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Japan Honshu 2018

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Recommendations please for a 2 week 2 centre trip to the main island for Jan/Feb next year.
Priorities are snow record, resorts where off piste is not banned, reasonable amount of vertical, and not excessive travel distance for the mid holiday transfer between the 2 bases so that ideally car hire is not required.
Many thanks in advance.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Hakuba-possibly stay in Happo Ones and bus to Cortina each day (30-40 mins or about 20 mins in a taxi)-or stay at Cortina in the rather mad Hotel Green Plaza (like an alien's idea 1980's tudorbethan mega hotel). There is nothing else at Hakuba cortina but the Hotel, but the skiing is epic in the trees and the link over to Norikura makes it more interesting. It has about 13m of snow on ave per year. Hakuba itself has a "mere" 11m or so I think.
Bear in mid that Aussie Christmas/Summer Hols run to the end of Jan, so you want to try and avoid that if you can.

Then maybe for a more classic destination head to Myoko or Nozawa Onsen.

It's easy to book a shared taxi from Tokyo airport to Hakuba (takes about 4 hours).You can find the link on the Hakuba website.

You can get bus transfers from Hakuba over to the other resorts via Nagano run by a Kiwi based in Hakuba. https://naganosnowshuttle.com. We did it (or tried to) 3 years ago, but such was the crazy snow storm encountered we never got to Myoko, so our kindly kiwi transfer guy drove us back to Hakuba via a cool sushi restaurant.
I'd love to go to Nozawa-supposed to be VERY Japanese. I think Myoko is on the railway line which feeds into Nagano. You can certainly get a bullet train from Nagano back to Tokyo-takes about 90 mins. Nagano is just an hour by bus from Hakuba.

Most flights back to the Uk require you to be in Tokyo the night before, which, as I said in another post recently, is quite a fun stopover anyway. It's then just an hour by train or airport bus in the morning.
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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?
Take a flight north to Akita, and try Tazawako. It's still a bit of a secret (despite being the hub of Japanese mogul skiing), and gets a lot of snow with almost no-one skiing offpiste (no restrictions on it either) and no competition for fresh tracks.

I wrote up my trip there here: http://www.fall-line.co.uk/skiing-tazawako-akita-japan/
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@clarky999, looks great. Is there anywhere nearby to go afterwards for a 2 centre trip?
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
There are a couple of other resorts in the area that I didn't get to. If you have good weather the cat operation is supposed to be pretty good up above treeline too.

I'd hit one of the bigger well known resorts (Hakkuba etc), then either fly or shinkansen to Akita. The flight from Akita back to Tokyo was only 30-40 minutes and I understand goes pretty regularly, so ties in easily for the trip back home.
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If you're up in Akita, then you've done the hard work getting to northern Honshu. You could stay in that area and go to Hakkoda in Aomori. Or a bit further down to the Fukushima ski areas like Inawashiro and Alts.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Thanks for the tips.

@clarky999, to get to Tazawako from e.g. Hakuba would it be necessary to travel back into Tokyo then out again?

@MagSeven, we've visited Hakkoda on our last visit, loved it and would not be at all adverse to going back but our preference is to try new places.

Yuzawa looks like it's easily accessible from Tazawako - only 1hr 20mins train. Any opinions on the resorts around there e.g. Kagura? How bad is the powder stress for the Yuzawa resorts, given their easy access from Tokyo? I see that one has a shinkansen station built into its gondola base station!

edit: just realised there are 2 yuzawas and I was looking at the wrong one doh Sad
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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!
If you don't want big transfers I'd go with Perty's idea for Hukuba then maybe Nozawa or Myoko Kogen. 10 different mountains in the Hakuba area and 4 or 5 near Myoko Kogen. And lots and lots of snow.
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@Sarge McSarge, thanks, which hills in those areas are the best to visit to maximise the snow quality/quantity and off piste permissibility to powder stress ratio? Cortina sounds good, but does everyone head there on a powder day?
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Re transfers, we don't mind a long one at the start and end of the holiday, but it's the travelling between our bases in the middle of the trip which ideally should be no more than about 2 hours, so we don't have to use up a skiing day.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Plenty of good powder available in Iwatake and Tsugaike when everybody is off to Happo One or Cortina. With the number of powder days you are bound it some great snow. I'll be in Hakuba for the last week of Jan and first week of Feb so if that's where you end up we could catch up.
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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.
ECHO that.

Loved Tsugaiake and Iwatake
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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
@Mike Pow, any problems with off-piste permissibility in the Hakuba areas?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
None that I experienced.

Tsugaiake has a lecture and sign out policy.

Takes about 30 mins. Definitely recommended. Great tree terrain and access to sidecountry.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Nozawa Onsen mentioned above is a really nice resort and a pretty town but off-piste is not allowed (bar a couple of unpisted runs and an unpisted area around the top lifts). The good off piste is all strictly out of bounds, although some people duck the ropes.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Mike Pow, how does that work at Tsugaiake if there on a day trip? Do you make yourself known to the authorities when buying your lift pass on arrival in the morning, then you receive the briefing? If it's a blue sky powder day are you at risk of the best areas being tracked whilst you sit in a lecture room...?
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@musehead, thanks that's worth knowing, NO off the list then unfortunately.
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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?
hd wrote:
@Mike Pow, how does that work at Tsugaiake if there on a day trip? Do you make yourself known to the authorities when buying your lift pass on arrival in the morning, then you receive the briefing? If it's a blue sky powder day are you at risk of the best areas being tracked whilst you sit in a lecture room...?


You buy your day pass at the bottom gondola station, take it up, and then ski down to the restaurant a couple of hundred metres below the top gondola station.

Upstairs in the restaurant they have a backcountry registration process and lecture. At the end you get the armband that says you're good to go through the exit gates.

No lecture, no armband, no access.

http://tsugaikepowder.com/en/

On the day I went with my mate Ian, we skied fresh laps in the trees all morning and could have continued to do so all day but went to Iwatake in the afternoon to check it out. Had a very limited time there.

Backstory

http://snowaction.com.au/hakuba-opens-tsugaike-backcountry/
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