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Opinion Newby to japan in 2019. Where would you recommend to go?

Discussion in 'Japan' started by LilaGris, Mar 27, 2018.

  1. dmz

    dmz More cheeeese Gromit Ski Pass: Gold

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    Which of course is subjective :) I personally think the four areas of Niseko are awesome. So many fantastic options. So opinions do differ...
     
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  2. Sandy

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

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    Have you skied anywhere else in Japan?
     
  3. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    As Donz said, Harifu is the best place to stay if you don't have a car. There are very frequent village shuttle buses so don't stress if you aren't walking distance to lifts.
     
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  4. telenomore

    telenomore One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Milky House, Highly recommend it. Stayed there with my guests during my Niseko phase for many years. Much prefer it to Hirafu but I prefer the peace and quiet. Milky House is a place with dinner/breakfast included and Annupuri is quiet so if eating out each night is your thing, not the place to go. The really good thing About Annupuri for me though is that when the wind stops the upper lifts, the masses from Hirafu can't get over and you have the powder there to yourself. Milky House works for a lot of reasons but mostly because of the owner. Great guy, does regular hot spring tours of an evening, shuttles if needed, great food and atmosphere. 5 mins walk to lifts, ski back to lodge, close enough to SISO.
     
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  5. dmz

    dmz More cheeeese Gromit Ski Pass: Gold

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    No, but it doesnt make my subjective opinion invalid. All opinions on skiing are subjective and therefore are the truth to those who hold them.
     
  6. Sandy

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

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    I neither said, nor made any value judgement about your opinion.
    If Niseko is the only place you've skied in Japan, I would've expected that you would think it's awesome!!!
     
  7. JA2340

    JA2340 Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Among which are ...
    1. There are plenty of other awesome ski-jo in Japan.
    2. The cultural experience is something else in the "less well-known to foreigners" areas
    3. You have much to learn if your only experience of Japow is Niseko.
     
  8. Shoey

    Shoey Hard Yards

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    I think in recent years my wife & I have started to prefer to avoid the central areas with hip apres ski etc. Our routine in recent years has been self catering simple meals, grab some local beer from Sherpa/Carrefour and then would be asleep sometimes by 8pm! When in Three Valleys we found our most enjoyable stay was in La Tania which I guess Annupuri will feel like - a sleepy side valley just a single gondola away from the main action, but with less of a queue in the morning.

    We booked Milky House now and wife just emailing to ask about switching to half board. It might not be the best of best but I think for a first go at Japan its good enough and leaves enough change to try a 2nd week in another resort in the same season!
     
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  9. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    With respect then.
    Why are you going to Niseko?
    There are tonnes of other places in Japan that suit you more.
     
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  10. JA2340

    JA2340 Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Some of us have been saying this ...
     
  11. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    There is a wife involved in the decision making here too, and Shoey doesn’t have anything to compare to as this is his first time in Japan. He has booked his flights and tentatively booked his accomodation.

    Perhaps encouragement to spend a future trip elsewhere or day trip to a quieter resort to get a feel for what it’d be like rather than giving the poor fellow doubts about his impending vacation...

    I’m sure he will have a fabulous trip staying in Annupuri and may well catch the Japow bug and be back for more adventure throughout Japan over the next few years.
     
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  12. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Or he could get given non biased accurate advice based on the statement he posted.

    Staying at Anna is like staying in a mild earthquake next to a volcano . I'm not immune to what makes Niseko attractive. . But it doesn't compute with what I just read.
     
  13. Shoey

    Shoey Hard Yards

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    Well the answer to why Niseko is - I don't know what else is out there, yet. But there will be plenty of time in future years to try several more out (what are the recommendations?). Also as we are going in mid-late Feb I wanted to go further north in hope of getting better snow conditions.

    I'm just glad that overall the flight & accomm (thanks to research from these forums, etc) ended up much less expensive than when we first looked tbh. The first quote from an operator that amounted to $10K was just nuts. By comparison we were used to getting deals of flight/accomm/transfer from London to Alps around £500 a head...
     
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  14. JA2340

    JA2340 Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Plenty of alternatives in the thread ... just need to look.
    And stop comparing London/Alps (assuming Europe) with Aus/Japan! Different beasties completely!
     
  15. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    I’ll be there at that time Shoey. If you need any tips for dining options or spots to try on the hill, just let me know.
     
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  16. Shoey

    Shoey Hard Yards

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    Awesome thanks will ping you nearer to the date! cheers!
     
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  17. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I'm not Anti Niseko. Far from it.
    Though reading your posts it seems what you value as a destination is aligned to things I enjoy. With that in mind there are oodles of places out there. When we (collective forum) started exploring Japan 15 years ago the amount of info out there pushed people towards Niseko. . Then Hakuba .

    That's not the case now. The amount of info out there on ski jo is extraordinary. Especially in the socials and online.

    IMO Niseko doesn't deserve it's recognition on the sum of it's parts as a hill. It's a fairly unremarkable mountain. Blessed with good snow.
     
  18. Lifes2good

    Lifes2good One of Us

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    @dmz @Shoey @LilaGris

    For those looking for accommodation in Niseko I used The Luxe Nomad. They sound a bit posh but they are just an online travel agent/concierge service and can access lots of accommodation (not just what is on their website). They also organise lift passes, rentals, lessons, transfers, restaurant bookings, groceries - whatever you want really. We found them terrific and everything worked out perfectly.

    And take up this offer, she really means it! (still got the Vegemite you gave me @LMB you life saver)
     
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  19. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    That's. ..IMO the absolute antithesis of what skiing is in Japan. ..and to be brutally honest makes me pretty sad .
     
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  20. Lifes2good

    Lifes2good One of Us

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    Oh don't be sad. You're making me feel bad for you now.
     
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  21. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Is it just me or does that look like a 'love hotel'. Odd kind of building in the middle of nowhere certainly fits the bill!

     
  22. Sandy

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

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    Myoko (central Japan):
    - 2017/2018 snowfall: 1308cm
    - 2016/2017 snowfall: 1478cm
    - 2015/2016 snowfall: 878cm

    Niseko:
    - 2017/2018 snowfall: 1109cm
    - 2016/2017 snowfall: 688cm
    - 2015/2016 snowfall: 992cm

    I'm not really sure what you mean by "It's the primary reason I'm looking at Japan given its a price premium".
    Do you mean that Japan is expensive?
     
  23. Rabid K9

    Rabid K9 One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Cultural immersion. Avoid at all cost, filthy stuff, hard to wash off.
     
  24. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    Japan is just becoming a mature mainstream ski destination like North America or Europe. But that doesn't mean every resort in Japan will turn into a Niseko, just like every resort in Canada hasn't turned into a Whistler. There will always be the lesser-known local resorts whether you're in Japan, North America or Europe.
     
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  25. Shoey

    Shoey Hard Yards

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    Yeah I meant Japan is more expensive. Interesting to see those snowfall numbers - but factoring in the later parts of the season (late Feb onwards) would the North hold the snow for longer?
     
  26. ojisan

    ojisan Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    It is? really? :rolleyes:

    I must have been dreaming when @M_G was able to find me online discounted tickets for a small resort not far from Myoko for around 3000 yen that includes day pass, lunch & an onsen..
     
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  27. Sandy

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

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    More expensive than where?
     
  28. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Niseko is a great place to start your Japan addiction! Blessed with lots of the famed Japanese powder, excellent facilities and the language barrier isn't too much of an issue.

    Tourist operators who sell those bundle options must make quite the mint on the poor punters who don't take the time and do a little research. I'm glad you were able to find some good advice in this forum and save some money, means you have more to spend on beriu and 9% chu hai :D
     
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  29. telenomore

    telenomore One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Lot of people pushing their personal barrows here @Shoey . Japan has great powder and great skiing in many places and you wouldn't really go wrong wherever you ended up, including Honshu and Hokkaido but the ensuing debate (mine is bigger than yours!) becomes almost irrelevant. There will be snow, lots of it, mostly deep powder. You and your wife will have a great time at Annupuri particularly at Milky House.
     
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  30. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Given that you have opted to go to Niseko (and I guess everyone should try it once and judge for themselves), then Milky House is a very good choice given what you are after. I stayed there once for a week in the 90's and fully endorse @telenomore's comments on the place. I believe it is still the same owner, a bit older now but should still be good. Meals were very good and varied so no need to go out at night apart from his onsen tours.
     
  31. Shoey

    Shoey Hard Yards

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    Comparing Japan vs Europe one last time because this is Japan thread, its more expensive than returning to French Alps. A return to the UK Jan for 1,058aud connecting to a package quoted by Crystal Ski to La Plagne 1wk (flight, xfer, studio) for £411 (713aud) and 6d Paradiski pass for €280 (438aud).

    The skipass looks roughly the same but 1,761aud for end to end flight xfer accomm that's cheaper than Japan no?

    I'm just saying I'm hoping the powder is worth it versus going back to Europe instead, especially given the size of the Europeans.
     
  32. Shoey

    Shoey Hard Yards

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    That's s the reason I started scouting these forums.
     
  33. dmz

    dmz More cheeeese Gromit Ski Pass: Gold

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    @Shoey We go to lunch nearly every day at Boyoso. Best lunch spot IMHO. For restaurants (Hirafu) we always go to Rin at least twice - awesome food but you have to book ahead. And Niseko Ramen is fantastic - just a little walk out of Hirafu.
     
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  34. ojisan

    ojisan Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    as been said before me... there are so many resorts in Japan, and sometime you find one where it feels like you are the only punter on the hill
     
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  35. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Of course flying UK - France vs UK - Japan is going to be widely different in cost. Accommodation should be roughly the same price, although getting luxury apartment accommodation in France is easier and cheaper than in Japan.

    RE the skiing, Japan = deep not steep. Mid Feb is prime time for powder, you will have a ball!
     
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  36. Shoey

    Shoey Hard Yards

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    Sorry I meant I'm based in Australia now.

    My comparison above was for Sydney - > UK - > France
     
  37. Sandy

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

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    It may have been easiest to have posted this info when you were first talking about price!!! ;)
    $1761 for return flights Australia/Japan and transfers, per person, mid February? It would be more like $950-$1000 return flights Australia/Japan + transfers.
    Other than Niseko & Arai, lift tickets around $380 for 7 days. Accom can be around the same as you've indicated above ($700+ pp). For example, you can get accom at Shiga Kogen for around $570pp for 7 nights, and there are other similar examples.

    I suppose the reason some people are perplexed about your choice (Niseko) is that it probably goes against what your requirements were to begin with.
    - Ski in ski out accom.
    - Lower price (than Europe, which we just found out)
    - Japanese culture
    None of those parameters fit your eventual choice at Niseko. The accom is around 80,000yen? for two, plus a car, which would be around 40,000yen for 7 days. Niseko is the most expensive in Japan.

    LMB who OWNS a place at Niseko said this:
    I'm not trying to convince you to go anywhere else, but a lot of posters are puzzled by the choice, given your original requirements.

    Personally, if you want powder AFTER lunch (or even after 11am), I'd be driving from Milky House to Rusutsu & Kiroro on a powder day, then you can ski powder until 4pm.
     
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  38. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Ah ok. Now I'm confused, who did you book flights with? I've flown Melb - Tokyo - Sapporo return for under $1k. But it was with sh*tstar (J*).
     
  39. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Given that my visits to Niseko were between 1990 and 2001 I suspect I would be horrified in the (unlikely) event I ever returned.
     
    #189 Heinz, Aug 16, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2018
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  40. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Just curious, what other options were considered? You all still happy paying inflated Niseko prices?
     
  41. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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  42. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I'm trying to find the village map that Glenn Goulding had drawn up.
     
  43. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    I was looking for the offspring a few weeks back and could get Perth (which is usually more exxy than Syd/Melb/Bris prices) - HK - Sapporo for $695 return on Thai. Transfers approx $40 -$50 each way (depending on exchange rate) on either the coach or train (most Accom providers will collect you from either the Welcome Centre in town or the Train Station in Kutchan.)

    Haven’t booked my flights yet - I’m hoping to be able to go earlier but won’t know for a couple of months if I can or not. But I’m prepared to pay extra for that flexibility, and I’m travelling solo so should be easy to find a seat.

    If you went expecting the same old place you visited in 2001 you most definitely would be shocked.

    But consider this.... because Niseko caters for the packaged tourism (not quite as packaged as Club Med - now in Tomamu as well as Sahoro) and the high end westernised accomodation demanded by some international travellers, they go there - and leave you your quieter authentically Japanese resorts so you don’t have to share your afternoon powder. Niseko is doing you a service. LOL

    This is an interesting point (and entirely weather dependant).

    Steep or Deep.
    If you put the snowfall of Japan (any resort in Japan) on the steep alps of Europe you’d have a closed mountain.

    Comparing Europe to Japan is not comparing same same. Compare how you feel at the end of the holiday, how much fun you had, but comparing individual components of the vacation is setting you up for being annoyed or disapponted or feeling ripped off, when you need not be. Enjoy your holiday for what it is, rather than what it is not.
     
  44. dmz

    dmz More cheeeese Gromit Ski Pass: Gold

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    I would like to thank you all as I am fortunate to live in a time where governments think that outsourcing is a good thing. So your taxpayer dollars are paying my sizeable govt contract - so price is not really an obsticle :)
     
  45. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Can't argue with that. Have been saying for a while that I am happy for Niseko to take the bulk of the international visitors.
     
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  46. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    AKA time poor, money rich? Easy option is to go the same place (Niseko) because you can get packaged options there?
     
  47. Shoey

    Shoey Hard Yards

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    Sorry all it seems I've added too much confusion with info being presented in bits and bobs.

    So let me re-baseline. :) I know Euro vs Japan is not comparable component wise, but what is ultimately comparable is $X spent for Y days returns a certain amount of experience enjoyed. So the factual parameters is that: we are based in Sydney, no kids (so we avoid school holidays - thus would travel in the cheaper point of in-season), and would prefer SISO. We don't mind quiet or self catering, so nightlife etc is a lower priority, but food experiences would still add to the enjoyment as icing on the cake.

    So Euro offers the mountain size and Japan offers the powder - assuming these two attractiveness factors trade each other off and offers equal amount of enjoyment (in VERY different ways), then all netted, so far, I found Japan to cost slightly more dollar wise than returning back to Europe - from Sydney. This includes flight from Sydney, transfers, accommodation. Hence in my earlier post I called it the 'Japan powder premium' rather than saying 'Japan is expensive' outright, and that I hope the powder premium is worth it as that ultimately comes down to personal preferences of what one wants in a ski holiday. (But we won't know until we go).

    From the developments in this thread, what I later discovered is that i) its Niseko that might be more expensive than rest of Japan, and ii) Niseko is culturally different to the rest of Japan. But this was learnt after I booked.

    Because we have ultimately booked, I'm not too fussed and just looking forward to enjoying it as is, and even if the experience ultimately turns out to be less than expected (the killer for us is crowds at the lifts), one trip is a small sample and we would just have a next go at a different resort. In fact we are thinking if we can get cheap Tokyo flights before Feb, we might sneak in another.
     
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  48. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Great attitude to have, you sound like you have an open mind and some common sense, you will have a ball on your Japan trip no doubt :)

    Annuprui is significantly quieter than the Hirafu side of the mountain, especially in the mornings so you shouldn't have to worry about too many lift lines. I'm not sure if you have seen other Trip Reports on these forums? If you have the time try doing one for your trip, I'd be interested to see how you get on.
     
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  49. Sandy

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

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    Another point that would have been good to know before!!!! ;)
    Niseko is busy. I found that Niseko Village Gondola (at the Hilton, closest parking to my hotel) was about 25 min in the morning. Hirafu is busier.
     
  50. Sbooker

    Sbooker One of Us

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    You may find some ‘off the beaten track’ resorts in Canada/US can give a combination of ‘big mountain’ with powder potential.
    Something to experience in years to come perhaps?
     
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