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Question Niseko 2020

Discussion in 'Japan' started by jakes47, Apr 4, 2019.

  1. jakes47

    jakes47 Hard Yards

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    We are heading to Niseko in January 2020. This will our 4th trip and are taking our family. Our last trip was in 2015 at which time we noticed a great change in, the much needed, infrastructure of the area. This is our first time in the Aussie School holidays and were shocked to find the accommodation prices have doubled to that of 2015.
    My question is to those (Aussies) who have been in the January holidays - How busy is it? should we now expect cheques at the lifts? .. and what about restaurant bookings? .. and one important one.. Will our little ones, at last, have a safety bar on the Ace Family Lift?
    More questions to follow but if anyone has anything to offer on the kids club program - please chime in.
    Thanks
    Bev
     
  2. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    LOL Hi Bev
    If you thought the changes in 2015 were huge - you’re not gonna believe what’s happened since.

    Yes there will be queues at the base lifts in school holidays. Especially if the top lifts are shut due to weather.

    The Ace Family lift is shiny and new - been in two years already. It’s a detachable quad with a safety bar. Much better. And a much easier dismount.

    Restaurant bookings:
    Make some before you come. Walk ins for groups are tricky in January. But if you have an apartment the options for takeaway and conbini have increased a lot. Great food available to grab and take home.
     
  3. Chowder11

    Chowder11 Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    FYI to peeps Chinese NY is the 25th Jan for a week. So I’d probably recommend avoiding that week, especially at the major Japanese ski destinations
     
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  4. Rick Ross Da Boss

    Rick Ross Da Boss One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    It’s horrible
     
  5. jakes47

    jakes47 Hard Yards

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    Wow - thanks for that - good and bad to hear. Conbini?
    We used to shop at the Seicomart or do a bit of a walk to another the highway to another shop- it was a bit of a hike. I hope there is more to offer now.
    We have always stayed along side the ace Family run - but this time we will be at the Landmark View up near the gondola, which is a little out of our comfort zone.
    Shopping or delivery suggestions would be appreciated.
     
  6. jakes47

    jakes47 Hard Yards

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    Thanks for that - we will be out on the 25th and did have to pay a bit more for the day before.
     
  7. jakes47

    jakes47 Hard Yards

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    Is that it?
    Any suggestions?
     
  8. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Why not try somewhere less busy and cheaper?
     
  9. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Furano for instance.
     
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  10. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    First two trips we stayed with kids at The Gondola Chalets next door. It is a bit further from shops and takeaway options but meh, it’s part of the fun wandering around the village in the snow. In the past Landmark had a small shop at the entry so that may still be a thing.

    The new Rhythm build should be done by then - in the cross street between Ace and Gondie - they will probably still have coffee and donuts in the new build, maybe add more (who knows).

    The further shop you mention was probably Lawson’s. Which will be about the same distance from Landmark as Seicomart. Conbini is the Japanese word for “convenience store” - the 3rd large one is 7/11 that was added this season and is at the lights that turn off to Hanazono.

    I expect I’ll be back for much of the season so happy to help with advice etc
     
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  11. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    She’s already booked.
     
  12. jakes47

    jakes47 Hard Yards

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    Thank you so much - have noted your suggestions and will research.
    The new Rhythm build - do you think that is ski hire?
    Yes - Lawsons. It sound like we still have to walk to the seicomart or Lawsons?

    Does anyone know of any food delivery service?
     
  13. jakes47

    jakes47 Hard Yards

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    For those who didn't understand my original post - "We are heading to Niseko" - That is where we are going! I am not 100% happy about the location and would rather be going to the US - but it is what it is and we have family and children onboard and I am looking for positive suggestions to make this holiday a little easier.
     
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  14. travelislife

    travelislife One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    If you are there for a week+ do a big shop up in Kutchan on day 1.
     
  15. jakes47

    jakes47 Hard Yards

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    Awesome - Thank you - I am trying to get my head around this. We will be staying a couple of nights in Sapporo - will do a shop there - have put that on my "to do" list - We have 10 days and would like to hit the ground skiing -not shopping -especially with the little ones we are traveling with.
     
  16. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes, Rhythm as in the same business that currently resides on the Main Street around the corner from seicomart (first store in Cooma, second in Niseko, third in Hakuba etc).

    They are building a new “home” and moving up the hill. Rhythm Summit - the backcountry offshoot (used to be next to Green Farm, now in the street behind seicomart) is apparently staying where it is.

    They do hire and ski gear sales and waxing etc.

    Food Delivery:
    There are delivery services.
    I have never used them as I usually have a car and duck into Kutchan to one of the supermarkets now.
    HonestBee and Niseko Gourmet do something. And if Landmark is run by Niseko Central (not sure if they are) they do a welcome grocery pack for a fee if you choose it.
     
  17. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Hire a car IMO.

    That will make your holiday much easier with kids.

    You'll be able to hit some of the smaller resorts (moiwa is fantastic for kids) . You'll also be able to get to Hanazono and Annapuri easier .
    The front face of Niseko is a bit of a zoo.
    You'll also be able to shop easier .
     
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  18. Rick Ross Da Boss

    Rick Ross Da Boss One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Kutchan for groceries, Hanazono for peace and quiet,avoid Australia Day, 5,8 hour lift tix can save $ if you don’t night ski and Rusutsu is well worth the day trip
    (Roads r treacherous for pedestrians with ice if your accom is down from the main drag)
     
  19. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Those are all excellent points.

    Wear spikes unless you’ve heaps of experience walking around icy villages with no damage. Such a small investment financially, and time wise to put on and off, and can save your holiday.

    There is a new hourly lift ticket that may be perfect for a family that might get limited hours actually on the hill. The online hourly pass. You apply online and they print you pass ready for you to pick up at the welcome centre, which is perfect if you’re arriving by bus directly there. You then use the card info to go online again and add funds to the card - 10, 20 or 30 hours. It is an all mountain pass. You can upload again if you run out, and you can keep the pass for future years (but not the hours of course).
    This may or may not be the best suited pass option for you, but it’s worth knowing about.
     
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  20. silva

    silva One of Us

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    How old are the kids you will be travelling with?
    Best purchase for our son (6 first trip to Japan) was Japanese snow shoes/gumboots - insulated gumboots with a drawstring at the top and fold out spikes on the bottom. No other shoes necessary. The fold out cleats were great for icey roads and no panic when he felt the need to traipse around in the snow (its irresistable). Just make sure you fold the cleats back in if getting on a bus or going into a shop or anywhere you dont take your shoes off. Cost about $15 wore them everywhere he didnt wear his snowboard boots.
    [​IMG]
     
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  21. pedub

    pedub One of Us

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    If you are in Sapporo, there is a large supermarket (inside a mall) next to the Sapporo beer museum
    It was the biggest one I saw in Sapporo, so maybe if you visit there you can add on a groceries trip. Much bigger/more available than in Niseko...
     
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  22. Rick Ross Da Boss

    Rick Ross Da Boss One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Aeon has everything
     
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  23. jakes47

    jakes47 Hard Yards

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    Thanks -yet again. We are happy that Rhythm will be a bit closer to our location. 3 of us have our own gear but the rest will have to hire and even if it is not the cheapest we are prepared to pay a little for the convenience I have noted the two possible Food delivery services.
     
    #23 jakes47, Apr 5, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2019
  24. jakes47

    jakes47 Hard Yards

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    Thanks for the suggestion which is worth considering. 8 of us in total so may have to investigate a van of some sort.
     
  25. jakes47

    jakes47 Hard Yards

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    Thanks - we use to head to Hanazono and Annupuri in the past. I will look into the hourly tickets. My husband and I don't usually ski more than 5 hours a day and suspect we may be called to babysitting or kids club pickups so hourly tickets could work well.
     
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  26. jakes47

    jakes47 Hard Yards

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    Great - thanks - will definantly look into the hourly tickets. As for spikes - I do have a pair but they don't fit my snow boots well. Do you recommend any particular type?
     
  27. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Be aware that a van like a hiace that you can drive on an ordinary c class licence in Aus requires a higher level of licence in Japan. Minimum Light Rigid equivalent. Otherwise the minivans are as big as you can go. You might be able to do 8 if lots are little kidlets. 6 is the max for adults - too squishy otherwise. You get the people capacity but not the carrying capacity for skis and boards in them. The hiace vans give both.
     
  28. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    The 1000 (ish) yen rubber pull on ones sold around town seem to work well.
     
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  29. Rick Ross Da Boss

    Rick Ross Da Boss One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Psycho mart sells them
     
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  30. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    As does the Physio, 188 (in the Pharmacy shop) and a heap of other places around town. Cheaper in Lucky or MaxValu in Kutchan but not by enough that I’d make a special trip in and not buy immediately in town.

    I have a pair of the winter boots with that hyped Vibram arctic grip ice tech that you can walk on an ice rink with. They work. Occasionally felt a slight slip that you don’t get with spikes, but haven’t ever actually slipped while wearing them. If you hate spikes and need new boots anyway, and see some with these soles - they’re good - you still need to practice sensible icy road walking practices though.
     
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  31. jakes47

    jakes47 Hard Yards

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    Awesome - will search that one on maps. We plan to eat out every 2nd night so may pick up our basics in Sapporo. We tend to will out our suitcases with as much as legally possible but perishables will need to be purchased. Thanks
     
  32. Joysticks

    Joysticks Hard Yards

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    Bev, re: kids, most of the big ski schools have bases dotted around, however if I'm not mistaken the only one that has lift line priority (In the Grand Hirafu side) is GoSnow. They have a mixture of half day, full days classes streamed into different ability levels. Used them for my kids, service was great. The have a kiddie area/base for taking breaks in the event of a meltdown etc. Worth looking up. One thing that is pretty mercenary in Japan, if you cancel lessons in the event of sickness, you can only get a refund with a Japanese medical certificate. The nearest place is the Niseko International Clinic (NIC), typical consultation fee - 10k yen, typical fee for med cert 15k yen! Get some good insurance. Other options are local hospitals, I haven't tried personally but you'd need an interpreter. The NIC is very slow in general but they get the job done at a high mark up!

    Have a great trip!
     
  33. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    I’d agree that they’re slow. And they don’t triage very well either - or they didn’t the first year they were open when I had to go down there three times (once for me and twice with friends).

    But cost wise - my local surgery charges $100AUD cash upfront consult for after hours. Not so different really. And pretty convenient not having to go into Kutchan anymore.

    I had to have a chest X-ray for a broken sternum, which was done there and then, results examined and then I was sent away with pain killers (necessary) and decongestant/cough suppressant (just in case). No need to traipse around to the pharmacy with scripts or whatever. I didn’t bother claiming on my travel insurance because it seemed like a reasonable cost/not worth the bother, and not bad for total medical costs for 5 months.

    Travel insurance is an essential though.
    I know a few people personally who have had to cut thier holiday short, or even get family and friends to do a financial collection to pay the hospital bill before they could be discharged in Sapporo after accidents on and off the hill.
     
  34. jakes47

    jakes47 Hard Yards

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    That is very helpful - Thanks. I thought we were going to have to go too and from the base centre.
    Travel insurance of some sort is so important. I had a nasty accident in Whistler last year with multiple shoulder fractures and tendon damage. I had to pay upfront $1700 Cad for (very inadequate) X-rays and a consult. We booked most of our trip on Amex so we were covered and they were great. It is important to look up and take note of the emergency services in the area.
     
  35. jakes47

    jakes47 Hard Yards

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    OMG - that sounds terrible. My experience, you can read in my previous post, was much the same and amex did cover the initial fee but I didn't bother with the ongoing. I found the emergency service was attentive but the actual medical clinic was very inadequate and failed anything close to an accurate diagnosis. I suppose with snow sports it must be a very busy clinic but - Travel insurance of some sort is a must.
     
  36. HoopDogg

    HoopDogg Hard Yards

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    Would the week to be avoiding be leading up or following the 25th?
     
  37. Chowder11

    Chowder11 Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Week following
     
  38. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    Chowder is right as Aussie school Holidays have finished by then.

    CNY starts the 25th so week starting the 3rd.
     
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  39. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Bringing this thread back to life with a few updates for the Niseko Crew.

    Firstly thirteen new car hire desks at Chitose International. I mentioned these already in the Japan 2020 thread. Once active they will make life so much easier than having the one desk for all the hire car companies and bus tickets and information...



    There is some connstruction going on in between An Dining/Ki Niseko and the Gondola ticket office building. It seems like a Grand Hirafu build rather than a private build, but we haven’t worked out what yet. I wondered if it might be a Go Snow office.


    Construction well under way on the new Rhythm building - downhill side of the street that runs between Ace Carpark and Gondola. It’s freaking MASSIVE! And I’m scratching my head about the entrance doors - the large open space in the middle is kind of in line with the road and I’m wondering if a bridge will access it. Seems to be plenty of parking behind the building, and plenty of allowance for snow sloughing from the roof to each side. (Excuse the angle it’s the only way I could get the whole thing in the pic without taking a pano - which is too big to upload here).



    New builds in the village ....
    New big apartment building downhill of BloBlo - poor old Blo Blo looks lost and alone now sitting small and tired in between this new monstrosity and the Alpen Hotel. Odds on it’s the next old classic to go!


    This new one is in the Gondola street, very convenient to Lawson’s (down) and Gondie (up).


    I’ll keep snapping pics over the next few days and sharing, then again when I’m back in October. Any requests for summer pics of certain spots will be attempted time permitting.
     
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  40. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Quoting my own post here.
    We had a fantastic Barista quality coffee at Ki Niseko cafe this morning. Pretty much across the road from Gondola Chalets (therefore also Landmark). The Cheesecake was delish too!

    It’s novel being able to sit outside and enjoy the garden and funky cow sculptures.


    I did love the fact that they had dedicated electric vehicle and Tesla charging.
     
  41. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    Can one open the doors or should one stay inside while charging? :evil:

    Nice to see green season again after some time.:thumbs:
     
  42. Any

    Any One of Us

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    feel like going for a walk?
    starting in March I noticed some preparation for something in the bush in Hanazono (red circle), I thought maybe another hotel.
    and in April i saw a bunch of foundational looking square hole things that looked like they might be for a new chairlift's poles (red x's), perhaps that new chair and gondy to weiss is sooner than we think.
     
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  43. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Ohhhh hello!!!!!
    Interesting!

    I’ll see what the weather is doing and what Mr wants to do hike wise and maybe that is doable. There is a LOT of construction work going on over there and lots of men with batons and flourishing moves to move you along in the car. I got a few funny looks taking the pics I did over there.

    Will see how close I can get.
     
  44. Any

    Any One of Us

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    i forgot that in the summer you can drive that road right up to that red circle btw.
     
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  45. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    We drove thy road from Goshiki around to Hanazono today - narrow and winding - no wonder it’s closed in Winter!!
     
  46. Olgreg

    Olgreg One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    While you’re at it @LMB I’d love a simple shot from the bridge near Lawson’s, looking downstream where it runs behind the first street. Always choked with snow when I’m there, I’d love to see it in green season. Many thanks
     
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  47. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Just looked at the satellite images of that area to get a better idea of where to go to have a look (will swing past on the way home from Kutchan if it’s not raining). I noticed that the satellite image for Hanazono is like 2 years old! So I doubt the one for that area is current and live.

    The hotel was well and truly visible from space last season and there is no sign of it in this image. The left hand size of the carpark is completely full of demountable offices and accomodations. And there is a new car parking area to the right, and they had about 6 diggers working the higher bank behind the new carpark - maybe more carpark, who knows...
    The entire area to the left of 308 and the carpets is FULL of buildings and construction vehicles.


    I’ll go have a look and see what I can see


    Too easy.
    Assuming construction of the new path isn’t happening on that spot today (they’re rather officious about getting you to avoid the road works).
     
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  48. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Hyst and Any like this.
  49. Olgreg

    Olgreg One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Thanks so much. Just as I thought, lush and green. Enjoy your trip.
     
  50. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Nahhhhhh

    Just kidding

    ROFL
    I crack myself up.

    The photo above is of the Shirebetsugawa river in Kutchan, taken from the bridge not far from Ks/Pachinko/Homac.

    You’ll be disappointed by the photo of the river in Hirafu!



    You can’t see a thing.
    Can hear the water running though.

    Sorry @Olgreg - I specifically went and took those pics because I knew you’d be disappointed with these ones.
     
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