Resource Japan 2018 thread

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Any

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Stupid question here I know, but last I went to Niseko (2008) you could just buy a bus ticket to Niseko when you got through the gates at Sapporo airport. I'm wondering is it now so much busier whether I need to book ahead, or can I just buy tickets when I get to Sapporo?
i take the train lately instead,
but once I had to wait 3 hours because i didnt prebook a bus. meanwhile i watched 3 other "booked out" buses head off that had empty seats :/
 

LMB

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i take the train lately instead,
but once I had to wait 3 hours because i didnt prebook a bus. meanwhile i watched 3 other "booked out" buses head off that had empty seats :/
Similar..
I always book ahead or get the train, but last trip in late March (so quiet AS!) a guy on our flight tried to book a seat upon arrival. Sorry, all sold out. You need to wait 3hrs until the next bus. I felt awful for him, but he seemed ok with that. Anyhooo we got on the bus before that was 'full' and it wasn't even HALF FULL...
So who knows what the criteria is.

@Annabuzzy
Just be careful you leave enough time. One of the lads was delayed on his mates trip and despite getting there with 15 minutes to spare, they had 'closed the bus' and the boys had to go on the next available bus a few hours later. BUT they were charged again! I've never heard of that happening before, and tried to get all the details off him to follow up, but 19yo...sigh...lot of cbf factor.
 

Donza

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Ie the bus to Niseko is bs.
That was my impression 12 years ago...
Overpriced and slow
 
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Tanuki

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Yep, thats the one. You will get good value out of that. 5 days within 14 days.
Catch the Narita Express which is JR. On the last day going back to Narita, you could catch a regular train (eg. Takasaki line) to Tokyo (short hop) and then Narita express which will count for your 5th day (if within 14). An extra hop, but already paid for. I'll be doing similar. Otherwise or if not within 14 days just take the Keisei line which is quicker and direct but you have to pay.

Also note you can get to Appi from Morioka either by bus or a local train, but the part of that train line is private (not JR) so not included on the pass. Although they let me get away with it my first time there when I didn't understand what they were saying. The bus is probably easier in any case as it goes direct to resort and hotel and is about the same journey time.
Thanks again Heinz, would you recommend booking the Shink from Tokyo to Morioko in advance?
 

Heinz

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Thanks again Heinz, would you recommend booking the Shink from Tokyo to Morioko in advance?

I replied to someone else with a similar question recently (can't remember if it was in this thread or not). You can book in advance but you have to pick up ticket the day before travelling, so that is not going to work for you.

I would just reserve seat for both Narita express and Shinkansen when you exchange your JR east pass at JR office at Narita on arrival. By then you will know what Shinkansen you will be able to catch. Need to allow at least 15 mins for transfer at Tokyo station (30 mins maybe better) as it is a bit of a walk and up 4 levels of escalators.

Nearly all the Shinkansens to Morioka are reserved seat only (Komachi & Hayabusa). Only the Yamabiko services have some unreserved seating. They go just about every hour so even if it is a busy day you will get on.

What time are you scheduled to arrive in Narita?
 

Tanuki

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I replied to someone else with a similar question recently (can't remember if it was in this thread or not). You can book in advance but you have to pick up ticket the day before travelling, so that is not going to work for you.

I would just reserve seat for both Narita express and Shinkansen when you exchange your JR east pass at JR office at Narita on arrival. By then you will know what Shinkansen you will be able to catch. Need to allow at least 15 mins for transfer at Tokyo station (30 mins maybe better) as it is a bit of a walk and up 4 levels of escalators.

Nearly all the Shinkansens to Morioka are reserved seat only (Komachi & Hayabusa). Only the Yamabiko services have some unreserved seating. They go just about every hour so even if it is a busy day you will get on.

What time are you scheduled to arrive in Narita?
precisely the advice I needed, tanx heaps. We arrive Narita approx. 9am. Will Takyubin gear to Appi and spend two night in Tokyo
 

Tanuki

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Seeking more advice from the Forum Hive Mind re staying in Tokyo.

In the past we've stayed in Shinjuku & Ueno and have visited most of the tourist traps and some other suburbs further afield e.g Harajuku, Rappongi, Asakusa, Shimo-kitazawa, Akihabara, Koenji & Nippori etc (no this this is not a pissing contest) We'd like to visit some new places and stay somewhere new.

As we have a toddler with us and the Shink leaves from Tokyo Station we're think around the Station area / Ginza area and exploring from there.

Has anyone got any advice on the vibe and aesthetic of the area?

This place looks bizarre and great for our toddler:
http://www.newotani.co.jp/en/tokyo/

Fall back option is AirBnB in Shinjuku or Tokyo.

Thanks, Tanuki
 

Tonester

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I replied to someone else with a similar question recently (can't remember if it was in this thread or not). You can book in advance but you have to pick up ticket the day before travelling, so that is not going to work for you.

I would just reserve seat for both Narita express and Shinkansen when you exchange your JR east pass at JR office at Narita on arrival. By then you will know what Shinkansen you will be able to catch. Need to allow at least 15 mins for transfer at Tokyo station (30 mins maybe better) as it is a bit of a walk and up 4 levels of escalators.

Nearly all the Shinkansens to Morioka are reserved seat only (Komachi & Hayabusa). Only the Yamabiko services have some unreserved seating. They go just about every hour so even if it is a busy day you will get on.

What time are you scheduled to arrive in Narita?
That was me!
And for what it's worth, when you book, ask for the Hayabusa. It's larger, so a bit easier with ski gear. Storage, IIRC, on the Komachi is a little tight.
 
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Heinz

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precisely the advice I needed, tanx heaps. We arrive Narita approx. 9am. Will Takyubin gear to Appi and spend two night in Tokyo

Ah that changes things. I was assuming you were travelling through to Morioka on the same day. If you are staying a couple of days in Tokyo I would suggest you just catch the Keisei Skyliner to Ueno. Depends on how you can fit the 14 day period within your stay. Then go to the JR East Travel office in Ueno station to exchange you pass voucher and reserve seats. They may insist that you can only exchange on the day you plan to travel. Main thing is to make sure you do the Shinkansen trips on the pass. Airport trips if the fall within the 14 days are just a bonus as that is only around Y2000.
 
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Ramenman

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Naeba will open a new park 17/18 season.
index_il01.jpg
 

MadPow

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I had issues looking up their website direct as well. When searching for 2 adults, 2 children it showed up as no rooms available. Changing the search to one adult showed lots of room options including family rooms that accommodate 4 people. Bizarre.
There are still rooms for families in January, we had no issues. Are you on the hotel website directly? For 2 adults 2 kids you need to put it in as 4 adults, there is no difference in price. Also, click on the Join Seibu club and you get a cheaper rate.
 

Kimski

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Ie the bus to Niseko is bs.
That was my impression 12 years ago...
Overpriced and slow

I didn't mind it. If I'm travelling solo with my fully packed ski bag I'm happy to pay for no changes and a place to store my gear that doesn't involve me having to ask random strangers to help me or standing and holding my ski bag.

Rail travel in Australia and Switzerland with ski gear wasn't the relaxing experience I hoped for :D
 

Tanuki

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Ah that changes things. I was assuming you were travelling through to Morioka on the same day. If you are staying a couple of days in Tokyo I would suggest you just catch the Keisei Skyliner to Ueno. Depends on how you can fit the 14 day period within your stay. Then go to the JR East Travel office in Ueno station to exchange you pass voucher and reserve seats. They may insist that you can only exchange on the day you plan to travel. Main thing is to make sure you do the Shinkansen trips on the pass. Airport trips if the fall within the 14 days are just a bonus as that is only around Y2000.
Here is how you get to Appi. Catch a Shinkansen in the morning to Morioka, then go out west exit for the bus.
http://www.appi-japan.com/welcome-to-appi/howto-gethere.html
Thanks so much Heinz. From memory I liked the Skyliner over the Express, I think it was quicker???
 

Heinz

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Thanks so much Heinz. From memory I liked the Skyliner over the Express, I think it was quicker???

Yes, Skyliner is quicker & cheaper and direct to Ueno. I only use the Narita Express if I can use the JR pass.
 

Tanuki

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Yes, Skyliner is quicker & cheaper and direct to Ueno. I only use the Narita Express if I can use the JR pass.
Yep, however we're probably staying near Tokyo station so the NEX might be more convenient i.e. no transfers. Alternatively we could take our daughter to the Zoo at Ueno
 

Melskius

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There are still rooms for families in January, we had no issues. Are you on the hotel website directly? For 2 adults 2 kids you need to put it in as 4 adults, there is no difference in price. Also, click on the Join Seibu club and you get a cheaper rate.

Yeah, got it to work today. Now I have a decision to make. Interested in others opinions. (Sorry if not right spot) I want meal options rather than the one - think cheaper eats than the prince style dinners. We have a yuzawa ski house booked - pros they are above a ski hire shop, are in yuzawa so hopefully meal options, have free shittle for station and ski resorts - so 2 adults and 2 kids can get gear then get driven to Naeba/kagura and gala (thinking one spot each day). Cons - japanese style room with shared bath. The Naeba Prince option has nicer room (but if like shiga kogen) more expensive meals - not much choice, need to arrange transfers, and stuck at resort. Skimg only 3 days 28-31 march - very late, public transport. Which would you choose?
 

Donza

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Yep, however we're probably staying near Tokyo station so the NEX might be more convenient i.e. no transfers. Alternatively we could take our daughter to the Zoo at Ueno
That zoo made me so sad. To tears. Never again.
 

Donza

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You're 100% right, amnesia has set in. not a fan of Zoos in general so probably give it a miss.
I don't mind big zoos. Singapore was OK. San Diego. Etc. Ueno....seeing a bear in a enclosure the size of a living room . So cruel. Besides the Pandas, it feels so out dated
 
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Tanuki

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I don't mind big zoos. Singapore was OK. San Diego. Etc. Ueno....seeing a bear in a enclosure the size of a living room . So cruel. Besides the Pandas, it feels so out dated
And the Tigers... Erghhh
 
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Ramenman

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Yay, new JR rail pass for foreign tourists to Japan will come:thumbs:. It's Tohoku + South Hokkaido including Sapporo - Niseko - Rusutsu - New Chitose airport area. It's valid for two weeks and you can use the rail pass for five days during the two weeks. It's an ideal pass for the people who ski at Niseko for a week, one day backcountry tour at Hakkoda, 3 or 4 day skiing at Appi or Zao Onsen and 2 day skiing at Geto Kogen or Alts Bandai. It's 19,000 Yen for adult = aged 12 and up, 9,500 Yen for aged 6 to 11.
002l.jpg


001.jpg
 
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LMB

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I didn't mind it. If I'm travelling solo with my fully packed ski bag I'm happy to pay for no changes and a place to store my gear that doesn't involve me having to ask random strangers to help me or standing and holding my ski bag.

Rail travel in Australia and Switzerland with ski gear wasn't the relaxing experience I hoped for :D
It works if you are using takkyubin, or have a single suitcase that is not tooooo heavy. Or you are a hero!

I had a 28kg suitcase last March, up and down the steps of the overpass to the train platform at Kutchan with no drama. The hardest bit other than that was lifting into and off the train (minuscule effort) or lifting the bag onto the conveyer at check in.

Girl that was with us really struggled with her bag, I had to drop mine at the bottom and go back and help her. So if you were injured or just not strong I'm not sure you'd manage that bit. I'm mindful of this when dropping our visitors to the train. I'm practicing my polite Nihongo request to allow me to carry the bag for my friend to the platform.
 
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Heinz

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I didn't mind it. If I'm travelling solo with my fully packed ski bag I'm happy to pay for no changes and a place to store my gear that doesn't involve me having to ask random strangers to help me or standing and holding my ski bag.

Rail travel in Australia and Switzerland with ski gear wasn't the relaxing experience I hoped for :D

I'm happily still very much old school and still just travel with a single ski bag that I can easily sling over my shoulder so lifting it up to an overhead rack is never an issue.

And I presume you meant rail travel in Austria and Switzerland. I'm not aware that there is much scope for rail travel with ski gear in Oz.
 

LMB

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Yay, new JR rail pass for foreign tourists to Japan will come:thumbs:. It's Tohoku + South Hokkaido including Sapporo - Niseko - Rusutsu - New Chitose airport area. It's valid for two weeks and you can use the rail pass for five days during the two weeks. It's an ideal pass for the people who ski at Niseko for a week, one day back country tour at Hakkoda, 3 or 4 day skiing at Appi or Zao Onsen and 2 day skiing at Geto Kogen or Alts Bandai. It's 19,000 Yen for adult = aged 12 and older, 9,500 Yen for aged between 6 and 11.
002l.jpg


001.jpg
Doesn't start until Feb 1st!
Damn. My friend coming early -mid Dec would've bought that.
 
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LMB

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I'm happily still very much old school and still just travel with a single ski bag that I can easily sling over my shoulder so lifting it up to an overhead rack is never an issue.

And I presume you meant rail travel in Austria and Switzerland. I'm not aware that there is much scope for rail travel with ski gear in Oz.
Kim is tiny @Heinz
I'm sure she CAN manage, but it's a question of whether it's worth the effort involved.
 

Ramenman

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Yay, new JR rail pass for foreign tourists to Japan will come:thumbs:. It's Tohoku + South Hokkaido including Sapporo - Niseko - Rusutsu - New Chitose airport area. It's valid for two weeks and you can use the rail pass for five days during the two weeks. It's an ideal pass for the people who ski at Niseko for a week, one day back country tour at Hakkoda, 3 or 4 day skiing at Appi or Zao Onsen and 2 day skiing at Geto Kogen or Alts Bandai. It's 19,000 Yen for adult = aged 12 and older, 9,500 Yen for aged between 6 and 11.
002l.jpg


001.jpg

More about the rail pass in English.
http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/pdf/e/20171003.pdf
 

Heinz

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Kim is tiny @Heinz
I'm sure she CAN manage, but it's a question of whether it's worth the effort involved.

Yes, I am aware - I have met her. Just saying a 'fully packed ski bag' is a bit different from a single ski bag containing just skis and poles. Just a general comment that I don't see too many people travelling like that these days.
 
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Heinz

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So it looks exactly like the current JR East Tohoku pass but including a bit of south Hokkaido. 5 days in 14 for Y19,000.
I thought the original version of that was 6 days.

The real limiting factor though is the 14 day duration. The old 1 month pass was certainly better. 14 days heading Tokyo to Sapporo and stopping on the way is a fair bit of travel. Still excellent value though even if you don't stop anywhere on the way.
 
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LMB

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So it looks exactly like the current JR East Tohoku pass but including a bit of south Hokkaido. 5 days in 14 for Y19,000.
I thought the original version of that was 6 days.

The real limiting factor though is the 14 day duration. The old 1 month pass was certainly better. 14 days heading Tokyo to Sapporo and stopping on the way is a fair bit of travel. Still excellent value though even if you don't stop anywhere on the way.
Except 26,000 yen for the JR East-South Hokkaido pass, 6 days in 14.

Way more yens than the one @Ramenman posted, but just one extra day.

http://www.jreasthokkaido.com/e/
 

Budgiesmuggler

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Yeah, got it to work today. Now I have a decision to make. Interested in others opinions. (Sorry if not right spot) I want meal options rather than the one - think cheaper eats than the prince style dinners. We have a yuzawa ski house booked - pros they are above a ski hire shop, are in yuzawa so hopefully meal options, have free shittle for station and ski resorts - so 2 adults and 2 kids can get gear then get driven to Naeba/kagura and gala (thinking one spot each day). Cons - japanese style room with shared bath. The Naeba Prince option has nicer room (but if like shiga kogen) more expensive meals - not much choice, need to arrange transfers, and stuck at resort. Skimg only 3 days 28-31 march - very late, public transport. Which would you choose?


For 3 days skiing I'd go Naeba. Much less dicking sround to get to the snow etc.
There is a good court if you want cheap eats or a town 10 mins walk
 

LMB

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Yes, that's what I thought it was. But that was different from the PDF that @Ramenman posted. Perhaps an error in the JR press release?
Nah @Ramenman s one starts on Feb 1st 2018 - some time in April. It's a great deal. I just wish it was available in December.
 
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PMG

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I don't mind big zoos. Singapore was OK. San Diego. Etc. Ueno....seeing a bear in a enclosure the size of a living room . So cruel. Besides the Pandas, it feels so out dated
They haven't got a great track record with bears generally. And don't get me started on Akitas on 1 metre chains.
 
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Heinz

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Nah @Ramenman s one starts on Feb 1st 2018 - some time in April. It's a great deal. I just wish it was available in December.

ok, so they are basically just merging it with the current JR East Tohoku pass but only from Feb 2018.
 
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Tonester

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Yes, I am aware - I have met her. Just saying a 'fully packed ski bag' is a bit different from a single ski bag containing just skis and poles. Just a general comment that I don't see too many people travelling like that these days.
I do. I have a Slim Jim. Fits one pair of skis and stocks. Has wheels and a shoulder strap. Can swing it into an upright position when going up/down escalators. I have a wheelie suitcase and my boots are in my backpack. Works a treat navigating the awesome transport system of Japow. I can't see the sense in packing EVERYTHING in one ski bag. Makes it way too heavy and cumbersome to be useful. Just my 2 cents worth.
 

Tonester

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Yay, new JR rail pass for foreign tourists to Japan will come:thumbs:. It's Tohoku + South Hokkaido including Sapporo - Niseko - Rusutsu - New Chitose airport area. It's valid for two weeks and you can use the rail pass for five days during the two weeks. It's an ideal pass for the people who ski at Niseko for a week, one day backcountry tour at Hakkoda, 3 or 4 day skiing at Appi or Zao Onsen and 2 day skiing at Geto Kogen or Alts Bandai. It's 19,000 Yen for adult = aged 12 and older, 9,500 Yen for aged between 6 and 11.
002l.jpg


001.jpg
The timing of this is uncanny. Only a couple of hours ago, I was on hyperdia looking at my options of travelling from Tohoku up into Hokkaido. This might actually be a useful thing. Thanks @Ramenman
 
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