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Japan (again, I'm afraid)

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I've had a search but it's not really helped.

A question not about bottomless powder! My son is doing the third year of his Japanese degree at Waseda University in Tokyo and has holiday that will coincide with and run either side of me being in Taipei for a week. A plan is coming together to have week skiing either before or after the week in Taipei. Dates around 10-17 or 23-30 March. Slightly late season I guess.

Two questions: which week (the earlier one better I suppose) and where? We are both competent piste skiers (me 8/9 on the Inside Out scale and him 7/Cool we both crash a fair bit in deep snow! Would be happy to fly up to Hokkaido (return flights around £100) but equally could stick with the main island. Really looking for good piste conditions with a bit of mucking around in the deep stuff. No ambitions for serious off-piste or touring. We'll have our own boots but looking to hire skis.

My Japanese is non-existent but his, while not totally fluent, is good and we would have no trouble with DIY (him translating, me paying!).

Suggestions and recommendations welcome. Mike Pow are you out there?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Mar 10-17.

Niseko.
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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?
If you are piste skiers there is no reason to go to Hokkaido - Shiga-kogen is a possibility, high and large but might not be challenging enough.

https://www.shigakogen-ski.com/en/

And as you have Japanese skills no problem.

For the more cultural experience Nozawa-onsen - no Japanese needed there!

http://nozawakanko.jp/english/

http://www.nozawaski.com/en/

And accommodation your son can find on the Japanese Rakuten

https://travel.rakuten.co.jp/?scid=wi_grp_gmx_trv_ich_top_grptab1

Timing - the earlier the better, but both ok. https://www.nozawaholidays.com/march-is-magic-in-nozawa-onsen/
http://www.powderhounds.com/Japan/Honshu/Nozawa-Onsen/Ski-Season.aspx

(Shiga is much higher)

(Mike might still be gass-sking the Brecon Beacons) Toofy Grin . Don't know where he will be based this winter? Kiroro? Or something new?


know that one well from Japan: "(him (her) translating, me paying!)" Laughing
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You need to Login to know who's really who.
March can still be, and often is, still mid-Winter on Hokkaido.

Deep snowpack, no Spring melt, everything open, 3-4 snow events per week.

Can also be dry and sunny, but still no real freeze thaw cycle.

Niseko would be the obvious answer, but with your language skills then Furano ciuld be a better option.

Great piste skiing, amazing views, more Japanese feel.

If you rent a car the driving is easy at that time of the season and that puts Tomamu, Kamui, Pippu, Mt Racey and Sahoro in the mix.

As Hyst wrote though, plenty on Honshu.

Nozawa Onsen, Hakuba Valley, Myoko & Arai, Shiga Kogen.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@DJL, this is from our trip a few years back

https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=73205
https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=1937004&highlight=zao#1937004

Zao was amazing a truly Japanese experience, and twinning it with Shiga Kogen meant we got the snow monsters and snow monkeys.
Lodge Scole is Zao is still going , Mao the lady that runs it was at the Ski Show
Bersa room in Shiga Kogan is no more, it has a different name now and I believe run by different people.


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Sun 25-11-18 9:25; edited 1 time in total
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
@DJL,
why pick a resort now?
just go to tokyo and see what teh weather's doing at the time, but yeah earlier in March is better.
The shinkansen and local trains will get you anywhere quick even Hokkaido and your son can see what deals are around, plenty of resources on Tokyo for that. I had a great time in a storm at Appi Kogen that missed Niseko, but then snow like wet concrete in Zao Onsen so it all depends on teh weather! snowHead
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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 all and I take your point@dbeatski. Yes, we don't need it all booked up now just looking for pointers on where we could be looking at. Sounds like Hokkaido by no means vital.
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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!
@DJL, you need to think about train travel, the Japan Rail pass can only be bought outside of Japan
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Sorry I will miss you, probably heading back to Europe as you fly in!

I would stick with Honshu,

as others have said, earlier rather than later

Nozawa, Shiga, Miyoko/Arai, Hakkuba Valley and Zao.

Car would be the way to go flexibility wise, go where the snow is.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
I agree with @dbeatski, all depends on the weather. March '18 was very dry.....stats published on Snow Japan show the main resorts with very little snowfall...Hakuba 17cm, Shiga 18cm, Nozawa 5cm, Niseko better with 49cm. All of those areas however had enough snow accumulated for skiing into May. I would encourage your son to join one of Waseda's many ski clubs/circles and if you send him some more cash he can visit different areas with his clubmates before you arrive wink A car would be very useful if you stay on Honshu....though you may be doing all the driving unless son has an international licence. You could take the Shinkansen (or bus) from Tokyo to Nagano and hire a car there. Enjoy!
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Just revisiting now plans are firm.

The later week I’m afraid so arrive Tokyo Friday 22 March with Mrs DJL and head for somewhere snowy (I hope) on Sunday 24 once we’ve despatched her off to Heathrow.

Planning to ski Monday 25-Thursday 28 then back to Tokyo for Friday and fly home Saturday morning (me) and start term Monday (him)

Thinking of getting the JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area) https://www.jreast.co.jp/e/eastpass_n/index.html and heading to Hakuba. Will the snow last (crystal ball moment)?

Any suggestions on where to stay? I’ve seen Snowlines Lodge Hakuba recommended on another thread and at a bit under £100 a night it would work. Likewise recommendations for ski hire (we'll have boots)
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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.
Bump - anyone got an idea on where to stay?
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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
Just go up to Yuzawa. Quick shink from Tokyo and plenty of hotels there. Bus around to the local resorts. Or with an international driving permit rent a car (Toyota depot walking distance from echigo Yuzawa station) head up to kagura, naeba or further afield. All will have great pisted runs, soft snow, sunshine etc etc. Your sons nihongo will help with getting around and general info. Local only March!!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@MagSeven, Thanks for that - sounds very promising and only 1h15m from Ueno (which is handy for both Tokyo airports). I'll have a look at the local resorts and make sure they are still operating 25-28 March!

Is there a central resource for the buses? Presumably in Japanese so a task for my son once his exams are over!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Both Kagura (end of May) and Naeba (end of march)will still be in full swing. Depending on the conditions, if you just want a quick hit of relatively steep yo yo laps. Kandatsu Kogen is 5 min away(From Echigo Yuzawa) . Another one even nearer is Yuzawa Kogen/Gala/Ischiuchi both places are open till the end of March. Sorry the Cat (We are based out of Naeba) closes at the end of Feb.
If you do go to Ischiuchi I recommend http://www.hiiragirestaurant.com/ for lunch.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I went to hakuba last year on honshu in March.. found the area good though not as good lift infrastructure as big Euro resorts.. there was plenty snow though wasn't deep powder as people speak about, I think you need to go in January or Feb for that possibly.. my wife is japanese and it was very helpful having a japanese speaker there as I'm like you not being able to speak japanese.. from what I hear the Hokkaido (niseko i think) resorts are more English speaking friendly with Aussies, I've never been there but if be worries about it not being an authentic japanese experience, but like I say I've not been there...

Edit to add, I used jr pass from tokyo to nagano city then a bus to the resort. I can't remember the train as I fell asleep but the bus was from same station as the train in nagano and was fairly quick and easy. Then we took a taxi (there were plenty) to our hotel.. when we left we took a train from hakuba to Nagoya..
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