Shiga Kogen Mountain Resort: Best on-snow lodge for beginners

Wozzz

First Runs
Oct 10, 2021
11
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Has anyone been to the Shiga Kogen Mountain Resort?

Hoping you can provide some recommendations for accommodation that's close to easy beginner runs and a gondola. My partner and her friend are both beginner beginners and to make this trip work for them, I need to make it super easy for them (part of my plan to return).

Currently, we are looking at the Shiga Kogen Prince Hotel EAST. It ticks many boxes but seems to lack that ski lodge ambiance and open fireplace lounge area. Has anyone stayed there?

We definitely want to stay on-snow, as close to the lifts as possible. Can anyone recommend another part of this ski resort we may be overlooking? Three or four-star would be ideal.

Thank you.
 
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Heinz

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Have a read through these threads. Plenty of commentary on accommodation options pros and cons.


 

skichanger

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Has anyone been to the Shiga Kogen Mountain Resort?

Hoping you can provide some recommendations for accommodation that's close to easy beginner runs and a gondola. My partner and her friend are both beginner beginners and to make this trip work for them, I need to make it super easy for them (part of my plan to return).

Currently, we are looking at the Shiga Kogen Prince Hotel EAST. It ticks many boxes but seems to lack that ski lodge ambiance and open fireplace lounge area. Has anyone stayed there?

We definitely want to stay on-snow, as close to the lifts as possible. Can anyone recommend another part of this ski resort we may be overlooking? Three or four-star would be ideal.

Thank you.
When? 2022 or 2023?
 

Sandy

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Has anyone been to the Shiga Kogen Mountain Resort?

Hoping you can provide some recommendations for accommodation that's close to easy beginner runs and a gondola. My partner and her friend are both beginner beginners and to make this trip work for them, I need to make it super easy for them (part of my plan to return).

Currently, we are looking at the Shiga Kogen Prince Hotel EAST. It ticks many boxes but seems to lack that ski lodge ambiance and open fireplace lounge area. Has anyone stayed there?

We definitely want to stay on-snow, as close to the lifts as possible. Can anyone recommend another part of this ski resort we may be overlooking? Three or four-star would be ideal.

Thank you.
I've stayed at 7 different places at Shiga Kogen, for a total of around maybe 45-50 days.

I've stayed at Prince West, not Prince East which is more expensive. If you're currently looking at at booking engines (like booking.com, priceline.com etc), many of the hotels in Japan don't open bookings until 3 months before. I've looked recently, and the optimal area at Shiga Kogen (Ichinose) doesn't have bookings open yet.

Shiga Kogen is a bit different to other better known Japanese resorts. It's definitely NOT a restaurants Pubs & Clubs place. Most places will have eat in, offering breakfast & dinner. The Ichinose has the highest concentration of hotels & walk in restaurants at Shiga Kogen.... in fact, most other areas DON'T HAVE walk in restaurants, so you usually need in hotel dining.
Prince West is within walking distance of Ichinose(1km) for restaurants, but Prince East is about 2.5km on dark snowy roads.... They have a shuttle bus, but you need to always be aware of the time of those shuttles in the evening, and when and where the last one leaves Ichinose.
Not sure about Prince East, but Prince West on the basic booking.com reservation doesn't include breakfast, so you need to pay about $17 for that. (So cheap initial price is not so cheap). The evening buffet is about $50. The rooms are small at Prince West unless you get a "family" room nominally 4 people, but use for 2 people. All rooms are western style with beds.
Prince East & Prince West are really good for ski in/ski out, Prince East & Prince South have gondolas, but neither is good for beginners.
This means that the best spot overall for a lot of variety is Ichinose. The beginners slopes are right there. (Ichinose Family, Tanne no Mori)
No gondolas, but very easy (and very slow) beginners' chairlifts.

The last few times, I've stayed at Hotel Japan Shiga. Very good facilities and only a 30 second walk to the slope (Ichinose Family). There's 2 walk in restaurants on the ground floor (Japanese & Nepalese). Villa Ichinose is close by, popular & cheap but a bit run down. There's a bar there.
I've also stayed about 3 times a Diamond Shiga Hotel.... nice place just walk across the road and onto the slope, or walk 250m to Ichinose Family. More of a walk to restaurants at Ichinose though. Others here like Chalet Shiga which is about 50m closer.

Regarding the accommodation, you can get western or Japanese style (on the floor futtons on tatami mat). Rooms with western style are usually small with not much space to put gear. Japanese rooms usually have plenty of space if you have 3 people like you do, in a 4-6 person room.

Other people recommend Okushiga-kogen area. It's right at the northern end, isolated but there's a small cluster of hotels including the very nice Okushiga Kogen Hotel. You need to eat in there. Okushiga has a gondola, but not from the hotels area.

Shiga Kogen is huge. The main area is 8km from one end to the other. You can get to the other area (Yokoteyama) by shuttle bus. They have areas there suitable for beginners.

There only one ATM at Shiga Kogen, only accessible during the day at the post office (far from Ichinose).
 

Wozzz

First Runs
Oct 10, 2021
11
7
3
Have a read through these threads. Plenty of commentary on accommodation options pros and cons.



Thank you. I will be sure to take a look. Cheers.
 

TJ

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I would choose a different destination. Bias to Hakuba but there or Niseko imo. Beginners need the whole snow experience if you want your partner to want to go back to the snow. Good accom options, great restaurants and bars, cafes and shops for mornings off. They will be bored at Shiga. Leave it for another trip.
 
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Wozzz

First Runs
Oct 10, 2021
11
7
3
I've stayed at 7 different places at Shiga Kogen, for a total of around maybe 45-50 days.

I've stayed at Prince West, not Prince East which is more expensive. If you're currently looking at at booking engines (like booking.com, priceline.com etc), many of the hotels in Japan don't open bookings until 3 months before. I've looked recently, and the optimal area at Shiga Kogen (Ichinose) doesn't have bookings open yet.

Shiga Kogen is a bit different to other better known Japanese resorts. It's definitely NOT a restaurants Pubs & Clubs place. Most places will have eat in, offering breakfast & dinner. The Ichinose has the highest concentration of hotels & walk in restaurants at Shiga Kogen.... in fact, most other areas DON'T HAVE walk in restaurants, so you usually need in hotel dining.
Prince West is within walking distance of Ichinose(1km) for restaurants, but Prince East is about 2.5km on dark snowy roads.... They have a shuttle bus, but you need to always be aware of the time of those shuttles in the evening, and when and where the last one leaves Ichinose.
Not sure about Prince East, but Prince West on the basic booking.com reservation doesn't include breakfast, so you need to pay about $17 for that. (So cheap initial price is not so cheap). The evening buffet is about $50. The rooms are small at Prince West unless you get a "family" room nominally 4 people, but use for 2 people. All rooms are western style with beds.
Prince East & Prince West are really good for ski in/ski out, Prince East & Prince South have gondolas, but neither is good for beginners.
This means that the best spot overall for a lot of variety is Ichinose. The beginners slopes are right there. (Ichinose Family, Tanne no Mori)
No gondolas, but very easy (and very slow) beginners' chairlifts.

The last few times, I've stayed at Hotel Japan Shiga. Very good facilities and only a 30 second walk to the slope (Ichinose Family). There's 2 walk in restaurants on the ground floor (Japanese & Nepalese). Villa Ichinose is close by, popular & cheap but a bit run down. There's a bar there.
I've also stayed about 3 times a Diamond Shiga Hotel.... nice place just walk across the road and onto the slope, or walk 250m to Ichinose Family. More of a walk to restaurants at Ichinose though. Others here like Chalet Shiga which is about 50m closer.

Regarding the accommodation, you can get western or Japanese style (on the floor futtons on tatami mat). Rooms with western style are usually small with not much space to put gear. Japanese rooms usually have plenty of space if you have 3 people like you do, in a 4-6 person room.

Other people recommend Okushiga-kogen area. It's right at the northern end, isolated but there's a small cluster of hotels including the very nice Okushiga Kogen Hotel. You need to eat in there. Okushiga has a gondola, but not from the hotels area.

Shiga Kogen is huge. The main area is 8km from one end to the other. You can get to the other area (Yokoteyama) by shuttle bus. They have areas there suitable for beginners.

There only one ATM at Shiga Kogen, only accessible during the day at the post office (far from Ichinose).

You are amazing! So much incredibly useful information. I will digest all of this and do some further research. Thank you.
 

Wozzz

First Runs
Oct 10, 2021
11
7
3
I would choose a different destination. Bias to Hakuba but there or Niseko imo. Beginners need the whole snow experience if you want your partner to want to go back to the snow. Good accom options, great restaurants and bars, cafes and shops for mornings off. They will be bored at Shiga. Leave it for another trip.

Thanks. Appreciate the feedback. I will check out Niseko. Ta
 

Wozzz

First Runs
Oct 10, 2021
11
7
3
I would choose a different destination. Bias to Hakuba but there or Niseko imo. Beginners need the whole snow experience if you want your partner to want to go back to the snow. Good accom options, great restaurants and bars, cafes and shops for mornings off. They will be bored at Shiga. Leave it for another trip.

Thanks for being honest. Can you recommend the best resort at Niseko? I can see there are four resorts on one mountain. Which one is better for beginners? Cheers
 
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chriscross

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TJ (above) knows what he is talking about, as does Sandy, of course. TJ has a bias towards Hakuba, but also good reasons. Beginners need to have fun but will probably not want to ski all day. They need easy access to accessible slopes and a ski school. At the Wadano forest end of Hakuba Happo-one there is a range of accommodation with easy access (short walk) to both. The Saaka base area is beginner friendly and the Evergreen (English speaking) ski school is not far. There are hotels, restaurants and onsens in a pretty spot that is user friendly for western visitors. There is even an Australian owned lodge and an English style pub. A range of lifts nearby can take stronger skiers/boarders to upper sections of the mountain which are more challenging (some steep terrain and serious bc). A network of buses gives access to other ski areas with all levels of terrain (Iwatake is great, so is Goryu area and Tsugaike has easy beginner slopes, too.) Buses also take tours to see the snow monkeys in the Shiga region, a worthwhile day out.
Shiga sounds great, don't get me wrong and I would like to get there one day. But it probably suits more experienced skiers, which is why Sandy knows it well.
Niseko is on the northern island of Hokkaido and while it is a famed resort for powder snow, it is very popular and quite expensive, I believe. More travel involved whereas Hakuba valley is easily accessed from Tokyo by train or bus. Just my 2 cents but a few points worth considering. Hope you get to ski in Japan.
 
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Donza

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TJ (above) knows what he is talking about, as does Sandy, of course. TJ has a bias towards Hakuba, but also good reasons. Beginners need to have fun but will probably not want to ski all day. They need easy access to accessible slopes and a ski school. At the Wadano forest end of Hakuba Happo-one there is a range of accommodation with easy access (short walk) to both. The Saaka base area is beginner friendly and the Evergreen (English speaking) ski school is not far. There are hotels, restaurants and onsens in a pretty spot that is user friendly for western visitors. There is even an Australian owned lodge and an English style pub. A range of lifts nearby can take stronger skiers/boarders to upper sections of the mountain which are more challenging (some steep terrain and serious bc). A network of buses gives access to other ski areas with all levels of terrain (Iwatake is great, so is Goryu area and Tsugaike has easy beginner slopes, too.) Buses also take tours to see the snow monkeys in the Shiga region, a worthwhile day out.
Shiga sounds great, don't get me wrong and I would like to get there one day. But it probably suits more experienced skiers, which is why Sandy knows it well.
Niseko is on the northern island of Hokkaido and while it is a famed resort for powder snow, it is very popular and quite expensive, I believe. More travel involved whereas Hakuba valley is easily accessed from Tokyo by train or bus. Just my 2 cents but a few points worth considering. Hope you get to ski in Japan.
Personally. Hakuba (especially Happo) is pretty crap place to learn.
The beginner areas aren't the greatest.

If I was to combine a interesting western friendly resort, a great beginner area and a fantastic town. I'd pick Nozawa.
 

Wozzz

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Oct 10, 2021
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TJ (above) knows what he is talking about, as does Sandy, of course. TJ has a bias towards Hakuba, but also good reasons. Beginners need to have fun but will probably not want to ski all day. They need easy access to accessible slopes and a ski school. At the Wadano forest end of Hakuba Happo-one there is a range of accommodation with easy access (short walk) to both. The Saaka base area is beginner friendly and the Evergreen (English speaking) ski school is not far. There are hotels, restaurants and onsens in a pretty spot that is user friendly for western visitors. There is even an Australian owned lodge and an English style pub. A range of lifts nearby can take stronger skiers/boarders to upper sections of the mountain which are more challenging (some steep terrain and serious bc). A network of buses gives access to other ski areas with all levels of terrain (Iwatake is great, so is Goryu area and Tsugaike has easy beginner slopes, too.) Buses also take tours to see the snow monkeys in the Shiga region, a worthwhile day out.
Shiga sounds great, don't get me wrong and I would like to get there one day. But it probably suits more experienced skiers, which is why Sandy knows it well.
Niseko is on the northern island of Hokkaido and while it is a famed resort for powder snow, it is very popular and quite expensive, I believe. More travel involved whereas Hakuba valley is easily accessed from Tokyo by train or bus. Just my 2 cents but a few points worth considering. Hope you get to ski in Japan.

Thanks, Chris. Lots of helpful information you have provided. My partner and I are blown away by the amount of choice that Japan offers. I had no idea there were so many different destinations. To be honest, it's overwhelming and is taking some serious research. Appreciate your suggestions. More research to do now. Currently leaning towards here - https://www.niseko-northern.com/en/index.html
 

Donza

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Niseko is a great place if the budget allows.
We've been twice.
Its very easy entry into Japanese skiing.
Plus has amazing snow.
 
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Sandy

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Thanks, Chris. Lots of helpful information you have provided. My partner and I are blown away by the amount of choice that Japan offers. I had no idea there were so many different destinations. To be honest, it's overwhelming and is taking some serious research. Appreciate your suggestions. More research to do now. Currently leaning towards here - https://www.niseko-northern.com/en/index.html
Nominally, there are around 400-500 lifted ski resorts in Japan. Many are tiny with only one lift, but there would probably be 100 mountains with more than 10 lifts. Shiga Kogen has 58 lifts for example.(46 linked in the main area, 12 in the other). Three of the mountains at Hakuba have 18-22 lifts. Niseko has 32 lifts.

Generally, Niseko gets frequent top ups of snow, with less sunny days. Central Japan generally gets big dumps of snow and more sunny days. (Important for beginners)
 
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Heinz

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Has anyone been to the Shiga Kogen Mountain Resort?

Hoping you can provide some recommendations for accommodation that's close to easy beginner runs and a gondola. My partner and her friend are both beginner beginners and to make this trip work for them, I need to make it super easy for them (part of my plan to return).

Currently, we are looking at the Shiga Kogen Prince Hotel EAST. It ticks many boxes but seems to lack that ski lodge ambiance and open fireplace lounge area. Has anyone stayed there?

We definitely want to stay on-snow, as close to the lifts as possible. Can anyone recommend another part of this ski resort we may be overlooking? Three or four-star would be ideal.

Thank you.

I see now that you are clearly new to the forums, so firstly welcome. It also sounds like you have not been to Japan before. Is this correct?
If so and given that you are only thinking about I would suggest doing a bit more reading in the Japan forums in general rather than just the Shiga ones I posted. Suggest also posing more questions in the general Japan planning thread. People here are happy to answer with advice. Provides at least a momentary refreshing distraction from talking about bloody Covid!

What has prompted you to look at Japan and Shiga Kogen in particular? Shiga isn't typically the go to area for a first time Japan skier (although it was for me back in 1986).

Sandy has given an excellent summary of the pros and cons of locations at Shiga. It is a huge old school type of resort, in fact it is really a collection of many individual areas that are mostly linked. Sandy being based in Yokohama is one of the few here that have been able continue skiing in Japan post Covid so is in the best position to detail how things are operating in that environment and has had many years prior to that skiing around Nagano & Niigata. So his opinions carry much weight.

You mentioned that you were looking for somewhere with a ski lodge ambiance with open fireplace lounge. That however is not typically a Japanese thing as they tend to stick more to their tatami rooms and party there. You will generally only see the ski lodge type of places where westerners have infiltrated and are operating lodges, including a few on this forum. So places like Niseko, Hakuba, Myoko & Nozawa. There were plenty of westerners in Shiga in 2019 (my last pre pandemic trip), at least relatively speaking as I have been typically heading to more out of the way places where westerners are still rare.

Enjoy your research.
 

Wozzz

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Nominally, there are around 400-500 lifted ski resorts in Japan. Many are tiny with only one lift, but there would probably be 100 mountains with more than 10 lifts. Shiga Kogen has 58 lifts for example.(46 linked in the main area, 12 in the other). Three of the mountains at Hakuba have 18-22 lifts. Niseko has 32 lifts.

Generally, Niseko gets frequent top ups of snow, with less sunny days. Central Japan generally gets big dumps of snow and more sunny days. (Important for beginners)

Thank you. Yeah, being able to see definitely helps beginners. Sunny days are preferred, but a soft landing is also important.
 

Heinz

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Thanks, Donna. We are currently looking at this place - https://www.niseko-northern.com/en/index.html

It seems to be the best resort (of the four you can access there) for beginners.

Niseko is one of the easiest ski areas for a first time Japan visitor as it is probably the most international and hence least Japanese ski area. But because that and now the large Asian ownership it is at least twice as expensive as just about anywhere else in Japan. If you are fine with that then you'll likely still enjoy. Everyone has different priorities for a ski trip.

As you are now open to various possibilities I would suggest you continue general questions, discussion in this thread where more people will be dropping in regularly.
 
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Wozzz

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I see now that you are clearly new to the forums, so firstly welcome. It also sounds like you have not been to Japan before. Is this correct?
If so and given that you are only thinking about I would suggest doing a bit more reading in the Japan forums in general rather than just the Shiga ones I posted. Suggest also posing more questions in the general Japan planning thread. People here are happy to answer with advice. Provides at least a momentary refreshing distraction from talking about bloody Covid!

What has prompted you to look at Japan and Shiga Kogen in particular? Shiga isn't typically the go to area for a first time Japan skier (although it was for me back in 1986).

Sandy has given an excellent summary of the pros and cons of locations at Shiga. It is a huge old school type of resort, in fact it is really a collection of many individual areas that are mostly linked. Sandy being based in Yokohama is one of the few here that have been able continue skiing in Japan post Covid so is in the best position to detail how things are operating in that environment and has had many years prior to that skiing around Nagano & Niigata. So his opinions carry much weight.

You mentioned that you were looking for somewhere with a ski lodge ambiance with open fireplace lounge. That however is not typically a Japanese thing as they tend to stick more to their tatami rooms and party there. You will generally only see the ski lodge type of places where westerners have infiltrated and are operating lodges, including a few on this forum. So places like Niseko, Hakuba, Myoko & Nozawa. There were plenty of westerners in Shiga in 2019 (my last pre pandemic trip), at least relatively speaking as I have been typically heading to more out of the way places where westerners are still rare.

Enjoy your research.

Thank you, Heinz. Believe it or not, we have done considerable research already. We are speaking to a few different booking consultants, and we thought we'd landed on the right location, being the Shiga Kogen Mountain Resort. Prior to that we were looking at Hakuba but weren't thrilled with the on-snow accommodation options.

The more research we do, the more suggestions are thrown our way. It's becoming an impossible task. Perhaps you're right, we need to go back to the drawing board and post more top-line questions about Japan, as we have never been.
 

Heinz

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Thank you, Heinz. Believe it or not, we have done considerable research already. We are speaking to a few different booking consultants, and we thought we'd landed on the right location, being the Shiga Kogen Mountain Resort. Prior to that we were looking at Hakuba but weren't thrilled with the on-snow accommodation options.

The more research we do, the more suggestions are thrown our way. It's becoming an impossible task. Perhaps you're right, we need to go back to the drawing board and post more top-line questions about Japan, as we have never been.

Ah, so you have been talking to booking consultants. You have now done the right thing now to join this forum and pose questions here.
You will get a much broader range of ideas and advice and far better real life experiences from people here than agents selling particular packages to the well known areas. There is a vast amount of knowledge here, though everyone has their own little biases. But detail what you are after and we will be happy to help.
 
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Wozzz

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Hang on. Sunny days? You sure you wanted Japan? Sunny days are not that common in Jan/Feb especially in Hokkaido.

Referencing a comment above:

Generally, Niseko gets frequent top-ups of snow, with less sunny days. Central Japan generally gets big dumps of snow and more sunny days. (Important for beginners)

I'll head to the beginner-run forums (utterly confused now)... thanks to those who shared their opinions and experience. Much appreciated.
 

Sandy

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Thank you, Heinz. Believe it or not, we have done considerable research already. We are speaking to a few different booking consultants, and we thought we'd landed on the right location, being the Shiga Kogen Mountain Resort. Prior to that were looking at Hakuba but weren't thrilled with the on-snow accommodation options.

The more research we do, the more suggestions are thrown our way. It's becoming an impossible task. Perhaps you're right, we need to go back to the drawing board and post more top-line questions about Japan, as we have never been.
Ok, it's a difficult task, with too many options. So it's best to use a process of elimination. If the booking consultants chose Shiga Kogen, ask them about how they determined that location.

What you need: (?)
- On snow accommodation. Does that mean ski-in ski-out?
- Western style accommodation? (beds not futons on the floor?)
- Lodge type feel, with communal area?
- Higher end accommodation (or slightly cheaper?)
- Good beginner slopes near accommodation. (or gondola access to good beginner slopes?)
- English speaking at accommodation? English friendly area.
- Soft snow (good snow quality most of the time)
- More sunny days than cloudy/snowy weather?
- Western food options as well as Japanese?
- Good gear rental options for foreigners? (ski or snowboard?)
- Less expensive (lift tickets $50-60), mid priced ($70-$80) or most expensive ($100)
- Eat out, bars, party?
 

Sandy

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Referencing a comment above:

Generally, Niseko gets frequent top-ups of snow, with less sunny days. Central Japan generally gets big dumps of snow and more sunny days. (Important for beginners)

I'll head to the beginner-run forums (utterly confused now)... thanks to those who shared their opinions and experience. Much appreciated.
There's a huge amount of knowledge about beginners options here.
 

Heinz

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Referencing a comment above:

Generally, Niseko gets frequent top-ups of snow, with less sunny days. Central Japan generally gets big dumps of snow and more sunny days. (Important for beginners)

I'll head to the beginner-run forums (utterly confused now)... thanks to those who shared their opinions and experience. Much appreciated.

All about balancing priorities. Not always an easy task especially when you have multiple newcomers. But it is a nice problem to have.
 

DidSurfNowSki

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Also once you've got the skiing side sorted out, immerse yourself with the cultural aspects of your trip. Japan is both wonderful and quirky. A fantastic place to ski.
 
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Heinz

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Ok, it's a difficult task, with too many options. So it's best to use a process of elimination. If the booking consultants chose Shiga Kogen, ask them about how they determined that location.

What you need: (?)
- On snow accommodation. Does that mean ski-in ski-out?
- Western style accommodation? (beds not futons on the floor?)
- Lodge type feel, with communal area?
- Higher end accommodation (or slightly cheaper?)
- Good beginner slopes near accommodation. (or gondola access to good beginner slopes?)
- English speaking at accommodation? English friendly area.
- Soft snow (good snow quality most of the time)
- More sunny days than cloudy/snowy weather?
- Western food options as well as Japanese?
- Good gear rental options for foreigners? (ski or snowboard?)
- Less expensive (lift tickets $50-60), mid priced ($70-$80) or most expensive ($100)
- Eat out, bars, party?

Yep, these are precisely the sort of questions that need to be asked. And depending on the answers you will very quickly narrow down the number of options.
 

skichanger

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Do some research and then write a list of what is important to you. I would add the following to Sandy’s list:
- ease of access from Tokyo
- other activities when your beginners need a day off
- how cold it gets (Niseko is much colder than most of Honshu)

To the places already mentioned I would add Madarao and Yuzawa. Mainly because of how easy they are to get to.

Fyi I have an interest in Madarao but none in Yuzawa
 
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Sbooker

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Thank you, Heinz. Believe it or not, we have done considerable research already. We are speaking to a few different booking consultants, and we thought we'd landed on the right location, being the Shiga Kogen Mountain Resort. Prior to that we were looking at Hakuba but weren't thrilled with the on-snow accommodation options.

The more research we do, the more suggestions are thrown our way. It's becoming an impossible task. Perhaps you're right, we need to go back to the drawing board and post more top-line questions about Japan, as we have never been.
I have very limited Japan experience but I would avoid a crowded hill for beginners. So if travelling in Oz holidays that would rule out Niseko. I would think also Hakuba and Noz?
How would Furano suit?
 
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Lucky Pete

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Here's my 2 cents. Being the 1st trip keep it simple and easy.

Come to Hakuba, no need for ski in/out as its 30km valley with 10 resorts. You'll want to ride different places each day depending on conditions. Ideally hire a car (you can tour on down days like to the snow monkeys whilst getting 1st tracks for those that want them) and stay somewhere nice and/or a hotel that does drop offs to different resorts. Use Hakuba Snowsports for lessons at Iimori which is great for learning and avoid Happo for begineers. You'll have an easy 1st trip to Japan fior the whole group and here is terrain for everyone plus super simple re food etc. Go further afield should you want for subsequent trips.
 

skichanger

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I have very limited Japan experience but I would avoid a crowded hill for beginners. So if travelling in Oz holidays that would rule out Niseko. I would think also Hakuba and Noz?
How would Furano suit?
Furano is cold and Harro is not there any more. I know meaningless to most.
 

snowgum

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Hi @Sandy and all. Any thoughts of the practicalities of hiring a car in Sapporo and staying ‘near’ Nieseko? Perhaps a few km out?

I figure a car could help one to stay a few km from the lifts and perhaps find cheaper, acceptable digs - I’ve seen a few Pensions that look half decent. (Not sure if cars can be parked near lifts or is that crazy talk?). I note from Hakuba 2020, cooking one’s own meals saves a bundle - even in Japan!

A car might assist in accessing alternative resorts, once the ‘Neseiko glow’ wears off? (I’ve been told winter tyres on a 2WD would normally be OK?). Of course a car is better value with two travellers but still adds options if going solo.

FWIW: It’s all pretty pie in the sky for now until international borders are resolved. Nice to keep options open. We all need to hope for something after not skiing two Aussie winters. Cheers.
 

snowgum

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Apologies have posted in Shiga K by mistake! :rolleyes: Another top option should borders open?
 

Sandy

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Hi @Sandy and all. Any thoughts of the practicalities of hiring a car in Sapporo and staying ‘near’ Nieseko? Perhaps a few km out?

I figure a car could help one to stay a few km from the lifts and perhaps find cheaper, acceptable digs - I’ve seen a few Pensions that look half decent. (Not sure if cars can be parked near lifts or is that crazy talk?). I note from Hakuba 2020, cooking one’s own meals saves a bundle - even in Japan!

A car might assist in accessing alternative resorts, once the ‘Neseiko glow’ wears off? (I’ve been told winter tyres on a 2WD would normally be OK?). Of course a car is better value with two travellers but still adds options if going solo.

FWIW: It’s all pretty pie in the sky for now until international borders are resolved. Nice to keep options open. We all need to hope for something after not skiing two Aussie winters. Cheers.
Niseko doesn't really fly if you're trying to reduce costs. 8100yen for a day ticket. +Car maybe 5-7000yen/day. Completely obliterates savings in cooking for yourself at Hakuba like you did in 2020, but how do you find an affordable place with kitchen in Niseko?

4WD and snow tyres are needed in Hokkaido: Winter tyres on 2WD would not be ok.

I mean, Shiga Kogen will only cost you 3000yen/day for lunch+dinner. (or you could get the breakfast/dinner packages that are common there). Lift tickets 6000yen.

Or go to Naeba/Kagura, where seniors tickets start at 55yo, and cost 5300yen for both mountains...... 40+ lifts. (Senior Day is every Wednesday between when the ticket is only 3,500 yen, Naeba only iirc, but I think you can get a 700yen upgrade for Kagura as well)
 
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snowgum

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Niseko doesn't really fly if you're trying to reduce costs. 8100yen for a day ticket. +Car maybe 5-7000yen/day. Completely obliterates savings in cooking for yourself at Hakuba like you did in 2020, but how do you find an affordable place with kitchen in Niseko?

4WD and snow tyres are needed in Hokkaido: Winter tyres on 2WD would not be ok.

I mean, Shiga Kogen will only cost you 3000yen/day for lunch+dinner. (or you could get the breakfast/dinner packages that are common there). Lift tickets 6000yen.

Or go to Naeba/Kagura, where seniors tickets start at 55yo, and cost 5300yen for both mountains...... 40+ lifts. (Senior Day is every Wednesday between when the ticket is only 3,500 yen, Naeba only iirc, but I think you can get a 700yen upgrade for Kagura as well)
Some good tips as always Sandy thanks.

Forgetting borders and Covid, Neiseko would be just ‘a’ possibility, to consider if a friend keen on Hokkaido came along (it’s hard planning for oneself!)

I’ve looked at both areas via usual engines;

Neiseko seems to have a lot more choices of bedding - particular if one had a car and was prepared to drive for a few kms 3,5, maybe 10?). I haven’t checked bus routes from these outlying areas.
They look frankly are bit more sociable in a lovely Japanese way - not boosie Aussie! A little like some of the Canadian Rockies youth hostels I stayed in, 88/89.

I’ve looked through a few of the usual Ichinose locations. Many of them could work. If I end up on my own, then it’s fairly simple, although I didn’t do the Futon-Tatami experience at Hakuba - that would be new.

There’s a few pensions in Okushiga that look fairly nice - they climb into to $150+ p.night from memory. Plus food. (May be cheaper than eating at the hotel?).

The Okushiga Hotel looks nice enough but with will be over $200 p.n, $230 with breakfast, $280 ish with dinner, so it adds up. Would be nearly $400 p.d with a pass and lunches/ beverages.


Another factor: the later the borders / flights open, the fewer the accommodation choices and they’ll mostly be the dear end? Flights might soon get easier?

Anyway, I’m not panicking, it’s early (ish) days. As you say, a lot of bedding options only start 3 month out, so late Feb, will keep a while.

Naeba/Kagura is an interesting option - another friend liked Kagura. It appears there’s some open country higher up which appeals after the tight trees of Hakuba. I’ll check bed options there too. Senior tickets a bonus too! Cheers.
 

Sbooker

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Furano is cold and Harro is not there any more. I know meaningless to most.
I’ve never understood the objection to cold when it comes to a ski holiday. We’ve been to Banff in January. The cold makes the hot chocolate taste better.
 
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Melskius

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We travel as a family with small kids, we went to shiga kogen on our first trip, higher elevation good for our later season travel we have also skiied at Naeba/Kagura twice, then went back to Shiga Kogen in 2020. We love the place. For us elevation, ease of access via public transport and quieter, not Bali on snow scene. If you want to see what they are like our trips are documented on you tube channel "Dale discovers" there are shiga kogen and naeba episodes. Also trip reports are on this forum with pics too.
 
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skichanger

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I’ve never understood the objection to cold when it comes to a ski holiday. We’ve been to Banff in January. The cold makes the hot chocolate taste better.
-25 with 4 and 5 year old kids is tricky. Frost bite on the nose and ears. Breathing in and having the inside of your nose freeze. Being to cold for the mechanism of skiing to work…I am happy to stick to about -16 minimum overnight. I see noi real benefit of being somewhere significantly colder.

My mogul skier and I had our first summer for 10 years last Aus summer. He has done 7 consecutive winters in Winter Park. One of the things he has not missed is the extreme cold.
 
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Sbooker

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-25 with 4 and 5 year old kids is tricky. Frost bite on the nose and ears. Breathing in and having the inside of your nose freeze. Being to cold for the mechanism of skiing to work…I am happy to stick to about -16 minimum overnight. I see noi real benefit of being somewhere significantly colder.

My mogul skier and I had our first summer for 10 years last Aus summer. He has done 7 consecutive winters in Winter Park. One of the things he has not missed is the extreme cold.
Yeah. I guess with that age it makes a difference. Ours were 7 and 9 when we first went to Banff.
 

PMG

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The more research we do, the more suggestions are thrown our way. It's becoming an impossible task.
Just to complicate it further
Myoko could be an option as well.. Akakura Onsen would be ideal for first timers. Lots of dinner options in town if you don't eat in plus ski in/ski out accommodation if it's not already booked out. You will pay for the convenience of ski in/ski out though.
 
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Heinz

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First thing @Wozzz needs to do is address the list of questions that @Sandy posted.
I think we can guess a few of them though eg. being first time Japan visitors and beginners you would think that English language ski instruction would be desired. That alone quickly narrows down the options.
 

Sandy

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We travel as a family with small kids, we went to shiga kogen on our first trip, higher elevation good for our later season travel we have also skiied at Naeba/Kagura twice, then went back to Shiga Kogen in 2020. We love the place. For us elevation, ease of access via public transport and quieter, not Bali on snow scene. If you want to see what they are like our trips are documented on you tube channel "Dale discovers" there are shiga kogen and naeba episodes. Also trip reports are on this forum with pics too.
And Shiga Kogen is big!! Lots of exploring, and kids love that.
 
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skichanger

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First thing @Wozzz needs to do is address the list of questions that @Sandy posted.
I think we can guess a few of them though eg. being first time Japan visitors and beginners you would think that English language ski instruction would be desired. That alone quickly narrows down the options.
English language ski school - is there one at
  • Shiga Kogen?
  • Naeba/Kagura?
There are definitely ones at:
  • Niseko
  • Hakuba
  • Nozawa Onsen
  • Yuzawa
  • Myoko Kogen
  • Lotte Arai
  • Madarao
Where else?
 
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