this year.

The main issue at the moment is if we go at all, I've been wasting money on the house of late.
 

Dave6

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MarkGC said:
Can't decide between going back to Myoko, or trying Niseko. Once again the availability and quality of english speaking ski schools for the kids is the biggest factor in deciding where to go. The Myoko guys were so very good this year.

The main issue at the moment is if we go at all, I've been wasting money on the house of late.
Hey Mark - can relate to the wastinh money on house bit. So the Myoko ski school was good? We're looking at Japan for next year and as you say, ski school is probably the biggest factor in deciding where to go. We will have a 4 yo and 13 yo next year if we go. May also have friends with a 6 yo and 2 yo so would need child care as well.

Anyone out there been to Nozawa with young kids?
 
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Nozawaman

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Dave6 said:
MarkGC said:
Can't decide between going back to Myoko, or trying Niseko. Once again the availability and quality of english speaking ski schools for the kids is the biggest factor in deciding where to go. The Myoko guys were so very good this year.

The main issue at the moment is if we go at all, I've been wasting money on the house of late.
Hey Mark - can relate to the wastinh money on house bit. So the Myoko ski school was good? We're looking at Japan for next year and as you say, ski school is probably the biggest factor in deciding where to go. We will have a 4 yo and 13 yo next year if we go. May also have friends with a 6 yo and 2 yo so would need child care as well.

Anyone out there been to Nozawa with young kids?

Would stay up near gondola with kids that young.
 
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MarkGC

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Dave6 said:
MarkGC said:
Can't decide between going back to Myoko, or trying Niseko. Once again the availability and quality of english speaking ski schools for the kids is the biggest factor in deciding where to go. The Myoko guys were so very good this year.

The main issue at the moment is if we go at all, I've been wasting money on the house of late.
Hey Mark - can relate to the wastinh money on house bit. So the Myoko ski school was good? We're looking at Japan for next year and as you say, ski school is probably the biggest factor in deciding where to go. We will have a 4 yo and 13 yo next year if we go. May also have friends with a 6 yo and 2 yo so would need child care as well.

Anyone out there been to Nozawa with young kids?

Can't speak for Nozawa as I haven't been there yet, but on the basis of travelling with kids I would go Myoko over Hakuba. Nothing against Hakuba, but the Myoko Snowsports guys were great and if you are used to taking the kids to the snow in Aus, the basic format is the same. You drop the kids off in the morning they provide lunch and you pick up at 3 ish. We were specifically trying to avoid having to come back to meet up with the kids to provide lunch, lots of ski schools in Japan seem to do that. We were also looking for English speaking group lessons, private lessons are easier to find.

I could bore people lots about how good the Myoko Snowsports guys are, but the best illustration I can give is that on our first day it was my son's 7th birthday. I had not mentioned it, they noticed from the booking form, they arranged a cake for lunch, they decorated his helmet up with a big birthday boy banner, every instructor made a point of saying a big hearty happy birthday. That evening I went looking unsuccessfully for something that resembled a birthday cake, as I returned to the hotel, there was Tom from the snow school dropping off a birthday cake for us to have with dinner, he said he thought it would be too hard for us to organise do he took the liberty of getting one for us. That was not the only example of the level of service they provided, but it was one of my favourite things on the trip.
 
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Dave6

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MarkGC said:
Dave6 said:
MarkGC said:
Can't decide between going back to Myoko, or trying Niseko. Once again the availability and quality of english speaking ski schools for the kids is the biggest factor in deciding where to go. The Myoko guys were so very good this year.

The main issue at the moment is if we go at all, I've been wasting money on the house of late.
Hey Mark - can relate to the wastinh money on house bit. So the Myoko ski school was good? We're looking at Japan for next year and as you say, ski school is probably the biggest factor in deciding where to go. We will have a 4 yo and 13 yo next year if we go. May also have friends with a 6 yo and 2 yo so would need child care as well.

Anyone out there been to Nozawa with young kids?

Can't speak for Nozawa as I haven't been there yet, but on the basis of travelling with kids I would go Myoko over Hakuba. Nothing against Hakuba, but the Myoko Snowsports guys were great and if you are used to taking the kids to the snow in Aus, the basic format is the same. You drop the kids off in the morning they provide lunch and you pick up at 3 ish. We were specifically trying to avoid having to come back to meet up with the kids to provide lunch, lots of ski schools in Japan seem to do that. We were also looking for English speaking group lessons, private lessons are easier to find.

I could bore people lots about how good the Myoko Snowsports guys are, but the best illustration I can give is that on our first day it was my son's 7th birthday. I had not mentioned it, they noticed from the booking form, they arranged a cake for lunch, they decorated his helmet up with a big birthday boy banner, every instructor made a point of saying a big hearty happy birthday. That evening I went looking unsuccessfully for something that resembled a birthday cake, as I returned to the hotel, there was Tom from the snow school dropping off a birthday cake for us to have with dinner, he said he thought it would be too hard for us to organise do he took the liberty of getting one for us. That was not the only example of the level of service they provided, but it was one of my favourite things on the trip.

Thanks for the info Mark. Sounds like Myoko could be the go. Can I ask where you stayed and what it was like?
 
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Dave6

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Mar 16, 2006
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FAT BOY said:
Dave6 said:
MarkGC said:
Can't decide between going back to Myoko, or trying Niseko. Once again the availability and quality of english speaking ski schools for the kids is the biggest factor in deciding where to go. The Myoko guys were so very good this year.

The main issue at the moment is if we go at all, I've been wasting money on the house of late.
Hey Mark - can relate to the wastinh money on house bit. So the Myoko ski school was good? We're looking at Japan for next year and as you say, ski school is probably the biggest factor in deciding where to go. We will have a 4 yo and 13 yo next year if we go. May also have friends with a 6 yo and 2 yo so would need child care as well.

Anyone out there been to Nozawa with young kids?

Would stay up near gondola with kids that young.

Anywhere specific you would recommend FB? (I take it you are referring to Nozawa).
 
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MarkGC

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Jul 28, 2010
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Northern NSW
Dave6 said:
Thanks for the info Mark. Sounds like Myoko could be the go. Can I ask where you stayed and what it was like?

I stayed at the Hotel Alp and it was very nice. The owner is very welcomming and helpful.

I went to the Windsor for an Aussie Day celebration and it had quite a good atmosphere as well and although I didnt go inside I saw the Moc and it is very close to the gondola at Kanko.

The Alp only does dinners if they are pre arranged, they dont open like a restaurant every evening, however you can pre book to eat there each night. The only issue we had with the littlies is that due to the amount of snow we had (3 odd metres in 3-4 days) it became increasingly difficult for them to walk down the icy road to the town when we went out for dinner. It is not a big walk, about 100 to 200 metres, but it is down a slippery road if it is snowing.

The Windsor while being a little more out of the way (but not too much) had its own restaurant, so if conditions were bad a late decision could be made to stay in. On the other hand the Alp is situated on a ski run, so at the end of the ski day you can ski right to the door.

Obviously ther are plenty more places to stay, but with 4 kids our choices were a little limited and based on reading the forums it appears as though the Moc, Alp and Windsor get a large chunk of the Aussie groups. If you plan on hiring a car I would probably avoid the Alp, as I saw a few cars lose control on the road up to the parking lot, but like I said 3ish metres in 3-4 days
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TJ

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Aug 5, 2000
3,726
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Hakuba, Japan
www.whitehorse-hakuba.com
Yep, I'll be here in Hakuba with bells on. I've been riding some of the best conditions of the season over the last week and now we hit spring time so I haven't started to dream about next season yet.
Nice story about the birthday boy MarkGC. Those type of things make a big impact on a holiday. In regards to ski schools, we have two here in Hakuba that focus on the foreign market. Hakuba Snow Sports and Evergreen. I know that HSS offer the full day for the kids including lunch.
Just a side note. This time last year we had an empty board and inquiries flatlined. Seems that the guinea pigs were released this season and all returned without harm. Lots of inquiries coming through re accom so thankyou to all those who supported the industry here this season.
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Nozawaman

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Nov 7, 2002
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Gold Coast/Nozawa Onsen
www.sasa-nozawa.com
Dave6 said:
FAT BOY said:
Dave6 said:
MarkGC said:
Can't decide between going back to Myoko, or trying Niseko. Once again the availability and quality of english speaking ski schools for the kids is the biggest factor in deciding where to go. The Myoko guys were so very good this year.

The main issue at the moment is if we go at all, I've been wasting money on the house of late.
Hey Mark - can relate to the wastinh money on house bit. So the Myoko ski school was good? We're looking at Japan for next year and as you say, ski school is probably the biggest factor in deciding where to go. We will have a 4 yo and 13 yo next year if we go. May also have friends with a 6 yo and 2 yo so would need child care as well.

Anyone out there been to Nozawa with young kids?

Would stay up near gondola with kids that young.

Anywhere specific you would recommend FB? (I take it you are referring to Nozawa).

Address Nagasaka would be the go , brand new self contained apartments right next to gondola.Easier walking short stroll down to village for dinner rather than trying to get kids up the hill each morning with all their gear. I would have said my place but we are trying to keep little kids out
laugh.gif
 
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