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NE Honshu ...

Discussion in 'Japan' started by johnonetrillion, Apr 15, 2020.

  1. johnonetrillion

    johnonetrillion Hard Yards

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    I am looking at some new Japanese ski destinations ... maybe for next January/February if things work out.

    Zao has caught my attention. And recently I saw some ads for a place here there that was also an onset village – pretty famous, but the name escapes me.

    If anyone can shed light on this, along with recommendations etc. that would be great. (Looking for resort skiing, side country for tele etc.)

    Ideally two stops, two to four days each.

    Cheers
     
  2. Sandy

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

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    That would be Nozawa Onsen, but not in Tohoku (NE Japan).

    Where else have you been in Japan?
     
  3. johnonetrillion

    johnonetrillion Hard Yards

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    Not Noz ... on the East coast – I think between Sendai and Fukushima? (I'll dig into it ... but we had FB adverts for the place hitting us a few months back.)

    Have been to numerous places on Hokkaido, and just one place mainland (day-trip from Tokyo) – son has been to Myoko Kogen area.
     
    #3 johnonetrillion, Apr 15, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2020
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  4. johnonetrillion

    johnonetrillion Hard Yards

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    This place! ... and not exactly on the coast!

    But am after recommendations for something off-beat ...
     
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  5. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Haven't been there (closest was Kitakata - make sure to try their special ramen there) but looks like a good central base with a car.
     
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  6. johnonetrillion

    johnonetrillion Hard Yards

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    Thank you.

    It looks like the springs town is quite a way from ski fields, so a car is necessary – 60 minutes or so. I think I need to look for places that are the actual ski fields ... but I am liking the region, especially Zao.
     
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  7. blowfin

    blowfin One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Zao is a great village with quite a few Onsens, but the weather will definitely be your enemy for tele excursions, no reason you can't get some of those turns happening on the main runs there though. The resorts around Mt Bandai (Fukushima province) are also a pretty good combo with Zao, and there's some pretty mellow touring to be had. Appi as above is a good choice but the village isn't quite as developed as Zao, and there are limited Onsen options. Then there are plenty of other choices along that stretch between Tokyo and Aomori, Kitakami is on the list, and also staying in Morikoa with a car.
     
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  8. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Naruko Onsen in Miyagi. Ski area nearby is Onikoube. There was a daily bus when I went there 10 years ago.

    Nyuto Onsen in Akita is famous Onsen village just up the road from Tazawako ski area. There are buses that run from Tazawako station. Closer to the ski area there is also Mizusawa Onsen with a few hotels who will do the short shuttle to the ski area.
     
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  9. johnonetrillion

    johnonetrillion Hard Yards

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    Ok ... some places to read up on ... thanks!
     
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  10. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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  11. johnonetrillion

    johnonetrillion Hard Yards

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  12. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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  13. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Zao is a fantastic traditional village with beautiful natural onsens. The ski resort is medium sized and good for 3-4 days easy, definitely worth a visit! I didn't see too many touring people out there, you wouldn't have much competition for side country powder.
     
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  14. johnonetrillion

    johnonetrillion Hard Yards

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    Ok, so if I look at Zao and Hachimentai, can it be done without a car? (What would be the connection with the Shink out of Tokyo?)

    (Clubman sounds great – which hill are they closest to?)

    Is it wrong to be excited already? :p
     
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  15. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    For Zao Shinkansen to Yamagata, then there is a regular bus from the station to Zao.

    For Hachimantai, Shinkansen to Morioka. Bus service from there to Hachmantai is rather indirect. Better option would be train/bus to Appi which is easy. From there I believe there are services to Hachimantai for hotel guests.

    Yamagata is on a branch line, so if going from there to Morioka you either have to back track to Fukushima or get a regular train to Sendai to continue north on the Shinkansen.

    I started this thread a few years ago on bus schedules.
    https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/japan-ski-area-bus-schedules.75963/
     
  16. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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  17. johnonetrillion

    johnonetrillion Hard Yards

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    So this was late January and early February for you Crispy?

    Am thinking of maybe the Clubman lodge (and the abandoned resort!), then the lake and Zao.
     
  18. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    Yeah. We got pretty lucky in a very very strange season. Clubman lodge is closest to Hachimantai Shimokura. Also near Appi. Lake Tazawako on the other side of the range is good fun.
     
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  19. fennekeg

    fennekeg One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Yamagata to Sendai by regular train takes you on a nice mountain line which also passes Yamadera which is worth checking out for a few hours. Yamadera station has lockers for your luggage or else the restaurant just outside the station also does luggage storage (or taqbin your luggage to Hachimantai).
     
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  20. skipperlee

    skipperlee Hard Yards

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    spent 3 weeks this year around mt iwate area in early febuary - appi, ani, tazawako, amihari onsen, geto kogen and akita city all done by train . most the lodges I stayed in had pick up and drop offs from train station and to and fro from ski hills and it was relatively easy and pain free .
     
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  21. H_Rollins

    H_Rollins Hard Yards

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    I can highly recommend Zao. It's my favourite go to now that Nozawa has been "found". And while the village isn't as remarkable as Nozawa it's still a great spot with not many westerners. On previous years the large number of visitors have been chinese tour groups who bus it up, go up the main gondola to take a million pictures of the juhyo, get back on the bus and leave. this year in Feb when I was there it was extremely quiet and it felt on some days we had a whole run to ourselves. The village is quiet at night with some strange opening/closing times for restaurants, although there's great food to be found and there's a new ramen shop that opened this season which is amazing. Also a full Lawson and post office.

    As others have mentioned it's easy to access with buses from Yamagata station every hour. From there you can also do Yamadera, although in winter it's somewhat treacherous (first hand experience).

    You can also hit up Geto Kogen for a number days with the JR East Tohoku pass and base yourself in Sendai, Kitakami, or even in the "super dorm" at Geto.

    I've done both spots in the same trip without a car.
    If you want any further info on Zao happy to help. Ramenman will also be a wealth of knowledge
     
  22. johnonetrillion

    johnonetrillion Hard Yards

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    My boys want to know the name of that defunct ski resort they took you to? (Reminiscent of the amusement park in Spirited Away!)
     
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  23. johnonetrillion

    johnonetrillion Hard Yards

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    Getting there or being there? ;)
     
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  24. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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  25. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    The name is Hachimantai ski resort.

    Now, a lot Japanese people add "Kyu(旧)" in front, "Kyu-Hachimantai ski-jo" in Japanese. Kyu = ex, old, former, etc (The ski resort got closed, so Kyu-, but you can simply call it "Hachimantai ski resort" without adding Kyu-).
     
  26. johnonetrillion

    johnonetrillion Hard Yards

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    This is all great info ... starting to piece this together now. Thanks. :)
     
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  27. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    And not to be confused with Akita-Hachimantai resort, which is apparently still open and located on the other side of the Hachimantai Aspite Line. We were contemplating it on our trip, but due to winter road closures, access was right up north of Appi around Hachimantai - Route 341.
     
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  28. johnonetrillion

    johnonetrillion Hard Yards

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    I've got it pinned, just near the power station. (I noticed the road further up was closed through winter.)

    And ... where did you stay/ski around Lake Tazawa?
     
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  29. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    We stayed on Lake Tazawa (at Cafe+Inn That Sounds Good). It is very isolated there, so car almost necessary. Skiied mainly up at Tazawako. Although, with car you can also access back through to Shizuikuishi, Amihari Onsen comfortably under an hour. Other accom options maybe up at Nyoto Onsen or back down in Tazawako township near shinkansen station.
     
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  30. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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  31. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Oops, yes!. Hachimantai is a region that straddles both Iwate Prefecture and Akita Prefecture, and as Crispy013-san said, Akita Prefecture also has Hachimantai ski resort!. The one we say is Iwate's Hachimantai between Appi and Shimokura!.
     
  32. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    That is the current Hachimantai resort which consists of two ski areas Panorama & Shimokura which are certainly open - skied both a few years ago. This appears to be a different place to the old closed one.
     
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  33. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I stayed at the resort hotel New Sky in Mizusawa Onsen near the ski area. This is one stop before the ski area on the Nyuto bus from the station. From there the hotel will shuttle you to/from the ski area. They can also shuttle you back to the station.
     
    #33 Heinz, Apr 20, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2020
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  34. fennekeg

    fennekeg One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    :D Being there! Or more precisely, trying to move there. It's a temple complex built up a cliff, and you have to climb a thousand steps to get there. The steps on their own are surprisingly easy to do (lots of plateaus inbetween), but in winter they can get icy. If you come early in the day on an icy day they hand out straw to bind under your shoes, else bring spikes or those handy spike thingies they sell everywhere in winter that you can do under your shoes. But when there's fresh snow, or the ice has melted, it's no problem going up the steps.

    See also my trip report from last year for a bit more info on Zao and Yamadera.
    Zao: https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/s...h-japan-for-the-non-skier.84115/#post-3855567
    Yamadera: https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/s...h-japan-for-the-non-skier.84115/#post-3854457
     
  35. H_Rollins

    H_Rollins Hard Yards

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    Getting there is easy but the hundreds of steps can be the problem. I did it a few years ago in November and no problems but then last year in mid February the steps were caked in ice. There weren't many people going up at all. We did, and whilst it's doable there's a risk of slipping over as we witnessed for some unlucky visitors. Coming down was a challenge and for multiple sections we had to hold the handrails and basically skate down the stairs which had become an iced up slope. Don't regret it though and do recommend it but be prepared
     
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  36. johnonetrillion

    johnonetrillion Hard Yards

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    The day trip was Kagura (I remember now) – early in the season and the connecting resort was closed, so pretty much skied the place out in one day. Good snow, though ... was pelting down through the morning. Left Tokyo 5am and got back 10:30pm for a decent meal before hitting the hay.