Advice needed Niseko 2018

Discussion in 'Japan' started by Ricardo64, Mar 28, 2017.

  1. Ricardo64

    Ricardo64 Active Member

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    Hi All,
    My family and I have decide on a Japanese sojourn, the consensus was Niseko. This is our first trip to Japan. We are planing the trip for the end of January early February. We are aiming for a 8 -11 day stay. All but my wife ski or board, she is happy doing the tourist thing. We aim to do some resort ski / boarding and some back / side country. We have all equipment, no hire needed (we all have backcountry equipment and knowledge on its use).
    • What is the best time to book accommodations and flights?
    • Any tricks or tips for best pricing?
    • How is our trip timing? (I hear there can be a lot of storms during early season and lifts can go on wind hold).
    • We intend on hiring a backcountry guide any suggestions here?
    • Any suggestions?
    I appreciate your help guys..

    thanks
     
  2. Hyst

    Hyst Active Member
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    Look at your trip as a "product" which is produced, and look into what quality the producer can deliver, and wheather that is sufficient for you as a buyer.
     
  3. Annitowa

    Annitowa Well-Known Member
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    most places in Niseko are offering early bird specials at the moment, so if the place and price are right.............
     
  4. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    1. Are you after a full service carrier or discount airline (Jetstar etc) ? If you're after a full service airline look NOW. I bought fares back in Feb to Sapporo for Jan 2018 flights costing $759. If you're happy with a low cost airline then you could wait. Jetstar and other no frills airlines will often have specials for end of Jan or Feb flights.

    2. Don't go to Niseko. Seriously it is one the most expensive resorts in Japan. Otherwise look for accommodation that is NOT ski in/ski out and in an older building.

    3. It normally snows a lot in Jan and early Feb, which means snow storms, but isn't that why you're going to Japan, for the fresh powder ? If you want sunny weather you're heading to the wrong place at the wrong time.

    4. Others can help you with this one.


    Why did you choose Niseko ? Might help us understand what you're looking for. :)
     
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  5. Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty
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    Avoid Niseko.
     
  6. chriscross

    chriscross Dedicated Member
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    Where on Hokkaido would you recommend, then?
     
  7. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
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    1 day = day & night = 7400yen
    8 Hour = day ticket = 6300yen
    Any multi day pass is day night, so a 2 day pass is 13,600yen.
    (all mountain pass)

    Compare:
    Hakuba: All valley pass (need a car to get between mountains on the same day)
    1 day ticket = 5700yen
    2 day ticket = 10,000yen (2 out of any 3 days)

    Single mountain:
    Happo: 1 day ticket = 5200yen
    Happo: 1 coupon day ticket = 5400yen, including 1000yen for lunch. (lift ticket = 4400yen)
     
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  8. bluestick

    bluestick Well-Known Member
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    with heinz on this ...niseko has has had it's day ....furano...or sopporo/otaru (car is handy but not essential)
     
  9. skifree

    skifree Part of the Furniture
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    Niseko is still luverly, all places are what you make of them.

    1st timer Niseko works well. Furano also works, but less english is spoken & a little more work is required to get the best of the place.

    Hakuba, not been there so no comment.

    Look at every trip to Nippon as a learning step, take many steps & you will reach nirvana.
     
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  10. Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty
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    Furano
     
  11. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    Depends what you're looking for, every resort has its strengths and weaknesses.

    If someone said they wanted to visit Japan to enjoy lots of fresh powder but wanted a modern western style apartment, English lessons and guides, western food options and plenty of English speaking staff, then I'd put Niseko at number one.

    But if you want to do a cost effective back country trip, I don't think Niseko is the place - IMHO.
     
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  12. Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty
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    and lift tickets is only part of it. Everything (accommodation, food) is far more expensive in Niseko than anywhere else in Japan. Niseko still has much going for it especially for a first timer - just don't count on it being cheap.
     
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  13. Toto Warmlet

    Toto Warmlet Dedicated Member

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    8 dead in Nasu



    Maybe we can have 24 hours of silence from the chatter in respect.
     
  14. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
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    Lift tickets are indicative of the proportional price difference for everything there.
     
  15. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
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    Debatable.... at that time of year, you have large numbers of Aussies, British, Chinese and some north Americans competing for every sq cm of powder....
     
  16. Ricardo64

    Ricardo64 Active Member

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    Well, it's a win win situation my partner doesn't ski/board, She would like to meet the Ainu people, which are from Hokkaido(Honshu) Therefore Niseko is where we'll base ourselves.

    I would like to make this cost effective as possible and avoid the TOURIST CATCH TRAPS that we have all seen or fallen into at one stage or another.

    We aim for some side/back country, and will visit Rusutsu. I think the crux of it all is we want to experience the pow factor;)
    • Flights looking at discount carriers.{quoted 6,880 AUD to and from Sapporo-Melb}
    • Lodging comfortable (but not over the top) {Been quoted 6,341AUD for apartment x5 pax}
    • Is it better to go mid to late Feb rather than lated Jan to early Feb.
    • I don't think I want to hire a car at this stage,we're happy to walk and bus as long as it's not too far.(not fun skiing /boarding with blisters):(
    OK, If we were to change our destination What would you recommend, we all love our side / Backcountry and resort Ski/Boarding?

    {Not a big fan of loud mouthed cashed up bogans}
     
    #16 Ricardo64, Mar 29, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017
  17. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
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    There seems to be some confusion with this statement: "She would like to meet the Ainu people, which are from Hokkaido(Honshu) "

    Hokkaido is the northern most large island, while Honshu is the largest island stretching over most of Japan.
    How were you proposing to meet Ainu, as there's only 25,000 left?

    The $6880 AUD, how many people is that for, and how old?
     
  18. blowfin

    blowfin Dedicated Member
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    Not much of a difference really, late Jan through Feb is pretty much peak season with your best chance of a good base and decent consistent snowfall.

    Sounds like your wife would want to do a day trip to something like:
    http://www.ainu-museum.or.jp/en/index.html

    Which doesn't look like it's such a trivial thing from Niseko, don't know the area well so can't really make any suggestions on alternatives. If you want to avoid crowds and the like though (i.e. CUBs), I'm pretty sure there are better options than Niseko though.
     
  19. Ricardo64

    Ricardo64 Active Member

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    X 5 = 2 adults + 3 children (21,18,16yrs)
    My partner already has contact with the Ainu.
     
  20. smackies

    smackies Addicted Member
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    If you want to avoid the bogan factor, tourist traps and not spend a whole lotta cash then, as others have already said, don't go to niseko.

    But if those things aren't deal breakers and your priorities are pow, an easy trip and apartment accommodation, Niseko ticks those boxes.
     
  21. BoofHead

    BoofHead Dedicated Member
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    perhaps I'm blind or too much of a bogan myself but I go to Niseko most years and I'm not seeing a lot of bogans anymore in Niseko.
    Having said that, probably won't go back to Niseko for awhile as it has gotten crazy expensive.
     
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  22. Froff Life

    Froff Life Dedicated Member
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    More ex-pats from East Asia seem to make up more of the Niseko clientele these days. The bogans have been priced out and now head to Nozawa, Hakuba and Myoko, whever the Jetstar package deals go.
     
  23. Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty
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    The bogans have probably been largely priced out of the market by the Chinese.
     
  24. BoofHead

    BoofHead Dedicated Member
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    I expect so. I also have a theory that the end of the mining boom might have a bit to do with it as well.
    Upside is that the Chinese stay on the beaten track.
     
  25. blowfin

    blowfin Dedicated Member
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    So it's a lot like Sydney real estate?
     
  26. Ricardo64

    Ricardo64 Active Member

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    Taking into account every thing said in this thread where would suggest a family go fo value for money and a great ski adventure if not Niseko?
     
  27. BoofHead

    BoofHead Dedicated Member
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    Have you considered a combo trip? We generally try and go somewhere else as well as Niseko. Niseko being our go to that the family all like.
    Eg we have done a Furano/Niseko combo and haven't written off doing it again.

    As mentioned, Niseko ticks a lot of boxes for a family. Maybe even more so for you given the ages of your kids.
     
  28. Ricardo64

    Ricardo64 Active Member

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    Thanks Boof, thats what we normally do in NZ a resort and a clubfield. I wouldn't mind going to Niseko only because I have heard alot about the place, and visiting other areas such as Rusutsu and possibly somewhere else all as day tips though as I hate packing and unpacking.
     
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  29. Gimped

    Gimped Active Member

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    Our first trip to Japan was to Niseko. We had 2 children aged 14 and 11 at the time.
    It worked very well for us.
    That said, we probably wouldn't go back now because of the cost, but we really enjoyed it at the time!
     
  30. BoofHead

    BoofHead Dedicated Member
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    We generally pop over to Rusutsu for a day trip and have done a Rusutsu/Niseko combo. Didn't go this year because we did a Niseko/Kiroro combo. Fam in Niseko then mrs Boof and I headed to Kiroro.
    Consider Kiroro for a day trip as well. Some good stuff inbounds and you can also head out their gates if you want to go for a bit of a look around.
     
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  31. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    If that's your priority then don't go to Niseko. But if you want an easy holiday and are happy to spend maybe an extra eight grand on your family's trip then just book a package to Niseko, I'm sure you'll still have a great time.

    The alternative means research and a more challenging trip but it will save you money and likely be more rewarding. The choice is yours.

    To get you started let's look at two of your costs.
    Not sure of your exact dates but looking at end of Jan departures with a Feb return for 5 people I'm seeing that for around $4100 on a full service carrier. A saving of some $2800.
    http://www.momondo.com.au/flightsea...SDP1=10-02-2018&AD=5&TK=ECO&DO=false&NA=false

    Accommodation. So a 2/3 bedroom apartment in Otaru can be had for around $2800 or less for 10 nights. A saving of about $3500 over your Niseko option. Now that's $6300 in savings and we haven't even looked at lift tickets, food or ground transport yet.

    So an alternative option I'll throw out there for you is to stay in Otaru and ski Kiroro, Sapporo Teine and Sapporo Kokusai or any number of nearby resorts. http://www.snowjapan.com/japan-ski-resorts/prefecture/hokkaido

    This option would give your non skiing wife more to do in Otaru and nearby Sapporo, plus the Sapporo Snow festival is on in early February. http://www.welcome.city.sapporo.jp/event/winter/sapporo_snow_festival/?lang=en

    Remember half the fun is planning the trip. :)
     
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  32. BoofHead

    BoofHead Dedicated Member
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    If your willing to rent a car, consider Furano area as well as Otaru area.
    As B2S has shown, you can do things much cheaper.
    I keep coming back to the age of your "kids". Mine are around the same age and the apr├Ęs side of things are important to them. They have been skiing all there lives with us so like ditching us a bit and heading out at night.
     
  33. Ricardo64

    Ricardo64 Active Member

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    Thanks everyone for the positive contributions. I feel I'll have to sit down with the fam and discuss and rest some parameters.:confused:
     
  34. Froff Life

    Froff Life Dedicated Member
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    Planning is half the fun!
     
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  35. Ricardo64

    Ricardo64 Active Member

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    I agree Froff, I feel as I am running out of time. I'm a bit unsure whether to book the accommodation first and the flights or the other way around. any tips?

    I have noticed a lot of accommodation is crazily priced ATM or booked out for 2018, is this normal?
     
  36. Froff Life

    Froff Life Dedicated Member
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    Like others have said, accom in Niseko is some of (if not the most) expensive you can get in Japan. I don't believe prices will change much between now and 2018 for things like self-contained apartments. That being said, traditionally Japanese owned accommodations don't usually take bookings until 3-4 months out. However I don't know how many Japanese owned places there are in Niseko?
    Usually I've always booked accom first, as that's the harder thing to find, and then flights afterwards as there are heaps of possible airlines/route combinations to use.
     
  37. Zimboo

    Zimboo Addicted Member

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    I'm blown away by those prices for Niseko. So expensive!!!. Just as a reference:
    we did Shiga Kogen, Madarao and Myoko in Feb. Accom prices (with cooked breakfast included) worked out on average at $70Aus per person per night. So that's close to half the cost of the Niseko accomm quoted and ours included cooked breakfast.
    Lift tickets (with cooked lunch included at ski resort restaurant) where as cheap as 12,000Y pp ($135 Aus) for a 3 day pass (using voucher) at one of the very very good hills in that area.
     
    #37 Zimboo, Mar 30, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2017
  38. Hyst

    Hyst Active Member
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    Niseko does not need to be that expencive as most people write here - you can find a pension with food for around 9000 yen, and the food can be really great, while the accomodaton can be so so.

    Just have to do some research, and not that easy.

    If you choose Hirafu it is more difficult - hire a car that can carry your skis/boards inside (and of course you can visit many onsen in that way - away form the people who put the modesty towel into the onsen :whistle:)
     
  39. Froff Life

    Froff Life Dedicated Member
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    Yes Hyst you're right, you can still get reasonably priced accom. I stayed in an ok lodge in Harifu for under $50 AUD a night.
    But I think @Ricardo64 is after a self-contained apartment? For which you are looking at big dollars!
     
  40. BoofHead

    BoofHead Dedicated Member
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    Yep. party of 5 adults will cost.
     
  41. LMB

    LMB Old And Crusty
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    Accomodation out priced itself this season. It's not set by owners it's set by property managers. There were many vacancies. Personally I'd rather my apartment booked at a lower rate than sitting empty still accumulating charges.
    They won't be increasing charges over this seasons prices and some may be dropping prices. Early bird deals will be out soon.
     
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  42. Ricardo64

    Ricardo64 Active Member

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    Totally agree !! However I am travelling with the fam and they seem to require some level of comfort as my partner who's not a skier / boarder so to keep the status quo some compromise has to be reached.:D

    In saying that Looking at Accom around Rusutsu, Niseko, Moiwa it seems almost necessary to transport(from distances on the map).

    I am coming across a lot of accom with exorbitant prices 16K for mediocre 1970s living. :eek: I have almost come to the conclusion that some of these Accom managers are on hard drugs that have burnt their nasal passages and aren't able smell the coffee!!

    With this said I'd like to visit Japan an board its POW, but I might just look at Canada or Europe instead.
     
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  43. Zimboo

    Zimboo Addicted Member

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    You don't have to go to Niseko to board Japan's POW. Myoko = 14 metres of snow to date this season. That's twice as much as Niseko this year. Apart from the Ainu, Myoko / Madarao / Nozawa Onsen would fit your riding requirements.
     
    #43 Zimboo, Mar 31, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017
  44. Budgiesmuggler

    Budgiesmuggler Addicted Member
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    If your requirements are Hokkaido, avoid tourists and want some back country then Furano is your best bet.

    Personally I liked Niseko for my first Japan trip. But it is tourist central in Japan.

    If you wanted to go to honshu there are a more options.

    You could combine Furano with a few resorts, eg tomamu.
     
  45. tdc

    tdc Active Member
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    We are looking at Furano next year, any recommendations for accom?
    Thanks
     
  46. pedub

    pedub Well-Known Member

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    For a family I would go Otaru with car...
    I stumbled across this place a while back http://www.otaruskihouse.com/ski-here/ (have not stayed)
    Next to Tengu if you dont feel like driving and close to Kiroro, Kokusai. Niseko doable for day trip.
    Non skiers can explore Otaru and train to Sapporo if desired

    OR - Furano if you want a smaller town vibe...
     
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  47. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room
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    Hokkaido cities get very depressing and boring quickly if you are not a cold person or a skier/boarder.
     
  48. Budgiesmuggler

    Budgiesmuggler Addicted Member
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    We stayed at Pension lavender. Short walk to the goldola, cute place run by Japanese family. Would stay again.
     
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  49. Heinz

    Heinz Old And Crusty
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    Sapporo though does have a big network of underground walkways with lots of shops and restaurants. Personally I get tired of all the boutique fashion shops pretty quickly, but others may not?
     
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  50. LMB

    LMB Old And Crusty
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    I think the type of person who gets bored quickly on a ski field will be the person who loves those boutique fashion shops and quirky cafes. So Sapporo would be a reasonable option for a couple whose interests are at odds.

    Or just do separate holidays to indulgence your respective passions, in addition to a 'couple getaway' doing something that interests both.
     
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