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Latest ski & tourism news

Discussion in 'Japan' started by Ramenman, Sep 14, 2018.

  1. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    See above - Shigakogen Takamagahara Mammoth Ski Area

    Google maps.
     
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  2. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    Yeah, it's a serious game changer!. I just wonder why they needed to hide which ski resort they actually bought(or were buying) after they once disclosed the information(and the picture of the ski resort was also removed from the very first press release). I mean, in the very first press release, they disclosed the information like the below.
    They say, they'll make a luxury hotel with 70 rooms at first, and they'll keep investing in the ski resort, having 300 rooms in the end.
     
  3. Sandy

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

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    Yes, that photo is Takamagahara. And there's plenty of space there for a big hotel.
     
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  4. lehb

    lehb Early Days

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    Amazing picture. Would anyone have any recommendation for autumn viewing accessible by train/bus from Tokyo ?
     
  5. Sandy

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

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    When?
     
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  6. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    Japan is famous for beautiful autumn color. So, it doesn't have to be Mt.Adatara. For example, Kyoto is very beautiful in Autumn, and there must be a lot more things for you to do in Kyoto than a ski resort mountain (I want more foreigners to visit ski resorts in Japan in green season to make the ski resort business sustainable, but at the same time, I want to give you the best advice possible, so not sure if I should recommend my favorite autumn color ski resort mountains). Kyoto might be too popular / crowded due to rapidly increasing number of foreign tourists and ski resort mountains might be better in that sense, though. Anyway, it's difficult to find Japanese mountains that are "not" beautiful in Autumn.


    And, when you are coming to Japan is also very important. It's very up to the altitude and the latitude when the autumn color is at its best. For example, if it's high altitude or high latitude, the autumn color starts in mid September, but if it's 0 - 200m above sea level in Kyoto, it's November. Look at the image below. It says "銀泉台(Hokkaido) = mid September to late September" and "Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto = mid November to late November". So, 2 month difference.
    [​IMG]

    A lot of temples in Kyoto are very beautifully lit up in Autumn color season(well, not only in Kyoto, but also all over Japan)



    Well, it's dinner time. I think I'll write about autumn color later;)(might not be today)
     
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  7. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    I noticed Shiga Kogen and the picture have been removed from the Japanese press release and the English press release but the Chinese press release still has Shiga Kogen and the picture now. Shiga Kogen is 志賀高原 both in Japanese and Chinese, and you can find 志賀高原 in it even if you can't read Chinese.

    Here is the link : https://zh.asgam.com/index.php/2019...-resort-under-new-melco-creative-exchange-zh/
     
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  8. susie2609

    susie2609 Hard Yards

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    Sad news about Iizuna Kogen potentially closing... Will definitely be putting it on the list for a day trip while we're there in January. Togakushi marketing peeps have been very active on social media lately - looks like an exciting new phase for that resort. Looking forward to checking it out.
     
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  9. lehb

    lehb Early Days

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    End of November first few days on December
     
  10. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    This was filmed at Shinjuku Gyoen on November 29th(2017). It's Shinjuku(downtown of Tokyo), so it's very accessible.


    Shinjuku Gyo-en : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinjuku_Gyo-en
     
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  11. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    There are a lot other places as well.

    Autumn Leaf Spots in Tokyo : https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3061.html

    All of them are in Tokyo, so all of them are easily accessible by train / bus.
     
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  12. PMG

    PMG One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Do like Shinjuku Gyoen even in winter.
     
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  13. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    Susuie where did you read that?
     
  14. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    I think it's here:p.

    I've written about it several times. Long story short, both Togakushi and Iizuna Kogen had been owned by Nagano city. Since around 2016, Nagano city have been saying "2019 - 2020 season will be the last season for Togakushi and Iizuna Kogen unless somebody buys those ski resorts". Last year, Kitano Construction, a local tourism association, etc jointly bought Toagkushi, so Tokgakushi ski resort will survive. As to Iizuna Kogen, this time last year, it was rumored a company is planning to buy Iizuna Kogen, but no official announcement has been made, so many ski fans(around me) are worry that Iizuna Kogen ski resort will get closed.

    I'll ask someone who knows about it more than me and I'll write about the latest information about it here later on.
     
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  15. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    It seems,

    An investing company named First Pacific Capital bought both Iizuna Kogen golf resort and the ski resort only at 147 million Yen(= about only 1.4 million USD). The land and all facilities of the golf resort + the ski resort = 147 million Yen is super cheap. It had been a financial burden for the local government, so no wonder if they think it's a good deal. Then, Iizuna Kogen won't be closed, I mean, now it's for sure that a company bought it, not just a rumor.
     
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  16. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, sorry, my mates and I are very confused now. I mean, there are two ski resorts very close each other, Iizuna Kogen and Iizuna Resort. The region is not our main ski / snowboard region, so we tend to get confused which is which.
     
  17. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    I'll write about both of Iizuna Kogen and Iizuna Resort(both are ski resorts in Nagano Pref).

    Both Iizuna Kogen and Iizuna Resort were on the verge of closure in 2018.

    Iizuna Resort had been owned by a local village(not Nagano city) and the ski resort and golf resort were already sold to First Pacific Capital (=an investing company in Tokyo). So it is likely that the ski resort won't get closed.

    Iizuna Kogen has been owned by Nagano city. Nagano city announced that the ski resort will get closed if nobody buys it. It seems Iizuna Kogen hasn't been sold yet, so Iizuna Kogen might get closed at this rate.

    If I'm wrong, please correct me:p(I'm still a bit confused:oops:)
     
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  18. lehb

    lehb Early Days

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    Thank you so much. Will visit this for sure!! Would anyone know places with an expansive view of autumn colours around end of November/first few days of December ?
     
  19. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes, it is confusing! Don't worry.

    Hoping new buyers plow some money into Iizuna resort. There's a bit of potential there but they've gone from 6 lifts to 3 in a matter of only a few years.
     
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  20. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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  21. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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  22. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Meanwhile the rort of taxing the WHV and gaijin card holders extra taxes, and the extra bed taxes in Niseko to cover the cost of the construction of the Shinkansen are born by those not making a killing...

    (The extra bed taxes are new this season, and are born by owners not renters. While in theory they’re paid by renters, the rents have not increased by the new fee and the agencies aren’t bearing them. It’s just extra costs for the owners)
     
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  23. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    I don't know if Melco actually have bought the whole resort of one of Shiga Kogen areas or they are just building hotels there. One thing for sure is, they say they'll make a 5 star hotel with 70 rooms at first, then they'll have 300 rooms in total in the ski resort. 300 rooms mean they'll construct 2 or 3 hotels, not only one?. If so, Melco will have a very huge influence over the whole ski resort and the ski resort is like partially owned by Melco.

    As far as I know, these are the Japanese ski resorts owned by or partially owned by foreign companies.

    Sahoro = Chinese company + Kamori Kanko
    Tomamu = Chinese company + Hoshino Resorts
    Mount Racey = Chinese company
    Kiroro = Thai company
    Niseko Hanazono = Hong Kong based company
    Niseko Village = Malaysian company
    Aomori Spring = Singaporean company
    Appi = Hong Kong based company
    Madarao = Hong Kong based company
    Arai = Korean company
    Takamagahara(one of Shiga Kogen areas) = Hong Kong based company(but not sure if they've actually bought it or not)

    This thread started with "Vail CEO Eyes Japan Resort Acquisition". I wonder if Vail is seriously planning to buy one.
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/arti...-resort-acquisition-in-bid-to-lure-new-skiers

    I heard a rumor that a Thai company is planning to buy one, but not sure.
     
    #1623 Ramenman, Nov 4, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
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  24. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    The average Joe pays taxes, the wealthy with good accountants don't. Panama Papers and many other investigations have made that quite clear.
     
  25. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    Numajiri Kogen Lodge was renovated and will reopen next week.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It's somewhere between Mt.Adatara, Mt.Minowa, Mt.Bandai and some other mountains. Junko Tabei, the first woman to reach the summit of Mt.Everest and the first woman to ascend all the Seven Summits by climbing the highest peak on every continent, was the owner. Since she died in 2016, the lodge has been closed but now it has been renovated to open again.

    Junko Tabei : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junko_Tabei

    Numajiri Kogen lodge is on the base of Numajiri Ski resort. The courses to the lodge had been closed, but Numajiri Ski Resort have officially announced they'll re-open the course to the lodge (and the Onsen Ryokan area) on weekends and holidays. This is the trail map of 2019 - 2020 season. Number 12 and 13 were closed but reopen.
    [​IMG]

    This is Numajiri Kogen lodge before it was renovated. If you are skiing at Minowa after skiing at Alts, Nekoma, Grandeco, Inawashiro, etc, staying at Numajiri Kogen Lodge or one of onsen Ryokans in Numajiri Onsen village might be good. Not sure how much it is now, though. It was not expensive before it was renovated.
    [​IMG]
     
    #1625 Ramenman, Nov 4, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
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  26. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    It is reported a direct shuttle bus service between Niseko (Hirafu) and Hakodate will newly start this month. They say it's because a lot of foreign tourists are visiting both in recent years. It takes about 3 hours between Hirafu and JR Hakodate station.

    Niseko(Hirafu area) - JR Shin Hakodate Hokuto station(It's a Shinkansen station) - JR Hakodate station - Hakodate Airport
     
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  27. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I've read the rattler train from Kutchan to JR Hakodate was a punish. So this is a good idea.
     
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  28. skifree

    skifree grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    We've done the Kutchan to Sapporo train and while it was touch and go to get through the snow on the tracks and little old world it was a very nice way to travel.
     
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  29. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Same.
    The journey in reverse took five hours ..cause snow.
     
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  30. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    Got any links to the company running this?
     
  31. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    This company is running the bus, and it is supposed to start running this month, but no information on the website yet.
    https://www.hakotaxi.co.jp/top-en.shtml

    [​IMG]
     
    #1631 Ramenman, Nov 4, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
  32. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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  33. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    It seems JR is planning to re-open Tadami Line in 2021. Tadami Line is the snowiest train line and the most beautiful autumn color line I've ever had. It runs between Aizu Wakamatsu(Fukushima) and Koide(Niigata, 30 min drive from Hakkaisan, not that far from Yuzawa). The border between Fukushima Pref and Niigata Pref is the least populated region of Japan, being surrounded by many snowy mountains. It's quite flood prone, land slide prone and avalanche prone line. The rail service has been suspended between Aizu-Kawaguchi station and Tadami station since 2011(or 2012) because a flood swept away some bridges. The local population is very small, so JR didn't want to spend much money to re-open Tadami line fully, but recently, JR Tadami line is getting popular among Asian tourists and it seems it made JR decide to re-open Tadami Line fully. In the image below, you see "Section of Bus Service", but the bus service is only summer because the road is closed between late November and mid May due to heavy snow(so the road is closed for almost 6 months). So, you can't go to Fukushima's ski resort region from Niigata's ski resort region by bus either now. I hope Tadami Line re-opening helps ski resorts in Fukushima attract more tourists from abroad who are skiing in Niigata:)
    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]

    Even though there are a lot of very snowy mountains, there aren't many ski resorts in the region because most roads in the region are closed in winter and local population is too small. There is Oku Tadami Maruyama ski resort in the region. The ski resort is closed during mid winter due to heavy snow(on average, from January 10th to March 20th, sometimes closed from mid December if a big snowfall hits the region earlier). This was fimed at Oku Tadami.
     
  34. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    I did that line in summer time once, maybe 15 years ago. It's a pretty ride. I didn't even realise it had been partially closed.

    I stumbled into a matsuri in Aizu-bange, ended sitting on a corner with a bunch of random oji-san getting drunk, then slept the night on the bench in tiny shelter shed station before catching the first train out at 6am.

    [​IMG]
     
  35. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    Woohoo! LOL It's on the top of my list for our next trip! Last I heard they were going to close it down indefinitely, so very good to hear! Apparently there's a nice winter festival in Tadami too.
     
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  36. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    Some local governments along the train line say "We are planning to... in 2021", and JR hasn't officially announced yet, so it might become 2022 or later. It is reported that the local governments along Tadami Line will pay the construction cost to make Tadami Line reopen. When it was fully open, it took 5 hours between Aizu Wakamatsu and Koide. So it's long and slow, but I remember your husband is Tetsu-chan(Railfan), so I guess he likes such a long train travel, rather than a very quick Shinkansen travel;).

    Plus, I assume sightseeing trains will run in Tadami Line after it gets fully open. Having sightseeing trains has been a big trend / boom in Japan. Especially train lines in Inaka ( = countryside) have a lot of sightseeing trains in order to attract more tourists. There is another train line between Fukushima Pref and Niigata Pref. It's Banetsu West Line. It is running Koriyama - Aizu Wakamatsu - Niigata city and it also has some sightseeing trains and one of them is Fruitea Fukushima( = named after "Fruit + Tea + Fukushima").
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]




    To make this post a bit ski related, I'll add a video of a ski resort along Banetsu West Line:p. There are a lot of ski resorts along the train line and I've written about many of them here before, so this time, I'll pick up a ski resort that I have never mentioned on this forum. This was filmed at Mikawa Onsen ski resort.




    The Brown is Banetsu West Line.
    [​IMG]
     
    #1636 Ramenman, Nov 5, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019
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  37. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Not really.

    I’d rather go that way than by bus.
    Every time I’ve done it I’ve got the early start.


    It’s been super easy.

    But I have heard rumour of the rattler being put to bed once the Shinkansen comes through - potentially opening the rail line as a hiking trail.

    Shink from Kutchan to Tokyo via Hakodate would be epic.

    The only negatives of the current route IMHO are the need to carry bags up stairs and over the platform at Kutchan station. Last week wasn’t an issue as it was just PB and I and just one bag each. Time before we took the folks so sent most bags via takkyubin to Narita and just took smaller bags where possible. However I had to do 2 trips because my friend was incapable of lugging her huge bag up and over by herself (unfit, not strong, weak back and biggest bag of everyone). And I had carried MILs and my own on trip 1. If there was an escalator/elevator option it’d awesome.
     
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  38. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Where is Hirafu station? (its on the timetable)
     
  39. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Next station along from Kutchan toward Hakodate. They do a great ramen there.

    I know because despite telling friends DONT book from Hirafu station it’s in the middle of nowhere - go to Kutchan ... there’s always one smartiepants who thinks no no no there’s a train station actually in Hirafu ... I’ll get that and save you dropping me off :rolleyes:
     
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  40. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Ah so its closer than Kutchan to Hirafu. Why not start journey there?
     
  41. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Friend mentioned above did exactly that

    Some trains don’t stop at Hirafu station.
    And public transport is non existent there.
    Kutchan is easier, manned, there are taxis...
    Distance wise - it’s about the same.
     
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  42. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    JR say, by Hokkaido Shinkansen(it's under construction between Hakodate and Sapporo now)

    Kutchan - Hakodate will be 48 mins

    Kutchan - Otaru will be 13 mins

    Kutchan - Sapporo will be 25 mins

    Sapporo, Otaru and Hakodate are popular destinations for Asian tourists, and Kutchan is located roughly in the center of them. Only 25 mins to Sapporo, then, it's an easy commuting distance. Some rich people might live in Kutchan and work in Sapporo(commuting by Shinkansen every morning). If a casino really comes to Rusutsu(and the regional airport too), the region will grow further and 30 more lifts might really happenLOL(I read the masterplan of Rusutsu that has so many new runs and lifts / gondolas)
     
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  43. Any

    Any One of Us

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    Hirafu station at night is haunted. Go there if you want to lose a kidney or something.
    afaik there's not even any cell reception.
    Every time I've trained from Otaru there is at least some tourist who's planning on getting off at Hirafu station. I usually get off the train last at Kutchan after checking/correcting their plans.

    Not sure it'll change anytime soon. Its got medium/steep streets on both sites, and most taxis are 2wd. I bet they couldn't get in and out of there in winter even if they wanted to.

    its a pretty nice spot to visit during the day tho.
    (dec2 last year)

     
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  44. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    LOL

    Finding it in a blizzard was a mission, but it was daytime - not that it mattered, it was so bleak.

    But the nice surprise was the little shop. Grotty, full of really old junk (some would say antiques... but no...) but we braved the food anyway. As I said before - great ramen!!! Colour me surprised.

    Sometimes it’s the mistakes that are made that bring great memories.

    Like @Any, we have rescued the odd person from the error of not getting off in Kutchan. It’s obviously so common they now make very clear repeated announcements in English as you come into Kutchan. “If you are travelling to Hirafu or Niseko Ski area please get off the train at Kutchan station - do not continue to Hirafu station as there is no bus or taxi service at that station”.
     
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  45. pedub

    pedub One of Us

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    Wow that's pretty quick!
    Day tripping to Niseko from other places like Sapporo/Otaru may be much more convenient
    Currently I would say Sapporo to Niseko is a bit too long of a trip
    Might help ease accommodation pressure in Niseko as it would be easy to take 25min ride to the city after skiing
    Other resorts like Kiroro and Kokusai and Rusutsu would still be isolated by a decent drive
     
  46. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    You can believe in Jagata-kun(the skiing potato) and his girlfriend Jagako-chan(the snowboarding potato);).倶知安 = Kutchan, 東京 = Tokyo, 4時間36分 = 4 hours 36 mins. 札幌 = Sapporo, 25分 = 25 mins. So it says it's 25 mins between Kutchan and Sapporo.


    [​IMG]


    Actually, it can be faster. I mean, Tohoku Shinkansen runs at 320km/h between Utsunomiya and Morioka. Technically, Tohoku Shinkansen (and Hokkaido Shinkansen) can run at 360km/h or faster safely, but due to old complicated laws, Tohoku Shinkansen is running at 320km/h. But, 320km/h is better, I mean, from Morioka to Sapporo, it is 260km/h due to the old complicated laws. The same Shinkansen that can run at 360km/h runs at 320km/h in southern Tohoku and runs at 260km/h in nothern Tohoku and Hokkaido. If it runs at 320km/h in Hokkaido just like in southern Tohoku, Kutchan to Sapporo can be less than 20 mins.
     
  47. skifree

    skifree grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Surely the train driver could just give the throttle a nudge each trip.

    Should we ask about the the complicated laws or leave sleeping Japanese business to them?
     
  48. Tonester

    Tonester Lift Line Nazi Ski Pass: Gold

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    I want to know. Don't want to know.
     
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  49. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    Shinkansen (often translated "bullet train") started running between Tokyo and Osaka in 1964 (It was the year of Tokyo Olympics 1964). It was the first bullet train in the world. The Shinkansen line between Tokyo and Osaka did very well, so Japanese government decided to make Shinkansen lines all over Japan. Around 1970, Shinkansen related laws about Tohoku Shinkansen, Hokkaido Shinkansen, etc were made which regulate the speed at 260km/h. In 1970, Shinkansen was running at 210km/h, so 260km/h was actually fast, but it was 50 years ago, and now it's 2019. Shinkansen can easily run at 360km/h safely but the old laws are still effective. But it has started changing finally. Tohoku Shinkansen has started running at 320km/h in southern Tohoku, and it will start running at 320km/h in northern Tohoku too. JR say it's 25 mins between Kutchan and Sapporo, but it's if Hokkaido Shinkansen runs at 260km/h. I assume Hokkaido Shinkansen will also start running at 320km/h in the end(changing the laws that are still effective to Hokkaido Shinkansen). Now JR is testing a new Shinkansen named ALFA-X. In the test run, ALFA-X is running on Tohoku Shinkansen line at 400km/h. ALFA-X will run in Hokkaido too in the future. By the way, the nose of Shinkansen has been getting longer and longer:p
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

     
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  50. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    Wow! :eek: I wonder if you can still look out the window without getting a headache at that speed...
     
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