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Japan 2020 - planning and stuff.

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

  1. coobiella

    coobiella Hard Yards

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    Thanks for the info. Got the flights with JAL. Japan 2020!!!
     
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  2. Kimski

    Kimski One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Which resorts are recommended in Hakuba? I've been there before but was a fairly beginner skier at the time. I'll probably be at Happo for the first 1.5 days and hopefully doing a full day lesson on the full day with Evergreen. I've really only got two more days after that (would love to have done 1 week Hakuba and 1 week Shiga but my budget said no.)

    I'd say I'm intermediate - advanced. Happy doing groomed black runs at St Anton at the end of my last trip.

    I've not visited Cortina / Norikura before so that's on my list. From past visits I think I preferred Iwatake and Tsugaike to 47/Goryu. My internet research to now has Iwatke as better for more advanced skiers than Tsugaike.

    I'll be probably staying in the Echoland area.
     
  3. nanami_JS

    nanami_JS Hard Yards

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    It depends on your preference. Do you prefer groomed runs or off-piste? Cortina is really fun for off-piste stuff. Tsugaike has some nice tree runs too but the groomed runs are more beginner-friendly.
     
  4. Kimski

    Kimski One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Mostly groomed runs, especially if I'm travelling solo or not with an instructor / guide.
     
  5. Ozgirl

    Ozgirl Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    This is what you need for internal flights
    https://www.jal.co.jp/en/dom/sakitoku
     
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  6. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    I really enjoyed Iwatake, It was ridiculous powder the day we were there though - but it was so much fun.
     
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  7. Kimski

    Kimski One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Well I can only hope for the same :D
     
  8. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Its a cone type ski hill. So you can find good aspect snow
     
  9. smackies

    smackies A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Cones are flat?
     
  10. duffski

    duffski First Runs

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    I skied at 7 of the Hakuba areas this past January and I went to Iwatake on one of the only days it didn't snow during the trip. It looked like it could be fun on powder days but I found it a bit boring. Runs are fairly short unless you do gondola laps, but there are only a couple groomers that go back down to the bottom of gondola. For groomed runs Happo One and Tsugiake seemed the best options. I really liked Cortina but I was there on a 30cm day with smallish crowds so it was all about powder skiing. I tried going back on another big powder day but the shuttle line from Happo terminal was insane, probably 5 buses deep, so I bailed to Happo One instead. If you go to Cortina and you are staying in Echoland consider taking Nagano Snow Shuttle, they had a package deal for shuttle to and from Echoland base camp, lift ticket, lunch and onsen at Cortina for a very reasonable price. Unfortunately I didn't know about this deal until we took their shuttle to the airport at the end of our trip.
     
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  11. skipperlee

    skipperlee Hard Yards

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    i read how busy it gets at weekends at gala Yuzawa area but I thought maybe a little bit further away from the train stations might be quieter, as for the snow minakami appears to get dumped on according to snowjapan so I presume the surrounding areas will do ok aswell.
     
  12. skipperlee

    skipperlee Hard Yards

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    4 x 4 recommended then. do you know if there is any accommodation at kawaba city ? it seems a little distance away from oze , marunuma and hotaka by road - if I went there id probably do 2 days as im not too keen on long drives before or after skiing.
     
  13. Sandy

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

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    The point is, it's not so much traffic at the resorts, it's getting to/from Tokyo if you are driving on a weekend.
    e.g. Nominally, it's a 2.5 hour drive from Shinjuku to Yuzawa.... however, I've gone with people who were 1.5 hours later than we planned on a Saturday morning (6:30am instead of 5am), and it took 6 hours!!
    Tenjin is near the top of the ranges(Kagura is similar), that gets snow directly off the plain next to the Sea of Japan. The other Minakami resorts are on the southern side of those ranges, and get less snow than Tenjin.
    See here:
    https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/weather-tutorial-for-japan.63512/
     
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  14. Sandy

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

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    Realistically, you could say that many resorts could be boring on non powder days.
    Iwatake has powder in a lot of places that are not obvious, and it doesn't get tracked out quickly (unlike Cortina or Happo)
    Here's my general pattern of play:
    - Weekends: I avoid Happo. It's famous and all the Japanese riders go there, so it's crowded. If you DO go to Happo on a weekend and it's clear, get on the mountain at 6:30am, or 6:00am in March, for the "sunrise" 700 (sunrise, 700m vertical). Check the schedule and weather.
    - Big powder days. I avoid Cortina, because every man and his dog goes there.... like 30min lift lines, tracked out in an hour, including the BC course that runs back through the bottom of Norikura. However, that's one good thing.... while everybody is at Cortina, you can go to places not associated with powder and do lap after lap of powder.
    - Windy days. Avoid Goryu/47. It's the most exposed, and if the gondola at Goryu is closed, you're stuck with boring slopes, and can't get across the 47, plus it's likely the quad is closed as 47 as well. If most of Goryu/47 is closed due to wind, then the top of Happo will be closed a well. The long groomer on 47 also gets bumped up quickly on a weekend.
     
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  15. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Kawaba ski resort is about 2 hour drive from Tokyo, so it's like a day trip ski resort for people living in Tokyo, so there isn't accommodation very near Kawaba. There is Kawaba village at 600m asl(Kawaba's bottom lift station is at about 1300m), and there is Michi no Eki(roadside station). Kawaba ski resort have free shuttle bus service between the roadside station and the ski resort everyday. There are accommodation around the roadside station and you can stay at one of them and can go to Kawaba ski resort by use of the free shuttle bus. What makes the road up to Kawaba worse is, there is nothing between 800m and 1300m asl. So the road is only for the ski resort, and it means snow is not frequently cleared and less traffic means road condition stays bad for long. Kawaba has some nicely steep runs and the vertical drop is about 600m, the base altitude is high, so I would choose Kawaba if I were in the region.

    Kawaba Denen Plaza is the Michi no Eki(Roadside station)
    https://www.google.com/maps/place/K...48ebe3!8m2!3d36.6870638!4d139.1075637!5m1!1e4
     
    #215 Ramenman, Mar 28, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
  16. nanami_JS

    nanami_JS Hard Yards

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    Thanks Sandy! Super helpful. I guess I will avoid Hakuba next season. Been twice already. Tohoku is looking good.
     
  17. skipperlee

    skipperlee Hard Yards

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    yeah didn't realise that area was only a couple hours drive (traffic allowing) from Tokyo - ill maybe look to do midweek or stay longer in aziu and iwate instead.
     
  18. skipperlee

    skipperlee Hard Yards

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    thanks @Ramenman loads of parking spaces at and around the roadside station so it must get busy at times. I like the look of Kawaba and it looks like it could be a fun resort with the right conditions - midweek though!
     
  19. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    Take a look at White World Oze. Given the right conditions - mid week powder - this place has some excellent natural bowls and tree skiing.
     
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  20. NoSkillWill

    NoSkillWill Hard Yards

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    Hey Gang,

    I'm back looking for a bit more input on first trip to JaPOW.

    My group has taken this threads advice and are locking in Niseko (8days?) and Rusutsu (5days?) or another resort (Furano?).

    What is opinion on using a snow tour group to plan? I picked UP a quote from Liquid Snow Tours for 10 nights in Niseko and 4 in Furano for $2,178pp. Probably a bit pricey as I think it is accom only.

    Was going to get some quotes from other tour companies, any recommendations?

    Cheers
     
  21. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Why do you want to use a tour company? I might consider one if I were a solo traveller looking to meet up with people. But if you're already in a group no real need. Half the fun is finding accommodation, resorts to ski etc. Using a tour company takes all the fun out of it, and also costs significantly more.

    Consider perhaps using doing a day tour using a cat skiing or back country skiing operation.
     
  22. NoSkillWill

    NoSkillWill Hard Yards

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    Yeah this is what I wanted to know. Not sure if these guys can get better rates or not. Just trying to get more information really.

    Happy to do solo accommodation research.
     
  23. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    I did an organised trip in Chile - it was a place I didn’t know - and it was absolutely fantastic. Cost a second mortgage on the house but best time ever. If you are using a company to organise things you want to ensure it’s not just a travel agent, but a full experience provider, someone who’ll collect you at the airport and show you the sights of interest along the way, recommend restaurants and bars and find the funnest spots on the hill for the conditions on the day.
     
  24. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Tour companies tend to take the hassle out of the planning and logistical side of things, but usually cost a bit more than it would if you planned and booked it yourself. 8 nights in Niseko and then 5 at either Furano or Rusutsu would be pretty easy to organise yourselves IMO :)

    Personally I'd do the 8 in Niseko and then the rest in Furano. You can day trip from Niseko to Rusutsu pretty easily. How many in your group? Accommodation for big groups can be hard to find sometimes.
     
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  25. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Accom can be hard to find, but with multiple cars staying at places 1min drive, or down the street, is no problems. I like the idea of having a group staying at 2 ryokans and being able to go to different onsen every evening.
     
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  26. Sandy

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

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    I reckon that for first time in Japan, the larger the group, the harder it is for people to get their head around ryokan, tatami mat and futons, and no ensuite. Somebody is likely to find it a problem, getting naked in front of other people.
     
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  27. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Sometimes you gotta take one for the team.
     
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  28. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    Don't be scared off by the fact that it looks like there isn't much accommodation available - it is not all booked out, it just hasn't been offered yet. The current season has only just wrapped up. Japanese tend to only have bookings available about 3-6 months out. Niseko and Furano to some extent have a bit more of a western influence so accommodation can be booked 12 months in advance. Just don't focus your searches on Booking.com etc. Find your accommodation that suits your requirements, then contact the owner directly for best rates.

    Also I agree with Froff, 8 nights Niseko and then the rest in Furano.
     
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  29. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    I haven't been to Niseko for some years. But this link might still be good?
    https://www.niseko.cc/niseko/accommodation/about.jsf
     
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  30. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    And sometimes the thing you thought would be scary/terrible/not your thing turns out to be FANTASTIC.

    Ive never done a package to Japan, used a travel agent to book accomodation in Tokyo and the flights the first time, however there are positives to organised travel. You just have to work out what is best for you and your group.
     
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  31. Sandy

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

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    Some people just don't!!!! LOL
     
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  32. billykate

    billykate Hard Yards

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    I agree! For many moons we organised our trip through skijapan - if it's your first time there it really takes the hassle out of organising transfers etc. But, each to their own!

    Also, we're looking at dates again - most likely 2nd -24th Jan with the whole crew... I forgot to post in the 2019 thread, but we SURVIVED! With a 3 year old and 6 month old - a little cabin fever at the end but generally they were pretty good. Niseko Alpen Kids Club was ace for child care too (should have booked more days!) :confused:;)
     
  33. Amelia1810

    Amelia1810 One of Us

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    We are locked in for 19/20! Flights out of Melb are booked. Looking at Niseko (day trip to Rusutsu) and Furano depending on accommodation etc. Looking at that next. :D
     
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  34. hotsaki

    hotsaki One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Some of those tour companies are good if you want to be with a bunch of drunken Aussie moron bogans.There were a few in Myoko this season,starting fights in bars(but not theirs),throwing empty glasses at bar staff,upending tables and stealing booze.
    Charming people.
     
  35. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    That is appalling behaviour @hotsaki
    You would think that if they were on a tour that the company would be reigning that in - at the very least moving them back to their accomodation to keep the bad advertising behind closed doors!
     
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  36. Kimski

    Kimski One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Exciting!! I loved my day trip to Rusutsu. Never been to Furano but it's on my list to get there one day.

    Back on the topic of tour companies. I went with a package for my first ski trip to Japan and they forgot to pick me up from the airport :eek: This was years ago, before I started bringing my own phone and phone number so I was really on my own.

    I managed to get a bus to my location and the ticket refunded but the company weren't exactly generous with their apologies. Not the best introduction to Japan.
     
  37. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    I contacted a company after reports of boorish behaviour by their guests with the tour guides joining in and not trying to moderate it. The reply I got from the business owner basically reinforced my thoughts about the company. They didn't even try to explain it away.
     
  38. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Its mob mentality.
     
  39. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    That is very disapponting.
     
  40. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    IMO the first and second year staff are worse than most of the guests.
     
  41. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Agreed.

    It’d help matters if they lifted the age 30 cutoff for a working holiday visa. Or made snowsports sponsorship visas easier.

    Once people have returned for 3 plus seasons (for a significant stretch at least) they start having a personal connection to a place - and behaviour improves markedly. I don’t think Japan gets this. If they want to improve conduct - make it easier for people to work back to back seasons and get work over 30.
     
  42. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Contiki Tour type mentality. Their reply was mint.
     
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  43. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    True but the companies like the just want to hire cheaply TBH. It's all about the bottom line and nothing else.
     
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  44. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Ahhhh...
    Such a shame.
    Pump out the poor quality product for big profit.

    No wonder we have people unable to clear lift ramps, skiing out of control, carrying on like its NYE at Bondi and hitting the backcountry with no gear and blissful ignorance. o_O

    It starts in Lesson 1 at the ski school IMHO.

    Don’t misunderstand.
    I’m no wowser. I like a partytime as much as anyone - but there’s having a good time, and making it everyone else’s problem.
     
  45. Shrike

    Shrike Addicted

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    Hey All have locked in Japan for 2020
    Was originally looking at Europe but got out voted :s

    Will be my 3rd trip to Japan and 2nd trip to the snow there

    This time round looking at the below (Flights are already booked)

    Fly out on the Midnight flight from Melbourne to Narita (24th Jan)
    25th to 28th Tokyo (Ueno)
    28th to 2nd Osaka
    2nd to 8th Hakuba
    Then back to Tokyo to fly out on the 9th

    Going with the Girlfriend who came last trip and also bringing my Friend who has never been out of Australia/NZ might also have a fourth person keen but waiting to confirm as they are in NZ

    Stayed in Kyoto last time, will be getting a 14day rail pass as when I crunched the numbers it worked out cheaper but will review again closer to the time

    Have reserved a few places on Booking.com with Free cancellation and no prepayment etc so will have another look at the 6month and 3month out mark

    Couldn't book the place we stayed last time which was great bang for buck so currently have a Cottage booked that's walking distance to most things and shuttle buses etc, not going to rent a car but managed last time without and Taxi's are well priced

    Know where to get shuttles from so its easy :)
    Last time I walked to and from Happo One from the train station, and 47/Goryu is a shuttle from the station as well so that's three resorts sorted.

    Will explore a few other food places this time and looking forward to getting more chances of POW

    Taking my own gear again as it wasn't too difficult last time, will also have my mates snowboard and bindings etc as well

    If anyone is going similar dates happy to meetup, I managed only two days on the snow last trip as I went to hard to fast.
    I hit every black and double black so felt it after, onsens are a god send
    Will pace myself more this time :)
     
  46. Tanuki

    Tanuki Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Have fun, the JAL midnight flight is good, perfect arrival time IMO, particularly if you get some sleep on the flight.
     
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  47. Sandy

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

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    A 1 week JR pass is 29,000 yen, and a 2 week JR pass is 46,000yen (approx)
    The bulk of the travel is 28th Jan to 2nd Feb, so you can get a 1 week pass, then spend 7-8000yen back to Tokyo/airport on the 8th. Total around 37,000yen, rather than 46,000.

    Last time, you WALKED from the station to Happo? That way too much effort that you could be spending on the slopes. Personally, I think you're better off being in the Wadano area. Shuttles from there will take you to Goryu/47, Iwatake and Tsugaike.
     
  48. Kimski

    Kimski One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I'll be in Hakuba from 2nd to 5th Feb (heading to Shiga Kogen after that). I'll be travelling solo so might be good to meetup one day.
     
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  49. Shrike

    Shrike Addicted

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    Hey Sandy, I was there for first lift (well before the shuttle bus started) and it was a great warmup :p I don't recommend it but was more pointing out that it is doable and easy to get around.

    Where we are looking at staying this time is 1km from the bus terminal and there is a stop about 500m away as well

    That's a great tip around the transport costs will look into it more :)
     
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  50. ponyrider

    ponyrider Addicted

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    Location:
    Sydney
    We used Deep Powder for the first three trips to Japan, mates group size of 8-10. That was a decade ago though. Those companies work well for the group stuff because it takes pressure of any one individual. But all subsequent trips have been DIY. Once you know what you are doing, shouldn't be a problem. I'm lining up a Shiga trip for next Jan and thought I'd cross-check against what they could offer. I got a better rate via booking.com but there wasn't much in it. I presume they can 'unlock' some accom though if you aren't finding it direct or with the travel aggregator sites, so never-say-never.
     
    Kimski likes this.