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Japan DIY

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@HTL, we've booked guides and accommodation, but are still sorting out flights. The online search sites still show flights between £700 ad £800 return from Manchester routing through various Eurohubs.

@Mike Pow, in relation to flights, I understand that there will be more released in October. In your experience is it better to wait for them to come out, or is around £800 return as good as it gets?

Cheers
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Skyscanner is showing Manchester to Sapporo (CTS) out on 04Feb18, back on 15Feb18 for

£561
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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?
https://www.skyscanner.net/transport/flights/man/cts/180204/180215/airfares-from-manchester-to-sapporo-chitose-in-february-2018.html?adults=1&children=0&adultsv2=1&childrenv2=&infants=0&cabinclass=economy&rtn=1&preferdirects=false&outboundaltsenabled=false&inboundaltsenabled=false&ref=home#details/13880-1802041015--32184-2-10783-1802051555|10783-1802150845--32317-2-13880-1802151700
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That's gone already but the £565 option is available
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I used dial a flight for ours. £899 with 1 night hotel in tokyo. LHR to NRT via HKG then onto CTS the following day. Return CTS to LHR via HKG with Cathay. Flights without the tokyo stop were £601 with Cathay. BA and others were more and rtn flights were way too early.
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Thanks Mike. Good prices, but the transfer to Hakuba will be a bitch wink

I can see flights to Narita with headline prices from £538, but the extra cost of shipping skis bumps that to around £720.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Mosha Marc, Use this website http://www.hyperdia.com to check out train connections to Nagano then you can get the hourly bus to Hakuba. They can be very quick if you get the SHINKANSEN (bullet train). Depending on you flight times there are some trains direct to Hakuba but they are not that frequent. If you put MATSUMOTO in the "Pass 1" box in the search parameters you will find some of the direct options. The SHINKANSEN to Nagano then the bus is quite a bit faster than other options.
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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!
Hi all,

Snowheads rookie here. I am planning a trip to Niseko, and this will be my first trip to Japan. My flights are booked, and I land at CTS at 9:30 PM on Friday, 19-Jan-2018. I have two questions related to my arrival:

1. Is it possible to get a private car / or even a bus, to the Niseko area at 11:00 PM on a Friday night? If no, then I will stay the night at CTS on Friday.
2. If I have to leave the next morning, Saturday, is it realistic to be able to drive to Niseko in the morning and still be able to ski on Saturday?

I don't want to wait until Sunday to get my first day in when I land Friday night, and I think that cost / stress of renting a car makes that not a viable option.

Thanks!
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"・Arrival Pick up Service: 07:30 - 22:30 /Niseko Pick up Service: 4:00-19:00 (No surcharges for early or late night transfers)

Opening hours of New Chitose Airport Terminal:【Domestic】Open 6:20 / Close 23:00 【International】Open 6:30 / Close 22:30 When it is closed, you cannot have a rest in the lobby, thanks for understanding.

・In case of delay of bad weather or aircraft equipment malfunction: There is no (Waiting Charges )additional charge

・Change arrival place due to heavy snow or bad weather: An expense may be caused. We recommend Guests take out travel insurance to cover against cancellations from delayed or cancelled flights.

・Charges apply to any amendments made to bookings already confirmed."

Quoted from sky station private transfers. You might just miss it but still have a word with them and see what they say. Transfer takes 2.5 hrs so yes you could get on the slopes by Saturday arvo if leaving Sat morning.
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Thank you! I just sent Sky Station Transfer an inquiry. I will let you know what I find out.

- LRME
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
There's a hotel in the airport
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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.
@Mike Pow, got my accommodation sorted (first week in Moiwa, second in Otaru Hotel Smile close to train/bus station). Started thinking about smaller issues. The two main ones are:

a) mobile phone/SIM card. Heard there are options of renting JPN SIM card. It is a prepaid card, right? Should I look for anything specific or just get the first I see. Is it possible to get it in Niseeko/Moiwa or better at the airport (my plane lands at 19.40 when I arrive, so I hope of catching late transfer to Niseko, not sure if there will be time of getting one at the airport.

b) electricity/adapters. I am coming from Belgium, so all my appliances will have a standard European plug. Is there a need for step-up/down converters? I have small heaters that I use for my boots (and it could be handy when staying in a non-skiing hotel in Otaru) that are EU standard 230V - better leave it at home or look for a step=up/down converter?

Appologies if the questions are stupid Smile
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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
SIM card in airport or Kutchan.

Haven't had a problem with voltage but you will need an adapter. It's the two prong straight in Japan.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
One thing we've found with booking flights for next season is that the luggage allowance that you get with airlines differs a lot. Japan air for example don't allow snow sports equipment as part of you baggage allowance they class it as oversize which comes with a additional cost. In the end we booked with Finn air who give you 2 X 23kg allowance one of which can be sports equipment.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
francium. wrote:
One thing we've found with booking flights for next season is that the luggage allowance that you get with airlines differs a lot. Japan air for example don't allow snow sports equipment as part of you baggage allowance they class it as oversize which comes with a additional cost. In the end we booked with Finn air who give you 2 X 23kg allowance one of which can be sports equipment.


info from airlines is rather confusing. I am flying with ANA and will just show-up with a single bag, Dakine Fall Line double, that is 203cm long and hope that it will be OK. It should be OK Smile
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I haven’t had any problems with length of bag as long as it comes under the weight allowance.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@mooney058, I'm doing 1 internal flight with ANA and from what I gather, we have to pay 1000yen for up to 32kgs. 2 bags are allowed but up to 20kgs normally. It also adds "First Class / Business Class / Economy Class (including Premium Economy)
A+B+C≦158 cm *Includes wheels and handle"
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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?
@mooney058, I'm flying With BA. Two pieces of hold baggage included in the fare one if which can be my snowboard bag. Also covers my connecting/internal flights with Aer Fungus and JAL.
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Gainz wrote:
@mooney058, I'm doing 1 internal flight with ANA and from what I gather, we have to pay 1000yen for up to 32kgs. 2 bags are allowed but up to 20kgs normally. It also adds "First Class / Business Class / Economy Class (including Premium Economy)
A+B+C≦158 cm *Includes wheels and handle"


In the section on sport equipment and musical instruments it says it should be OK if the item is no longer than X and if within allowed weight: https://www.ana.co.jp/wws/be/e/asw_common/prepare/baggage/?menu=instrument


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Fri 25-08-17 12:57; edited 1 time in total
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Yeah but the maximum size is 203cm that's total linear dimensions of the bag. Even a 166 board bag will be larger than 203.
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francium. wrote:
Yeah but the maximum size is 203cm that's total linear dimensions of the bag. Even a 166 board bag will be larger than 203.


On the link I provided it says linear dimensions up to 292. And then specific LENGTH limits by aircraft type (mostly for domestic flights).

I send an email to ANA to check just in case, will report back once I hear from them.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
francium. wrote:
One thing we've found with booking flights for next season is that the luggage allowance that you get with airlines differs a lot. Japan air for example don't allow snow sports equipment as part of you baggage allowance they class it as oversize which comes with a additional cost. In the end we booked with Finn air who give you 2 X 23kg allowance one of which can be sports equipment.


I've found just this; decent basic prices but ski carriage is expensive.

that makes Finnair VERY competitive; our group will be going with them. Thanks for the heads up Cool snowHead
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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!
Mosha Marc wrote:
francium. wrote:
One thing we've found with booking flights for next season is that the luggage allowance that you get with airlines differs a lot. Japan air for example don't allow snow sports equipment as part of you baggage allowance they class it as oversize which comes with a additional cost. In the end we booked with Finn air who give you 2 X 23kg allowance one of which can be sports equipment.


I've found just this; decent basic prices but ski carriage is expensive.

that makes Finnair VERY competitive; our group will be going with them. Thanks for the heads up Cool snowHead


Finnair is best in terms of price, service and planes - you might be lucky lucky and get to Japan with their brand new A350, which is much more comfortable than ANA's cramped dreamliners ....
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francium. wrote:
Yeah but the maximum size is 203cm that's total linear dimensions of the bag. Even a 166 board bag will be larger than 203.


This is what I got from ANA:

"Thank you for your email dated on August 24, 2017, regarding traveling with skis.

First, we sincerely appreciate your choice of ANA for your travel needs.

In response, ANA accepts skis as checked baggage, and they may be included in
free baggage allowance. An excess size fee is exempt for skis in a bag no greater
than 292 linear centimeters.

All the passengers arriving in Japan will go through immigration and customs
inspection. Please kindly pick up your baggage upon arrival at Narita and
re-check for your connecting flight. The domestic counter is adjacent to the
international arrival lobby.

Narita International Airport --- Floor Map
http://www.ana.co.jp/wws/us/e/asw_common/departure/airport/map.html?c=nrt

Thank you for contacting ANA, and we look forward to welcoming you aboard. "

snowHead game on
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@mooney058, That's us booked.

Manchester/Narita £522 with skis. Get in!

Cool snowHead
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
We've also got a nine day guide/transfer/accom/breakfast/lift pass deal. That's a guide for the full day every day.

Total trip cost at around £2,700 ish
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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.
Mosha Marc wrote:
We've also got a nine day guide/transfer/accom/breakfast/lift pass deal. That's a guide for the full day every day.

Total trip cost at around £2,700 ish


That is a very good deal
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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
Anyone getting worried about North Korea and it all kicking off just in time for the ski season Sad

Jan 19th is when I'm off rolling eyes
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Feb 2 for me and it does look worrisome... I now turn the news channels off so that my other half would not see it ... though still some time to go ....


Last edited by You know it makes sense. on Sun 3-09-17 13:23; edited 1 time in total
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I'm off on the 11th of Jan. The only thing that's going to stop me is the MRI I had done of my spine yesterday. Obvious exploding disc issue roughly 4 months from takeoff. Evil or Very Mad
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Weathercam wrote:
Anyone getting worried about North Korea and it all kicking off just in time for the ski season Sad

Jan 19th is when I'm off rolling eyes


Similar to the time 2-days post Fukushima when I flew to Hokkaido, if my mates are staying put - when they have the money & capability to leave Hokkaido - then I'll be flying out as planned 👍
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
It's definitely a concern but I'm not cancelling anything as yet. Arriving in Tokyo on the 21st Jan.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Arriving on the 26th! There will be much bitterness if this gets canned!
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BA sale now on also. £650 direct Heathrow to Tokyo with two bags....
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
For a limited time, joint Kiroro and Moiwa Season Pass on sale for JPY 55,000

https://www.kiroro.co.jp/buy-pass/
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Wow It's been a while but wanted to give my views on my trip to Niseko.

Well, it wasn't what I expected. Niseko itself is still developing so I felt it wasn't the finished article by any means. There were four of us sharing a 2 bed apartment at Full Circle and it was expensive for what we got tbh. The second bedroom was tiny and no wardrobe which is what we were trying to avoid, so the other 2 weren't very comfortable. I guess it was nice enough and the view from our living room was cool. This was only our second time self catering in 10 years of snowboarding together so it was a welcomed change. Japan Ski Experience took a back seat for our whole stay. In fact we heard nothing from them except for an email asking for our c/c details. No orientation, no welcome, nada! JapanSki were the agents 'on the ground' but they didn't offer anything much either so was quite disappointed with both of them. Maybe I was expecting too much but an email just to ask how we're getting on isn't much IMO. I'm not sure if a hotel would have been better value overall but they did seem really pricey when I was looking.

The Japanese food on the whole was good - no, great looking back at it. Not as good as in Tokyo but for a ski resort, blinding. We only ate gaijin food the once at Bigfoot and that sucked. I felt Niseko catered for Aussies and their tastes so it was a bit pants on the whole. I'm trying to be honest so no offense to any Aussies. It was all a bit backpackeresq. The Seicomart 'supermarket' was a massive disappointment. I mean they didn't even sell Japanese rice crackers wtf? I loved the doorstop bread slices which was my brekkie everyday with either 'cheese' if you can call it that, the odd poached egg, or peanut butter/ jam (jam was not good).

Being in Japan I expected more traditional Japanese dining like small cantinas and noodle bars etc like in Tokyo. Unfortunately, not to be but the restaurants were good. The best being Fujizushi and the one under the souvenir shop. The prices were crazy for basically noodles, rice and broth but (from what I've been told) it's reasonable compared to other cities. We also went to Kabuki 1 and 2 on separate nights and the Teppanyaki cook it yourself was the pick of the meals we had. In Kabuki 2 the chef cooked the food in front of you but I found the food average and incredibly expensive (I think we paid 8000yen each) for a small wagyu steak and potatoes with veg. Included was some entree dishes but I wasn't impressed - I've had better steak at Denny's!

The mountain food was good, more of the same but seemed more reasonable on the hill. The all you can eat sushi at the Hilton is a must. The chef was a legend and though we didn't understand everything was spoke about we had a laugh. Shame there wasn't a view to go with the excellent sushi. The bars were nice and the Japanese whisky, awesome. The Buddha Bar was probably our favourite and the Hakushu single malt my personal fave. We went over to Tamashii's, Wild Bills, Taproom, some Irish Bar (lame), and one or two others that I've forgotten about that weren't that good. There's little or no après in Niseko. The bars get busy late in the night (apparently).

The only onsen I went to was Yukoro. The first visit the water was too hot for me so only lasted 20 mins but the second visit was much better and stayed for around 40 mins. TIP: get in and out before 3pm when the masses pile in.

Ok it's time to discuss the snow. Unfortunately, we had arrived in between two weather fronts. After dumping down with snow 2 weeks prior to our arrival, the day we went on the hill, we had near whiteout conditions and gale force winds to deal with. I was boarding uphill for a bit, I kid you not!

I was so effed off (I woke up to Spurs losing to Juve too) we rode until about 11:30 and then headed back to the ranch. TBH it took me a few days to get into it and I wasn't a happy camper. I couldn't really sleep properly and though my body clock was ok, I felt restless and tired at the same time. We only managed a few hours a day as the weather was so bad. There was no snow left but luckily the weather cleared up and our booked day trip to Mt Weiss went ahead. What an amazing day, thanks for the tip! We laid down fresh tracks on almost every run and though it wasn't deep it was just what I needed. There were 5 in the group but only 1 of my friends came with me and as Mt Weiss is a deserted old ski resort, no one else. The cat took us up and we came down - fast! Half day was £185 but was only 3 runs less than the full day package and nearly half the price. This was their recommendation as the weather wasn't guaranteed so we had 6 great runs. This was finished off by a lovely lunch at Hanzono included in the price. That Sunday night, the snow came and Monday was the best of the days so far. We rode around the Hirafu area and we couldn't believe the difference which such a light snow fall. The tree riding was just incredible. You really feel like a pro bombing through them. They're just perfectly set to ride through at speed and without nearly killing yourself like in north America. Awesome day and another nice lunch at King Bell Hut.

So by the next day, the snow disappeared and the mist returned but we carried on riding until at least lunch but by Wednesday the rain set in. We did manage a couple of hours in the morning and had lunch in Boyo-so where I had the Katsu curry which was the tastiest of the trip. We spent the afternoons playing gonga (Cypriot rummy) and drinking whisky (Nikka pure malt). TIP: take playing cards with you. By Friday though, cabin fever struck and I had scribbled "no snow and no play makes Gainz a dull something something..." all over the apartment walls and ceilings.

Well, I woke up from that nightmare luckily, to a fresh dump of snow on Friday morning and an awesome day on the mountain. The snow was so dry that it just stuck together. It's even better than Utah's snow but my snowboard needed another wax as it was getting sticky. This was our last day and decided to stay out until night when it closed at 8:30 pm. You haven't night skied until you've done it in Niseko - it's mental. The few skiers and boarders were happy to just bomb around even off-piste on their own. An excellent 12 hours of boarding. We had a couple of beers in Tamashii's after and went home to pack. The check out was easy with no dramas. The journey back to Sapporo was 2.5 hours and we stopped at a supermarket half way through the journey. Now that's a supermarket and what I was expecting in NIseko.

The two souvenir shops in Niseko were pretty poor but we bought a few items there notably stickers. The souvenirs in the Hilton were in fact cheaper and better IMV, but wait till you get to Sapporo airport (int'l terminal) as we found all we wanted there. Also buy booze at the pharmacy supermarket as it was insanely expensive at the airport.

So, by the Thursday I couldn't wait to get home but after that Friday, I'm now planning a return to Japan. Even though the flight is long - 4.5hrs to Hong Kong, 4.5hrs stopover and then a 12 hour flight back to LHR, I'll do it again but with better planning and shorter flights, I'd probably look at going to Hakuba and spend a couple of nights in Tenjindaira and/ or Nozawa Onsen. Thanks all for the help and seriously, it's been 3 weeks since I've been back and I can't stop thinking about Japan. Loved it!
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Which dates were you there please?
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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!
Read back and saw it was 5-17 March.

You were very unlucky with the weather and variety of conditions.

FYI Hakuba was as bad if not worse during your stay.

But like many who haven't had the stellar experience they were anticipating / expecting, travelling all the way to SW Hokkaido and only skiing Niseko United is prone to disappointment.

During your visit other resorts in SW Hokkaido had better conditions, powder and no rain. And less people skiing it. And cheaper lift passes.

I've said it many times on snowheads and at the London Ski Show, use Niseko Hirafu or Otaru as your base and travel to the best conditions each day.


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Wed 11-04-18 10:14; edited 2 times in total
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You didn't look too hard re: dining options.

Plenty of smaller, Japanese run izakayas, ramen and noodle restaurants all over Hirafu - above and below the main road 343.

Enishi is on the other side of the lights from Fujisushi (above Niseko Pizza) and you could have dined there a couple of times and had different things each time.

At a fraction of the cost you paid elsewhere.

¥8,000 per head for Kabuki Shocked You were fleeced.

And Kutchan is a short, free bus ride away and is full of the great value for money, authentic, great tasting restaurants you were looking for. Especially if you were only riding half-days.

Glad to read that you enjoyed your overall experience.

But if you are to return I respectfully suggest you

1. work out what you want from your holiday

2. read back through this thread and the many others on Japan

3. start a new thread with very speciic questions


If you read back through this thread, my recommendation to stay in Otaru stands. You'll experience a very different and cheaper Hokkaido.
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@Mike Pow, believe me we did look hard. We walked everywhere and checked online. We did eat at Enishi, that was nice actually. Wanted to go to Kutchan but were too lazy to go tbh. We did find a small cafe place which was 'cheaper' but the food wasn't good. One of us got the Eartha Kitts there.

A lot of nearby resorts like Moiwa, Rusutsu, Kiroro had little snow and our guided day was cancelled because of it. Also our original 2 day HBC catski didn't go ahead either. Looking back it was disappointing that we didn't get the full stellar experience but we're stil talking about it now and planning our return. I was recommended Hakuba Cortina as the place to ride great pow but stay in Happo One or Goryu. I'll look more into Otaru but where would you ride there? Thanks again.
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