Resource Japan 2018 thread

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Donza

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Further to someone talking re hire cars and Hakuba . Here is something to consider.
There are cheap hire cars at Karuizawa . Right beside the station.
I looked yesterday and small cars (p2 sized) are 3044 yen a day, while bigger P4 (corolla fielder) are 4700 yen per day.
Snow tyres included.
Karuizawa is a 100 min drive (a fair bit of it on expressway). Its a easy drive as you skirt Nagano.
Shink to Karuizawa is 5800 Yen from Tokyo.
However its included in the Tokyo wide pass (3 days consecutive for 10,000 yen).
I did my maths and thats the most economical way to get to hakuba , inclusive of hire car for a small family.
 
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Tanuki

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Hi All,

Well we've been to Japan 4 times (Hakuba, Myoko, Nozawa, Rusutsu & Tomamau) and managed to miss Niseko, other than a visit to the Hospital in Kutchan.

This year some friends want to go, this is their first visit to Japan and they're pretty set on Niseko.

We'll probably do a week at Niseko with them then maybe head to Otaru or Furano ourselves.

Can anyone recommend a good apartment or hotel close to child care and the lifts?

There will be four adults and three kids so I'm thinking the apartment may be the best option????

They've said the Hilton Niseko as it has childcare and lifts, but i'm a bit suss on it.

Thanks heaps

Tanuki
 

Donza

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Do you reckon taking soft racks as an option. Nissan have said they cant add roof racks.
Yeah soft racks would have to be the go.
Personally I would rock up to hire car place, grab car . Then drive a couple of blocks to where the family is waiting and put the soft racks on.
Just to be safe.
 

Tanuki

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Hi All,

Well we've been to Japan 4 times (Hakuba, Myoko, Nozawa, Rusutsu & Tomamau) and managed to miss Niseko, other than a visit to the Hospital in Kutchan.

This year some friends want to go, this is their first visit to Japan and they're pretty set on Niseko.

We'll probably do a week at Niseko with them then maybe head to Otaru or Furano ourselves.

Can anyone recommend a good apartment or hotel close to child care and the lifts?

There will be four adults and three kids so I'm thinking the apartment may be the best option????

They've said the Hilton Niseko as it has childcare and lifts, but i'm a bit suss on it.

Thanks heaps

Tanuki

Hi @LMB thought I'd tag as you seem to the source of knowledge for Niseko?? Thanks in advance
 

Any

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Hi All,

Well we've been to Japan 4 times (Hakuba, Myoko, Nozawa, Rusutsu & Tomamau) and managed to miss Niseko, other than a visit to the Hospital in Kutchan.

This year some friends want to go, this is their first visit to Japan and they're pretty set on Niseko.

We'll probably do a week at Niseko with them then maybe head to Otaru or Furano ourselves.

Can anyone recommend a good apartment or hotel close to child care and the lifts?

There will be four adults and three kids so I'm thinking the apartment may be the best option????

They've said the Hilton Niseko as it has childcare and lifts, but i'm a bit suss on it.

Thanks heaps

Tanuki
Especially for a group, i'd recommend Hirafu or worst case Annupuri or Kutchan. I wouldn't do Hilton.

Niseko is 4 resort & villages combined, with two nearby townships. Your options are Hirafu, Annupuri, Hanazono, Niseko Village (Hilton), Kutchan and Niseko Township.
Skiing the whole resort takes more than a week. >10 years here and im still finding little secrets (admittedly they're way way way off the beaten path tho). Hokkaido also gets these huge snow storms that come in and shut down all the lifts for a day or two, meaning a week may be too short?

Hirafu - you're a few minutes out the door onto the lifts, walk or shuttlebus. Its a big village, so there's probably too many possible recommendations for accom choices. It has all the shops, restaurants and facilities. For a large group youll need to book restaurants in advance if you wanna eat at kid friendly dinner time. Very westernized with little culture shock factor if you stay on the two main streets, but there's still a few japanesey restaurants and bars still scattered through the village. Ridiculous numbers english speaking ski schools competing for your patronage (10+).
Annupuri - you're probably even closer to the lifts, few mins walk, no shuttlebuss afaik. They struggle a lot with wind and close a lot and you get stuck there. Has one or two shops and a couple of restaurants. No english speaking ski school tho I think.
Hanazono - has almost nothing (yet) in the way of accommodation. Watch this space. Has english speaking ski school.
Hilton is a dump. I only ever hear complaints. Its a 40yr old aging building. Theres no restaurants, only Hilton's, which isn't large enough for their number of guests. I see hundreds of people having to buss it from Niseko Village to Hirafu and back for dinner every night. This includes a glorious 20 minute wait in a queue out in the cold to guarantee you get a seat on the buss, because its not big enough to cope with everyone. They have a new really super great beginners ski area tho, with a dedicated high speed lifts for just the beginner area. Have an english speaking ski school too.
Kutchan - you're 10mins by car to hanazono or hirafu, 20-30mins by bus. Much cheaper. Has lots of shops, cheaper less busy restaurants and facilities.
Niseko Town - you're 15mins by car to annupuri or niseko village. Smaller than Kutchan but big enough. Much much cheaper. Some shops, cheaper less busy restaurants and facilities.

I recommend people base themselves in Hirafu. Ski niseko, plus a day trip to Moiwa, one or two to Rusutsu (but you've already done this), and one or two day trips to Kiroro as well. And head to Kutchan a couple of nights for food/variety/culture, bus(free or 400yen)/taxi(~$20 each way).
You could go an apartment. Many options of different sizes, could try airbnb its getting popular, or probably have to book via one of the accom management agencies, skijapan/etc.
Or a bed and breakfast set up, theyre all likely to be kid friendly as long as theyre knocked out by 10pm. eg redskihouse (transparency: im friends with the owner).

Otaru is a cool little town that's worth a visit.
Also has a couple of small resorts nearby that you can get a day's worth out of each. You'll need a car tho.

Its been 10 years since I went to Furano. About all I can say is that you're looking at about 3-4 hours travel from Niseko to Furano, so almost a whole day of your holiday is gone there.
 
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Tanuki

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Especially for a group, i'd recommend Hirafu or worst case Annupuri or Kutchan. I wouldn't do Hilton.

Niseko is 4 resort & villages combined, with two nearby townships. Your options are Hirafu, Annupuri, Hanazono, Niseko Village (Hilton), Kutchan and Niseko Township.
Skiing the whole resort takes more than a week. >10 years here and im still finding little secrets (admittedly they're way way way off the beaten path tho). Hokkaido also gets these huge snow storms that come in and shut down all the lifts for a day or two, meaning a week may be too short?

Hirafu - you're a few minutes out the door onto the lifts, walk or shuttlebus. Its a big village, so there's probably too many possible recommendations for accom choices. It has all the shops, restaurants and facilities. For a large group youll need to book restaurants in advance if you wanna eat at kid friendly dinner time. Very westernized with little culture shock factor if you stay on the two main streets, but there's still a few japanesey restaurants and bars still scattered through the village. Ridiculous numbers english speaking ski schools competing for your patronage (10+).
Annupuri - you're probably even closer to the lifts, few mins walk, no shuttlebuss afaik. They struggle a lot with wind and close a lot and you get stuck there. Has one or two shops and a couple of restaurants. No english speaking ski school tho I think.
Hanazono - has almost nothing (yet) in the way of accommodation. Watch this space. Has english speaking ski school.
Hilton is a dump. I only ever hear complaints. Its a 40yr old aging building. Theres no restaurants, only Hilton's, which isn't large enough for their number of guests. I see hundreds of people having to buss it from Niseko Village to Hirafu and back for dinner every night. This includes a glorious 20 minute wait in a queue out in the cold to guarantee you get a seat on the buss, because its not big enough to cope with everyone. They have a new really super great beginners ski area tho, with a dedicated high speed lifts for just the beginner area. Have an english speaking ski school too.
Kutchan - you're 10mins by car to hanazono or hirafu, 20-30mins by bus. Much cheaper. Has lots of shops, cheaper less busy restaurants and facilities.
Niseko Town - you're 15mins by car to annupuri or niseko village. Smaller than Kutchan but big enough. Much much cheaper. Some shops, cheaper less busy restaurants and facilities.

I recommend people base themselves in Hirafu. Ski niseko, plus a day trip to Moiwa, one or two to Rusutsu (but you've already done this), and one or two day trips to Kiroro as well. And head to Kutchan a couple of nights for food/variety/culture, bus(free or 400yen)/taxi(~$20 each way).
You could go an apartment. Many options of different sizes, could try airbnb its getting popular, or probably have to book via one of the accom management agencies, skijapan/etc.
Or a bed and breakfast set up, theyre all likely to be kid friendly as long as theyre knocked out by 10pm. eg redskihouse (transparency: im friends with the owner).

Otaru is a cool little town that's worth a visit.
Also has a couple of small resorts nearby that you can get a day's worth out of each. You'll need a car tho.

Its been 10 years since I went to Furano. About all I can say is that you're looking at about 3-4 hours travel from Niseko to Furano, so almost a whole day of your holiday is gone there.
Thanks heaps @Any Great info
 
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Annabuzzy

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Any completely nailed the Niseko summary. Whatever you do, don't stay at the Hilton. Stay in Harifu, preferable above the main road so you are close to the lifts.
I like the lower pension village better!!! Each to their own.

Having said that I haven't been there since 2008 and I gather a lot has changed
 
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MadPow

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Yeah soft racks would have to be the go.
Personally I would rock up to hire car place, grab car . Then drive a couple of blocks to where the family is waiting and put the soft racks on.
Just to be safe.
Thats what I was thinking, just worried about driving with soft racks on the expressways and who secure they are!
any experience?
 

Froff Life

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I like the lower pension village better!!! Each to their own.

Having said that I haven't been there since 2008 and I gather a lot has changed
I like the lower village too, less glitzy hotels and better restaurants, but i think Tanuki wanted to be closer to the lifts for the kids.
 
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CanadianOnTheRocks

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We are heading back to Japan for our 6th trip. Have visited Hakuba, Myoko, Niseko, and tomamu previously and planning another Niseko, Furano, tomamu combo this trip.

We have always enjoyed staying at the Green Leaf in Niseko. Ski in/out is a huuuge bonus especially with kids.
 

LMB

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thanks, had any experience or any recs on apartments / hotels / ryokan (if they exist)?
Mmm...I haven't personally stayed anywhere other than my own place recently but we loved Gondola Chalets when the kids were little as they were away from the pubs and plenty of room.
But there is so much more now.
I'd go with upper village or higher up middle village to save walking uphill much with the kids.

Our apartments are 'Miharashi' - easy location - super convenient - not flash, but can get noisy from the new pub across the road at times.

The Vale, or one of the ones right on the family run might be super convenient but a bit exxy.
 
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LMB

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@Tanuki you didn't say when you'd be in town. I'll be out in late feb for a week, but other than that I'll be around. Happy to help in anyway... make restaurant bookings in advance for you, if you don't have a car - I have - could help out with a supermarket run etc. hit me up. :thumbs: It takes a village.
 

geeoff

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Park Hotel is in good position. Short walk up to Quad chair but still close to restaurant/shops and lower village at night. Can also walk down the side of hotel to the family run and then ski/board down to ski schools at base. Not upmarket but reasonable standard. Has a big lounge area that has always been under-utilised when my family stayed and a nice bath area.
Depending on kids ages there are tatami rooms big enough for 3-4 people.
There are other hotels in good position around the Ace Family base although they are more upmarket and expensive (and longer walk if you want to start early at the Quad chair).
Apartment wise you probably need to just enquire through the usual booking agents (Hokkaido Tracks, Deep Powder, etc) although I have always been surprised at how expensive apartments seem to be even when spread out between a group.
 
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Tanuki

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@Tanuki you didn't say when you'd be in town. I'll be out in late feb for a week, but other than that I'll be around. Happy to help in anyway... make restaurant bookings in advance for you, if you don't have a car - I have - could help out with a supermarket run etc. hit me up. :thumbs: It takes a village.
Much appreciated @LMB most likely mid Jan. Stoke level rising.
 
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Zimboo

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Cheers, I assume yellow hat can fit them?
There are a few different styles of soft racks as well, so suss out what type you want depending on how many board / ski bags you want to put up on the roof.
a) Single stack, two straps (each strap having foam/padding the width of 1 surfboard)
b) Double stack, two straps (each strap having foam/padding the width of 2 surfboards)
P.S. Don't throw em away, just stick them in your luggage and use them again next time.
Very useful things are soft rax.
 
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Kimski

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I like the lower village too, less glitzy hotels and better restaurants, but i think Tanuki wanted to be closer to the lifts for the kids.

I'm staying lower village this trip. Close to the shuttle and not too far down the village so glad it's got some fans :thumbs:

This time I'm planning on getting to Kiroro and and Rusutsu for day trips.
 

LMB

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I'm staying lower village this trip. Close to the shuttle and not too far down the village so glad it's got some fans :thumbs:

This time I'm planning on getting to Kiroro and and Rusutsu for day trips.
Lower village is closer to Ebisutei and The Frig bar and a whole lotta other fabulous little places!! :thumbs:
 

Tanuki

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I like the lower village too, less glitzy hotels and better restaurants, but i think Tanuki wanted to be closer to the lifts for the kids.
What's the actual deal with the lower village re distance? It's hard to tell from the map. 1k, 2k walking? Shuttle buses don't bother me
 

LMB

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It's a mission uphill with ski gear. Use the shuttles...they are quick and regular. Just walking though for dinner or to visit the psycho mart it's manageable.
Also...add with small kids....

It is a fair bit of uphill. Fine for strong fit adults to carry gear but not kids or the less hardy.

The hills can get slippery. A mate broke his ribs slipping walking home at the beginning of his holiday, another friends son broke his arm the same way.

Mid Jan is busy - if you're catching shuttles at peak times it'll be squeezey and sometimes a wait to get a spot on one. Maybe not as bad in the lower village as higher up...but I never bother with shuttles - they're always full. I just walk.

If you DO stay lower village with the kids think about trying to store your ski gear in a locker at the base instead of lugging it. And invest in the pull on crampons for over your shoes. It'll make life easier/safer.
 

Any

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What's the actual deal with the lower village re distance? It's hard to tell from the map. 1k, 2k walking? Shuttle buses don't bother me
~700m/10mins to beginner lift (which is upgraded to a high speed quad this year btw), or ~1k/15min to ace quad or gondola.
its a nothing distance really. except that its a moderate incline uphill with boots and gear, and that makes it quite difference on weather you start the day sweaty or not.
i do it regularly at night tho, easy to take off a jacket to keep cool when youre not carrying all that junk.

shuttles come past every 5-10minutes, and get you there in about 5-10minutes. except for at exactly 12:00, where they all break for lunch at the same time and theres about a 20minute gap.
in most cases you're likely to have a shuttle almost for yourself. except for the 8:20am shuttle, for which they almost need those tokyo station people pushers.
shuttles stop when the lifts close, so 4:30pm during early &late season, and 8:30pm when night skiing is on.
often entertaining watching random dads getting on carrying two kids worth of ski gear plus his own, whilst herding cats
 
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Any

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The hills can get slippery. A mate broke his ribs slipping walking home at the beginning of his holiday, another friends son broke his arm the same way.
the streets get pretty damn bad at night.
ive got a couple breaks from them also. even broke my arm simply walking home with a pizza, i saved the pizza tho :)

And invest in the pull on crampons for over your shoes. It'll make life easier/safer.
proper snow shoes have softer rubber underneath that grip pretty well.
but if you get them, be sure to take off those crampons when you walk into a restaurant, shop or something. show a little bit of class. you can see the horror on most japanese faces.
 

LMB

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the streets get pretty damn bad at night.
ive got a couple breaks from them also. even broke my arm simply walking home with a pizza, i saved the pizza tho :)


proper snow shoes have softer rubber underneath that grip pretty well.
but if you get them, be sure to take off those crampons when you walk into a restaurant, shop or something. show a little bit of class. you can see the horror on most japanese faces.
Oh my God yes!!
They tear the crap out of floors.

I've got them for the seriously icey days, but rarely use them for myself, we stick our guests in them - they just don't understand how slippery it can get until they are down (and by then it's too late).

I've got my Arctic grip Vibram soles for this season, so no yaktrax for me either.

But year before last (I think it was) I used them to safely get the people out of Mina Mina and Slippery Slope after a frozen rain episode that left that street like a slip and slide. Got them down to the flat Main Street then went back for the next group. There was carnage! It was funny when it was a group of 20 something lads having a laugh. Not so much when the group of elderly Japanese came out from dinner.
 

Rick Ross Da Boss

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heading to hokkaido this coming feb and am looking to hire a hiace van for two week, any suggestions on rental companies?
 

Froff Life

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What's the actual deal with the lower village re distance? It's hard to tell from the map. 1k, 2k walking? Shuttle buses don't bother me
No way I would walk to the lifts, especially with kids. It's uphill and a great way to get sweaty before you start skiing haha. Shuttles are frequent and usually heaps of room.
Lower Village has the public onsens too!
 
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Tanuki

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It's a mission uphill with ski gear. Use the shuttles...they are quick and regular. Just walking though for dinner or to visit the psycho mart it's manageable.
I like the idea of a Psycho Mart
 
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