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Opinion Nozawa Onsen v Akakura onsen

Discussion in 'Japan' started by Mattb, Dec 1, 2017.

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Nozawa Onsen v Akakura onsen

  1. Nozawa Onsen

    4 vote(s)
    28.6%
  2. Akakura onsen

    6 vote(s)
    42.9%
  3. Go elsewhere!

    4 vote(s)
    28.6%
  1. Mattb

    Mattb Hard Yards

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    Hey,

    A mate and I are trying to pick between heading to Nozawa Onsen and Myoko (we’ve been thinking about Akakura onsen) and are looking for some help!

    A few details:

    • We’re traveling the 27th Jan till 4th Feb 2018
    • We’ve done Niseko, Rusutsu & Hakuba previously and are looking to go somewhere new
    • We mainly do tree runs and the occasion groomer just who's the fastest (note, not me)
    • He skis and I board. It’s very rare that we hit a park
    • We’re not going out on benders but enjoy a few beers and a bit of atmosphere
    • The basic day is; first lifts, ski, Onsen, beers, dinner (with a few more beers) rinse, sleep, repeat.
    Has anyone been to both Nozawa Onsen and Akakura onsen (or other Myoko resort) and has an opinion to help us out? Or just any tips in general?

    Cheers!
    Matt
     
  2. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    I've been to both, they are fairly similar in terms of nice traditional villages with easy access to onsens, plenty of restaurants and bars. However Nozawa is one large stand alone resort, where as Akakura is part of a group of smaller resorts that straddle Mt Myoko and aren't connected with lifts (apart from Akakura Kanko and Akakura Onsen).

    Honestly you will have a great time at either place, just that at Myoko you will need to rely on the shuttle bus to get between the various resorts (assuming you don't have your own wheels?). My personal preference would be Nozawa as they have some amazing side-country tree runs that are easily accessed from the lifts. However you might struggle to find much accommodation at that peak time.
     
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  3. dbc33

    dbc33 Hard Yards

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    Been to both and wasn't a huge fan of either but out of those two would go nozawa...
     
  4. Sandy

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

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    Just further to some of those comments...
    The shuttles at Myoko cost (I think 500yen each way) so it's worthwhile finding out if your accommodation has drop off / pick up service (usually for a small fee). It's an absolute must to visit the resorts around Myoko, so you need to have your transport sorted.
    Akakura Onsen is flat and boring., so if you stay around Akakura, make sure you can easily get to the lifts at Akakura Kanko (Akakan).
    Nozawa Onsen is a bigger mountain, has a great vibe in town.


    Maybe consider Shiga Kogen, which is huge, but the night life is quiet. The elevation is high (1350-2300m), so the snow quality is good. Stay around Ichinose village.
     
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  5. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah Shiga would be a better suit to your needs. Plus it's much larger so you wouldnt get bored, I'd say a week is a bit too long at Nozawa
     
  6. Nozawaman

    Nozawaman A Local

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    If you were here during a snow period , you would reconsider this statement .
     
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  7. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    I was there in Feb 2012 when there the snowdepth cracked over 4 meters at Yamibiko and it snowed nearly 2 meters in under a week. Blew my freaking mind

    Nozawa is a pretty big resort by Japanese standards, but compared with European or North America it's relatively small. Just putting it out there for OP to consider.
     
  8. blowfin

    blowfin One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I've been to both, personally I prefer the more open village vibe of the Akakura village over Nozowa, it can get very busy in peak season in Nozowa and feel really cramped. If I were to go back to Nozowa, I don't think i'd stay in the village again. Snow and terrain wise, they both have a lot to offer when there's plenty of snow around, but there are more options around Myoko. Myoko Area resorts: Akakura Onsen, Akakura Kanko, Ikenotaira, Suginohara, Seki Onsen, Arai, Madarao/Tangram. These are all easy options for day trips. So my advice would be this, if you're happy to stay at one resort then Nozowa is much easier, if you want to do a bit of exploring, Myoko for sure (and probably car hire for ultimate flexibility).
     
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  9. Silence

    Silence One of Us

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    Good advice all. Thanks!
    I'm the other half of this trip - so stoked to be heading back to Honshu after the best part of the last decade doing trips to Hokkaido.. (I was plagued by the winter of 2008 where it r***ed in Hakuba for a week straight when i was there and I watched 6 seasons of the UK office in that time..)

    I like the less western areas and have searched for that all over Hokkaido..still haven't been to Niseko. As far as Honshu goes, i'm keen for some good easy-access trees under a chair and off the side of a groomer which you can session over a day and not get bored..

    Will get 6 days on snow, so i guess that's a consideration on what's a better choice. I have found that it's about enough to find the good stashes in places like Furano and Rusutsu and spend the following 4 days sessioning the goods. Hoping to do the same on this one and maybe catch some pre-trip beta from the crew here :cool:

    Coming from Narita, is one resort area easier to get to via Train than another at 5pm on a Sat night? Seems much of a muchness; NeX into Tokyo then Shinkansen over to Nagano and a train up to the relevant resort + bus.. Any recommendation here?

    As far as resort choice - love Izakaya, Onsen, easy walk to the lift and close to local bars and a town. Not a fan of queues and I love meeting great humans from all nationalities, so the least Bogan as possible would be best. I guess it's the standard Japan wishlist.

    Thanks legends.

    Hope all your winter pilgrimages are locked and loaded.
     
  10. Silence

    Silence One of Us

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    Would you recommend anywhere else on Honshu given what we are looking for?
     
  11. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I'd consider Naeba/Kagura
     
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  12. Zimbooo

    Zimbooo One of Us

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    Yep, 6 days, easy transport....................winner IMO, or Noz. At either will allow enough time to scope it out and revisit. Not enough time for Myoko to really enjoy all options.
     
  13. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Has Village with izakayas
    Good snow /no ropes
    Easy enough to get to via PT
    Bogan and white man count- low
     
  14. Seth

    Seth Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    I reckon Nozawa would suck massive balls on a snowboard.
     
  15. Tanuki

    Tanuki Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Spent a week at Noz on a board in 2011. Snowed about 3-4 metres in one week (see TR). Never bored. But, But, lot's of flat areas mid mountain and without fresh snow could becoming boring quite quickly. Went to Myoko the following year and it pissed down with rain for 3 out 6 days. Fortunately we got a good dump in Hakuba the previous week.
     
  16. Seth

    Seth Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    All the flat areas. Sooooooo many.
     
  17. Tanuki

    Tanuki Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yep. And lot's of short runs and pitches. Loved the place though
     
  18. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    It's pancake flat in spots.. But then you're not going to Nozawa to ride groomers. It's the stuff off the sides.
     
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  19. blowfin

    blowfin One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    People have said this about quite a few places in Japan, but it's really just part of snowboarding. Skating on one foot with confidence and a bit of power is a learnt skill. You're better off figuring it out than trying to avoid hills with flat spots.
     
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  20. blowfin

    blowfin One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    There are some fun piste runs around though. Freshies on Schneider/Kandahar/Challenge should be snapped up ASAP. Not many flat spots in that part of the hill either :)
     
  21. Zimbooo

    Zimbooo One of Us

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    Shiga has very poor inter resort access trails for snowboarders.
     
  22. Draizuh

    Draizuh One of Us

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    Lets keep it that way ;)
     
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  23. Tonester

    Tonester Lift Line Nazi Ski Pass: Gold

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    And next to zero apre life......if that's your thing
     
  24. hatto

    hatto One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Understand the mountain and the flats don't come into play.
    Only if you are trying to ride top to bottom can they come into play.
    Middle is for cruise, lunch, carving and getting home.
     
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  25. Seth

    Seth Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    They are still everywhere and still suck.
     
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  26. Nozawaman

    Nozawaman A Local

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    You don't go to Japan for steeps :):):)
     
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  27. mannyk

    mannyk One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Nozawa for the time your have available, town is VERY busy at night, book day ahead for dinner.. We were 2 couples, found it easier to split up in pairs to get a seat, nice charm to the village,lots of traffic through the streets. Depending where you stay it can be a bit of a walk to the lifts. Prefer Myoko, but you need more time..
     
  28. Silence

    Silence One of Us

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    Hey folks, Q - how would you compare the crowds in Nozawa with Rusutsu/Furano/Hakuba (presumably more than places like Tomamu/Kiroro)
     
  29. Tanuki

    Tanuki Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    I was at Rusutsu and Tomamu in 2016 peak season and there were no crowds. The only lines at Rusutsu were for the first Gondola and at Tomamu the first Gondola line was mostly people going up top for the view rather than skiing. I haven't been to Noz or Hakuba since 2011 and 2013 respectively, but back in 2013 I did notice more people and longer lines on Happo
     
  30. dbc33

    dbc33 Hard Yards

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    have you looked at madarao? Not a big nightlife but has everything u looking for in snow . And besides in Japan a few beers ( or a case) by a fire or in lodge after boarding or skiing for a day you just can't beat it
     
  31. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    When people ask me I guess I break it down into a simple two points.
    You're hard core and looking for a larger variety of terrain - Myoko Kogen
    Skiing is just one part of it and you want to chill in a rustic Japanese environment - Nozawa Onsen
    There are a lot of other fors/againsts but I find this is the easiest way to differentiate.

    Just looking at availability you'll find it easier getting accomm in Akakura than Nozawa for those dates methinks. I've just had a cancellation for that week but otherwise full, as are a few other hotels. Talk to Nozawa Holidays for options over there. Tell them Nic said to get in touch.
     
    #31 M_G, Dec 2, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
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  32. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    I’d vote for Nozawa / Madarao combo if you are after tree skiing. 5 at Noz and 3 at Madarao would be a good split.
     
  33. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah, I wouldn't do all 8 at Madarao.
     
  34. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    There's night life beyond that?
     
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  35. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Noz would be a fair bit busier, with lift lines at the gondolas on a powder day. Nothing too crazy though. In the evening it can be hard getting into restaurants if you're a group of 4 or more.
     
  36. Budgiesmuggler

    Budgiesmuggler A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Furano was pretty loaded last time I went. Tomamu was empty apart from sightseers
     
  37. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    First and last time to noz was ten seasons ago. Weekend of CNY. Wow. I've never seen a line like it. Midweek was crickets. Barely 25 white faces in village.
     
  38. Zimbooo

    Zimbooo One of Us

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    Happo Gondola Hotel? LOL
     
  39. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Master braster
     
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  40. Silence

    Silence One of Us

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    Thanks for the advice everyone - gonna settle just out of Myoko Akakura and day trip out from there. Keen on Shiga, Madarao, Seki and Kanko..stoked as
     
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  41. Sandy

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

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    Do you have a car?
     
  42. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    Got car??

    Also strike Shiga. Not really a day tripper. More a destination.
     
  43. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    If you haven't got a car strike Shiga out. You could add Arai instead (or even easier - Suginohara). Shiga can be done with a car but there are other places closer I'd head first.
     
  44. Mattb

    Mattb Hard Yards

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    Hey, I thought I'd round back in with everyone post the trip.

    So after all the advice (absolute champions) and the research we ended up heading to Myoko... and it was epic.

    Attached are a few shots, my favourite being of the 8 seater van lost in snow after a forecast of "5cm".

    We ended up staying at Base Camp The Lodge because they offered a driver.... service... thing. Basically the owner takes you wherever you want to go. This MADE THE TRIP as we got to hit up Seki, Sugi, Ikenotaira & Aria in just 5 days and the local knowledge, helping to find the yet-to-be-tracked-out spots, was all time. Its about 5 mins drive out of the main drag (which he drove us too at night however eating in proved to be just as good) and is super affordable, particularly given the quality of the food. Can't recommend it enough.

    Our pick of the resorts was Seki, closely followed by Suginohara. I know Seki is tiny, but the day we went we only saw 3 other groups on the whole mountain (it was eerie at times) and we had a blast running the bowl down the skiers right of the mountain.

    Thanks again all for the tips, the only issue is now is having to wait till next year!
    Matt




     
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  45. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Were his toilets/showers working? He was having some major hassles with them earlier in the season.
     
  46. Mattb

    Mattb Hard Yards

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    I’m not across that but It’s was all working for us :)
     
  47. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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