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Japan 2020 - planning and stuff.

Discussion in 'Japan' started by Donzah, Feb 27, 2019.

  1. Tanuki

    Tanuki A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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  2. AuroraAustralis

    AuroraAustralis Hard Yards Ski Pass: Silver

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    And in other random news, grabbed flights today for mid Feb next year. Price was about $20 less than this year for almost the same dates MEL <-> CTS, a bit under $1000. Looking at a week in Rusutsu this trip, never been and keen to have a look at a new resort!
     
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  3. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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  4. Sandy

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

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    It's not a local thing around Yokohama. I guess I'd consider it if I happened to see him, but wouldn't go out of my way!!
    Plus it's summer now, and that's more winter food.
    Yokohama is the second most populous city in Japan, (it's part of the Tokyo/Kanto population of the effective Tokyo metro) at around 3.8 million. It butts up against Kawasaki city, which is between Yokohama & Tokyo. There's no recognisable line line between any of these, unless you find a sign. There are 9 cities that make up the effective Tokyo Metro.
     
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  5. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    Now that I've got flights sorted (flying into Sapporo for some pre-Christmas early season turns) I've started to look at accommodation options. Yikes! I thought Australia was the only place that had extortion priced accommodation.
    We're on the Mountain Collective pass for a trip to the States later in the winter so I figured we may as well take advantage of those couple of days we get at Niseko. Is Niseko lodging usually a lot more expensive than other ski areas? I am not wedded to Niseko if there are better options.
    Are we likely to get better priced accommodation in other areas. We don't need to be on snow but would like to be on a shuttle bus route and be able to walk to dinner of an evening (I don't enjoy driving in snow at night and a couple of bevvies with dinner is a must on holidays).
    Are there areas that are more reasonably priced? I usually keep lodging to $300 Aud per night for our family of four when traveling. Is this being unrealistic? We don't want anything flash - just clean and warm.
    Any pointers? I usually search on Booking.com.
    Thanks in advance.
     
  6. Sandy

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

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    LOL. Sorry ;)
    Yes, Niseko is more expensive in every way. Lift tickets are 40-50% more expensive. Food is more expensive.
    Driving a Japanese holiday based on Mountain Collective pass(etc) is often false economy.
     
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  7. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    Thanks. We'll forget that then.
    Is early season in Furano area ambitious? I even like the idea of staying around Sapporo or Otaru and skiing the local hills. Is this easily doable with a car?
    Are there any other towns in the Rututsu/Niseko areas that would be a better base?
     
  8. brissmith

    brissmith Early Days

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    I am thinking for splitting our time between two ski areas - either Hakuba or Myoko Kogen and then Nozawa Onsen. I can't decide between Hakuba or Myoko. We are a family of four - my two boys (aged 13 and 10) are first timers and want to learn how to snowboard. I am a scared skier (only skied once before) and my husband is an intermediate (doesn't want black runs). We have friends who have been to Hakuba and love it and others who are going to Myoko. We are looking at February next year. Any thoughts?
     
  9. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Furano seems to be one of the resorts to open earliest .
    The average base depth from SJ data is 150cm at Christmas.
    Data is all here.
    https://www.snowjapan.com/japan-daily-snow-weather-reports/Furano-Now/snowfall-analysis

    Re your trip idea. Hire cars are quite cheap in Hokkaido compared to Honshu at that time of year.
    Accomodation is also well priced *except Niseko.
    Niseko is a inflated bubble and I can't understand how they can charge those prices (except people pay them I guess)
     
  10. skivet

    skivet Addicted

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    Thinking Myoko may fit your family’s needs. Akakura Onsen ski area is full of lovely beginner runs for you to get your confidence up. Your husband could get the Akakura Onsen/ Kanko pass that gives him more challenging intermediate ski runs. These two ski areas interconnect. The Myoko ski school gets good reviews too for your boys to learn to snowboard.
     
  11. silva

    silva One of Us

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    Both Hakuba and Myoko have great English speaking snowsports schools for your kids (and you if you are interested). There is quite a large price differential though. Group lessons for snowboarding at Myoko snowsports are semi private with a maximum of 4 kids in a group - 1 day = 19000 yen, 5 days 76000 yen. At Hakuba (Evergreen snowsports) a all day lesson is 12000 yen and 5 days 52000 yen per child but the group sizes may be larger. You can also have lessons at Happo One or Tsugaike in Hakuba so can get a bit of variety. From your post I think your family would all have fun at Tsugaike. If you go to Myoko you might be better getting a 4 hour private lesson (both boys in the same lesson) - 5 days is 144000 yen (works out a bit cheaper than full day group lessons and they can practice what they have learnt and you can spend time as a family exploring in the afternoons).
    Both areas have great facilities. My advice would be to split your holiday between Hakuba and Myoko and save Nozawa for another time. Nozawa is a lovely little village but IMHO not that great for learning or intermediate snowboarders. They do not have good English speaking snowboard lesson options and while there is fantastic out of bounds options there is a fair bit of cat track and flat terrain to access the more suitable intermediate terrain.
     
  12. brissmith

    brissmith Early Days

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    This is really useful thank you! My boys like the look of Nozawa because of the traditional village feel that it appears to have so I am wondering if we are better off doing a side trip after skiing to somewhere to experience this?
     
  13. silva

    silva One of Us

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    How long a trip are you planning?
     
  14. brissmith

    brissmith Early Days

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    probably only nine nights due to budget. As first time on the snow I'm not sure how long we should spend on the ski fields and whether we should just go to one place maybe and see how we go? We are going back to Japan in 2021 on a school trip in April and not doing the snow then but will take in Kyoto, Osaka and that area (no Tokyo)
     
  15. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Just stay in one place. 9 days will only scratch the surface IMO
     
  16. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    This. Particularly travelling with kids.
    Hit me up at Red Warehouse (see link below) and I can send you some useful links.
     
  17. brissmith

    brissmith Early Days

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    I can't see your link
    I can't see your link so can I facebook message you @ Red Warehouse?
     
  18. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    FB is fine too, but more problematic with links.
     
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  19. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    So my sig is not showing up for others?
     
  20. Sandy

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

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    Doesn't show up on a phone.
     
  21. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    I just checked on another browser (not logged in) and it's not showing either. Wonder what's happening - should be showing as Gold Ski Pass? The only sig I can see is yours Sandy.
     
  22. Sandy

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

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    Yours is showing Gold Pass and four links.... on my PC
     
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  23. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    depends on what you have set in your browsing preferences: eg.

     
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  24. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    yup, enabled that and now I do see it.
     
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  25. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Thanks all. New setting? Never seen it before. I would've thought it would be automatically on with an option to turn off, rather than the other way around. I'll go enable mine now.
     
  26. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    The option has been around for several years at least. The default setting may have changed at some stage though?
    I had disabled mine long ago, I think because some people had quite large signatures which I felt just added clutter to the thread.
     
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  27. Tanuki

    Tanuki A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    We considered Niseko twice but both times chose other options due to the inflated cost. First time we chose Sapporo, Rusutso and Tomamu and it was approx 30% cheaper. Second time we chose Api north of Honshu.

    The only way I found it cheaper was if you shared with others and booked an apartment.
     
  28. Tanuki

    Tanuki A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    We've done two trips splitting between Hakuba and Nozawa and Hakuba and Myoko. For the village feel obvs go with Nozawa IMO. Re doing a side trip, there's quite a few charming onsen towns in the valleys between Nozawa and Myoko., there's snow monkeys. Nagano and Matsumoto as well. Plenty of local options.
     
  29. reizen

    reizen Hard Yards

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    We're arriving in Haneda around 7am, Friday. Wondering if any of the takkyubin counters already open at that time? And if they are open, is it a possibility that we can receive our luggages to our accommodation at Myoko by Sunday morning?
     
  30. Kimski

    Kimski One of Us

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    I did some research on this as my flight gets in at 1am. They are, as far as I can see open 24 hours a day.

    That timeframe will be fine for takkyubbin.
     
  31. Sandy

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

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    Although Haneda Airport has no curfew, not all facilities are open 24 hours.
     
  32. geeoff

    geeoff Hard Yards

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    They were open in January 2018 for the ANA flight overnight from Sydney that arrives around 5.30-6am.
     
  33. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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  34. brissmith

    brissmith Early Days

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    Thanks! Unfortunately I don't think we have enough time to split and we will focus this trip on getting our ski legs and maybe some side trips to break it up a bit! So many options, so little $$
     
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  35. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Staying in Otaru or Sapporo with a car would be great options. More than half a dozen ski resorts within an hours drive means you can take your pick of the best snow conditions given it's early season. And also means plenty of non-ski activities to do for days off or at night time. Plus accommodation for your family will be significantly cheaper than Niseko.
     
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  36. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    Thanks. Good info.
    We find staying in towns quite acceptable when skiing (Salt Lake, Innsbruck, Aosta, Banff) although staying on or very close to the snow is great too. I have noticed some reasonably priced accom in Kutchan. I have no feel for that town. Would it be a nice place to spend the night?
    Also Google tells me the drive from Otaru to Kiroro is 37 minutes. Would this be reasonably accurate in normal (snowing but not full on blizzard) winter driving?
     
  37. reizen

    reizen Hard Yards

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    Thanks. Is the ANA Sky Building Service for those using ANA? Just wondering, since we can just use the JAL ABC.
     
  38. Tanuki

    Tanuki A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Sorry I think I misread the post. I thought you wanted to visit two resorts. If it's just one go for Hakuba. The Japanese Alps are truly spectacular. Hope you have a great time wherever you go!
     
  39. brissmith

    brissmith Early Days

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    N
    No, my apologies. I was thinking of two resorts but after comment here have rethought to stick to just the one. I think there are so many good options it is hard to decide and being a family of four $$ are the barrier to having more time there. Thanks for commenting.
     
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  40. brissmith

    brissmith Early Days

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    thank you! Would you stay at Tsugaike or in another part of Habuka? Or even spilt time between two locations in Habuka?
     
  41. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I wouldn't stay at Tsugaike. Its like a ghost town up there in the evenings for a first time traveller
     
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  42. brissmith

    brissmith Early Days

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    Thank you! So Happo or Echoland?
     
  43. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    Both are solid, my preference is Echoland but I dont ride Happo.

    If you are on a budget try Wasabi Lodge.
     
  44. brissmith

    brissmith Early Days

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    Thanks! Have contacted them. Any other suggestions? We are on a budget. My 10 year old son does Japanese at school (bi-lingual program) so staying with in a family-hosted accommodation would be great (I think!)
     
  45. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    I've only stayed in Harifu Village when skiing Niseko, not in Kutchan. But I've heard it's much less westernised with more traditional restaurant options and much cheaper than staying on hill. As long as you have your own wheels Kutchan would be a good option to stay and ski Niseko.

    Otaru - Kiroro is an easy 30 min drive in good weather, but yes in blizzard conditions and getting stuck behind a truck or bus can easily be an hour. If it was snowing really heavily I'd avoid driving to Kiroro and check out Otaru Tenguyama (10 mins from downtown Otaru) or Sapporo Kokusai (30 mins).
     
  46. silva

    silva One of Us

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    If you decide on Hakuba I would stay in Wadano area as you then have easy access to Evergreen Snowsports and beginner slopes at Happo One as well as being one of the first places the buses to Tsugaike and Iwatake pick up from making it very easy to head out to these resorts for the day. Personally I don't like to move accommodation if its for less than a week - too much hassle.
    What sort of accommodation do you prefer? With kids I like access to a kitchen, a bit of space and access to laundry facilities. We found all of this as well as nightly shuttles to the supermarket and onsens at Penke Panke. It is very popular and several people on here have stayed there. They also own/manage several other similar properties - try approaching Hakuba Lodge Coop. If you are after self contained accommodation Big Bear Chalets are well located and very nice.

    If you decide Myoko is your preferred option then you also have access to several different mountains by bus. We are visiting Myoko this year staying at Red Warehouse - mostly because it has everything that makes a family holiday to Japan smooth and easy. Pick up and drop off, access to kitchen and laundry facilities, nice common areas to meet others and for the kids to spread out and play, kids games room, central location and a big one for us - Non Smoking.
     
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  47. Tanuki

    Tanuki A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    You could also look at the Wadano area as it provides ease of access to one of the ski schools (evergreen) and is a beautiful forested area with a lots of nice restaurants and lodges. I like Echo land for the charm of the central village and restaurants I just didn't enjoy the buses. Next time we go back, hopefully 2020 we'll most likely stay in Happo or Wadano.
     
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  48. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    Fantastic info thanks. This kind of stuff can't really be researched. First hand knowledge is gold.
    Would you say our time in Kutchan/Niseko could be done without a car (using the shuttle that runs from Kutchan to the 4 resorts)? We could take the train from Sapporo to Niseko and then the train back to Otaru and pick up a car from there. Or just get the car from the airport and have it all the time?
     
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  49. Sandy

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

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    The train from Chitose Airport - Sapporo then onwards goes to Kutchan, not Niseko.

    Depends how confident you are.... the roads can be dodgy after a lot of snow. But if you intend to rent a car from Otaru, you'd just as well get it at Chitose Airport. The back road from Chitose Airport to Kutchan is 108km, and 59km from Otaru to Kutchan.

    If you have a car in Kutchan, there are more options. It's an easy drive to Rusutsu, and you can get there well before the buses from Niseko.
     
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  50. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    Ok. I was thinking of only having a car for the second leg (based in Otaru) but your point about Rusutsu makes sense.
    The more I read about Otaru the more I like the sound of it.
    On a side note is an English speaking Sat Nav easy to aquire in Japan?