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Japan 2013/2014 epic planning thread!

Discussion in 'Japan' started by tr+h, Mar 30, 2013.

  1. Sandy

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

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    Good for getting to Naeba, but no use while there
     
    #201 Sandy, Apr 25, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2013
  2. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    I've never done Naeba/Kagura, but I did do the Myoko / Nozawa split this year which was awesome. IMO, if you have a car go to Myoko as you'll be able to explore some of the smaller resorts around Mt Myoko not serviced by the regular shuttle - hint hint Seki Onsen.
     
    #202 Crispy013, Apr 25, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2013
  3. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    If you're chasing steeps then Myoko won't be your bag. It's more about the mellow off-piste/pow. I was just talking to someone who came for a month last season, then extended it to 6 weeks. Little disappointed at first (was also looking for steeps) but then found some sweet spots and wanted to stay longer.

    That said, Kagura is on my bucket list. If this is to be your only trip to Japan then the decision becomes more vital. If you're coming back there's always next time. If you are already locked into Nozawa I'd say ditch the car idea, grab a JR East Pass and do Naeba/Kagura.
     
  4. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    So for those in the know, what's the best way to get from Myoko to Nozawa ? We won't have a car but will have the JR east rail pass. So train it, bus or taxi ?

    Baggage wise can we use takuhaibin to get bags from Myoko to Nozawa, and how long does it take (overnight, two nights ?)
     
  5. Pat42

    Pat42 One of Us

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    #205 Pat42, Apr 25, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2013
  6. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Keinan Bus is a bit expensive but the most convenient, particularly when you have to lug those bags up over the stairs at Myokokogen Station. Also saves you the 2,000 yen for each bag (which would take at least 24 hours, maybe 48).

    There is a Nagano shuttle bus that leaves from the Akakura car park. You could catch that to Nagano Station, then another bus to Nozawa. Bags could go underneath in the bus.

    If you have a day to burn on your JR East Pass use that but otherwise save it for a longer trip. Get the train towards Nagano, get off at Toyono, and change lines
     
  7. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    Unless you have a day to burn on your pass, then don't waste it travelling between myoko and nozawa. If you can get to the train station at myokokogen, the trip into Nagano cost about 640y or there abouts from memory. Train shouldnt be too packed so you can just find an empty carriage and stand your bags up. At Nagano, my suggestion is to go down the stairs to the bus stop and catch the Keinan bus. Trip is not the cheapest option (about 2000y) but means that you can store your ski bags under the bus and then you get dropped right in the middle of nozawa.
     
    #207 Crispy013, Apr 25, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2013
  8. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    If we get the 4 day flexi pass then we will have a day to burn but taking all our bags on the train is NOT an option. With four of us, meaning 4 sets of skis/boots, helmets and clothing and two small children that can't really carry anything, I'd need to be Superman to get all that on and off the trains by myself.

    Are there any places that do one way car rentals in Japan ? Might be able to visit the monkeys on a drive between Myoko and Nozawa.
     
    #208 Born2ski, Apr 25, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2013
  9. smitty484

    smitty484 Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    we did private trasnfer with a stop off at the snow monkey
     
  10. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    Who did you organise that through Smitty ?
     
    #210 Born2ski, Apr 25, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2013
  11. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Keinan Bus or email the tourist centre - info@myoko.tv

    But two shuttles is a reasonable option. Get on at Akakura, put bags underneath, get on the Nozawa shuttle in Nagano, put bags underneath, get off right in the town in Nozawa.
     
  12. Pat42

    Pat42 One of Us

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    Was just looking at the Kagura trail map on the prince website and it says that the top lift opened 1 feb this year. Are they opening it earlier?
     
  13. Sandy

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

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    Link?
     
    #213 Sandy, Apr 26, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2013
  14. Pat42

    Pat42 One of Us

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  15. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Possibly because of less cover this year? But then again dates are decided before the season and Feb 1 does seem rather early...
     
  16. Sandy

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

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    They've obviously changed the previously normal dates.... It means that Kagura will offer much more scope for people who are in Japan for the earlier part of Feb.
    I haven't been there for the past two seasons, time to make a return visit!!!!
     
  17. Pat42

    Pat42 One of Us

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    Yeah i am seriously going to consider locking in a week early Feb there now...

    Just hope it wasnt a one off this year.
     
  18. Sandy

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

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    Naeba and Kagura(Tashiro) are 5.5km apart(via the Dragondola), but Kagura gets MUCH more snow than Naeba.

    Here's the area serviced by the peak chair. The chair is about 3/4 the way to the left, so it's not actually at the peak.
    This is the front side.

    [​IMG]

    At the far left, you can see a hill, which you can see in this 2nd photo, at the back side of the chair. (in another bowl)

    [​IMG]

    Both areas will take you to lifts further down the mountain.
     
    #218 Sandy, Apr 27, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  19. BigWaveDave

    BigWaveDave Hard Yards

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    Apologies if this has already been asked elsewhere but what are the travelling times from Tokyo airport to Hakuba and also Tokyo-Niseko. just trying to weigh up which resort to visit, and dont really want to be stuffing around with too many transfers/extra flights as we'll have a bunch of kids with us.

    i'm aware Niseko involves an extra flight then a bus and Hakuba involves a train and then a bus but not sure of how long each of these takes and whether the connections are smooth or if we'll need to be sitting around in train stations/bus depots for hours. Anyone who can advise approximate travelling times would be helpful! Thanks
     
  20. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    Narita to Hakuba.
    get off plane...minimal waiting for Tokyo train
    60- min train to Tokyo...minimal waiting for
    85 mins to Nagano city on shinkansen (bullet) train.
    then a medium wait (sometimes 30 mins eg) for
    1 hour long bus trip to Hakuba
    (Alternatively, have hire car arranged for pickup in Nagano city)

    Narita to Niseko.
    get off plane..either a long wait for flight to Chitose via
    Narita (only a couple flights a day, dependant on arrival into Narita)
    Or change to Haneda airport (close to Tokyo)
    This take approx 90 mins
    then medium wait for flight to chitose
    Then a medium wait for a 2.5 hour bus trip.

    It takes a bit of time to get to Niseko.
     
  21. munja

    munja Hard Yards

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    Or if you want, to go to Niseko,you can avoid Tokyo and fly into Chitose from another country, might be shorter travel time over all.
     
  22. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    Yeah..Korea,HK..thailand, malaysia.
    I think Korea is the best...
    except their new baggage restrictions are silly.
     
    #222 Donza, Apr 30, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2013
  23. BigWaveDave

    BigWaveDave Hard Yards

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    Thanks Donza, seems a lot easier to get to Hakuba which is kind of what i imagined. Thanks for the help...
     
    #223 BigWaveDave, Apr 30, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2013
  24. smackies

    smackies A Local

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    If you are unlucky (like me) and get stuck in a horror traffic jam, the drive from Tokyo to Hakuba can take 10.5 hours.

    There is a shuttle bus that runs from Narita to Hakuba. I think it takes about 5 hours.
     
  25. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    It is.
    To be honest, with family in tow. A private taxi from Narita to Hakuba is the easiest.
     
  26. smackies

    smackies A Local

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    Of course. Chuo is by far the easiest. And not ridiculously more pricey than the alternatives.

    I was thinking about a Chuo to Niigata, rather than Hakuba.
     
  27. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes, as long as you don't get in the same type of jam as Smackies. But for a first timer the taxi makes it super easy.

    That said, if you time your flights it can be quicker to get to Hokkaido. Flying into/out of Asahikawa on Skymark is also worth thinking about.
     
  28. Sandy

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

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    A shuttle bus can get stuck in the same traffic jam....

    The key is timing. If you intend to drive to Nagano/Niigata, then make sure your flight doesn't arrive at the wrong time (i.e. take some time to think about which day & time it's arriving) So for example, don't arrive at 5pm at Narita on a Friday, or 6am on a Saturday and then drive up!!!!!

    Also, it needs to be made clear that the "taxi" people are talking about is not a "regular" taxi that you'll find at the cab rank at Narita Airport.....
     
    #228 Sandy, Apr 30, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2013
  29. sourmash

    sourmash One of Us

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    Drag kids, bags and skis/boards through busy Tokyo central station - can be stressful not knowing exactly where to go and dealing with young kids!!!
     
    #229 sourmash, Apr 30, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2013
  30. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    Yeah it can be sort of stressful.
    It depends if youre rushing or not.
    Ive done Osaka, Nagoya, Kyoto with kids n bags etc...
    It was OK
    To be honest i prefer Uneo to change to shink to Nagano.
     
  31. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    Drop your skis and large bags at the takuhaibin service at the airport and then just take a couple of small carry on backpacks with you on the train - much easier. I love the shinks in Japan, quicker and easier than driving.

    P.s Yes I've done the trip with two small kids. Ueno is easier than Tokyo central station.
     
    #231 Born2ski, Apr 30, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2013
  32. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Agreed. I think it's less hassle to walk from the Skyliner at Keisei Ueno to the shink at JR Ueno. For me from N'ex to Nagano shink platform in Tokyo is a painful long walk. However you just have to hope the train is not crowded because getting on in Ueno will be a hassle with bags and/or skis and/or kids.

    Or if the train is busy do the special Sandy recommended caper. Get the train from Ueno to Tokyo instead, switch platforms and catch the next shink out to Nagano.

    For the taxi ride check out Chuo Taxi
     
  33. Endless_Winter

    Endless_Winter One of Us

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    Takkyubin is great, if you have a day spare either side of your trip for your gear to arrive.

    I've used it a couple of times when I've gone from Honshu to Hokkaido.

    Other than that I'd rather just lug it on the train (no kids though), you generally always find room, although with a snowboard bag most japanese tend to look at you like you just stepped off an alien spaceship.

    The tokyo narita express - shink transit is a pain, yes ueno is better for that.

    My favourite record is having a beer at 7pm at the clovelly pub in sydney and then getting a face shot in myoko the next day at 2pm.
     
  34. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    Re takayubin....you send majority of luggage...take riding gear...we did this
     
  35. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    I didnt think the NEX/Shink change in Nagano was that bad, we did it in 5mins (we were on a tight schedule and had to hussle). You just go up about 5 escalators and you end up at Shink terminal and the shink was right there.
     
    #235 Vermillion, May 1, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2013
  36. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    Nagano or Tokyo verm?..

    I think for an aussie, used to a certain way.. The Ueno transfer is easier to understand. Its virtually like walking out onto a street. Across the road and into another station/shopping mall.
    Its also flat the whole way.
    It reminds me of somewhere like southern cross station in melbs.
     
  37. smackies

    smackies A Local

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    Skyliner is ace from the airport.

    Though it stops running to Narita about 5.45pm and you get left with the one that takes just over an hour.
     
  38. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    Really?
     
    #238 Donza, May 1, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2013
  39. smackies

    smackies A Local

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    Yeah. Here's the timetable.

    Caught me out this year when I had repeatedly told my mother I'd be at the airport to meet her. I ran like mad back to JR to get to Tokyo to catch the N'Ex. Was still late. She wasn't happy. [​IMG]
     
    #239 smackies, May 1, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2013
  40. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    Yeah bizzare.
    Though I guess it makes sense.
     
  41. mick chopps

    mick chopps Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    What's the best option when flying into Haneda? We get in at about 6-7am.
     
  42. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    To where tiger?
     
    #242 Donza, May 1, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2013
  43. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    If you're flying out of Haneda domestically then you'll probably have to change terminals. If heading into Tokyo catch one of the two train lines out - both straightforward - and change at Hamamatsucho. If wanting to get to Narita the bus shuttle is the most straightforward.*

    http://www.tokyo-airport-bldg.co.jp/en/access/train/route_map.html

    *Edit: Forgot the new Narita-Haneda Express - http://www.keisei.co.jp/keisei/tetudou/skyliner/us/directions/haneda.html Haven't had the chance to try it yet.
     
    #243 M_G, May 1, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2013
  44. Sandy

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

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    From Haneda Airport, going Nagano/Niigata (etc), then just catch the monorail to Hamamatsucho, then JR Yamanote line to Tokyo. Takes about 30min.

    DON'T catch the Keikyu line trains at that time.... too many transfers and the Keikyu line is chockers.
     
    #244 Sandy, May 1, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2013
  45. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    I think mick was going to either Noz or Hakuba first up.
     
  46. mick chopps

    mick chopps Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Thanks Sandy. Will it be a nightmare due to peak hour?
     
    #246 mick chopps, May 1, 2013
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  47. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    You'll be fine...
    Most of the traffic will be heading towards Haneda on the monorail...
    Yamanote..will be interesting but you'll cope.
     
  48. mick chopps

    mick chopps Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah Haks first where we'll get a car then 2 weeks of road trippin.

    Raises another question. We're thinking of spending a couple of days in Kyoto and Tokyo before flying out, what are the train timetables from Kyoto-Tokyo like? Are there plenty of services, are they particularly busy? Are we likely to be able to get an evening train?
     
  49. Sandy

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

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    It may be a fraction early for too many people to be arriving at Haneda, so I don't think it will be too bad on the monorail. Yamanote line will be a different proposition. At least the transfer is easy.
     
    #249 Sandy, May 1, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2013
  50. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    So many trains between Kyoto and Tokyo.
    Kyoto is a stop on one of the busiest lines in Japan (if not the world I guess)
    There are different sorts (stopping patterns) of shinkansens that travel down there.
    Ie the Nozomi is the fastest, and stops the least. However its not covered under the JR pass.
    Though I just paid the fare...
    Its prob like 120 bucks one way to Kyoto...I'll look it up.
    135...
    and a bit over 2 hour journey.

    To be honest..I would go...
    Nozawa/Hakuba...Nagano-Nagoya-Kyoto.
    Or alternatively..arrange a drop off of the car in Matsumoto..
    That makes it even quicker.
    I would save Tokyo till last.
     
    #250 Donza, May 1, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2013