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Advice needed Niseko tips

Discussion in 'Japan' started by dmz, Aug 4, 2014.

  1. Parkesyau

    Parkesyau Hard Yards

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    Any suggestions from you regulars as to which menu to book at Yo?(hurry slowly) they need to know to lock in a booking. Seems to be meat or seafood and something called an irori?i assume that's cook your own??
     
  2. JosieJ

    JosieJ Early Days

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    Okay I must be the only softy on this thread NO MENTION about hand warmers. I remember my first trip I had them stuffed EVERYWHERE!!! I now have boot warmers as well LOL
    Co-Op in Kutchan is like Seico Mart but BIGGER with way more variety!!!! Also a trip to Kutchan Co-OP is not complete without a photo of the 10LT Whiskey or Sake or Moonshine or whatever the heck it is.
    I always shop at Lawsons for pit stops as I feel sorry for them because everyone seems to go to Seico Mart also like it for the fact it is not full of bogan australians :p
    Can't go past the HOT LEMON in the vending machines I love it warms me up on a cold day & if you do get sick makes me feel better. ALSO if anyone does get a cold while in Japan we discovered Contact 12 tablets. They are awesome they will have you out on the slopes in no time.:thumbs:
     
  3. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    The competing stereos on every isle is just part of it.
     
  4. azzski

    azzski Should know better Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    [​IMG]
    I do enjoy taking shots of Engrish translations. This is the gondola sign @dmz mentioned.
     
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  5. Parkesyau

    Parkesyau Hard Yards

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    I am exactly like you and forever complain about cold ties and hands.
    Are the hotties hand and boot warmers easily found in niseko?or should I stock up off eBay and bring them with me?if they are readily available there I would rather save luggage room
     
  6. travelislife

    travelislife One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Do you wear gloves or mitts? Definitely go for a good pair of mitts, can make a big difference instantly over gloves I reckon. Then also where inners.
     
  7. Parkesyau

    Parkesyau Hard Yards

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    I wear mittens and they have the fleece lining :) you can never be too warm. I'm thinking stuffing some warmers in there would be the bomb
    As long as I can buy them there and don't have to carry them
     
  8. Mercyrx3

    Mercyrx3 Hard Yards

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    yeah you can buy them there.
     
  9. JosieJ

    JosieJ Early Days

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    Hand warmers can get them everywhere. TRUST ME I am an expert on this. Get them at Ace Hill or Lawsons OR Co-op Or Secio Mart everywhere. I had them in my socks, gloves, bra, yep everywhere. Don't worry about them saying don't put them against the skin. I put them on the back of my hands then my gloves and they literally last for 8 hours:) Okay the ski boot warmers are the BEST THINGS I EVER BOUGHT!! Try getting them on line before you leave. My feet stay warm All day in ski boots, I never ever get cold feet anymore.
     
  10. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Hot packs easily available.

    I have actually found for me it is possible to be too warm.
    If I overheat I sweat, then I feel the cold more.
     
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  11. dmz

    dmz More cheeeese Gromit Ski Pass: Gold

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    Observations day 3 -
    Japanese do interesting things with toilets. There are sometimes buttons where you can get a bum spray, and sometimes the toilet lid rises up automatically when you enter the cubicle.
    The Japanese are also sticklers for attention to detail except for one thing. The dont give a hoot about putting on the gondolas/chairs in the correct number order like we do in Australia.
    Hanzono is my favourite area out of the four so far. And Stairway to heaven is my favourite run (not just cause Im a huge Led Zep fan). Hanazono has lovely wide long runs. Went to 308 for the second time - it is becoming a bit of a fave lunch place. Someone we met on the gondola raved about Boyo half way down the Hirafu gondola. They said it had the best noodles on the mountain. And the old guy who greets you is the first Japanese person to have scaled Mt Everest!
    Still cannot believe the snow. It was pelting down this afternoon and if that was the case in Australia, your goggles would be covered and need constant wiping and your clothes would be soaking wet. Not Japan, nothing clogs up the goggles and the clothes stay dry.
    If you want to know the temperature, at the top of Ace lift # 2 there is a huge temperature gauge. Yesterday we had a mini blizzard that closed alot of lifts and ti read -12. I had an icebreaker 260 long sleeve+ a merino skivvy and my 20/20 jacket. I also had the merino long johns and 20/20 pants. I had fairly normal swany fingered gloves (not mittens) but I am lucky as my fingers never get cold. My toes do however. Today was the first day I ever used toe warmers and I would recommend that you stick either hand or toe warmers in your pockets just in case. In terms of warmers, get them at the supermarket. We noticed today that Niseko Sports were selling one packet of toe warmers for 300 yen and at the seicomart you could get 10 for 300yen!
    Our boys are heading off for the half day Hanazono powder tour tomorrow. Can't wait to hear how they go.
    Niseko is a magic place. I don't know about its history but it is a place I will be coming back to. The four skiing areas and the japanese experience is awesome.
     
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  12. dmz

    dmz More cheeeese Gromit Ski Pass: Gold

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    Don't think of buying ski gear here. In most cases its probably more expensive than Australia. However they have a really cool microfibre goggle/glasses wipe cloth which has the entire niseko ski area map on it. You can get it at Rhythms for 1500 yen.
     
  13. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Get yourself into the fields in Hanazono if you like that area. Also, there used to be a bus you could catch that took you to the bottom of Hana and allowed you to get 2-3 runs down the hill before the people came across from Hirafu.
     
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  14. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    First trip to Niseko... that thermometer never got warmer than neg 14
     
  15. Parkesyau

    Parkesyau Hard Yards

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    Toe warmers I definatelu need...can I get them there too?ebay sell them for $35 for a 10 pack
    Would rather not carry them
     
  16. Olgreg

    Olgreg One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Yep blue bus. Not sure where you are staying but it usually leaves around 8.15 from the bus stop down from Seicomart. Gets you there just as the lift opens.
     
  17. Olgreg

    Olgreg One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Yeh I get that. That has always been the intention, my work life finishes in the next 12 months and I will have more time to explore. Plus I will have a mate who skis like me and is keen to so so- in the past most of the people who joined me were solid enough in Aus but not used to deep powder. It took me two full trips before I felt I had the technique right in all conditions. I've watched big guys my age who have skied for years really flounder in the deep stuff.
     
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  18. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Ditto.
    It takes some adjustment.

    Olgreg, congrats on the impending freedom :cheers:
     
  19. Olgreg

    Olgreg One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Cheers LMB practising in Paris at present. Back home, 3 weeks work, then on a flight to Rusutsu/Hirafu. Spoiling myself for a bit.
     
  20. DPS Driver

    DPS Driver One of Us

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    It's a pretty cool place and it's only the tip of the Japanese iceberg.
     
  21. azzski

    azzski Should know better Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    My first trip there, there was one uncharacteristically warm day, -2 on the thermometer and above freezing down low. First time I've ever run into the "sticky skis" wax issue :)
     
  22. Presto

    Presto Addicted

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    That thermomerter was always on the neg 10-15 when I was there this time last year..nice to know temps when you're out there
     
  23. dmz

    dmz More cheeeese Gromit Ski Pass: Gold

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    Observations day 4 -
    Our boys did the Hanazono Power tour very early this morning. Absolutely loved it! Visibility was good and wind was mild.
    There was sun poking through again this morning, but those gorgeous huge flakes started drifting down after lunch.
    The six pack gyoza from Seicomart for 200 yen are superb. Just microwave at 500W for 50 seconds and your done. Great for an after ski snack or entree.
    One thing they do need to improve. I was watching the Hanazono-Hirafu blue shuttle bus from Hanazono today and every bus was packed. If you dont get on its another 20 minute wait. They need to run that more frequently.
    Getting across the mountain can be tricky at times. For example, the only way to get from Niseko to Annapuri seems to be via the Wonderland single chair. If that aint running you could be stuck. Just something to watch for if there are high winds.
     
  24. JosieJ

    JosieJ Early Days

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    Just get over to Hanazono in the afternoon in time for Happy Hour then you wont mind waiting for the shuttle :cheers:
    9 days and counting :clap:
     
  25. dmz

    dmz More cheeeese Gromit Ski Pass: Gold

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    Kabuki 1 for dinner where you cook your own meal. Very nice Okonomiyaki.
     
  26. Chondro

    Chondro One of Us

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    Also 9 days now for me too @JosieJ
    single digits!
    Life is going to suck upon return
     
  27. dmz

    dmz More cheeeese Gromit Ski Pass: Gold

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    Can't believe how white the eggs are. And cant believe we have another clear morning!
     
  28. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    GE chickens
     
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  29. Mercyrx3

    Mercyrx3 Hard Yards

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    And how bright yellow the yolks are...
     
  30. Parkesyau

    Parkesyau Hard Yards

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    Have you got a car to get around or you using the shuttles?and if so are they always slow and full?
     
  31. dmz

    dmz More cheeeese Gromit Ski Pass: Gold

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    We don't have a car. We are staying a stones throw from the SeicoMart and to date have been walking everywhere. Today was the first morning we took the shuttle to Hanazono. The 8.15 from Seicomart was not full.
    The clear morning did not last. Probably a more typical Niseko day. All high chairs closed due to wind, the gondolas swaying so much you think airplane turbulance is nothing, and bucketloads of snow.
    Found the best lunch spot on the mountain though. The Boyoso, half way down the Hirafu Gondola is perfect. Best food, best prices and best atmosphere (except for the bogan aussies who just sat around the fire drinking beer). If you go there, do an 11.30am ro a 2pm lunch. In between its hard to get a table.
     
  32. Olgreg

    Olgreg One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Great spot. If you are in Nis Village try the Look out cafe at the top. I think that's the name. Very modern Japanese place. Good food.
     
  33. Olgreg

    Olgreg One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    From memory, it's just up from the rope tow.
     
  34. dmz

    dmz More cheeeese Gromit Ski Pass: Gold

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    We nearly went to the Lookout cafe and yes it is just down from the top of the Niseko Gondola. It is run by the Hilton so we thought it might be a bit exe.
     
  35. dmz

    dmz More cheeeese Gromit Ski Pass: Gold

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    Niseko tips - day 5
    If you are like us and prefer wine when going out, forget it here. Here you are only allowed to drink beer and Saki. The Japanese beers are awesome (except for Asahi IMHO).
    The Japanese are very polite people so you be the same. Don't expect everyone to speak english and learn a few important phrases. And dont forget to bow or nod your head in appreciation - alot.
    Onsen -
    After experiencing our first Onsen I would suggest you plan to do it every day after skiing before dinner. The only place to go in Hirafu village is Yukoro. It works like this:
    When you enter you will see brushes hanging on the right. Use them to brush the snow from your boots. Make sure you take off your boots and place them in one of the cubicles that will be obvious to you when you enter.
    It will cost 600 yen per adult and 200 yen to hire a big towel. You are welcome to bring your own towel if you want to avoid that cost. The following is the procedure for the mens section and I assume its similar for the women.
    The men go to the right. You will first enter the locker room. Here you may decide to hire a locker. To do so, find a locker that is open with the key in the door. There is a red slot where you put a 100 yen coin. Place your belongings in the locker, close it and turn the key. You coin will be hidden and will be returned when you open the locker. Take the key out and place the elastic band that holds they key around your wrist like a wrist band.
    You then go through the door to the onsen which is down the stairs. There is no real identifiable place to put your towel. I ended up just putting mine around the hand rail on the steps leading down to the onsen. When you enter the onsen you will see the indoor pool, lots of stool with showers and a door to the outdoor section. You must first thoroughly wash yourself whilst sitting on a stool using the little shower. You will notice that the shower has some controls. The left control is for the temperature and on the right hand side is a lever which must be pushed down to start the water flowing. The thing is, the water only flows for about 5 seconds and then you must press the lever again. With my tip, this is where you can become an instant shower pro! Use your right knee to hold the lever down so the water supply is uninterrupted! Then quietly chuckle to your self as you ses others constantly pressing down the lever :)
    Time to enter the onsen pool. When I was there I noticed that everyone prefers the outside pool. Not me. I found the outside pool to be populated with Aussie bogans drinking beer. I know this has been debated on this forum before but quite frankly I think it is distasteful to drink beer in the onsen. Do what I do. Once you have finished the onsen, go back to the foyer and get a refreshing sapporo from the vending machine for 400 yen and enjoy a post onsen drop. Much more civilised IMHO. Once you have finished in the onsen you go back to the stool to wash yourself and then dry etc etc. If you have hired a towel, there is a basket in the locker room to place the used towel. That's about it. I would highly recommend Yukoro and doing it as much as possible.

    Kutchan and the local bus -

    You will have noticed my reluctance at visiting Kutchan. Having gone there today I would shout from the top of the trees, DO IT! If not for anything but visiting the supermarkets. I just love seeing a local town and walking around and looking at the shops and sights. It gave me an appreciation of the incredible effort that goes into snow clearing. Everything from the big scooping trucks to the people with shovels outside their shops constantly trying to keep the place clear. And walking on footpaths with snow on either side as tall as yourself! We went to the co-op and the range of pre-prepared food is outstanding. If you want a cheap ready made meal, forget take away pizza or the food vans next to SeicoMart - go to the co-op and have a good look at what you can get. I loved the soy sauce aisle - I have never seen so many different soy sauces in my life! Well hardly surprising though. Also, make sure you allow planet of time. We had just over an hour in Kutchan for a bit of a walk and shop and we thought it was plenty. It wasnt! You need more time than you think you need.
    Here's my tips on being a local bus pro. We found there is a free Niseko shuttle bus that only seems to run at night when we needed to go in the afternoon. There is a local service but the timetable is not online. What you need to the "transport guide" leaflet available at alot of places which clearly lists the timetable for the local bus. Our closest stop was near the food vans next to the SeicoMart. This stop is called "hirafu intersection". The first big tip is that the entrance is not at the front bit in the middle. And you MUST take a ticket as you enter. Its pretty obvious if you look for it as you enter. The system is that you take a ticket first then pay as you leave. Your ticket will have section number printed on it. In our case it was section 2. At the front of the bus I noticed an electronic display which had what seemed to be section numbers and an amount of yen. When we entered it said 190 for section two so I assumed that it would cost 190 yen to go to Kutchan station. As we went on however, I noticed the amount increased and therefore I realised the number display there is the amount of money you have to pay to leave the bus at that time. When we arrived at Kutchan station we went to the front of the bus and there is a slot where you drop in the tickets. We dropped in three and the total we had to pay was displayed. You then drop the coins into the same slot and the display will show you the running total. If you have to use a note, there is a machine where you enter the note and it gives you coins which you then drop into the slot. When we left the bus we asked the driver where the bus leaves to go back to Hirafu. He said the same spot. He was right - sort of. We arrived at about 4pm and the next bus was 4.25pm which did leave from the same spot. However we planned on taking the 4.55pm which it turns out left from the other side of the railway station. Fortunately as we were walking back to the original spot, an employee?? called out to us and asked which bus we wanted. When we replied she politely said that the bus we wanted was in a different place. Lucky for that else we would have had to wait another half an hour. So if you check your timetable for the bus you want - look for it. It will have Hirafu on the front display.,
    At the bottom of Hanazono there are two bells. I rang them and recorded them on my phone. They make great notification sounds for email or facebook etc.
    So what's in store for tomorrow? We are going back to Kutchan to get a cheap dinner (the tuna sashimi is outstanding btw) and before dinner we are going to the onsen. That is after skiing on the best snow in the world and having lunch again at boyoso. We booked Rin for the last night. Rin has big raps for it. Probably a bit exe I expect but what the hell.
     
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  36. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Told you the supermarket and Kutchan was worth it.
     
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  37. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    As for onsens, last year I was in Japan for 21 days and had a shower twice, at my brothers house. Every other day was an onsen. The only way.
     
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  38. Leroybrown238

    Leroybrown238 Hard Yards

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    I'm in Kutchan right now and it's puking....
     
  39. d15812

    d15812 Guest

    Your towel stays in the changing room with your clothes.
     
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  40. Olgreg

    Olgreg One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    But not the little etiquette towel
    Sounds like you are enjoying every detail of every discovery. Love it.
    The Look out is not expensive, really cool modern decor, electronic ordering machine, young friendly staff, lovely ambiance.
    And then there is the powder.
     
  41. Mike Pow

    Mike Pow One of Us

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    Niseko Cellars, next door to Niseko Pizza
     
  42. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Nice report dmz, you are picking it up quickly. As spaceman says the big towel stays in the changing room. Normally you would also have a small towel to take with you, which you can put on your head or leave on the side. You can then use it to do a quick drying job before returning to the changing room so you are not dripping everywhere - towel down, wring, repeat (though not many seem to do this).

    Also the mens and ladies entrances are usually indicated by blue / red curtains. Note though that in many places these alternate on a daily basis.

    Clearly the foreign influence has further impacted Niseko. I can't recall many/any places where you need coin lockers for your gear in less foreign tainted parts of Japan. A simple basket on a shelf usually sufficed. Agree with your comment on the beer.
     
  43. travelislife

    travelislife One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    The onsen at the Prince isn't too bad either.
     
  44. sourmash

    sourmash One of Us

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    Was there yesterday. I thought Y800 was exe for a coffee!

    The (sweet) red bean soup with sticky rice fritters was way good though.
     
  45. travelislife

    travelislife One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I find the drinks generally expensive in Japan relative to the food. Sometimes a post mixed coke is like 400 Yen, but your meal is only 800 Yen. When in Australia the meal will be $20 but a coke $3.50, so relative there is a bigger difference. Coffee is pretty expensive everywhere though in Japan.
     
  46. dmz

    dmz More cheeeese Gromit Ski Pass: Gold

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    I hadnt used the little towel. It appears that only about 50% are using it.
     
  47. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Towel is good to cool you down or keep your head warm, depending on the onsen.
     
  48. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    Towel is to cover your bits really... and semi dry.
    Buy your own at co-op for 105 yen.


    Yeah not a fan of using a locker... basket only ..
    Though i don't take much crap into a onsen..

    try a chu hi @dmz

    they look like this
    [​IMG]
     
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  49. d15812

    d15812 Guest

    Do not put the small modest towel in the onsen water - only naked bodies go in the water. (and apparently beer coolers....)

    Do not be surprised if the (normally female) cleaner comes into the changing room and cleans or tidies up whilst everyone is naked.
     
  50. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    Apr 21, 2004
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    As for your enjoyment of Yukoro ... good on you. Thumbs up
    Its probably the worst onsen ive been to in japan... but I didn't know that at the time.
    The only way is up.
    re Kutchan... thats kinda what the rest of Japan is like...Niseko is a bubble.