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Japan - planning a trip / guiding and instruction (Snoworks / Warren Smith)

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hmm. Want to go. Could be very bad timing for me. Going to have to be non-commital for the time being.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
My arm feels very twisted, yes.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
This looks a reasonablish itinerary to contemplate

https://www.skisafari.com/ski-safaris/japan/hokkaido-explorer-ski-safari

Would be surprised if DIY can't come in a bit cheaper

Any thoughts Mikepow?

Niseko, Rusutsu, Kiroro, Furano - flying in and out of Chitose?
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
This looks a reasonablish itinerary to contemplate

https://www.skisafari.com/ski-safaris/japan/hokkaido-explorer-ski-safari

Would be surprised if DIY can't come in a bit cheaper

Any thoughts Mikepow?

Niseko, Rusutsu, Kiroro, Furano - flying in and out of Chitose?


Not as expensive as other companies which have been quoted, but you're paying a premium for being escorted. Presumably it is an escorted trip.

Looks like 9 days skiing.

Food is reasonably priced and you can easily do

breakfast for JPY 1,000 (£7) in the convenience store
lunch on mountain for JPY 1,500 (£11)
dinner for JPY 1500-2000 (£11-14)

But when you add food and lift tickets the price quickly rises to closer to £3500

Personally I would concentrate on one area or the other

SW Hokkaido where you can ski Niseko United, Niseko Moiwa, Rusutsu, Kiroro, Sapporo Kokusai, Sapporo Teine, Asari

or

Central Hokkaido where you can ski Furano, Tomamu, Sahoro, Kamui, Asahidake, Kurodake
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Mike Pow, is top for all the advice!

Just booked my air tickets and the first six day accomodation (early Feb) in Moiwa at The Lodge Moiwa 834, then the other 7 days in Otaru (accomodation not yet booked for this leg). All of the sudden it all starting to look so real (been contemplainting it for 3 years) and Feb is not that far away Smile a week in Champoluc in summer, possibly an early season week/weekend, a NY with family on a mountain and then two weeks in Japan snowHead

@Mike Pow, any advice on a good EN instructor for off piste in Moiwa/Niseko? I am good and confident piste skier, with limited off piste experience
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Mike Pow wrote:


Not as expensive as other companies which have been quoted, but you're paying a premium for being escorted. Presumably it is an escorted trip.



Don't think so - think it is just an idea as to a bespoke self drive itinerary.

Doing a quick scout of B&B lodges looks ambitious to get below Y7'500 per person per night (about £50) for basic unless you go bargain basement hostel. Does that sound about right? Take your point - I think you are saying there is more than enough in each area to keep you occupied for 2 weeks. I just thought at 3 hours Kiroro to Furano isn't that long a drive and in theory doable after a day skiing(weather permitting).
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It surprises me how expensive some of these organised Japan skiing trips are. Definitely much cheaper to DIY.

We rented a small car from Chitose for 11 days, 4WD with winter tyres and ski racks, all inclusive for £320. Came from Budget although booked through Tabirai which was much cheaper than direct. No advance payment or card details required. I don't think they will have their special winter deals available until much later in the year - we booked mid-November for mid-January. I did have to use google translate during the online booking process but it wasn't too much hassle.

http://www.tabirai.net/car/hokkaido/

The whole car hiring experience was amazing, much better service than so many places in Europe. No problem with English.

I think in terms of total cost we spent less than £1500 each for 11 days in Hokkaido and 3 in Tokyo. We only booked the first couple of nights, then moved around depending on weather and snow conditions, did a mix of touring and lift accessed. Otaru was a great last minute choice of base for the second week.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
mooney058 wrote:
@Mike Pow, is top for all the advice!

Just booked my air tickets and the first six day accomodation (early Feb) in Moiwa at The Lodge Moiwa 834, then the other 7 days in Otaru (accomodation not yet booked for this leg). All of the sudden it all starting to look so real (been contemplainting it for 3 years) and Feb is not that far away Smile a week in Champoluc in summer, possibly an early season week/weekend, a NY with family on a mountain and then two weeks in Japan snowHead

@Mike Pow, any advice on a good EN instructor for off piste in Moiwa/Niseko? I am good and confident piste skier, with limited off piste experience


Dates please?
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Arriving late on 3 Feb 2018 (landing at 19.40 in Chitose, then transfer to Moiwa), staying in Moiwa till 10 and from 11 tilll 17 in Otaru.

I guess I would need a day recover from a time difference and traveling so 4th Feb might be too early for lessons (would rather prefer an easy start) and then getting lessons on 5-6-7 Feb
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
Mike Pow wrote:


Not as expensive as other companies which have been quoted, but you're paying a premium for being escorted. Presumably it is an escorted trip.



Don't think so - think it is just an idea as to a bespoke self drive itinerary.

Doing a quick scout of B&B lodges looks ambitious to get below Y7'500 per person per night (about £50) for basic unless you go bargain basement hostel. Does that sound about right? Take your point - I think you are saying there is more than enough in each area to keep you occupied for 2 weeks. I just thought at 3 hours Kiroro to Furano isn't that long a drive and in theory doable after a day skiing(weather permitting).


That's a lot of money then for some travel advice. Free here Wink

Yep that's about right. Can get cheaper out of resort e.g. Otaru

Whilst google maps may well show Kiroro to Furano as 3 hrs, the reality in winter is it could take up to 5 hrs.

If you don't have much experience of winter driving then I would start early in the day and try to get an afternoon of skiing at Furano or call it quits at lunch at Kiroro then drive to Furano. I wouldn't ski all day then head to Furano in the dark.
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mooney058 wrote:
Arriving late on 3 Feb 2018 (landing at 19.40 in Chitose, then transfer to Moiwa), staying in Moiwa till 10 and from 11 tilll 17 in Otaru.

I guess I would need a day recover from a time difference and traveling so 4th Feb might be too early for lessons (would rather prefer an easy start) and then getting lessons on 5-6-7 Feb


Looking at 2hr, half-day, full-day?

Will put feelers out and get back to you.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Thanks Mike that's the kind of practical intel I was looking for on drive times. Having done the drives between resorts in Canada at night I know how a short hop turns into a blizzard epic behind the plough on occasion.

Having got into the idea I found it interesting that you can get a half board international style hotel with Onsen/spa on the Southwest side of Sapporo for less than the price of a basic B&B in Niseko. Guess that's ordinary resort economics. Any tips on the wisdom of avoiding Chinese New Year crowds wise?
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
Thanks Mike that's the kind of practical intel I was looking for on drive times. Having done the drives between resorts in Canada at night I know how a short hop turns into a blizzard epic behind the plough on occasion.

Having got into the idea I found it interesting that you can get a half board international style hotel with Onsen/spa on the Southwest side of Sapporo for less than the price of a basic B&B in Niseko. Guess that's ordinary resort economics. Any tips on the wisdom of avoiding Chinese New Year crowds wise?


My pleasure.

Yep, supply and demand re: accommodation. And mountain aesthetic.

Avoid Niseko United, Tomamu and Sahoro. The latter two owned by Chinese companies.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Mike Pow wrote:
mooney058 wrote:
Arriving late on 3 Feb 2018 (landing at 19.40 in Chitose, then transfer to Moiwa), staying in Moiwa till 10 and from 11 tilll 17 in Otaru.

I guess I would need a day recover from a time difference and traveling so 4th Feb might be too early for lessons (would rather prefer an easy start) and then getting lessons on 5-6-7 Feb


Looking at 2hr, half-day, full-day?

Will put feelers out and get back to you.


Thinking 3 half-days would possibly work best, or two full days. Never flown that far, so not sure of how acclimatisation would go. But definitely want lessons at the beginning of the stay to benefit most from it.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
mooney058 wrote:
Mike Pow wrote:
mooney058 wrote:
Arriving late on 3 Feb 2018 (landing at 19.40 in Chitose, then transfer to Moiwa), staying in Moiwa till 10 and from 11 tilll 17 in Otaru.

I guess I would need a day recover from a time difference and traveling so 4th Feb might be too early for lessons (would rather prefer an easy start) and then getting lessons on 5-6-7 Feb


Looking at 2hr, half-day, full-day?

Will put feelers out and get back to you.


Thinking 3 half-days would possibly work best, or two full days. Never flown that far, so not sure of how acclimatisation would go. But definitely want lessons at the beginning of the stay to benefit most from it.


Roger that. Will get back to you
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
Don't know if the dadmin way of organising things is particularly compatible with a formal bash in that part of the world - part of the fun for me would be doing a bit of driving around and "discovering" places for myself. Plus with airfare being a major element we might want to get that locked down well ahead of the usual confirmed timing. But maybe we could get some Desperado Outlaw Nippon nonbash going.


I've done lots of travel, but mostly in countries with the Roman alphabet. Things get tricky when you can't read the words e.g., cyrillic. Although it's reassuring to read it's possible, I'd start to get nervous about DIY when you can't make sense of anything that's written (or spoken obviously). In this regard, a Snowheads Japan bash would be very temping.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Dave of the Marmottes' quasi-semi-plan is not dissimilar to the Japlan executed by Sharkymark, Harrison the Rabbit and myself last year.

We did [apparently] do a full day at Kiroro then drive to Furano. I tended to let the others monopolise any argument over the satnav on the basis that '2 was enough' and sat in the back to meditate upon other important matters such as fish, on the assumption that someone would need to at some point.
Apart from being a bit cold in the back of the car, the journey was fine. Upon arrival at Furano, we checked into an oddly quiet hotel
Like the sort of thing the Scoobydoo gang might find themselves in... if they went skiing in Japan
and after showers to warm-up, were able to get out in adequate time to find and acquire appropriate quantities of fish.

Certainly it was easier to get bargain hotel rooms (with some quite excellent breakfasts) in and around Saporro. By far the toughest place to get a deal was Niseko. Breakfasts were something of a lucky dip, we found. They ranged from sweet rolls and shredded vegetables to buffet extravaganzas with extra fish.
In Furano our hotel offered no breakfast at all but we were tipped off re a hotel who would give you full buffet access for, I think, Y7000 - it was worth it anyway.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Themasterpiece, please read my comment earlier.
In Hokkaido all the road signage is in Japanese and Roman script.
Your rental car will have a multi-lingual sat-nav, and destinations are input using their phone numbers.
It is 100% simple, no stress at all.
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@Themasterpiece, a Snowheads bash is not a TO holiday. For a start, they don't include travel, rather, you get yourself to a specific accommodation. People help each other out with stuff and get together to hire cars etc, but it's not like you'd have a Japanese/English speaking rep organising all your travel.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Has anyone skied in Myoko? How does it compare to Hokkaido?
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@Gämsbock, I know. I was on the PSB.
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@Themasterpiece, sorry! Don't follow why you want a bash to handle the language element of travel in that case, but nevermind Happy
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
It's fair to say @Gämsbock, that Sharky and the Rabbit benefited greatly from my ability to say various fish names in Japanese Wink
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That said, I in turn benefited by not having to grapple with the Jap-nav - team-work, see? Wink.
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@admin, I can see that I will be the one attempting to pronounce the fish names whilst the @SnowPenguin will e phaffing with the sat nav Happy
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In that case:
Ebi Tempura = prawns in crispy batter.
There's a head-start for you Wink
I can't offer any help with the Jap-nav though so he's on his own...
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@admin, that is not even a fish! snowHead
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@mooney058, next you will be telling us a whale is not a fish either.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Well if we're going to be pedantic about it...
I recommend Toro Nigiri = The melt-in-the-mouth fatty underbelly of the tuna, served on a little bit of rice (utterly sublime)

Oh, now I've gone and made myself hungry Confused
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
admin wrote:
Well if we're going to be pedantic about it...
I recommend Toro Nigiri = The melt-in-the-mouth fatty underbelly of the tuna, served on a little bit of rice (utterly sublime)

Oh, now I've gone and made myself hungry Confused


Toro Nigiri - check! Bookmarked Michelin star sushi bar in Otaru Smile
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
SnowPenguin wrote:
@mooney058, next you will be telling us a whale is not a fish either.


Good one Smile

Edit question: sea lion, a fish or a feline?


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Tue 9-05-17 21:06; edited 1 time in total
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously, this is not a foodstuff that is/should be stored for any length of time so season matters.
Fortunately for us, the Tuna put on extra fat in the Winter so that's when Toro is at its best.
'Otoro' is the ultimate delicacy (and is rarely available outside Japan) while 'Chutoro' is next best and is what we tend to get in London if we ask for 'Toro'.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Ha-ha-ha - I just called my local Japanese and they have Toro in tonight! I'm off to pick up a mini-takeaway. See what you've done! Toofy Grin
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@admin, bon appetit!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Is this the place you bookmarked?

http://youtube.com/v/E9oefYLMxRs
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admin wrote:
Is this the place you bookmarked?

http://youtube.com/v/E9oefYLMxRs


No, it is a different one - http://www.isezushi.com

But the one above is bookmarked now as well Smile
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
As if I needed any more convincing that Otaru is a good base. Turns out it's not all about the Bavarian-themed beer halls in 19th century canal warehouses after all... Cool
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I can recommend Harvest Guesthouse for Otaru if anyone wants a cheap but nice Japanese-style B&B (with Western and Japanese style rooms)
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@musehead, thanks, it is on my list already for Otaru. I will be travelling solo so would prefer to stay closer to the bus/train station, as I gather Harvest Guesthouse is best with a car? Looking at Dormy Inn and Smile Hotel in Otaru as a base.
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@mooney058, it's only around 15 minutes walk from the centre but yeah Harvest GH probably serves best as a base if you have a car, as otherwise there's the added hassle of getting to the bus/train station with your ski equipment each day.
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