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Japan 2020 - planning and stuff.

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

  1. Sandy

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

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    The road is closed
     
    Hyst likes this.
  2. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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  3. Hagle

    Hagle Hard Yards

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    Thanks @Donzah that’s a great option. Anyone else with advice on domestic air travel in Japan?
     
  4. travelislife

    travelislife One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Look at the fixed price fares for foreigners. About 10,000 yen fixed price. Both ANA and JAL have them. Probably a bit late now but I would have looked to book an open jaw through to CTS and then back from NRT or visa/versa on Cathay, Eva or Thai (maybe a couple of others that fly to CTS?).
     
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  5. Hagle

    Hagle Hard Yards

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    I assume you mean Cathay, Eva or Thai for an open jaw from/to BNE. We had the same thoughts, but we snapped up a great QF/JAL business class deal for BNE-NRT-SYD-BNE some time ago. Hence, we are locked in and looking for the advice on domestic carriers in Japan.
     
  6. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    You have any Qantas FF points ? Our flights from Osaka to Sapporo cost us $5.50 each plus points in January this year.
     
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  7. Hagle

    Hagle Hard Yards

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    Yes. Lots of points. Great advice.
     
  8. ojisan

    ojisan Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Isn't itami only serviced by Ana and jal?
     
  9. Paradox

    Paradox Hard Yards

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    I know some disagree, but 2wd is not the end of the world and comments like "no matter what you do" are a little over the top. 4wd is better and I agree get that if you can, but the difference isn't huge. Snow tyres are the thing that you 100% cannot do without. 4wd helps when the power is on, not when braking....people forget this.

    The reason I highlight this is that in my experience, either having the option to book a 4wd in the car or location you want or actually getting a 2wd when you ordered a 4wd on the day are real factors. I have had this twice in Japan and ended up with 2wd.

    In both cases, rather than panic and run screaming in circles until I melted into a pile of my own tears, I chose to check the vehicle had snow tyres, hopped in and hit the slopes. On both occasions the car performed flawlessly for the whole trip including during/after huge dumps and icy roads.

    Robust discussion here: https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/car-hire-myoko-kogen.84331/

    By all means get a 4wd if its an option. But seriously, there is no need to pay a large additional cost, take a less suitable vehicle or change/delay your travel plans just because you can't or didn't receive a 4wd. A 2wd is a second choice but will most likely be perfectly fine in any situation you encounter.
     
    Born2ski likes this.
  10. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Not getting sucked into this vortex again.
     
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  11. hotsaki

    hotsaki One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Oh well I might as well Having driven around the Myoko/Joetsu area the last two seasons in two different four wheel drive vehicles I can think of quite a few occasions that I reckon I would not have made it in a two wheel drive.And getting stuck in some of those massive dumps would not have been fun.
     
  12. Paradox

    Paradox Hard Yards

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    Ha ha, yeah I can see that ;);)....thing you guys are missing, is that I am not disagreeing that a 4wd is preferred. I am also 100% suggesting that people should get a 4wd if they can....they are of course better. I'm just saying the difference is not as large as some make out.....and sometimes, you just can't get a 4wd....!!

    eg "...Do NOT get a 2wd no matter what you do" kind of implies that if you find yourself with a 2wd as the only real option, you will not only ruin your holiday but will likely randomly veer off the side of the road and crash in a fiery ball of death...<cue a Simpsons scene>.... :rolleyes::rolleyes:

    I'm saying that is bollocks and misleads people to pursue a 4wd at any cost, either monetary or otherwise, when in all likelihood a 2wd (with snow tyres) would have served them perfectly fine with just a little more caution or planning in bad weather.

    I know this as I have done it for the last 3 years through big dumps and icy roads, and the biggest issue I have come across is digging the car out in the mornings. LOLLOLLOL

    Next year I will be looking to hire a 4wd as always, but really will not be bothered if I end up with a 2wd again. I know they work almost as well. Although if I get stuck Hot Saki will never let me forget it .....:cry::cry::cry:
     
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  13. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    @smackies drives a 2wd around hakuba every season for a month at a time...
     
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  14. Zimbooo

    Zimbooo One of Us

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    Closed
     
  15. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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  16. Mils

    Mils One of Us

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    I drove a 2wd from Nowaza Onsen to Shirawaka-go last december and it was in the middle of a pretty gnarly storm.

    I have a bunch of years experience driving in eastern Canada so I can handle 2wd on snow, that being said if there was any down angles it was sketchy there was one turn I have to straighten up and head towards to edge so we didn't skid and had the wheels catch so I could turn safely. If I had not had experience I might have not done that well, also plowing through untracked 1ft of snow on a highway sucks. 2wd or 4wd that just plain sucks when you have to change lanes.

    My majro concern with my next trip is leaving from Kyoto and if I don't have winter tyres then I will not have such a great experience that's for sure... I spoke to the company and they said talk to us in October about guaranteeing winter tyres.
     
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  17. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    You'll get winter tyres in Kyoto.
    They'll just cost you.
    As opposed to free in Nagano
     
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  18. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    Looking at a suitable base around Morioka for maybe 5-6 days. Wanting to try Tazawako, Shizukuishi, Amihari, maybe Appi and Hachimantai. Also, very keen on Ani. Just scoping the terrain and roads, I’m still torn between where to base accom. Morioka city in a business hotel would become tiresome pretty quick, ideally prefer lodge style. Will have car. Maybe 3 nights over by Lake Tazawako/Nyuto Onsen, then 3 up near Appi? Prefer to keen drives in the morning under 1 hour. @Ramenman @Heinz @bluestick @Tonester
     
  19. PMG

    PMG One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Are you alone?
     
  20. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    3 persons. Boys trip.
     
  21. Mitchthewitch

    Mitchthewitch Hard Yards

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    We (2 adults, 2 teens) stayed in the pension village in Appi for 7 nights (at White Rose Inn, but there are a few other pensions in that area). Obviously just down the road from Appi, an easy drive to Hachimantai/Shimokura (maybe 1/2 hr), bit longer drive to Shizukuishi. We even drove to Tazawako a couple of days later but that was a bit of a drive (but worth it).
     
  22. geeoff

    geeoff Hard Yards

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    If you are looking for smaller places, a couple of places I have stayed at twice now are Pension Mutti at Appi and Kumagai Ryokan in Morioka.
    Mutti is in the pension village and the owner does a great breakfast and dinner. Is Japanese but speaks good English. Crazy driver but says this because she doesn’t ski now!
    Kumagai is an old traditional place tucked away in the middle of the city in Morioka.
    Both are well priced, particularly if you happy to share a room.
    At Tazawako there is a pension called Hutte Birke that is close to the ski field and gets good reviews. Have not stayed there.
    If you want to treat yourself stay a night at Tsurunyo Onsen which is a short drive from Tazawako. Great experience. We booked this through Japanese Guesthouses, the others direct.
    The drive to Tazawako from Morioka goes over a pass and whilst a good road can be a bit slow. Otherwise the roads from Morioka to the other resorts are fairly flat and easy driving.
     
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  23. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    It depends where you are actually going to ski / snowboard. I mean, if I have 10 days and I want to stay at only one accommodation, I would choose Morioka because Morioka is "close enough" to both Appi and Tazawako. But actually, not very close to Tazawako in that it takes more than an hour. Basically, 5 - 6 days are not enough for visiting all Appi, Tazawako, Shizukuishi and Amihari, let alone Ani.

    If I have only 5 days and If it were for the first time for me to ski / snowboard there in the region, I would visit only Appi, Tazawako and one more in between(Amihari or Shizukuishi), staying at a lodge in Appi Kogen and at one of Nyuto Onsen Ryokans near Tazawako.

    If you haven't visited Appi before, White Rose Inn might be good in that English - Japanese couple own it and they can offer you special information & tips about the mountains and the region in English.

    White Rose Inn : http://www.whiteroseinn.jp/about

    2 days at Appi(White Rose Inn)

    1 day at Amihari(driving from Appi and driving to the Ryokan you are going to stay in Nyuto Onsen village)

    2 days at Tazawako(a Ryokan in Nyuto Onsen village such as Tsuru no Yu).


    Ani is super snowy and it has very good sidecountry treerun terrains. I love Ani. But, you might need a guide to enjoy Ani fully. Ani has official backcountry tours, but not sure if they let you ski / snowboard the best sidecountry treerun terrains that Ani has, though. This is a video about Ani's official backcountry tour(Ani ski resort filmed and uploaded the video)


    Some other sidecountry / backcountry videos(at Ani)

     
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  24. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    Thanks for the leads. I mention 5-6 days, but will have closer to 10 days overall in Japan I’m thinking. But wanted to do maybe 3 days based around Geto Kogen, either before or after the Morioka area. Just trying to work out split of accommodation between the resorts. It looks like a split in the Morioka area would be wise.
     
  25. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    Ani looks interesting. Maybe not a definite, but one to keep up the sleeve of the weather conditions suit. I’ve noticed that there are numerous CAT tours in this area (Tazawako has one, and Shizuikushi. Also Appi?). Is there one that is better than others if we wanted to schedule this in for a day?
     
  26. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I have mixed it up a bit rather than basing in one spot (but then I was also using public transport).
    Hotel in Kitakami for Geto, but there is an onsen resort closer or the dorm room on the mountain.
    Have done Appi staying at Pension Mutti and also as a day trip from Morioka.
    Amihari has a nice onsen resort hotel but can also be easily done as a day trip from Morioka.
    For Tazawako I stayed at resort hotel New Sky in Mizusawa Onsen a couple of minutes away from the ski area.
    Hachimantai can be done as a day trip from Appi.
    I think it is good to mix it up a bit, convenience of resort hotel/pension on mountain, plus some nights at Morioka in between with the chance to check out some nice izakayas.
     
  27. PMG

    PMG One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I'm sorry, but it's not that difficult. Especially for seasoned travellers. Work out how long it takes to get somewhere using Google maps and pick your accommodation accordingly.
     
  28. skipperlee

    skipperlee Hard Yards

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  29. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    Yep thanks for that. Just working out which ones to rule out. The Tazawako one looks like the winner at this stage.
     
  30. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    It all looks doable. Just trying to find the best base to attack the region effectively.
     
  31. skipperlee

    skipperlee Hard Yards

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    I kind of followed @Heinz trip report (advice) to iwate area and did my trip on public transport also. I started at shizukuishi (prince hotel with train pick up/drop off) for 3 days then to tazawako (tazawako lake resort with train pick up/drop off and ski hill bus) for 2 days then 1 night in morioka before hitting geto kogen for 3 days (1 night in dorm and 2 nights in kitakami getting bus in/out). im hitting appi / hachimantai and geto again in 2020 before working my way south towards miyagi then nozawa again by mostly public transport (not miyagi). loved the dorm in geto , I was a bit dubious about a hostel type accom but it was clean,cheap,friendly and met up with a few fellow forum people. im going back for 3 nights next time.
     
  32. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    If I remember correctly,

    Appi has some backcountry tours and I enjoyed the peak of Mt.Chausu(about 1600m asl) - a closed ski resort - the road (Hachimantai Aspite Line) at 950m asl. But that one has some short hikes, I mean, CAT + short hikes. So if you don't like to hike at all, you might not like it. If you are in a large group, you can tell Appi where you want to ski / snowboard and they organize a backcountry / CAT tour just for your group. In this video, you can see a road and it's Hachimantai Aspite Line. The video is a spring ski video(filmed late March) and the road is closed during mid-winter. The CAT tour uses the road, then you hike a bit to the peak of Mt.Chausu.


    In this video, they are skiing in and around the closed ski resort(Not sure if Appi has CAT tours there in 2019 - 2020 season, so you need to ask them)



    I'm multi-tasking now. I'll write about CAT tours in other ski resorts in the region later.
     
    #932 Ramenman, Aug 16, 2019 at 10:46 AM
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019 at 2:11 PM
  33. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    This is Tazawako ski resort. Pink = Tazawako ski resort. Orange = A closed ski resort. Red = The CAT's route. The peak of the mountain is about 1650m asl, but the CAT only goes up to 1300m asl(the "S" in the map). The CAT is only 3,500 Yen without a guide, but if you don't know the mountain well, you'll just end up skiing / snowboarding down from "S" to "E" to avoid getting lost and it might not be what you want to try. Not sure where the guides let you ski there because we ski there by ourselves (my ski mates know the mountain very well, so I don't need to hire a guide there). If you want to ski / snowboard around the peak, you need to hike for about 80 mins = the Green route.


    This is a video of the CAT.



    If 80 min hike is a bit too much but 30 min hike is not too much for you, I recommend Brown + Black in the map above. It's quite popular sidecountry route of Tazawako ski resort. Brown is only less than 30 min hike and the treeline there is very low = about 1200m asl, so the Black consists of treeless runs + great treeruns. You don't need to use a CAT, so it's reasonable as well. This is the sidecountry video (Brown + Black).



    This is another sidecountry video of Tazawako ski resort(not only Brown + Black, but also some other sidecountry terrains)




    Last year, Tazawako area jointly founded a new tourism agency for targeting tourists from abroad, and they started new backcountry tours as well. The agency are very new and I have never hired them, so not sure what the new agency can offer but I heard they had some snowmobile tours close up to the peak last season as a trial, not sure if they do it next season or not. They have film crew and they use a drone to film your group skiing / snowboarding OOB.
     
  34. PMG

    PMG One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Started early this year.
     
  35. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Anyone been to Tateyama Sanroku, IOX-AROSA, Awasuno, or Ushidake Onsen in Toyama? Just thinking about a quick little solo trip this winter to parts unknown. The last two are quite small, IOX seems to have potential and Sanroku looks fairly tasty.
     
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  36. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Ani is worth a few days particularly if you hunt around the top lift. The main piste to the bottom of the gondola is nothing to get too exited about. Ani is a bit out of the way though. We did it as a day trip from Odate although a couple of nights at the pensions near the resort would be worthwhile. A circuit drive up that way is interesting with ok 1 day resorts near Hirosaki and a few days at Aomori spring. Having said that being based at Morioka gives you a heap of options. Appi has the advantage of being on snow though with a few shorter drive options quite close.
     
  37. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    I read reports of Nekoma being shut on Tues and Wed. Is this still the case for the upcoming season? Would be a shame, as they were the exact 2 days it fit into my schedule.
     
  38. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    Sorry for the gumby noob question - I understand it is a bit “how long is a piece of string” but....
    I’m trying to work out how much yen to buy for our trip. I assume I can use a card to pay for care hire and ski hire etc but generally eating, petrol, lift tickets, entertainment expenses I will take cash as advised by helpful people on here. But I don’t want to take too much.
    Could I get an idea of roughly how much I would expect to pay for a simple lunch both on the hill and in a town? Also how much for a mid range dinner?
    A beer at a pub/restaurant?
    Thanks in advance.