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Japan 2020 - planning and stuff.

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

  1. grantn

    grantn Addicted

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    Many vehicles in Hokkaido will be 4wd, it wouldn't surprise me if the Impreza is too. I reckon it will be fine. I don't think Chitose will be better from a language point of view. I would assume at both outlets the chances are no-one will speak English, but you will be OK. Sometimes they hand a phone to you with an English interpreter.
    Chitose may just be logistically easier.
     
  2. ojisan

    ojisan Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    the Japanese make a 4WD version of pretty much every model.
    I hired a Yaris a few years back from Nagano which was 4WD
     
  3. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Subaru do make a 2wd Impreza for Japan.. However they are so so rare
     
  4. Beerman

    Beerman One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Ditto for us with a Nissan Micra
     
  5. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Impreza will be fine, and most likely 4WD. We hired at Chitose in Feb and they paired us up with a customer service assistant who spoke good english at the shop, plus they had an English guide book for us to look at. Otaru probably not as much English spoken though. The drive from Chitose - Otaru is quite scenic
     
  6. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    Surely Chitose would theoretically have the greater chance of English speaking staff given the airport proximity. But then again, Japan, so don't assume anything. If you can book online in English, you will be able to fudge your way through the car pick up. They will be anal about International Driver's Permit....continually ask you if you want insurance and the once around the vehicle to pick up every little ding and scratch.

    Subaru will be fine.
     
  7. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    Thanks for the replies above.
    I want to have the most (within reason) Japanese experience possible and whilst I understand I will not get that at Niseko will lodging in Kutchan itself provide a better opportunity to go to more authentic Japanese restaurants and bars? We should get a more genuine Japanese experience when we staying in Otaru.
     
  8. hotsaki

    hotsaki One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Subaru good but Nissan GTR much better.
     
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  9. geeoff

    geeoff Hard Yards

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    The simple answer is “Yes very much so”. Unless things have changed rapidly in last 2 years, Kutchan is still relatively untouched by western influence compared to Hirafu. The businesses are almost exclusively Japanese operated and unlike Hirafu you won’t walk into shops, bars etc operated by westerners and where English is the first language spoken.There will be plenty of westerners in town during January and February, particularly at night.
     
  10. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yah..

    We picked up from Toyota at Chitose a few times and only once had a relatively English fluent person there.

    I was thankful the last time I had practiced my Nihongo before I left, including appropriate language related to the car hire situation.
     
  11. Any

    Any One of Us

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    flights booked.
    2020 season here i come.

    the prices were $250 less last week, i missed out because i was still finalizing plans :(
    i guess the continued crash of the AUD and oil prices have pushed up the prices. sneaky buggers probably also saw me doing lots of flight searches and put it up in spite.
     
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  12. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    That means they'll be $300 cheaper next week/month. Murphy's Law.
     
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  13. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yay
    Playtime!
    Splitties at the ready!
     
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  14. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Don't laugh.
    Clearing cookies and browsing incognito works.
     
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  15. Sandy

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

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    There seems to be something unusual about Feb at the Naeba Prince Hotel. There's big prices or sold out for most of Feb. But in January, it's cheap just like last year.
    I noticed large numbers of Chinese last January, and I suspect that Naeba Prince has become very popular, and tours from China have booked it out for most of Feb when the weather is "better"!!!!
     
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  16. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    It was great last week of feb this year. But next year is $$$$. Bummer as it was so convenient with the jr tohoku pass. Shiga is not covered and we like to head north. Tossing up heading to hokkaido for the first time.
     
  17. Sandy

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

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    How far north do you usually head?
    The JR Tohoku Pass cost 20,000yen (or 19,000yen bought outside of Australia), but it also takes you to Suka-daira (part way to Nagano city). ....so if you pay for a ticket Suka-daira - Nagano to get to Shiga Kogen, it's only an extra 3330yen. (each way)
    If you you're not going far north, you could also consider the JR Nagano/Niigata Pass
     
  18. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    This year we skied Naeba and headed up to sendai and morioka, before heading down via aizuwakamatsu using that pass. We loved the area around Sendai. Keen to see around Aomori.
    This is a good idea, was looking into something similar. We did the equivalent when using the nagano niigata pass and visited Kanazawa 2 years ago. Just paid for the gap to get back into coverage area of the pass.
     
  19. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    Ow, if you do decide to head up there, could you do a trip report? We're also interested in going there (not the coming year yet unfortunately)
     
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  20. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    A couple of questions for the those in the know about Hokkaido.
    We will be staying in Moiwa for a few nights. Is it possible for a family of (maybe advanced) intermediate skiers to ski into Moiwa from Annupuri?

    Also can someone recommend a decent and good value (relatively) ski hire/rental place in the Niseko area?
    Thanks.
     
  21. Annabuzzy

    Annabuzzy Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes it is. There’s a groomed track linking both resorts.

    Can’t help you on rentals much, but I can say Rhythm is huge in Niseko, seem to have displaced most of the old Japanese rental places, and will likely pick you up and drop you off from your accomodation to organise the hire. Larry Adler would probably do the same.
     
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  22. Any

    Any One of Us

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    Yeah super easy.
    I heard rumors that Moiwa is on the same lift pass now even?
    They also plan to eventually put in a lift from Annupuri to Moiwa to make it easier.

    Id also suggest Rhythm, because of good quality and huge volume of stock and great service. Their non premium level skis are a bit avg tho, so I'd probably take the upgrade. And they have a pickup and drop off service (people and/or gear), not sure they cover Moiwa tho.
    Perhaps make a ski trip out of it, pickup gear and ski back. Shoes in backpack maybe, I dunno.
     
    #772 Any, Jul 14, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
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  23. telenomore

    telenomore One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Just on ski hire, Harro's Snowsports, based at Gondola chalet in Hirafu, best personal service you'll find in Niseko IMO. Rhythm also good but Harro's is still run by the owner, Dave and he is pretty much in the shop every day.
     
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  24. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    Thanks. Will check them out.
     
  25. Any

    Any One of Us

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    a friend bought some 2nd hand skis / had remounted / had serviced / and a bunch of other stuff with Harro. really looked after her, and wasn't rip off prices.
     
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  26. Lonepeak

    Lonepeak Hard Yards

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    Already answered regarding Moiwa, but keep in mind you can ski back from Annupuri (kind of flat run - need to maintain some speed), but you cannot ski from Moiwa to Annupuri without buying a 1-way lift (seem to recall it would be 1000yen). That is if as someone mentioned Moiwa is still on it's own ticket.

    Rentals - last year research for friends renting I thought this place had best rates (delivery only): https://winter1st.com/en/rental-price/
     
  27. Any

    Any One of Us

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    i was curious and had a look.
    i noticed that nowhere does that website say what their delivery area actually is, maybe its all of Hokkaido, all of Japan even?.
    it wasn't even immediately obvious where they are based either. aside from the picture of yotei's caldera at the the top of the page (which a tourist wouldnt recognize), i had to look for their actual postage address. There is one mention on the deliveries page that "in Niseko" is within 15-20minutes tho, so thats good. ps, Hirafu isn't technically in Niseko region ;p
    Rankoshi (winter1st) is closer to Moiwa than Hirafu (rhythm), so that might be a factor for @Sbooker to consider.
     
  28. Lonepeak

    Lonepeak Hard Yards

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    We stayed outside Kutchan (former love hotel lol) and they showed up there with equipment. I was proposing to meet them at a shop, but turns out they don’t have one...they only have van(s). It also seems they were limited on where they meet to avoid hotel rental (ex: could not meet at green leaf hotel, but general ski parking lot was OK). Another trip last year ended up renting right at Chitose airport since I couldn’t find a spot at Otaru. Price was decent, and someone had a sign outside baggage claim with our name. Now if we had a gear malfunction mid trip that would be a hassle.
     
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  29. Any

    Any One of Us

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    ive never done it (ive had my own skis a long time), but being able to ski back to Rhythm and swap to a different pair on the spot, no questions, no costs, has always seemed a real cool advantage to me.
     
  30. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Like you I’m usually on my own gear but one year I was “between boards” - had organised in advance to buy a specific board from Rhythm after a demo but then when I demoed and confirmed I want to buy I got the “that’s great, by we don’t have any in stock”. Initially rather annoyed, I decided to turn the week into DEMO WEEK and I swapped boards and bindings every day, sometimes even at lunchtime if I came in for lunch. Helped that I live in the same street.

    But that little tale is just to confirm YES, the premium package where you can swap at will can be fabulous! And they were more than happy to see me each time, talk about what else they had in the quiver for me to try and ask for my feedback on how I found each ride.
     
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  31. Lonepeak

    Lonepeak Hard Yards

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    I should point out - gear being rented was for first timer, low intermediate, etc. I/they weren’t picky so cheap was the objective.
     
  32. Melskius

    Melskius One of Us

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    Booked flights for trip 5 - last week feb, first week march. Very cheap jetstar deal family 2A+2c) and bags/ski bag for under $1800. Now to decide whether to ski Shiga Kogan ( had 2 days there on our first japan trip), or to seek out cheap internal flight to sapporo and try tomamu or shinkansen up to hokkaido. So many options....
     
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  33. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    At that time of year you will easily get accomm just about anywhere so if you feel a little adventurous you could hold off until the very last minute and make that decision based on snow conditions at the time.
     
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  34. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    To the Hokkaido gurus.
    Would it better better to stay in Sapporo and drive to ski hills like Kiroro and Teine and do a train trip to check out Otaru or stay in Otaru and drive to ski hills like Kiroro and Teine and do a day trip by train to check out Sapporo?
     
  35. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    The latter IMO.
    Otaru is a cute town.
    Sapporo is a city.
     
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  36. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yep otaru is very good with great air bnb options probably easier car based access to kiroro, Kokusai, teine, asari and the local hill which is ok for a day. Sapporo easy drive or train.
     
  37. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Otaru
    For the win
    IMHO
     
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  38. miro67

    miro67 Hard Yards

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    Heading to Sahoro for a week (3 January - 10 January), first time to Japan with our 6 year old. It's been quite a few years since we last skied up in hokkaido, and we are looking for some flight recommendations. How are people gettting up there these days other than through Tokyo? (PS a little shocked by how expensive webjet is saying flights are as well $3,500 return roughly).

    thanks
     
  39. Any

    Any One of Us

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    I go via Seoul with Korean air.
    I saw Brisbane to Sapporo return for $900 a few weeks ago.
    They have a great baggage policy where they charge by piece not by kg, which I like cause I have a lot of junk. my bags cost $100, or usually $0 if I flirt with check-in staff. The same bags cost $350 on Jetstar.
    And their flight usually means I don't need to spend a night anywhere. Which I like cause I'm a tight ass.
     
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  40. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Another vote for staying in Otaru, cute little town and easier/quicker access to the ski resorts than Sapporo.
     
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  41. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Have done Cathy via Hong Kong - Sapporo and it was a breeze. 30ks luggage helps too. Found flights for about $850 return per person.
     
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  42. miro67

    miro67 Hard Yards

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    Yep that looks like where we are headed, a few days in HK on the way over. But flgihts (for our dates) are $830 one way! And higher on the way back.
     
  43. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    Christmas / NY is an expensive time to fly.
     
  44. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    If you want cheap flights around New Years you need to book early, between Feb-May. Last year we departed on the 2nd of Jan for Sapporo and our flights were only $759 return with a full service airline.

    P.s Flights for your dates out of Brisbane at the moment are coming back at just under $1500 per adult.

    www.skyscanner.com.au
     
  45. Any

    Any One of Us

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    Isn't Chinese new year a weird date this year also?
    Last week of Jan I think. I had to change some of my plans around it.
     
  46. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Sky scanner can be wrong though
    Was looking on behalf of some friends.. ex canberra to tokyo. mid late Jan into Feb.
    Cheapest on the online sites were ugly flights and 1100 plus
    Booking direct on JAL was 900 odd.
    CBR to Melbourne-Tokyo
    Return Tokyo-Syd-CBR.
     
  47. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    Yep. Just as all the Aussie families leave CNY starts. 2nd week of Feb will be a much better option.
     
  48. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    Sure Sky scanner is not the only site to look at, just a good place to start.
     
  49. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah i looked at around 5 yesterday. Webjet , google flights , Momondo (?) etc
    Then for shits and giggles went straight to JAL site
     
  50. brissmith

    brissmith Early Days

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    Looking for recommendations for staying in Myoko Suginohara area. We are staying most of the time in the main Myoko area but wanted to head to Suginohara to stay near Japanese friends who are basing themselves there. They are booked into Beeken but they don't have any rooms available for our famiy. Japanese style accommodation is great.