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How to get the best out of Japan

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hello snowheads!
For our honeymoon, my wife and I are becoming more and more set on a big trip to Japan! But where to head for? Neither of us have been before and it is probably a one shot deal, We would like to see the place while we are over and are thinking up to 2 weeks there in January, taking in the citys and the mountains Madeye-Smiley
Since it seems that lots of small resorts are the norm would alternating city days and mountain days be feasible? Both have all our own kit - but wheather to bring the skis all that way? Ability wise, noting phases either of us and we like exploring!
City wise we would like to see Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima - but I guess those three are the ones that spring immediately to mind rather than a definite list!

Or should we head straight to Hokkaido and forget being tourists? wink wink
Many Thanks
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Aftermaths, we did two ski resorts, Shiga Kogen and Zao, spent three days in Tokyo, this is the thread of when we went, http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=73205&highlight=, we took our own gear including skis, do the skiing first the ship your skis to Tokyo Airpot and pick them up when your ready to check in for your return flight.

There are lots of resorts on the main island, we chose ours based wanting a Japanese experience, Zao was amazing not may Australians, Canadians or Brits, Shiga Kogen was for the ski area and the snow monkeys, we took our skis and bags on the train. There is also Hakuba and Happo One.

Its straight forward to take the train from Tokyo to Kyoto and to Hiroshima, we did it on a summer holiday, look at the different rail passes, there are different rail companies and there are a variety of different options. The Japan tourist board are very helpful https://www.seejapan.co.uk.and publish a ski guide

You will need two days in Kyoto, with Hiroshima depends on what you want to do want to take in Miyajima then at least two days, you might want to think about Osaka and Himeji Castle which is between Hiroshima and Kyoto. We did Nagasaki as well but that might be a bit too far.

Back to the skiing we did four nights in Zao and five nights in Shiga Kogen and three nights Tokyo

Hope that helps
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Won't go wrong with the above
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My pal lives in Sapporo, has been there about nearly 20 years now and he still spends a lot of time snowboarding every winter, the pics and clips of powder in the trees make it look very good -eg -


Him and his ski buds usually head for Rusutsu, Sapporo kokusai and Sapporo Teine amongst other spots. Niseko gets skied up too quickly after fresh snow in his opinion so he now avoids.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Quote:

You will need two days in Kyoto, with Hiroshima depends on what you want to do want to take in Miyajima then at least two days, you might want to think about Osaka and Himeji Castle which is between Hiroshima and Kyoto. We did Nagasaki as well but that might be a bit too far.

Nagoya, Kobe are both on the way and worth stopping also...

When I mix skiing and sightseeing, I bring my boots but not skis. It's easy enough to hire skis. Reduce the hassle factor considerable compare to bringing one's own skis.
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Had a recent work trip to West Japan.... Kyoto Osaka and Hiroshima are all fantastic cities and easily connected using the Shinkansen.

I can't recommend a visit to Hiroshima highly enough. It is a proud vibrant city but a day spent around the Dome and Atomic Museum is a day well spent... If a little chilling at times.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Klammertime wrote:
My pal lives in Sapporo, has been there about nearly 20 years now and he still spends a lot of time snowboarding every winter, the pics and clips of powder in the trees make it look very good -eg -


Him and his ski buds usually head for Rusutsu, Sapporo kokusai and Sapporo Teine amongst other spots. Niseko gets skied up too quickly after fresh snow in his opinion so he now avoids.


I wonder who your mate is, we probably knew him - we lived close to Sapporo for 5 years and were regularly at the local mountains. I’d agree, we usually would head to Teine, Rusutsu and a few other spots. Niseko was a very rare visit - great terrain but a lot of people racing for lines compared to other quieter hills.
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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!
@Aftermaths, what a fantastic honeymoon that will be!

Like all big trips, the temptation may be to try to cram in too much in the 14 days available.

All the cities mentioned above are well worth seeing. But personally I’d limit it to 3 or maximum 4. Kyoto and Tokyo are musts I think. Which other(s) may depend on whether you expect or hope to return again in future.

If so, I’d head somewhere northish, en route to the mountains, eg Nagoya. Leave the southern cities for another trip.

Otherwise, if a one off trip, then Hiroshima would be a good choice.

As others have said, Zao Onsen is well worth a day or two. Other ski areas depend on how far north you want to travel.
snowHead
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We did exactly this for our honeymoon!! Happy

I can't remember the exact itinerary as it was 3 years ago, but basically we did 3 days in Tokyo on the way out, which was ace for a non-city-loving-person like me! Loved it, but it was long enough in one go. Then internal flight to Hokkaido and a couple of days skiing in Furano. Poor conditions as it had rained top to bottom 2 days before we arrived. Pistes were still in great condition though. Good pistes and quickly filled in. Then joined an 11 day trip with Black Diamond tours - we went all over Hokkaido chasing the best conditions and got some great snow and visited some ace places. Loads of onsens and quieter resorts (and plenty of touring). Also a couple of nights in Sapporo which I really liked and plenty of options within an hour each morning. Can't recommend it highly enough as such microclimates in Japan and needs some knowledge to get best conditions on any given day.

We finished with a couple of days skiing in Niseko which was a massive, massive anti-climax after the 11 days at quieter, very-Japanese resorts!

Then a couple a few days doing Kyoto and Hiroshima (don't miss - amazing place! Proud and vibrant as above, but you've got to take in the atomic museum. Chilling).

Took us 3 weeks and wouldn't like to try and squeeze skiing plus sightseeing into 2 weeks - very consistent snow, but like anywhere, you could easily have ropey conditions for a week...

BTW - we used internal shipping company to get our skis from Tokyo airport to our accommodation in Furano (and then back from Niseko direct to Tokyo airport) - really common in Japan and saved dragging skis around Tokyo!
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Also did Japan for honeymoon Very Happy

My advice : get the snow search Japan book.
Essential reading.

No need to go up to Hokkaido for deep powder.
The resorts around Nagano on Honshu (Main island) get almost as much snow and are bigger mountains.
Can fly into Tokyo, spend a few days being a tourist, then get bullet train to the alps.
Plenty to see and do off the slopes : hot springs, snow monkeys, temples.
The skiing is fantastic but its worth checking out some culture too.

https://wordery.com/snow-search-japan-stubbs-9780954801434?currency=GBP&gtrck=eXNFaVE0UEtEeXJFYkZSQzBvMjZWd2Nmdjcwd25NVkVmcVRrQUpLY0F3SmVzeG5TSGg1cm1Fc1lKM095VEl0aU1WR2pNNGZDQ3FvU2k0OC8zRmVjOFE9PQ&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIuK3G9KnK3QIVYhbTCh3PRwjgEAkYASABEgKUFfD_BwE

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@Aftermaths, We're doing a Japan honeymoon this year over Xmas and New year. We opted for 2 days in Tokyo, then off to Hokkaido, staying 5 nights in Niseko and 7 in Otaru. We have a car and will aim to go wherever the snow is best. On down days we'll go and see places, visit breweries etc. We've weighted towards hokkaido as its a better bet for the early season, and we felt like we had barely scratched the surface on our first trip in Jan 17, so I can't speak for Honshu. We also opted for this plan as I don't think I would be very pleasant to be around if we missed the snow because we spent too much time sightseeing. If you're going all that way it'd be good to have enough time in the mountains to guarantee good conditions.

The whole place is so overwhelming, right from the minute you get off the plane that you'll have a blast wherever you go.

And if you're like us and everyone else I know who's been, you'll go back.
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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.
Tokyo = yes, but not as good as it once was.
Kyoto = no, bit dull.
Hiroshima = yes, to see where the Japs got their butts kicked.

Skiing:
1. Nozawa Onsen (hot springs).
2. Hakuba Cortina (powda).
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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
Thanks everyone for the suggestions, we are really looking forward to it now! Current thinking is we will stick with the main island if the conditions allow and hop around resorts Very Happy
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
My 2 yen, 3 nights Tokyo is a must. Was one of the best parts of our recent trip. Niseko isn't an attractive resort at all and well just a bit lame. Was looking into Hakuba which looked miles better (esp, for a honeymoon type trip) I haven't been but seemed much nicer imv. Sapporro was a bit meh. The bagagge transport company takes 3 days to transfer your ski bags so 3 nights Tokyo is a minimum. We only did 2 nights but wished we done 3. It was awesome.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Hakuba looks like Niseko 10 years ago.

And not in a Kyoto way.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Aftermaths, I thought Nozawa Onsen was a good visit, it's quite a pretty traditional style Japanese town although with lots of foreign tourists and some Western bars etc. Makes a change from the ugly concrete constructions in many Japanese resorts. Lots of small onsens dotted around the town that you can use for free. They make good use of the natural hot spring water to melt the snow on roads/driveways etc. Found a good value pension in the centre with tatami matts + futon bedding etc.

The skiing there was also good although a little annoying about the off piste restrictions. Several other resorts within driving distance, and some other good onsens within driving distance too.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Whitegold wrote:
Tokyo = yes, but not as good as it once was.
Kyoto = no, bit dull.
Hiroshima = yes, to see where the Japs got their butts kicked.

Skiing:
1. Nozawa Onsen (hot springs).
2. Hakuba Cortina (powda).


You seem to be the most terrible man in the World.
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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?
Hyst wrote:

You seem to be the most terrible man in the World.


Agreed. I’ve got Whitegold blocked/muted but he still manages to pollute my Snowheads experience. I wish he would be banned.

The rest of this thread is ace; I’m bookmarking it for 2020.
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Just has this email in from a guide we used in the Niseko area - whilst not a UIAGM guide (there's only a few UIAGM guides) he's lived there a long time and was used to do a lot of the FatMap guides for the area.

I was really impressed with his demeanor / attitude & knowledge; more here http://stylealtitude.com/a-week-skiing-in-niseko.html and if visiting and need a guide he's well worth it.

I'm in Argentina chasing winter until early November, when I head to the U.S. to take some avalanche and guiding courses, then return to Japan in mid December. I'm reaching out to say hey, and see if you are thinking of coming back to the Niseko area or the Hokkaido island this winter. I still have a bunch of availability in February and would love to ski with you and Elaine again if theres a chance for it.

If nothing else, feel free to give my email to friends that may be headed to Japan this winter.


zpaley@gmail.com
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Maireadoconnor wrote:
Hyst wrote:

You seem to be the most terrible man in the World.


Agreed. I’ve got Whitegold blocked/muted but he still manages to pollute my Snowheads experience. I wish he would be banned.



+1

Probably the most tasteless things I've ever read on this forum.

Hiroshima is a must visit because it is a beautiful, vibrant city with a chilling and very poignant past. I challenge anyone not to be touched by a visit there. I guarantee you will not be hooping and high-fiving about "how the Japs got their butts kicked" if you visit rolling eyes


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Mon 24-09-18 16:10; edited 1 time in total
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Perhaps "Whitegold" would like to visit East London, where thousands of innocent men, women and children lost their lives / homes. Awesome Shocked
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@Dashed, Hiroshima is not on Hokkaido.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Zermattandchips wrote:
Perhaps "Whitegold" would like to visit East London, where thousands of innocent men, women and children lost their lives / homes. Awesome Shocked


You do know that East London is a city in South Africa. I am not aware of any atrocity happening there. Why would they they want a visit from whitegold?
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abc wrote:
@Dashed, Hiroshima is not on Hokkaido.


Ooops - good point! Forgot we did it "on the way back" after visiting Hokkaido...
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Hi. We did a 14 day trip to Japan last year. Awesome! However our emphasis was on skiing with a bit of sightseeing. So our trip was, fly to Tokyo, skip our ski gear to Furano. Bought a japan wide train ticket for 7 days and took the bullet train to Kyoto. We did 3 days there, which was not enough to everything, so we had to be very selective about which sights to visit, but I think we managed a good balance. We stayed in the most fantastic traditional Yutone (Kyokoyado Yasaka) which is walking distance from nearly everything! And the breakfasts were just amazing, highly recommended. We then trained down to Osaka for a day, flew to Sapporo for the snow festival (which was great but not quite what I imagined). We then took the train to Furano and joined Whiteroom tours for a two city off piste ski trip. The value for money on this trip is exceptional, the hotel in Furano is small and semi traditional, with lovely hosts and each day we were picked up by our guide, taken to a different resort and just skied and skied. The second city was Otaru down on the coast, here the hotel was a more modern affair but centrally situated overlooking the bay and within walking of the tradition center of town. Trips out to Onsens were included and a cultural trip to a temple, chocolate factory and a whisky factory. We then flew to Tokyo and delayed our flight home to spend some time sightseeing. So our 14 days I think was extended to 16 using the weekends to stretch it out.

This was meant to be our one any only trip, so lets cram in as much as possible and it worked. Perhaps too well, we’re going back this season but for 3 weeks!!!

Whilst our itinerary may not be your idea of perfect, I list it just for your information as to what is possible in a 2 week trip.

Whatever you eventually decide to do, have a wonderful honeymoon and I wish you all the best. My husband and I are still on our honeymoon; and we’ve been married 15 years. I wish you the same. Xx
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What @Suzi snowflake, says sounds a good model. Pack carefully and at Tokyo airport use Black Cat or a similiar company to get your ski bag sent direct to your ski hotel to await your arrival. Go to Kyoto for the temples first via Skinkanzen of course and get over any jet lag. TBH I'm a bit templed out now, I actually find the gardens more interesting but Kyoto has some of the best.

Organised trip for the skiing will help you get more out of it and there are lots of scheduled flights to Hokkaido so you don't have to lose two days to flying there and back. Personally I thought Shiga Kogen (mainland) was OK but short top to bottom. I've been to Rusutsu twice (few westerners) and Niseko (busy and a lot of westerners) and for me Rusutsu has been what I think of as the Japow experience but if there were no kiddwinks, I'd do what Suzi describes.
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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.
Hyst wrote:

You seem to be the most terrible man in the World.


Dashed wrote:
+1

Probably the most tasteless things I've ever read on this forum.

Hiroshima is a must visit because it is a beautiful, vibrant city with a chilling and very poignant past. I challenge anyone not to be touched by a visit there. I guarantee you will not be hooping and high-fiving about "how the Japs got their butts kicked" if you visit rolling eyes


Lol.

Here come the virtue-signaling handwringers...

Japan voluntarily attacked nearly all of its Asian neighbors in the 1930s / 1940s, humiliated the Brits in Singapore and ended the British Empire, committed heinous atrocities and experiments in China and elsewhere that were as sickening as anything the Germans did to the Jews and others, allied itself with Nazi Germany, and launched a surprise assault on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor.

America saved you and the world from the Japanese maniacs.

Do not start a war, if you do not like how it ends Wink
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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
I do think you should look just a little bit at European history.

Does this colonial police justify to get a A-bome down on London?

Your are a poor man and I pitty you.

"Yes, were the good people" (the winner takes it all one could sing here)

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/worst-atrocities-british-empire-amritsar-boer-war-concentration-camp-mau-mau-a6821756.html
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Whitegold, Disgusting comment on Hiroshima.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Mike Pow wrote:
Hakuba looks like Niseko 10 years ago.

And not in a Kyoto way.


Must be pretty bad then!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Whitegold, so because of that we can gloat over the horrible deaths of over 100 000 innocent civilians? Get back under your bridge.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Hyst wrote:
I do think you should look just a little bit at European history.

Does this colonial police justify to get a A-bome down on London?

I don't get the obsession with the A-bomb. London WAS bombed mercilessly by the Nazi! They didn't think twice on "testing" their V1 and V2 missiles on the population of London either.

War is a nasty business. Both sides had committed their share of atrocity. The thinking of that period was "to bomb the population into submission". "Bomber Harry" had unleashed thousands of bombers over all of German. And the reserve was true of the bombing of London too. Now, we understand more about it and realized it never worked.

An A-bomb, for the military leaders at the time, was just another bomb. Sure, we now know better, that the A-bomb isn't "just another bomb". But that's hindsight which they didn't have then.

Granted, this is a thread drift that really doesn't belong.
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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?
Agreed.
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Please everyone this tread is meant to be about a couples honeymoon, a happy holiday of a lifetime.. can we please get back on topic and give them some sound advise and wish them well.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Gainz wrote:
Mike Pow wrote:
Hakuba looks like Niseko 10 years ago.

And not in a Kyoto way.


Must be pretty bad then!


I was very surprised how underdeveloped and dated it looked.

Especially as it hosted an Olympics Games.
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Don’t feed the troll. The old saying about wrestling a pig comes in here. You just get covered in shite and the pig loves it.

Whitegold has been around a long time. He’s not going to give up being a twonk.
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