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Japan: General tips for when and where to go for snow

Discussion in 'Japan' started by Sandy, Feb 24, 2015.

  1. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    No car.
    Big group.
    Range of abilities, but none of them expert/high advanced.
    Not able/not willing to hire and use car.

    You want to go to Niseko. Your point about the lifts being faster is moot, who cares? They are mostly gondolas or detachables anyway, it's not an issue. Do you realise that driving from Cortina (northern end of Hakuba) to Goryu (southern end of Hakuba) takes over 30mins most days? And the shuttle buses wont be any quicker.

    Niseko is going to suit your group a lot more.
     
    Heinz likes this.
  2. Badger

    Badger First Runs

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    Yeah, there's definitely that to consider - but Annupuri is a lot cheaper. I'm having a hard time finding something cheap in Hirafu.
     
  3. Badger

    Badger First Runs

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    I've been skiing in Queenstown before, so I guess I'm a little used to having to sit on a bus for forty minutes before hitting the snow :p I guess it would be nice to avoid, though.

    My biggest concern with Niseko is the crowds. But I suppose it's a resort I'll end up visiting sooner or later, so I may as well go there first.. Plus you can ski from resort to resort.

    The only thing I would be disappointed by is that Niseko is less steep than Hakuba's resorts. I love schussing down the steeper runs. How does Niseko's steepest compare to, say, Perisher? If anyone's skied there.
     
  4. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Steeper and longer.
     
  5. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Niseko is easily steep enough for your stated abilities.
     
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  6. bengarden

    bengarden Addicted

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    I ski Perisher every year and went to Niseko,staying at Grand Hirafu this Jan. Trust me there is way more steeps than at Perisher and runs are at least twice as long if not further. If you find Perisher crowded then Niseko when we went from 12th jan was quiet. Never more than 5 minute on a chair wait or maybe 10 on gondola if it's busy......just go to Niseko for first trip to Japan. We found it easy to get around and no language barriers not to mention the insane snow quality......
     
  7. Badger

    Badger First Runs

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    Thanks for the replies everyone :) Niseko it is.

    Has anyone stayed in Annupuri before? Are there any buses that run to Hirafu? We'd like to experience the nightlife once or twice but it doesn't have to be at our doorstep.
     
  8. Badger

    Badger First Runs

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    Decided to go with Hirafu :) For proximity of rental stores, ATMs, supermarkets, as well as everything else.. Plus the difference between Annupuri and Hirafu only came to $100 in the end. And With Annupuri we'd always run the risk of the lifts at the top closing and being stuck on that side of the mountain, which would be downright silly.

    Thanks for your advice Crispy.
     
  9. Annabuzzy

    Annabuzzy Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    I haven't stayed in Annapuri but I would do so in a heartbeat. If I was single and/or wanting to head to bars of an evening I would stay in Hirafu though. Once or twice in the week you could easily manage by bus or taxi and your lodge manager may also drop you off.

    There are buses but I don't know about the frequency.
     
  10. HoopDogg

    HoopDogg Hard Yards

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    Stayed in Annupuri this winter just gone.
    Agree with the sentiments as above. I was by myself, but had a car and wasn't really interested in nights on the grog.
    The buses run about every 30-40 minutes, and take about 40 mins. Cabs to Hirafu are approx ¥4500 each way.
    Important to note though for the return journey, cabs in Niseko finish at 12-1 am (can't remember which) and a lot of bars shut at this time, which means you will be fighting for a limited number of cabs with quite a few ppl. U don't want to leave it too late or it will be a very long/ uncomfortable walk!
     
  11. Budgiesmuggler

    Budgiesmuggler A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Check Full Note or one of the other pensions
     
  12. Pollo_ski

    Pollo_ski Hard Yards

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    Hi guys I have had a look and can't see much but if we were to head to Japan with the family 7 and 13 yrs and plus one. Is there anywhere for the 14th Dec onwards where it is worth skiing. Normally go Thredbo Perisher Falls. First time OS. We are skiers however the two 13 year olds will be trying boarding for the first time. Thanks
     
  13. Hammer

    Hammer Hard Yards

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    We went to Hakuba last season at the time you have suggested and we had great snow (plenty of POW days) and loved the overall experience of the town. We used Evergreen for son who learnt to snowboard there and was up and proficient within the first few days. We are heading back at the same time this year.
     
  14. Sandy

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

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    Last season was an early season in central Japan. I wouldn't normally expect as much snow as last season at Hakuba at that time.
     
  15. Pollo_ski

    Pollo_ski Hard Yards

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    Thanks so far. Happy for snow that we can ski and good choice of runs. Not looking for 6m deep POW off piste. Unless it's on offer.
     
  16. Sandy

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

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    For example, sometimes the bottom 500m vertical at Hakuba has no snow on it, in mid December.
     
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  17. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    Niseko up on the north island of Hokkaido would be a safer bet at that time of year
     
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  18. Andy Breaking Trail

    Andy Breaking Trail Early Days

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    Best chilled out, true Japanese, Backcountry place to go??? ie not Niseko
     
  19. ojisan

    ojisan Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Kagura IMO
     
  20. Andy Breaking Trail

    Andy Breaking Trail Early Days

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    Thanks look interesting
     
  21. ojisan

    ojisan Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    as @Sandy would attest to... if you go in January, don't expect many blue bird days...

    When I went, which was during mid January... it was pretty much white out all the time & the snow did not stop falling
     
  22. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    And people complain about this shit :p
     
  23. Sandy

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

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    Perfect..... :D
     
  24. hotsaki

    hotsaki One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    My sister complains incessantly.Lets go to Furano_Over and over and over.There is sun there she says.She cant understand that we dont want sun we want snow.But she always gets outvoted .Except for last season when we went to Furano but she couldnt go!LOL
     
  25. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    The Hakuba Snowsports team would be worth reaching out to as well if you havent already tried as they may still have staff around the for privates
     
  26. Adamski

    Adamski Hard Yards

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    Hi all,

    Any recommendations resorts wise for a first ever ski trip to Japan, to be done next March (probably late in the month)?
     
  27. Sandy

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

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    If you are after powder, then Niseko. Central Honshu will mostly be getting warmer. See the "rules of thumb" on the first page.
     
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  28. Adamski

    Adamski Hard Yards

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    Thank you.

    A further question: so why was Hakuba so highly rated for spring?
     
  29. Sandy

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

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    If you want powder, go north, if you want spring skiing, Hakuba would be good. Big vertical, long gondolas from the bottom.
     
  30. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    For touring the terrain above the lifts - there is a lot of it.
     
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  31. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    This. Hakuba in the spring is all about outside the resort.
     
  32. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Kagura. You could even try the Heli skiing. Though it is a bit different to what you would expect in other places.
     
  33. Adamski

    Adamski Hard Yards

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    I'll be going with a wobbly intermediate so no gnarly off piste/back country required. Just some nice nibbly bits to go along with general atmosphere and good instruction preferably.
     
  34. Budgiesmuggler

    Budgiesmuggler A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Niseko, naeba/kagura or shiga kogen
     
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  35. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    If you are after English Language ski school the choices are limited. Definitely Niseko, Hakuba, Myoko Kogen or Madarao but there is also some English language instruction available at some of the Yuzawa resorts. You would have to investigate which ones. And maybe Nozawa?
     
  36. ratherb@thesnow

    ratherb@thesnow Hard Yards

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    After many trips to Niseko I went to Myoko this year and had a hoot, now for 2018 I'm planning on skipping Niseko to return to myoko for 8 days and then after a few days resting up in Nagano or even back down to Osaka I'm looking for suggestions on where to go for an additional 5 days. My first thought would be to head back up that same area and check out Nozawa Onsen. Not really interested in Hakuba so any other areas that are recommended?
     
  37. ojisan

    ojisan Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Hire a car, base yourself at say myoko and spend the 5 days checking out the smaller lesser known resorts around the place.
     
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  38. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Why arent you interested in Hakuba?
     
  39. ratherb@thesnow

    ratherb@thesnow Hard Yards

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    Just after spending so much time in Niseko I felt that Myoko had a more traditional, low key feel to the place, similar to when I first went to Niseko 12 years ago. I enjoyed it so much with so much new terrain to explore, little english to be spoken and empty snow fields, it was exciting.

    Although not having ever been to Hakuba i feel it would be a similar busy vibe as is Niseko, but with bigger mountains ;-]
     
  40. ojisan

    ojisan Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Depends where you go... If you have wheels, you can get away from that busy vibe
     
  41. Sandy

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

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    The vibe is not similar. You might say that Cortina on a powder day might have a similar vibe to Niseko, but that's about it.
    Go to Norikura or Tsugaike for a much more Myoko feel....
     
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  42. Beerman

    Beerman One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Any of the fields around Nagano will fit the bill. I haven't been to Niseko, but the Nagano/Nagiita area has a lot to offer. A car is a must to make the most of it. You can see several ski hills from any of the resorts you choose, its a smorgasboard.
     
  43. Zimboo

    Zimboo A Local

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    Mmmmmmmmm..........I like a smorgasboard, both food or skiing wise!!! :)
     
  44. Beerman

    Beerman One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    As an example, looking form Mt.Keashi (Nozawa) you can see 6 or so other resorts. Myoko (all 4), Ryuoo, Shiga, Kijimadaira, Togari Onsen, Madarao, and that's just looking 90deg from South to West. Looking East all you can see are snow peaks after snow peaks. Hundreds of them. The photo doesn't do it justice
     
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  45. Zimboo

    Zimboo A Local

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    Yep, once in that area it's easy to visit many skiing, food and culture options. We like!!!!!!
     
  46. Zimboo

    Zimboo A Local

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    From the highest point of Shiga........................

    [​IMG]
     
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  47. wrxbouy

    wrxbouy Hard Yards

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    HI all been a while since i was on here, looking to book a trip this/next year early feb in the Hakuba Valley, have been to Niseko 10 years ago an this time will have the kids 10, 6 in tow. We are looking for a Hotel thats budget and has an onsen? would be staying for 10 days or so. Any help would be great.
     
  48. 2ESki

    2ESki Addicted

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    My daughter and self have booked into the Hotel De Laile which has both indoor and outdoor onsen and seems well priced , hopefully someone has something good to say about the place as its our first overseas trip skiing :[
     
  49. ojisan

    ojisan Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Where is this hotel De Laile?
     
  50. 2ESki

    2ESki Addicted

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    The hotels up in Wando 4 min from the sakka lifts ojisan so I hope its alright