Japan 2022/23 Travel plans and ideas.

skichanger

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Cheers, I think someone on this site alluded it’s simpler than the old days? I did change once in Sydney for Vanuatu. Ages ago. I usually avoid changing in Sydney, strangely? :whistle:
I would rather change in Sydney than start and end my journey in Sydney.

I have been doing this a few times a year since 2012. When I check in at Canberra they check my flight and change it if it is running late.

Forgot to say, this only applies if on the same or an associated airline.

And if you are transferring to a domestic flight in Japan there are a lot of options other than Tokyo.
 

Froff Life

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Sounds like a good plan - I’m musing about trying Sapporo for my next (second) J visit.

But Melbourne gets dudded by outer own national airline - and to be fair, most airlines who fly to Aussie.

Does anyone have any General or specific advice for going Mel to Sapporo in the ski season?

Is it better to aim for fewer stops (assuming 1 so 2 legs if available) even with my own skis and a fair amount of gear?

Or is it better to do the extra leg (say 3) and save the $ - and put funds into the actual skiing?

I’m a bit concerned about a possible transfer at Sydney - would I have to re-check luggage or is it considered one international trip?

Cheers.
(Apologies if you answered this previously over the years). :thumbs:

PS:
Oh and in Feb 2020, I took JAL to Narita - I thought they were good.

Is there any pecking order between JAL and ANA & Qantas? Esp if considering going to Sapporo?

Is it worth going one or both ways via the Shinkansen or is it too much of a faff changing trains in Southern Hokkaido? Thanks.
Have done Melb to Sapporo via a stop in Tokyo a couple of times.

Once through Jetstar using Jetstar internal network in Japan for the Narita - Sapporo leg. Flight was delayed 5 hours but they just moved us onto a later flight. Was surprisingly hassle free, but I hate flying Jetstar. Seats are just too small (I'm 6'3).

A couple of times with Qantas/JAL, which meant changing from Narita to Haneda in Tokyo after collecting bags. Was relatively easy, but a couple of hours stop over with the train from Narita into Tokyo does make it a long day.

Friends like the international stop over of (Hong Kong/Taipei/Shanghai/Seoul) if you want to spend a day or two on the way over.
 
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rune

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Sounds like a good plan - I’m musing about trying Sapporo for my next (second) J visit.

But Melbourne gets dudded by outer own national airline - and to be fair, most airlines who fly to Aussie.

Does anyone have any General or specific advice for going Mel to Sapporo in the ski season?

Is it better to aim for fewer stops (assuming 1 so 2 legs if available) even with my own skis and a fair amount of gear?

Or is it better to do the extra leg (say 3) and save the $ - and put funds into the actual skiing?

I’m a bit concerned about a possible transfer at Sydney - would I have to re-check luggage or is it considered one international trip?

Cheers.
(Apologies if you answered this previously over the years). :thumbs:

PS:
Oh and in Feb 2020, I took JAL to Narita - I thought they were good.

Is there any pecking order between JAL and ANA & Qantas? Esp if considering going to Sapporo?

Is it worth going one or both ways via the Shinkansen or is it too much of a faff changing trains in Southern Hokkaido? Thanks.
Not sure what they are doing currently given covid issues but I have flown with Cathay Pacific Melbourne -> Sapporo twice in the past. Each had time had 1 stopover in Hong Kong both to and from.
These have usually been around the cheapest options as well.

I've never had to worry about baggage transfer or anything. Just check it in at the start and pick it up at the end.
I've also had a similar flight with Thai Airways where the stopover was in Bangkok but that was a bit more out of the direct route so I wouldn't recommend it as much.
 
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Froff Life

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Not sure what they are doing currently given covid issues but I have flown with Cathay Pacific Melbourne -> Sapporo twice in the past. Each had time had 1 stopover in Hong Kong both to and from.
These have usually been around the cheapest options as well.

I've never had to worry about baggage transfer or anything. Just check it in at the start and pick it up at the end.
I've also had a similar flight with Thai Airways where the stopover was in Bangkok but that was a bit more out of the direct route so I wouldn't recommend it as much.
The Hong Kong stopover is great! We had 6 hours so went into the city, had some lunch and did some shopping. Then back on the plane and a few hours into Chitose
 
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Sandy

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Not sure what they are doing currently given covid issues but I have flown with Cathay Pacific Melbourne -> Sapporo twice in the past. Each had time had 1 stopover in Hong Kong both to and from.
These have usually been around the cheapest options as well.

I've never had to worry about baggage transfer or anything. Just check it in at the start and pick it up at the end.
I've also had a similar flight with Thai Airways where the stopover was in Bangkok but that was a bit more out of the direct route so I wouldn't recommend it as much.
The Hong Kong stopover is great! We had 6 hours so went into the city, had some lunch and did some shopping. Then back on the plane and a few hours into Chitose
I did this a few years ago and it was definitely good.

However, things have changed in HK. A friend of mind who has lived in HK teaching at an international school has pulled up stumps and is moving to Thailand. He says you can feel the repressive political atmosphere there these days, and you are always afraid to say the wrong thing when people can hear you.
There are still COVID restrictions there including mandaory 7 day hotel quarantine, and with China's "zero COVID" policy, who knows when they will be fully rid of restrictions.
 

Donza

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I did this a few years ago and it was definitely good.

However, things have changed in HK. A friend of mind who has lived in HK teaching at an international school has pulled up stumps and is moving to Thailand. He says you can feel the repressive political atmosphere there these days, and you are always afraid to say the wrong thing when people can hear you.
There are still COVID restrictions there including mandaory 7 day hotel quarantine, and with China's "zero COVID" policy, who knows when they will be fully rid of restrictions.
Yeah, we wanted to fly Syd -HK - Fukuoka or Syd - HK - Chitose. Thats been scrubbed.

I think we are looking at years until China (and HK itself) eases restrictions. If at all.
This will have a pretty large bearing on the inbound tourism into Japan as well.
 
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Sandy

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Yeah, we wanted to fly Syd -HK - Fukuoka or Syd - HK - Chitose. Thats been scrubbed.

I think we are looking at years until China (and HK itself) eases restrictions. If at all.
This will have a pretty large bearing on the inbound tourism into Japan as well.
Yes, my way of thinking is that CNY won't see the big crowds in Japan that you get in a normal year.

As I said earlier, if heading to Japan, another option is Korean Airlines out of Sydney via Seoul. They have flights to Fukuoka & Chitose direct.
 

snowgum

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Yes, I my way of thinking is that CNY won't see the big crowds in Japan that you get in a normal year.

As I said earlier, if heading to Japan, another option is Korean Airlines via Seoul. They have flights to Fukuoka & Chitose direct.
Thanks Sandy, yes you have stated this before. J had been off my radar a bit - especially with work changes dominating and now our southern ski season starting…

Will start checking KA - I assume they’re pretty efficient?

A one stopper beats a two in my book, but if a Sydney interchange is necessary, so be it.

If I was with my family (+2 more), extra stops changes things a bit. That much more of a stuff around.

Then again master SG will be nearly 14, and has a adult-like ability to carry his luggage these days. Great!
 

Donza

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Yes, my way of thinking is that CNY won't see the big crowds in Japan that you get in a normal year.

As I said earlier, if heading to Japan, another option is Korean Airlines out of Sydney via Seoul. They have flights to Fukuoka & Chitose direct.
Thanks Sandy, yes you have stated this before. J had been off my radar a bit - especially with work changes dominating and now our southern ski season starting…

Will start checking KA - I assume they’re pretty efficient?

A one stopper beats a two in my book, but if a Sydney interchange is necessary, so be it.

If I was with my family (+2 more), extra stops changes things a bit. That much more of a stuff around.

Then again master SG will be nearly 14, and has a adult-like ability to carry his luggage these days. Great!

Its a bit hard to tell re Chitose if these flights will resume. Via Korea etc.

As you know, CTS is only opening again in the next week.
 
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Sandy

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Thanks Sandy, yes you have stated this before. J had been off my radar a bit - especially with work changes dominating and now our southern ski season starting…

Will start checking KA - I assume they’re pretty efficient?

A one stopper beats a two in my book, but if a Sydney interchange is necessary, so be it.

If I was with my family (+2 more), extra stops changes things a bit. That much more of a stuff around.

Then again master SG will be nearly 14, and has a adult-like ability to carry his luggage these days. Great!
BTW, I did see a while back that there was a direct flight Melbourne to Seoul. I couldn't see it yesterday though.
 
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snowgum

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BTW, I did see a while back that there was a direct flight Melbourne to Seoul. I couldn't see it yesterday though.
Cool thanks Sandy, will put KA in my radar as we head gradually toward booking season - still a bit early for commitments - Covid rules, accom & my personal stuff. All good. :thumbs:
 

rune

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The Hong Kong stopover is great! We had 6 hours so went into the city, had some lunch and did some shopping. Then back on the plane and a few hours into Chitose
Yeah I've done a similar thing too. Had a 9 hour stopover one time so was able to go out and explore the city. Had a really fun time.
 
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Annabuzzy

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When flights are back to normal, you could consider Korean Airlines. They used to do Melbourne -> Seoul -> Chitose(Sapporo), with only one stop.
Right now, you can only book via Sydney with two stops: Melbourne -> Sydney -> Seoul -> Chitose(Sapporo)
I flew twice to Sapporo with Korean air, each time via Seoul, and each time with an overnight stopover at Incheon. It started with overnights in a 5 star hotel at the airport part of Incheon, and ended with an overnight in true Incheon town in a 3 star hotel. Staying in the less salubrious hotel in town was more rewarding.

All very professional and easy as.
 

rune

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I did this a few years ago and it was definitely good.

However, things have changed in HK. A friend of mind who has lived in HK teaching at an international school has pulled up stumps and is moving to Thailand. He says you can feel the repressive political atmosphere there these days, and you are always afraid to say the wrong thing when people can hear you.
There are still COVID restrictions there including mandaory 7 day hotel quarantine, and with China's "zero COVID" policy, who knows when they will be fully rid of restrictions.
Yes this is a good point. I'd definitely be a fair bit more reluctant about stopping in Hong Kong with the current political climate there.
 

Donza

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Yes this is a good point. I'd definitely be a fair bit more reluctant about stopping in Hong Kong with the current political climate there.
I don't think you'll be allowed to leave the airport for a year or two yet.
Such are their strict policies.
 
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snowgum

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Yes this is a good point. I'd definitely be a fair bit more reluctant about stopping in Hong Kong with the current political climate there.

Me too. Given the recent suppression of freedom across China, I have no wish to reward CP & hence the Government, with my support.

Singapore & Korea would sit more comfortably in terms of morality. (Basic human dignity).
 

snowgum

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While I’m on a roll - STS - can anyone please send a link to a recent-ish thread on ‘affordable’ car rental (preferably with 4wd options) in Hokkaido / Sapporo.

Thinking out of the box: if one was to take a bullet T to southern Hokkaido terminus - one could collect a car in a regional city? Possibly might save some coin in the process? Or not?

Fwiw: I enjoyed my Nagano-Ueno Shink in 2020 - just not long enough to sit back and take it in (plus it was dark as we hit the outskirts of Tokyo) - but visually stunning at twilight! Highly Recommended! Esp if Black-Catting ski gear to Narita or wherever.
 
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Donza

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While I’m on a roll - STS - can anyone please send a link to a recent-ish thread on ‘affordable’ car rental (preferably with 4wd options) in Hokkaido / Sapporo.

Thinking out of the box: if one was to take a bullet T to southern Hokkaido terminus - one could collect a car in a regional city? Possibly might save some coin in the process? Or not?

Fwiw: I enjoyed my Nagano-Ueno Shink in 2020 - just not long enough to sit back and take it in (plus it was dark as we hit the outskirts of Tokyo) - but visually stunning at twilight! Highly Recommended! Esp if Black-Catting ski gear to Narita or wherever.

Heaps of affordable Hire car places in Hokkaido.
*however they are usually around the two major airports.

The shink is way more expensive than flying.
*However we are planning on using the 7 day rail pass. Stepping on and off as we travel Japan. The last day, travelling to Shin Hakodate and then onto Minami Chitose.

** I made all these plans before the latest restrictions that were imposed. So its a bit depressing re-living them.
 
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snowgum

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Heaps of affordable Hire car places in Hokkaido.
*however they are usually around the two major airports.

The shink is way more expensive than flying.
*However we are planning on using the 7 day rail pass. Stepping on and off as we travel Japan. The last day, travelling to Shin Hakodate and then onto Minami Chitose.

** I made all these plans before the latest restrictions that were imposed. So its a bit depressing re-living them.

Sounds like fun Donza. Will see a lot more that way. From memory there’s several ski towns along the northern Honshu region (not necessarily the bigger ones Like Appi K & Geto K?). Then local buses?

Thanks for the rental tip - will start googling again. Funnily, I’d parked this notion for a year or so?

Good luck with the C rules easing - we’ll all be watching & waiting.
 

blueandwhite

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My first trip to Hokkaido was with my 4 year old daughter and we flew Melbourne, Hong Kong, Sapporo on Cathay and it was a great flight. 2-3 hour turnaround at Hong Kong so got some food and went to the disney store in the terminal. No need to get bags or change terminals. Couldn't have been better. I imagine so long as you get a short transit time (ie you don't need to leave HK airport) this experience would still be much the same if those flights are operating. Can't recommend that option enough.

Recently however I came back from overseas and had to enter Australia via Sydney and then onto Melbourne. Will never book that connection via Sydney again I can assure you! Horrendous and way worse than it used to be (and it was pretty ordinary before as well).
 

snowgum

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My first trip to Hokkaido was with my 4 year old daughter and we flew Melbourne, Hong Kong, Sapporo on Cathay and it was a great flight. 2-3 hour turnaround at Hong Kong so got some food and went to the disney store in the terminal. No need to get bags or change terminals. Couldn't have been better. I imagine so long as you get a short transit time (ie you don't need to leave HK airport) this experience would still be much the same if those flights are operating. Can't recommend that option enough.

Recently however I came back from overseas and had to enter Australia via Sydney and then onto Melbourne. Will never book that connection via Sydney again I can assure you! Horrendous and way worse than it used to be (and it was pretty ordinary before as well).
And still airlines Duck-shove 5m+ Melbournians through Sydney (5.2m-ish) and vice-versa, with all its current curfew and congestion issues.

Surely there are other airlines (in addition to Qatar A) that can see the advantage of a lower-cost, curfew free Melbourne, with lots more spare, arrival/departure opportunities?

Classic follow the leader mentality in the industry.
 

LMB

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My first trip to Hokkaido was with my 4 year old daughter and we flew Melbourne, Hong Kong, Sapporo on Cathay and it was a great flight. 2-3 hour turnaround at Hong Kong so got some food and went to the disney store in the terminal. No need to get bags or change terminals. Couldn't have been better. I imagine so long as you get a short transit time (ie you don't need to leave HK airport) this experience would still be much the same if those flights are operating. Can't recommend that option enough.

Recently however I came back from overseas and had to enter Australia via Sydney and then onto Melbourne. Will never book that connection via Sydney again I can assure you! Horrendous and way worse than it used to be (and it was pretty ordinary before as well).
A lot of this was due to the post covid ramp up in traffic and lack of staff, especially ground crew. We had a similarly horrendous time coming back from the US in early April. I’m hopeful that things will be working better before Northern Hemisphere seasons kick off for next season. They have all the summer travellers to practice on.
And still airlines Duck-shove 5m+ Melbournians through Sydney (5.2m-ish) and vice-versa, with all its current curfew and congestion issues.

Surely there are other airlines (in addition to Qatar A) that can see the advantage of a lower-cost, curfew free Melbourne, with lots more spare, arrival/departure opportunities?

Classic follow the leader mentality in the industry.
Yeah we get the same in Perth. To add insult to injury many of the direct to Melbourne flights got combined with the direct to Sydney flights from LA due to low numbers and low staff, which meant a connection for the Melbournians - most of which were missed due to baggage handling delays. Was a cluster….
 
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snowgum

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A lot of this was due to the post covid ramp up in traffic and lack of staff, especially ground crew. We had a similarly horrendous time coming back from the US in early April. I’m hopeful that things will be working better before Northern Hemisphere seasons kick off for next season. They have all the summer travellers to practice on.

Yeah we get the same in Perth. To add insult to injury many of the direct to Melbourne flights got combined with the direct to Sydney flights from LA due to low numbers and low staff, which meant a connection for the Melbournians - most of which were missed due to baggage handling delays. Was a cluster….
It’s a wonder this pro-Sydney airline centrism doesn’t get called out more often. It’s glaring fault in our (& world) air service system.

I suspect years of pathetic, Sydney-based, do-nothing Fed Transport ministers (of all persuasions) has exacerbated this one-eyed approach to Aussie tourism.

And yes, I understand than inbound tourists tend to visit the opera house and big bridge, before patting a penguin or riding a steam train but with some proper marketing (sorry not you Scotty!) this Sydney-centric tourist-focus could be broadened to encapsulate the whole of Australia. Yeah/nah?

I won’t hold my breath. Perhaps this will only change when Qantas et al realise that they really do lose customers, when they’re continually re-routed and double-shunted, across the continent, to be essentially told, get used to it. :oops:
 

blueandwhite

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A lot of this was due to the post covid ramp up in traffic and lack of staff, especially ground crew. We had a similarly horrendous time coming back from the US in early April. I’m hopeful that things will be working better before Northern Hemisphere seasons kick off for next season. They have all the summer travellers to practice on.
But realistically you are always going to have to pick up and re-check luggage at Sydney and then transfer to the domestic terminal so irrespective of the current cluster it's still not a great route. Much better to transit internationally and avoid all of that.

Add to that the change in operation of transiting in Sydney whereby they used to bus you from the International terminal to the domestic terminal airside. Now they kick you out into the street and you get a bus to the domestic terminal landside and you have to go through the main security queue at the domestic terminal again. So inefficient now.
 
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LMB

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It’s a wonder this pro-Sydney airline centrism doesn’t get called out more often. It’s glaring fault in our (& world) air service system.

I suspect years of pathetic, Sydney-based, do-nothing Fed Transport ministers (of all persuasions) has exacerbated this one-eyed approach to Aussie tourism.

And yes, I understand than inbound tourists tend to visit the opera house and big bridge, before patting a penguin or riding a steam train but with some proper marketing (sorry not you Scotty!) this Sydney-centric tourist-focus could be broadened to encapsulate the whole of Australia. Yeah/nah?

I won’t hold my breath. Perhaps this will only change when Qantas et al realise that they really do lose customers, when they’re continually re-routed and double-shunted, across the continent, to be essentially told, get used to it. :oops:
Indeed.
I was excited to hear we got our first Europe mainland direct route from Perth starting this week I think (Italy if I recall correctly), which is fabulous because before the London-Perth route all we had internationally was Singapore. Even if they code share the route, I don’t care, but being able to have your Q privileges as a non Sydney resident would be great!

Let’s get Perth - Tokyo back!
 
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LMB

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But realistically you are always going to have to pick up and re-check luggage at Sydney and then transfer to the domestic terminal so irrespective of the current cluster it's still not a great route. Much better to transit internationally and avoid all of that.

Add to that the change in operation of transiting in Sydney whereby they used to bus you from the International terminal to the domestic terminal airside. Now they kick you out into the street and you get a bus to the domestic terminal landside and you have to go through the main security queue at the domestic terminal again. So inefficient now.
Agreed
 

LMB

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If only they had a train between terminals...
I’ve done both, with bags, since the beginning of this post covid rubbish. Much of a muchness. It is hard to navigate as a foreigner though. I’ve helped a few people who were fully lost and felt stranded.
 
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Donza

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NBW airport will take the majority of Asian flights when it opens.
At odd hours as well.
Will make the domestic change seamless.
 

Marty McSly

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Surely there are other airlines (in addition to Qatar A) that can see the advantage of a lower-cost, curfew free Melbourne, with lots more spare, arrival/departure opportunities?
Which would be great for tourism from (and to, I'm being selfish :) ) the Hunter Valley.

Flying out of NTL is so easy and stress-free. Most domestic flights go to BNE or MEL.

Either of those would be my preference ahead of the Sydney rat race.

But I'm :deadhorse:
 
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Famouspotatoes

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How bad is driving in Sapporo really? Depending on bus timetables I may have to hire a car. Wondering whether on the last day of my trip it is reasonable to drive from rusutsu to tiene early, ski the morning, check out the snow fest in the afternoon and then return the car at the airport in the evening before staying at the airport for a 7a flight the next day. If Sapporo driving really is a nightmare though, maybe skiing the morning at Rusutsu then driving to Chitose, returning the car in the afternoon and training to Sapporo and back for the snowfest makes more sense.
 

SnowCat9

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How bad is driving in Sapporo really? Depending on bus timetables I may have to hire a car. Wondering whether on the last day of my trip it is reasonable to drive from rusutsu to tiene early, ski the morning, check out the snow fest in the afternoon and then return the car at the airport in the evening before staying at the airport for a 7a flight the next day. If Sapporo driving really is a nightmare though, maybe skiing the morning at Rusutsu then driving to Chitose, returning the car in the afternoon and training to Sapporo and back for the snowfest makes more sense.
Might be worth checking out the Hokkaido Resort Liner schedules if you’ve haven’t done that yet. Might help make the decision. https://www.access-n.jp/winter2021/en/skibus/
 
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Famouspotatoes

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Might be worth checking out the Hokkaido Resort Liner schedules if you’ve haven’t done that yet. Might help make the decision. https://www.access-n.jp/winter2021/en/skibus/
My flight arrives into CTS at 1835 and I really want to avoid spending the night in Sapporo. So unless HRL adds a later bus this year or I can get on the Big Runs bus (not staying at rusutsu resort, so not guaranteed) I will miss the last bus.
 

grantn

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My flight arrives into CTS at 1835 and I really want to avoid spending the night in Sapporo. So unless HRL adds a later bus this year or I can get on the Big Runs bus (not staying at rusutsu resort, so not guaranteed) I will miss the last bus.
A car can be pretty handy in Rusutsu. If you are an intermediate-advanced skiier or boarder it can be more beneficial to drive staright to the carpark on the East mountain, and avoid the long and tedious gondy that takes you from West mountain over to East. A car will also be beneficial if you want any days off the snow.
 
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I'm in shock. Just rang Qantas as they had changed my flights for late Nov so I arrived in Brisbane after my Haneda flight departed. Call was answered as soon as I got past the selection process, and new flights via Melbourne a day later booked and confirmed after 10 minutes.
Tried last week, and after two hours on hold, got a consultant who cut me off after about 20 minutes of trying to understand what the problem was, the previous time it took 4 hours to get the original booking using flight credit.
 

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Froff Life

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How bad is driving in Sapporo really? Depending on bus timetables I may have to hire a car. Wondering whether on the last day of my trip it is reasonable to drive from rusutsu to tiene early, ski the morning, check out the snow fest in the afternoon and then return the car at the airport in the evening before staying at the airport for a 7a flight the next day. If Sapporo driving really is a nightmare though, maybe skiing the morning at Rusutsu then driving to Chitose, returning the car in the afternoon and training to Sapporo and back for the snowfest makes more sense.
I found driving in Sapporo relatively fine. Snow often covers the road but the traffic usually isn't too bad and the GPS or your own phone Google Maps will help avoid the worst of it.
 

Sbooker

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I found driving in Sapporo relatively fine. Snow often covers the road but the traffic usually isn't too bad and the GPS or your own phone Google Maps will help avoid the worst of it.
Agree. Driving with all wheel drive and winter tyres is pretty much foolproof. Complete night and day to driving with front or rear wheel drive with regular tyres.
 

SnowCat9

First Runs
Jun 20, 2022
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My flight arrives into CTS at 1835 and I really want to avoid spending the night in Sapporo. So unless HRL adds a later bus this year or I can get on the Big Runs bus (not staying at rusutsu resort, so not guaranteed) I will miss the last bus.
Got it. I suspect that we won't know much more bit bus timetables for a while yet, and I doubt later departures will be scheduled this coming season.
Looks like you might need to compromise between driving or overnighting at the airport or Sapporo. Personally I'd overnight in Sapporo, enjoy a fresh Sapporo Classic, maybe a jingisukan and take the first HRL bus in the morning, but I guess it also depends on where else you think you need a car for your trip.
 
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SnowCat9

First Runs
Jun 20, 2022
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Catch the train to Hokkaido. Its an awesome way to do it. I did that to Furano last winter and loved it.
Absolutely the way to go if you have the time and are ok with the cost. Picking up an ekiben just adds to the adventure. We'll be going in the reverse direction in the coming trip, stopping off at a few places and making good use of kuroneko along the way.
 
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Lucky Pete

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Absolutely the way to go if you have the time and are ok with the cost. Picking up an ekiben just adds to the adventure. We'll be going in the reverse direction in the coming trip, stopping off at a few places and making good use of kuroneko along the way.
Awesome! Book your seats on the LHS of the train heading south. Was epic cruising along the coast there although the amount of gomi at some of the fishing 'villages' was different. Definetly one of my fav Japan train trips to date. Enjoy!
 
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sourmash

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How bad is driving in Sapporo really? Depending on bus timetables I may have to hire a car. Wondering whether on the last day of my trip it is reasonable to drive from rusutsu to tiene early, ski the morning, check out the snow fest in the afternoon and then return the car at the airport in the evening before staying at the airport for a 7a flight the next day. If Sapporo driving really is a nightmare though, maybe skiing the morning at Rusutsu then driving to Chitose, returning the car in the afternoon and training to Sapporo and back for the snowfest makes more sense.
I'd say travelling to Tiene from Rusutsu, skiing and then navigating Sapporo for the snow fest at Odori, parking and then getting to airport sounds like a huge day - not allowing for extreme weather. My experience of down town Sapporo is very slow moving traffic due to an inescapable grid layout of mega lights and challenges to get on/off the main routes north/east/south to airport, tolling passes etc. If you skipped the snow fest, no problem - main roads go straight over the top of the city.

I think your latter option of one more day at Ru, catch the HRL/Whiteliner bus and relying on trains from the airport for snow fest and no hire car would be way more relaxed.
 
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LMB

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I'd say travelling to Tiene from Rusutsu, skiing and then navigating Sapporo for the snow fest at Odori, parking and then getting to airport sounds like a huge day - not allowing for extreme weather. My experience of down town Sapporo is very slow moving traffic due to an inescapable grid layout of mega lights and challenges to get on/off the main routes north/east/south to airport, tolling passes etc. If you skipped the snow fest, no problem - main roads go straight over the top of the city.

I think your latter option of one more day at Ru, catch the HRL/Whiteliner bus and relying on trains from the airport for snow fest and no hire car would be way more relaxed.
Agree.
We drive in Hokkaido. Usually a season rental these days. But it can be tricky. I recall one particular day when identifying the road edge was particularly tricky, and visibility ahead was …ahhh …poor. The car in front of us hit the side bank on BOTH sides of the road many times and weaved back and forth across both sides of the road at about 20km per hour for the whole drive from Niseko to Rusutsu. So many neat head ons. We were too scared to pass him in case he weaved into the right lane as we drove past. You might get a lovely blue sky day for your long drive - or it could be a full on Hokkaido white out all the way.
 

snowgum

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Catch the train to Hokkaido. Its an awesome way to do it. I did that to Furano last winter and loved it.
I like your idea Pete. At least in one direction but maybe too. Assume travel with luggage in the off season was OK?

How did you travel from the Shink Terminus btw? Train, coach or hire car? Cheers LP
(filing all this away for a rainy day) :cool:

I’ll have Epics so Ru could be on the menu - if I get up that way?

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