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Latest ski & tourism news

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

  1. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    To me it seems weird that the blue can says "Rich Malt" but it contains no malt. I think something must be lost in translation.
     
  2. TJ

    TJ One of Us

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    Thanks for that. I didn't realise I was buying fake wines because they were so good at being fake. Real wines are good but maybe not as good as the fake wines. If I knew how good the fake wines could be at being fake then I wouldn't know the real wines would be good. Finally I understand.
     
  3. Sandy

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

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    It's common. I get whisky for my brother, and so I look at prices in Australia.
    e.g.
    Shinshu Mars Iwai Tradition
    Japan: 2180 yen (about $31)
    Australia: $110
     
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  4. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Haha, actually, the blue one contains a lot of malt. The blue one is in "New Genre". You see Happoshu. Happoshu is a cheap alternative to bear. But Japanese government started imposing higher tax on Happoshu. Then, Japanese manufactures have stated producing "new genre of beers". In the image below, "New Genre" is written, but it's actually called "the third beer" in Japan (it implies Happoshu = low malt beer is "the second beer"). The beer laws are complicated. If they add liqueur, chuhai, etc, it's no longer beer "legally" in Japan. The malt ratio of the blue one is actually high, but liqueur is added to the blue one, and the manufacturer (and consumers) can evade the higher tax. So, "rich malt" is correct, nothing is lost in translation. But, Japanese government are sort of angry and it is rumored that they are planning to modify the beer laws in order to impose higher tax on the third beer (blue one belongs to the third beer). Then, manufacturers will make "the fourth beer" to evade the newly made tax. Speaking of the blue one(金麦), "Rich Malt" is actually correct if compared to most other "the third beer" products. And, if it didn't contain malt, the manufacturers would be fined or arrested.
    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    Don’t the Happoshu beers give you terrible hang overs?
     
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  6. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Ah Japan! :confused:
     
  7. craighelo

    craighelo One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I've got a friend I made on the L2 course last year that also missed out and was planning on coming back to complete it this year with me, but can't see him getting out of Singapore.
     
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  8. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    But the table says Malt Content 0% to very low for the blue can. That is why I am confused.
     
  9. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    How amazing is the bond you make with people over that 6 days!! It’s insane.
     
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  10. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah, it's very confusing (and the image is misleading). The third beer (New Genre beer) has two groups. The Group A = Malt Content 0% to very low. The Group B = Malt Content 50% or less + liquor (such as liqueur, Shochu, etc). So, even if the malt content is 49% (as high as Happoshu), the alcohol beverage can be "the third beer = new genre beer" if liqueur, Shochu, etc is added to it. The image above only mentions Group A.

    I'm not a beer specialist (not wine specialist either). So, I actually don't understand the whole of the related laws much, but it is rumored that Japanese government are planing to make new beer law(s) which are likely to come into effect around 2026. Under the new law, the tax rates of beer, Happoshu and the third beer will become the same. As a result, the manufacturers won't be able to evade the higher tax by producing Happoshu and the third beer any longer.
     
  11. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Good excuse to drink more - Must sample these so I can advise people on what to drink! :whistle:
     
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  12. telenomore

    telenomore One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    There is not much activity in Kitanomine, Furano, this summer, although one long term project about to finish. "Fenix" development, 6 stories with private apartments and shops on the ground floor (rumor has it one of the shops will be Rhythm Sports.) right in front of the gondola building. Will be available to the new owners from July. I doubt many will be taking advantage though during the apocalypse. Some local land sales also have occurred, but, tellingly, at reduced prices, although no one will admit how much you'd have to assume prices have also been impacted by the apocalypse. Could be a good time to buy if you are cashed up. Here is a pic of "Fenix" from yesterday.
     
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  13. elSpike

    elSpike I am a Meat Popsicle Ski Pass: Gold

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    If I were buying somewhere in Furano, that is an excellent location. It's only a hundred meters or so away from Saito-san's restaurant in his front room and the pub with the great onsite brewed beers. I'm dreaming of Saito's Omu-curry and a pint of the dark right now.
     
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  14. craighelo

    craighelo One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Must admit we did 4 weeks training together before hand with https://www.rookieacademy.com/ too
     
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  15. Ecstatic

    Ecstatic Hard Yards

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    What are your thoughts on the development around Furano tele? Having watched done a few trips over the last decade seeing it go from the quaint rural ski town to the beginnings of Niseko 2.0 I have to say it's lost a touch of it's charm.
     
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  16. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Does Furano region still have more guests in green season than in ski season?.

    I mean, I heard the employers who have business in Niseko region have started investing in Furano region too and they say the owners will make their employees work in Niseko in winter and work in Furano in green season. In order to hire them as full-time workers(not seasonal workers), the employers need other business that can attract more people in green season as well and "having green season business in Furano region" is one common answer recently seen. That said, we don't own any business there, so not sure what's actually happening there.
     
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  17. telenomore

    telenomore One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Yep. Will become Niseko Hirafu 2.0 in the not too distant future. I'm guessing the flow on effect of this apocalypse will slow down developments a bit as development money might dry up a little. On a sad note, we lost our shop in March. Development company from HK bought Alpine Backpackers and our shop was on the land. So no more budget stays close to the gondola, that era is over. The new owners offered us a deal if we paid a big chunk up front but it was Niseko rents and with a pandemic on the horizon (which it kinda still was back in March) we packed up and moved out. We'll be in a new location TBA once planes start flying again. The main street in Kita will become high end luxury apartments, no more budget accommodation, fancy brand shops and wealthy punters. It was good while it lasted.
     
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  18. telenomore

    telenomore One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Not counting this year, summer tourism exceeds winter by a considerable amount. We often have trouble getting hotel bookings for our cycle tours but no problems in winter for ski tours, even with late bookings. The bulk of the summer tourism (I think you might have your finger on some stats @Ramenman for this) is Asian with a big percentage Chinese. As you'd imagine, this summer is going to be tough, and I'd be guessing some smaller private accommodations that are carrying debt will be in trouble.
     
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  19. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes, that was what we saw coming a couple of years ago when we visited - had a meeting with the developer of that new place, was just Niseko all over. Hope it brings cash into the area and good things, but it will bring the negatives also.
     
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  20. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    The upside to the downturn is that hopefully someone will want to do you a super deal. Maybe wishful thinking. Having lived in China for a number of years I know people are content to leave places empty rather than drop prices.
     
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  21. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    I did the same with Niseko Academy with the 5 young guys who passed, but the girl I made the pact with was having a 2nd crack so she just did one week with the academy before the exam, wasn’t enough unfortunately. One guy came directly into the exam, it was also his second go, but he hadn’t been on snow for a whole year, had one day finding his legs before the exam and no new coaching. Wasn’t the greatest plan. I’ve learned from that lesson - I’d rather go back and do the whole coaching programme again than rock up and wing it.
     
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  22. Ecstatic

    Ecstatic Hard Yards

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    "The Times They Are A Changin"
    ...still plenty left there to love, hope you find a nice new home down the hill a bit.
     
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  23. usedtacould

    usedtacould Hard Yards

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    Hi @telenomore i was hoping to come for my first visit to Furano this coming season, will it still be worthwhile? i have been to Niseko twice the other 4 visits have been in the Myoko area, maybe good to see an area just before the 'new normal' arrives?

    PS this all relies on being able to get there of course. I hope your relocation goes well.
     
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  24. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    T
    go!!!
    Furano is great.

    If you’re into backcountry and earning your own turns there’s a lot of good options locally - guides is best as always.

    Knowing Niseko, Myoko and Furano if you enjoyed the first two you’ll enjoy Furano also.
     
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  25. usedtacould

    usedtacould Hard Yards

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    Thanks @LMB always the positive one :)
     
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  26. telenomore

    telenomore One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Thanks @usedtacould. What @LMB said. Most of the new development is a slow burn. Main town is still authentic and the skiing still as good as ever. As you say though, lot of question marks about next winter. Waiting game at the moment.
     
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  27. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    It was reported last night that Greece will restart accepting tourists from 29 countries without the two week quarantine on June 15th. Apart from EU countries, Japan, China, South Korea, Australia and NZ are included. Many other countries have started announcing something similar even including Spain, which is one of the countries that have the biggest number of deaths per capita. Japan haven't announced yet, but the opening borders is also "infectious", and more countries will follow and I assume (or I should say hope?) that you can fly to Japan without the two week quarantine next winter (quick PCR test or something might be needed instead, though).
     
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  28. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    That’s a bummer, although as we all know, change in popular spots is inevitable. Probably a little surprising it has taken this long. We have very fond memories of a few family stays at Alpine Backpackers at something like A$100 a night for 4 of us. Even ducking into town on xc skis. Hope you find a great new location for your business. I wonder if there is a Hirafu 3.0 somewhere? Most likely Northern Honshu?Around Sapporo Teine?
     
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  29. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    If you can pick the spot you’ll make a fortune.
    And that progress is likely to be slowed down a little thanks to coronavirus.
     
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  30. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    I was listening to ABC (News Radia I think) and heard a guy saying that Cypress will cover expenses for any tourists that catch Corvid 19 while there or something like that. Cannot remember exact details but a pretty extreme and desperate offer IMO.
     
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  31. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    For some countries, it's not very extreme. For example, inbound tourism account for 15% - 20% of Thailand's GDP (it's not Domestic + Inbound but ONLY INBOUND tourism). So, without accepting foreign tourists, Thailand's economy will die and the unemployment rate in Thailand will rise very high. 15% of Thailand's GDP means about 70 billion USD. 70 billion USD is 100 or 1000 times bigger than the expenses for treating foreign tourists for free. For most countries, closing borders for too long is more poisonous than COVID-19 (so, most countries will open the borders before the next ski reason, I assume).
     
  32. tot

    tot Hard Yards Ski Pass: Silver

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    @telenomore small world! I bought gloves from you and you waxed my board end of Feb this season haha
    Had a mate and his friends in the backpackers this season also.
    Really enjoyed my first visit to Japan in that area , staying at Chalet Burlap.
    What timing for me though , hill was near empty everyday! go the virus you good thing!
    Reminds me I still havn't done a TR.. whoopsie
     
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  33. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Sorry to hear that. Hope you find a new location for your shop. You did at least get quite a few good years there. Thinking back it is almost surprising it lasted that long. I remember my first trip with you back in 1990. In Hokkaido at the time the well known places were Niseko & Furano. Furano was in fact probably better known. It had actually hosted a World cup Super G in 1985 which Steve Lee won (tied). Of course we all know how Niseko exploded some time after that, but meanwhile Furano for a long time stayed much the same. 30 years isn't a bad run.
     
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  34. telenomore

    telenomore One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Thanks @Heinz . Have to agree. I remember watching the race that Steve Lee one. I also saw the great Ingemar Stenmarck race in a Furano World Cup, some time in the 80's, right towards the end of his career. You'll recall the locals never seemed to chase the powder, pretty much no competition for it back then, was always a mystery. As for Asahi Dake, we had the gondola to ourselves! Have a few options for the shop. Won't be as good a location, but it was getting far too small so a blessing in disguise.
     
  35. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    It seems it's going to be a very big luxury ski-in ski-out condo hotel. So, it is the site which used to be Niseko Kogen Hotel?. The red circle is the site.



    It's written in Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean. At this rate, Japanese will become "the fourth" language in UNE = United Niseko Emirates in 2035:p?(just kidding). The major Korean conglomerate have already bought another land in Niseko region reportedly (in this case, Rusutsu, Kiroro, etc are also "Niseko region").
     
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  36. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    It is reported that Japanese government are planning to accept people from 4 foreign countries firstly. The 4 countries are Australia, NZ, Vietnam and Thailand. All 4 countries are TPP (= Trans-Pacific Partnership) countries with currently relatively small number of infected people. They say there will be a high officials meeting between TPP countries and they will talk about the idea. Edit : Ah, Thailand is not a TPP country. Anyway, reportedly, they'll talk about it when they gather for a TPP meeting too. Japan may reopen the border to those countries as early as July or August. Reportedly, China, Korea, Taiwan, etc will come after those 4 countries.
     
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  37. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Some media are reporting it in English today.

    Japan eyes easing ban on entry from Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, and NZ
    https://english.kyodonews.net/news/...n-entry-from-thailand-australia-2-others.html

    Japan mulls easing entry ban on 4 countries
    https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0006582114
     
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  38. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Wow.
    There’s not a massive amount of land between Skye Niseko and the King Lift but I suppose under Japanese land use it’s a big plot. That’ll put a lot more skiers right at the Hirafu lift access - in fact right at the one set of lifts you can count on to get access to the hill on a morning with mile long snake queues at the Ace Quad and Gondie.

    I do recall pre 2012 that the King Lift saw a lot more use, not just King 1 but King 2 also. Probably due to Kogens existence.
     
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  39. craighelo

    craighelo One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I've booked in for two weeks training before this years exam and will get a couple of half days at the start of the season to make sure I'm not training bad habits. Would love to do the 5 weeks again though.
     
  40. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    It seem the size of the land that the Korean company bought for the condo hotel is 6,000 square meters, which used to be Niseko Kogen Hotel. The new condo hotel will be a 9-story building with about 100 rooms. Niseko Kogen Hotel used to be owned by Tokyu Resort (Tokyu Resort own Grand Hirafu ski resort). A foreign real estate agency bought the land at about 12 million USD in 2012 and they sold the land to the Korean company. I wonder how much they earned (how much the Korean company paid for the land:rolleyes:).

    (Sorry, it became a bit very long, but I'm trying to explain why I think a lot more invest will come from JR in the near future)
    By the way, Tokyu Resort is a subsidiary of Tokyu Railway. And Tokyu Resort own some other ski resorts such as Gran Deco, Tangram, etc. It's very common that Japanese railway companies make subsidiaries of tourism related business. Along their railway lines, they build onsen Ryokans, etc. Look at the image below. It's Tobu Railway's line from Asakusa (Tokyo) to Aizu Kogen (Fukushima). Along the railway line, there are two traditional onsen villages (Nikko and Kinugawa). Tobu Railway own many Onsen hotels, etc in those onsen villages. Tobu own スカイツリー = Tokyo Skytree and 動物公園 = a zoo, and they are also along the railway line. And close to the terminal station in Aizu Kogen (Fukushima), they made a ski resort (Takatsue ski resort). So, they think if they make a zoo, ski resort, etc along their railway lines, more people use their railway lines. It's a very common method. Even JR made a ski resort =Gala Yuzawa (Their Shinaknsen has Gala Yuzawa station too).
    [​IMG]

    Shinkansen is coming to Niseko - Otaru - Sapporo. It will become a very long Shinkansen line of Tokyo - Tohoku - Hokkaido. Kutchan station (the new Shinkasen station) and Hirafu station might be a bit far from ski slopes, but not too far for many people who ski in both Niseko and Tohoku because they can't drive between Hokkaido and Honshu island(the tunnel is only for trains) and they must use Shinkansen(or a ferry)

    Niseko's ski slopes getting more crowded is a good sacrifice for Tohoku ski resort villages:p. I mean, if you can go to Niseko from Tokyo with a single Shinkansen ride, more people will ski in Tohoku and Hokkaido after spending some time in Tokyo. Compared to 1990, the population of a ski resort village where we own a lodge has become 1/4 (only 25%). We surely need some more people now to make the village sustainable. Super popular Niseko + Shinaknsen goes to Niseko from the world's biggest city (Tokyo) = more people will visit ski resort villages in Tohoku;)
     
    #2890 Ramenman, Jun 2, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2020
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  41. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    I think you’re absolutely correct Ramenman. The Shinkansen coming to Kutchan will bring more people, and those people will afterwards spread out to other resorts in search of less crowds.

    In Kutchan there is a bus service that picks people up outside the train station and goes to Hirafu Bus Stop bear Seicomart - it does the loop between the two, with a few stops in between. I expect the bus service will improve to meet the demand of Shinkansen users, and probably make its main destination the Welcome Center.
     
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  42. Any

    Any One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    (I found part of the story here btw https://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/article/425965)
    Niseko Kogan used to be this plot I think. It was quite large.
    I remember busses getting stuck in its and scott's steep unheated driveways that would turn to black ice at night.

    They knocked it down about the same time as the scot and popolo? I remember that I just couldn't understand why you'd knock something down and just leave it empty. That is until I heard about all the ridiculous BS and hoops that Kutchan council made Skye jump through to get permit to build.
    I wonder if it will take 5+ years for them to get permission to build this one too.



    until recently, this is where all the profits from Niseko ski resort have been going for the last 20 years. keeping defunct resorts afloat, rather than maintaining facilities and upgrading lift infrastructure.
     
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  43. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Ahhh yeah ok
    My bad
    I was thinking of the Scot hotel and had this parcel in mind...


    However, same applies about the King Lift being inundated LOL
     
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  44. Any

    Any One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I already look in the Skye windows from the west side, see people changing and watching naughty tv. imagine having a hotel looking in the windows on the east also :p

    Have you (or @Ramenman?) recently seen anything about the ace quad upgrade to a 6? they made a big thing about it the year before they put the new family lift in, but its been complete silence since then.
     
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  45. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Nah nothing.
    They gotta free them Gondolas from the wharf first LOL

    I’ll just be happy if we are back there in Dec/Jan/Feb whenever discussing these technical upgrades over a rum and coke ;)

    Amazing how quickly you will reset your expectations and lower what you’re happy with.
     
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  46. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    There is a reason why those ski-in ski-out lots (Skye Niseko, Red = the new hotel coming, Purple, etc) had / have been empty lots for relatively long. They are "too close" to the ski slopes and they are inside a specific area where the Quasi-National Park related laws are strictly applied to. It seems if they build and open a hotel in (Quasi-) National Parks, the hotel must be available to anyone. A condo hotel means each room has an owner and it means the owners can occupy the rooms if they want = the hotel is not widely available to anyone. But, the problem is, the lots (lands) are in high demand among super rich companies & people from abroad that want to build and own condo hotels there. So, the land had / have been empty for relatively long years. Recently, things have started changing. Japanese government have noticed national parks in Japan are potential to attract tourists from abroad, so they have started loosening the related laws and they've started "interpreting" the existing laws in a bit different ways so that they can allow companies / people to develop the land more easily.
     
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  47. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Ahhh makes sense.

    I was floored to hear the price of the apartment rooms in Hanazono, and the fact that they had all sold out!! Wow!! Some people have some seriously lazy cash. :eek:
     
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  48. Any

    Any One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Last year they decided to relax them somewhat to encourage more development in Hokkaido region. Very next day Rusutsu announce like 9 new lifts, two hotels and more parking. They obviously knew it was coming.
    Skye probably had these issues to, but story I heard had a whole bunch of bs added on top. Way I heard it was they paid some hotshot architect to design something epic, sydney opera house level, but it was too much and too colorful for the retirement village of Kutchan city council members (the city council responsible for Niseko). After many redrafts and reapplications we have the boring grey just like every other building in Kutchan/Niseko, with the tiniest bit of jazz wave.
    Still think it looks like a semi abandoned Russian insane asylum to me.

     
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  49. Sandy

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

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    This is normal practice in Japan. I've seen many commercial sites in Yokohama, where the lease is up, and they just completely demolish everything on the site and leave it vacant in a sea of grass.
     
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  50. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    As of this January, they were still planning to upgrade it to a 6 for 2020 - 2021 season (next season), but not I don't know if COVID-19 has postponed it or not(I haven't heard that they postponed it, and it means I guess they'll start running next season as planned). They said "after 2020 season, they'll remove the current lift and install the new 6 seater lift". I'm not sure if 2020 season means 2019 - 2020 season or 2020 - 2021 season, though. Anyway, the new 6 seater lift will come soon along with a new 10 seater gondola. Then, after the lift and the gondola, another gondola between Hanazono and Weiss + 3 or 4 new lifts at Weiss. In the long run, Moiwa will also expand with 3 or 4 new lifts.