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Japan 2020 - planning and stuff.

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

  1. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    It never hurts to get the contact details of the places you are interested in staying at and calling/emailing them directly. Sometimes you'll get no response, sometimes you'll get a good response and a good deal (better than what you could find online).
     
  2. ponyrider

    ponyrider Addicted

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    I agree worth a go, but some years I can spend as much as 90 nights in paid accom and rarely does asking the hotel for a better rate pay off. I find it can work with small, boutique places who are likely getting stung with 10-20% commissions but almost never with large hotels. At Shiga I'm sitting on a booking that appears to be 1/3rd of the rack rate. I don't feel like the hotel is going to be able to beat that directly.
     
  3. Kimski

    Kimski One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Where are you staying in Shiga? I'll be there Feb 2020 and looking at places to stay.
     
  4. ponyrider

    ponyrider Addicted

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    Prince Hotel for us. It's a fairly quiet family trip so no need for lots of restaurants and bars. Got a little bit more time lined up in Tokyo on this trip so we will get our fill of that there.
     
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  5. nezumi

    nezumi One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    The other factor at play here is that the large accommodation aggregators will often have a clause in their agreement that the provider cannot offer accommodation at a lower rate than they have offered on the website (whether that's hotels combined or booking dot com or whoever). This is because of the best price guarantee most of the aggregators offer.
     
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  6. ponyrider

    ponyrider Addicted

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    Sounds like it can be a raw deal for some providers. I find the aggregators can throw up some odd prices from time-to-time. Example: I'm sitting on a booking in a city hosting a major car race. I'd been reviewing prices for a while, limited availability and typically 4x premium on any normal rate and suddenly a cheap option appeared - pretty much the standard rate. Naturally I grabbed it. Checked back a few days later and it's back up to 6x the rate I locked in. It's not the first time I've seen this and makes me wonder if these are glitches in the aggregator's systems. I mean the property should be expecting a premium for that room.
     
  7. NoSkillWill

    NoSkillWill Hard Yards

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    This sounds good. I booked flights the other night, $632 return with Brunei Air (30th of Jan - 14th of Feb), which I am pretty stoked about even though it is a 15 hour transit. Have 2 other people that have booked flights with me and still working on others so I am confident I'll be looking at 4-6 all said and done.

    Since the first weekend we are there is likely to be busier with Lunar New Year, I think we will best looking at Furano/Rusutsu for the first 4 or 5 nights and Niseko for the balance of days. My flight home from Narita is at 11:45am so I imagine ill need to leave for Tokyo on the 13th and stay one night there. Is it possible to leave Niseko early in the morning of the 14th and get to Narita in time?

    I am interested in just doing a day trip to Rusutsu if it is better to do days in Furano rather than Rusutsu. I am super keen on tree runs and I think based on my current skill level I'll be prepared for side country action rather than full back country.

    The site @Crispy013 has linked me seems pretty good so I'll have a bit more of a look around on that for niseko accom.
     
  8. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    You'll struggle to make if from Niseko to Chitose to Narita by 11.45 am (checkin is 9am)

    I'd get a arvo flight out of Chitose to Narit and stay nearby Narita. Heaps of options.
     
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  9. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yep, or spend the night in Tokyo and experience some nightlife before jumping on a 8am train out to Narita.
     
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  10. hotsaki

    hotsaki One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Will there be stonings on the flight?
     
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  11. ponyrider

    ponyrider Addicted

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    That's a super cheap flight, but yeah hard to countenance support of a ridiculously intolerant and backward regime, all the while the so-called elites hypocritically indulging in what they disallow for others. Also hard to countenance a long flight and transit with no booze I guess, though some reports they let you get stuck into the duty free.
     
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  12. nezumi

    nezumi One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Definitely not recommended for same sex couples, especially with a layove in Brunei itself.
     
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  13. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    So you have flights in and out of Tokyo right?
    My question is why Hokkaido? You are in peak season, plenty of resorts on Honshu that will fit the bill of tree skiing and powder. Means you can even ski the full last day, then Shinkansen to Tokyo the night before your departure.
     
  14. NoSkillWill

    NoSkillWill Hard Yards

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    You aren't wrong, Honshu is worth thinking about again. I am quite keen on the night skiing that Niseko has to offer, and through other advice from the forum ruled out Honshu as doing Hakuba and Niseko in one trip was not really worthwhile. It will be my first time skiing Japan, or seriously overseas anywhere for that matter, and the little information I have read suggests that Hakuba comprises more advanced terrain then Niseko. My skills are OK but I currently fit more on the intermediate level and felt that the suggestion of more difficult terrain would best be left for another trip where I could confidently hit all the resort has to offer.
     
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  15. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Sooooo many more options than just Hakuba on Honshu, especially for intermediates. Do some research into Nozawa, Shiga Kogen, Appi Kogen, Myoko Kogen, Naeba.

    If it's your first time in Japan, tacking on a few days in Tokyo at the start/end of your trip is 100% worth while, such an amazing city
     
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  16. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    He’s trying to get some mileage out of his epic pass though. That discussion has been had previously. And it’s a group - not a solo decision.
     
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  17. NoSkillWill

    NoSkillWill Hard Yards

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    I am at a point where I am prepared to not get mileage out of the EPIC. Could possibly keep a HERO pass at this stage.

    I have found whenever I discuss Japan skiing with people that Niseko and Hakuba are the places that ALWAYS come up. At this stage I dont know how many chances I will have to go for ski holidays so I would prefer to 'tick off' for lack of a better term, the more iconic places. The people I am going with are pretty flexible but they would also like to do try the bigger resorts before taking a look at the smaller ones i think. I have a bit of time before I really need to commit to Honshu or Hokkaido so I'll have a bit more of a chance to chat to people I know that have skied Japan.

    @Froff Life I will take a look at some of the places you mentioned there as it would certainly be easier to stay in Honshu. I am actually going to Japan over Easter with my partner for a holiday to see some cities. Can't wait.
     
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  18. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Night skiing is meh IMO
    Unless its been puking all day and the lifts have been shut. You've been bunkered down in a lodge.

    Then they open for a nighta. Thats a bit fun. Had that once.
    Otherwise its a cold cold novelty.
     
  19. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes.

    But it can also be awesome when it’s been puking all day and lifts have been open, suddenly the lights come on and you can see definition in the snow and the majority of people are in the bar, a restaurant or bed.

    It also means you can sleep late after a big night and still ski a full day.
     
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  20. blowfin

    blowfin One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Awesome to have Nighta as an option on the first day when you want to get your legs in. I've also had a couple of memorable pow nights at Big White and Zao, when you end up delving further and further into the darkness (goggles off) to poach the fresh. Ishiuchi had stunning views on a clear night, but it was bulletproof, and they didn't groom it between the day/night sessions.
     
  21. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Niseko has some pretty incredible night skiing lapping the Harifu gondola.
     
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  22. NoSkillWill

    NoSkillWill Hard Yards

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    People I speak to about night skiing either say it's meh or really like it, and they have typically only tried it in Aus. I have only tried it once at Falls and really enjoyed it, I think I find it more of a tranquil experience than day skiing.
     
  23. ponyrider

    ponyrider Addicted

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    We hit the night skiing pretty hard first few trips to Niseko, but inevitably what would occur is 4 beers at the slope-side bar first, leading to ...chaos and dubious insurability.
     
  24. Sandy

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

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    Lots of places have night skiing in Japan. Many a lot more accessible than Niseko.
     
  25. Sandy

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

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    Niseko and Hakuba are the places that ALWAYS come up, because these are often the only places many people have been to. Are they iconic? They may be iconic because these are often the only places many people have been to!!!! ;)

    I was once talking to a couple about 15 years ago, who had been to Niseko 3 times.... I asked them if they had considered going skiing in some other places, and they said "Yeah, what the name of the OTHER RESORT?" LOL
     
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  26. Tanuki

    Tanuki A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Aspen? ;_)
     
  27. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    Contact the accomm directly and save. Booking.com charge up to 15% commission. Most places will happily share the savings with you by direct booking.
     
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  28. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    LOL

    The amount of people who look at me like I’m lying to them when I tell them there are literally hundreds of ski resorts in Japan... :rolleyes:

    Having said that and having a reasonable list of resorts on Honshu and Hokkaido under my belt, I keep returning to Niseko. Yes. Having property there helps in that decision making, but it’s more than that. I’ll keep adding new ones and going back to ones that I’ve really enjoyed but I’ve also got no plans to get out of Niseko yet. It does offer a lot, and is justifiably popular. However the quiet little ski hills have it all over Niseko for untracked powder run after run.
     
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  29. *Xena*

    *Xena* Hard Yards

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    Hi all, looking to stay at Kutchan, rather than Niseko as usual. Want to get a car & drive to resorts depending on conditions on the day. Any advice how to find places to saybin Kutchan please? Or any other ideas? Appreciate any advice.
     
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  30. nezumi

    nezumi One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Qantas has an actually decent sale running at the moment. Return flights direct from Melbourne to Tokyo (Narita) from $707 for departures between Jan 28 and Feb 29. The earliest return flight I could see that actually matched up to the claimed $707 fare was March 3rd.
     
  31. xuěboarder

    xuěboarder One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Okay the new Buller deal has sealed my trip up North. I enjoyed Hakuba, but 14 days of almost no snow has left me pretty hungry.

    Currently I'm thinking 12 days from the 13th Jan. Base at Niseko and ski it for 5 to 7 days, then get a car and tour around some other mountains.

    Very flexible on dates at this stage, mostly planning around CNY. Thinking of a smaller group this year, maybe 5 or 6 people and restricting to advanced riders.
    Accommodation seems quite pricey comparative to Hakuba. Time for more research..

    Any thoughts on touring Hokkaido as a non snow trip? My non skiing partner wants to do something and it would slot perfectly. 10 or so days driving around would be fine, I only worry there isn't enough?
     
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  32. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Took my 54 year old non-skiing mum up to Hokkaido for a week with us this season. We based ourselves for 4 days in Sapporo and 4 days in Asahikawa and she found plenty of non-skiing things to keep her busy. Maybe look at the Sapporo Ice Festival dates for 2020, the whole city is a buzz during the festival and really beautiful.
     
  33. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    There’s a whole thread on non-skiing travel for Hokkaido, great read. I’ll find the linkie...

    Edited to add:
    Here ya go
    https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/snow-adventures-in-north-japan-for-the-non-skier.84115/

    Good on you.

    We had our olds in Niseko for 2 weeks before heading to Hiroshima, then Tokyo, to do the tourist/history and Cherry Blossom thing. They loved it. All of them would go back in a heartbeat. They were all thankful of the visit to Hiroshima and Tokyo but if going back would only repeat Niseko.

    Snowmobiling was the big surprise - they LOVED it despite thinking they were too old (70).

    They enjoyed getting the Gondola up to King Bell and having lunch up there and watching all the skiers go by and trying to spot us.

    A snowshoe hike is also a good option.
    I enjoyed the night time trek to HalfMoon lake (the crater on the side of Yotei, just up from Hangetsu car park.

    If your partner enjoys a physical challenge the high ropes course alongside the family run is good fun. I haven’t made it to the end - too technical for me, but I’d go back again and again. PB made it. Eventually.
     
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  34. fennekeg

    fennekeg One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    There's lots to do on Hokkaido in winter, depending on what you like. In the west around Niseko there's of course the Sapporo Snow Festival as mentioned above, and Otaru close by has a nice evening lit-up event as well. Hakodate is nice, and Noboribetsu if you're in the neighbourhood. I also heard good things about Asahikawa. Nearby Biei has lovely winter views. There are lots of places where you can go snowshoe walking in nature, like Shikotsuko Onsen and Jozankei, and in the area around Niseko as well. And further to the east there's lots of nature around Kushiro (cranes!), and ice floes at Abashiri (accessible via a nice train ride from Asahikawa). But maybe east Hokkaido is too far away.
    I'm listing places from my personal 'things to do in Japan'-list here btw, haven't visited all of it (yet). I found most by googling 'Hokkaido winter', 'north Japan winter activities' etc.
     
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  35. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    Some people are far too easily scarred or have misconstrued conceptions of weather, expecting Japan = pow pow pow.

    *Goes for 1 week and gets 1 day powder* - next time Hokkaido :mad:.
    *Goes Hokkaido, gets same/worse conditions* - meanwhile Honshu gets pumped.

    Its luck of the draw. But you definitely have a couple more tickets in the mix if you can align your trip to those 3 weeks where (on average) you can typically expected a good dump. Also think about elevation, location and wind direction.
     
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  36. Sandy

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

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    If you'd gone to Nagano/Niigata for 12 days from 13th Jan this past season, you would have gotten the goods!!!
    Naeba: (about the 23rd Jan)


    Out to the north of Hakuba: (about 31st Jan)
     
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  37. xuěboarder

    xuěboarder One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Thanks heaps everyone, plenty to look through now.
    I'm not writing off Hakuba / Honshu due to snow or lack thereof alone, I wasn't a huge fan of the valley structure and the draw of cheaper lifts at Niseko is also an appeal as my group all have Buller passes.
     
  38. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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  39. xuěboarder

    xuěboarder One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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  40. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    I board.
    I enjoyed it.
     
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  41. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    The 3000 yen you'd save each day on lift passes will be offset by the dearer accommodation, flights,food etc.
     
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  42. Sandy

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

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    And it's not even saving 3000 yen on lift tickets, when you consider that lifts are often at least 2000-2500 yen cheaper in central Japan
     
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  43. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    I’m about to book flights for a short (one week) trip to Tokyo the week prior to Christmas. The preference is to ski somewhere but I understand there may be no snow so the back up plan would be to do non skiing tourist stuff as we have never visited Japan.
    Is it realistic to expect available last minute accomodation in both the ski resorts and cities at that time?
     
  44. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    You'll be fine.
     
  45. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Seconded
     
  46. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Booked
    8/28 jan
    $920 on Cathay via their website

    winning
     
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  47. skivet

    skivet Addicted

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  48. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Syd HK Osaka
     
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  49. Agent 86

    Agent 86 Hard Yards

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    has anyone done the sapporo ice festival.
    is it stupid busy ?
    thinking of including next visit
     
  50. smackies

    smackies A Local

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    8 months too early. What’s the rush?