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Japan 2011- info

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  Quote B-rad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Japan 2011- info
    Posted: Aug/03/2010 at 5:53pm
hey all.
 
Im about to start the process of planning my next powder trip- this time Japan is the destination of choice. i have never been to japan so any shout outs on where to go, what to do and see would be great! will be over there just before newyears and staying for about a month. i know this is fairly early season but i hear they still get good dumps then...right?  pretty keen to ride a few different mountains so reconmendations would be much appreciated.

cheers, Brad.
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/03/2010 at 6:49pm
The natural place to send you is hokkaido. best snow in japan period, and youll have way more chance of getting puked on :)

But because its your first time in japan, man, you cant do it without going to tokyo, osaka and kyoto. If you just went for the snowboarding youd be a fool to yourself.

Tokyo is MUST SEE because its, well, tokyo. And it really will blow your mind.
Kyoto you need to see at least once just because Kiyomizudera is stunning.
And Osaka is the best city in japan bar none.

Because of this, youre best bet is to sit in and around nagano.

You will have access to the following very awesome places:

Nozawa
Hakuba
Myoko
Shiga Kogen

Ive ridden all but shiga (shiga is about 32 resorts and you really need your own transport to make the most of it).

Of those nozawa is my absolute favourite. Its genuinely a beautiful mountain to ride, the atmosphere of the place is sedate and tranquil and well, its the most japanesey place in japan for riding :) I only had two days there, and on both days it rained and it was still one of the highlights of last year. Its breathtaking.

Hakuba is really the international zone of choice for nagano. If you want all yoru mod cons, some great after parties, and just a fun time, then set up camp at echoland near happo1.

At hakuba you can ride:

Goryu/47: mainly boarders, and has a pretty decent park. Fun courses too, i should have stressed that a bit more. Great for a couple of days or more if youre a bit of a park rat.
Happo1: the official mens downhill course for the nagano winter olympics - skier focused, a bit moguley but on a dump youll love it! Plenty of long courses and the biggest resort in the area.
Cortina: If it dumps in the night, GO HERE. I got sick to the back teeth of people telling me how it was there top 3 rides ever :) for two years ive failed to make it there and it rankles me something fierce.
Iwatake: never ridden it, gets good dumps apparently though.
Tsugaike: hate that place but some people like it (though christ knows why). Still, i went there on a whiteout and one of the biggest dumps last year (because i had to, my mates could only get the tour bus from hama to tsugaike cause everyone wants the other places).
and finally not really part of hakuba resort area, but just one 3 minute stop away on the train:
Yanaba: Not huge and really just a park, but has night boarding so if you want to just rail jam or play on some boxes because you got up late, it beats the crap out of hakuba and happos nighta's.

To get to hakuba from tokyo, just get the shinkansen (bullet train) from tokyo, to nagano. Then at nagano theres a bus at the back side of the station that leaves for hakuba - it costs around 1500yen if i remember right, and takes about an hour. All in, travel time is about 3 hours from tokyo.

To get to hakuba from nagoya is MUCH easier. Hop on a ltd express train to matsumoto, then hop on a train from matsumoto to hakuba JR (if youre staying at echoland/happo1) or kamishiro (if youre staying at goryu).

So i guess that leaves myoko.

Myoko has 4 main zones:

Ikenotaira, Seki, Suginohara, and akakan/akakura onsen.

Seki is a little bit out of the way, but its the place for powder. It probably has the heaviest dumps in japan outside of hokkaido. It is however kinda small, but dont let that stop you blasting it.
Akakan/akakura onsen is really two resorts that cant decide if theyre going to join up or not. The onsen area is lame though so youll probably just end up sticking around akakan. Akakan is a kind of third rate happo1 if im honest. It offers some nice long runs, but the terrain isnt that spectacular and most of is skier friendly.
Ikenotaira is remodelling itself as a park/family resort. It used to be a kind of meh place, but they seem to be pumping a lot of cash into it. It has 1 really long and super wide course thats great for beginners and families. But it also has lots of little park things shooting off on the other parts of the zone. Its also the central place for myoko nighta events and jams. Its also INCREDIBLY cheap for a season ticket there. I think it was 20,000yen two years ago, which is SICK for what you get. Book early with mates and i think it goes as low as 12,000 :)
Finally, the jewel in teh crown is Suginohara.

Two years ago i had a season pass at myoko and honestly suginohara when it dumps is just beautiful. It has some draw backs (public transport being a massive one - one bus in at 8.58 and one bus out at 4.05), its also a bit falt when you get towards the base, but its got the longest ride in japan and it just feels so peaceful riding it. Youll never be in a queue for a chair longer than two minutes, youll have acres of space when you do ride, and youll honestly adore every minute.

And heres the thing i havent mentioned about myoko.

There is tape. There are boundaries, but NO ONE gives a crap if you go out of bounds or play in the trees. It also has places for hiking and playing in. Again, the policy is, you go out of bounds and we have to rescue you, youll be paying through the nose for it, but otherwise, have a nice day!

Myoko is well worth a visit. Unlike hakuba and nozawa its totally uncrowded, the lifties are all grizzly shochu guzzling weater beaten 60 year olds. The place looks ugly as hell like youre stepping into an 80s time warp, and it reeks of the collapse of the bubble economy, but the lifts are top notch (fast and long), the slopes are beautifully maintained, the powder is epic, and the scenery is spectacular. Honestly, i wouldnt stay there longer than maybe a week, but if you can, make sure to drop in. And dont underestimate how much freedom you have :) Its awesome!

Oh, and i should really mention this: I decided about two hours into my first day riding on suginohara to buy my season ticket for myoko instead of hakuba. It was that epic. Another nice thing is that early january they dont usually have the cross course up, so theres just this massive expanse of powder building up at the side of the main course that only die hard powder monkeys play in. I love japan! the majority of people there are suspicious as hell about powder, especially if it has some red poles (but no tape) marking it as not part of the main course :)
In hakuba, head off piste and youll get your pass lifted (not just if youre unlucky, unless EVERYONE I KNOW is unlucky). Youll find that most people love pow and it will be tracked unless youre on the first chair (or thereabouts), its also mayhem on a weekend or public holiday. In myoko, you'll get none of this. Free pow, freeride, and a tonne of free space.


Anyway, myoko is also easy to get to:

Train from nagoya or tokyo to nagano. Then train from nagano (8.12 if i remember), to myoko.

At the train station, you come out, turn right and theres teh visitors centre, and the buses you need. The 8.58 bus goes to ikenotaira and suginohara, whilst the 9am bus heads to akakan.   

As for shiga kogen, i cant tell you much, but its kinda easy to get to.

Head to nagano, at nagano train station come out the front entrance (the side that looks like an actual city), and turn right towards the convenience store - i think its a 7/11 but cant be sure. Youll see some stairs going down. Thats the red line. It takes you all the way to shiga kogen. When you pass suzaka give it a wave cause thats where i used to live :)

Anyways, hope this all helps :)
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/03/2010 at 6:55pm
another alternative i guess is to land in tokyo, spend a few days there, soak it all up, then get a flight to hokkaido. The nice thing is that you can get a really cheap flight if you come from out of the country. You also have sapporo to play in, which though not as good as osaka will definitely be fun for you.

This page has nore info:

cheap flight to hokkaido from tokyo
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  Quote da640 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/05/2010 at 4:14am
Hey ippollite,

thats some really good info. I have been looking to go to Japan in January 2011 and have never been there before. Have you ever been to Japan to the snow by yourself?? do you know of any good places in Hakuba to stay and meet people ? besides the obvious backpackers. i really want to go as i have heaps of time off in January but all my usual mates i go on snow trips with are working then. I have been travelling alone before but never a snow trip.
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  Quote sharpmeadow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/05/2010 at 4:28am
Hay guys,

are there any info on workin in Japan for the 2011 season or 2012 season. I'd do most jobs as long as I can ride. I'd love to tech snowboarding or be a guide. Love meeting people =)

Also I know a bit of Japanese. (Used to study engineering at Osaka University)
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  Quote WD-40 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/05/2010 at 5:42am
Great info on Japan, Ippollite...BTW I'll be going to Japan for 10 days, as well. We planing to stay in Hakuba for 7 days of the trip and 3 days in Tokyo in early March '11...can't wait to see what madness we'll find there.   A buddy of mine always organizes the year's ski/riding excursion &  40 of us are going to this one (the yr before we hit up St. Moritz & Corvatsch & Livigno for 8 days)...I'm expecting it all goes well & I get ride some Japan POW & see some snow monkeys tooo.
 
& good luck on orginizing your plans B-rad.
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  Quote dr86 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/05/2010 at 8:06am
a site that offers work in japan is boobooski.com . they get u to work longer hours than other resorts in the US and Canada though
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/05/2010 at 4:53pm
I usually stay in goryu, theres plenty of accommodation around and almost all of it is international freindly.

I usually have to stay there on my own though because most of my mates dont have the time or interest in snowboarding. So yeah, im pretty experienced at hitting mountains all by my self /crycry :'(

The two places i mainly stay at are:

1. Hakuba Alps backpackers.
Its definitely the hub of the area. its also run by troy and sakiko, two of the nicest people. Its no frills stuff, and off peak can feel a bit empty if youre at the backpackers. HOWEVER, if youre in a group i STRONGLY recommend you ask for accommodation above tracks bar (they own it). The general policy they have in peak season is that young people stay at tracks and families or longer term stayers kip at the alps backpackers (for obvious reasons, tracks can get noisy).

Its dirt cheap, nice people, in the centre of goryu (if youre tracks side) and next to the best onsen in goryu if youre at the alps side, and definitely worth a look in.

Tracks Bar

22200-7,Kamishiro,Hakuba,Kita-azumi gun
Nagano,Japan 399-9211

Ph: : +81(0)261 75 4366

090-9668-7865(Troy)
090-1914-6231(sakiko)
e-mail: troy@tracksbar.com

http://www.hakubabackpackers.com/

2. K's house.

Ks house is a chain of hostels (i think it has 1 in tokyo, 1 in osaka and 1 in kyoto so if youre looking to move around a bit, this might give you some connections). Its spectacularly well maintained, and the staff are ZOMG helpful.
Its definitely a different vibe and a bit less boisterous than tracks and a bit less foreigner intense. Theres a nice mix of japanese and international, the rooms are varied. Theres no meals or anything, but the kitchen is fantastic and the rest of the amenities are solid.

Backpackers Hostel K's House Hakuba Alps
22201-36 Kamishiro, Hakuba-mura, Kitaazumi-gun,
Nagano, Japan  399-9211
TEL +81-261-75-4445 FAX +81-261-75-4448
email :hakuba@kshouse.jp

http://kshouse.jp/hakuba-e/

One thing to note is that Ks dont like large groups (possibly because theyre disruptive and take over the place which can have an impact on their business whereas tracks freaking love that stuff :) As i say, different vibes :)

--------------------------------------------------

Outside of these two i dont really know, just never had reason to deviate from either of them. Still, just check here and youll see hundreds of places for whatever your budget is:

Hakuba listings from snow japan
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  Quote da640 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/05/2010 at 6:57pm
cheers,

thats really good info, thanks. Ill look into those two accomdation places, they sound good.
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  Quote sharpmeadow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/06/2010 at 1:57am
Originally posted by dr86

a site that offers work in japan is boobooski.com . they get u to work longer hours than other resorts in the US and Canada though

Ah man I applied only to notice that I'm not eligible, cause I have a Swedish citizenship. How the F can the danish be eligible but not us.

Anyway that sucked. Thank you for the reply and the link though. I wonder if there is another way to go about it than a working holiday visa.?

Any ideas?
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  Quote bugsbunnymydad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/06/2010 at 3:42am
^^

I don't think so dude. I live here and there are 27 types of residence visas but for the majority of people, most of those aren't gonna apply. Working holiday visas would be your best bet as it doesn't require a 4 year college/university degree. And all visas which allow paid work requires a company, school, university, or an individual to sponsor you.

You could come on a tourist visa(valid 3 months usually but some nationalities can get 6 months+) and work under the table but that obviously has its own risks. Your employer could totally screw you and make you work longer hours and pay you less or not pay you at all and there's nothing you can do legally.

Coming on a tourist visa and finding work is doable but not really recommended. Changing to a work visa from a tourist visa is a big hassle and takes a lot of time for both you and your employer. It would actually be easier for an employer to hire someone from overseas than a person living in Japan on a tourist visa.

Edit - I saw you speak some Japanese. If you are fluent in English and Japanese, you will have ZERO problems finding a nice job in Japan. And just look around online for resort jobs as the season gets closer, you're gonna have a heads up on the other hundred foreign applicants if you speak some Japanese. Apply early though... visas take a long time to process. The employer has to do a lot of paperwork.

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  Quote imwazn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/06/2010 at 4:41am
eat sushi.
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  Quote Shadowrak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/06/2010 at 4:47am
If you try to see Tokyo it will take you days. When I went there I spent 3 days just exploring one district. You will need to decide if you want to go snowboarding and hit bars, or if you want to actually see all of the tourist activities.
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  Quote fini Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/06/2010 at 5:58am
Thanks for the extensive info ippolite, my brother and I are planning to go to Japan in 2011 as well.
I've copied and pasted all that you wrote so i won't lose it... lol
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  Quote mech9t5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/06/2010 at 6:17am
wow. that's cool...  I am thinking of going next feb/march too.  

I'm worried about the cost though.  I am thinking Niseko but accommodations are expensive.
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/06/2010 at 6:47am
let me add to it since i just reviewed myoko:

5 reasons why hakuba is better than Myoko:

1. Happo1 is far better than Akakan, just as 47 has a much better park than Ikenotaira.
2. Happo has mcdonalds, goryu has subway, you can also get much more international cuisine at echoland. Myoko is pretty much kare-raisu and tonkatsu.
3. Hakuba has more interesting terrain and more stuff to do all over.
4. Hakuba has the best Apres ski outside of Niseko. It probably also has better apres ski than niseko.
5. It's WAY more international friendly than myoko. You might actually find accommodation without having to get your japanese speaking mate to find hostels on rakuten.

5 reasons why Myoko is better than Hakuba:

1. No crowds. Massive open runs to you and a few other people.
2. No lift queues. Enjoy your time at happo when they shut down all but the bottom lifts and those 10 minute lifts (plus 15 minute queues) lead to a one minute ride, tops. why yes, this did in fact happen to me! Also enjoy the bottleneck at line c on goryu. Thats always a great queue in teh middle of the day. This is in fact my pet hate about hakuba. On suginohara youll go from the bottom to the top in 2 or 3 high speed lifts (depending where you are), and then get 8.4kms of trail to play in.
3. Enjoy the pow at myoko, because its a rare spawn at hakuba. I know i know, i exaggerate, but hakuba pow is GARBAGE compared to myoko pow. Hakuba does get a few good dumps, but myoko gets more. And because people kinda avoid it if its not part of the main course, enjoy the masses of fluffy stuff completely untracked.Unless you get up in the morning, hakuba pow is tracked to crap (except cortina, but no one goes there. I claim cortina in the name of myoko though! Its too good for hakuba).
4. Also fancy nipping in the trees, under that rope, or out back, but are worried about your lift pass getting pulled? Dont worry man, they dont care at myoko. At hakuba they'll hunt you down like a dog though!
5. Suginohara is as awesome as it is jaw droppingly pretty.
6. Myoko as a whole, is ridiculously cheap.
7. You can do it all by train and a shuttle bus. No fidgeting with booking buses.
8. The day some bright spark connects all three resorts with some lifts will be the day that myoko will bury hakuba.
9. It just is. Hakuba is hackneyed crap.
10. Its all just my opinion, relax :) Hakuba is fun, i just think myoko feels less dirty and clammy and less like you need to scrub yoruself with razor wire to get that hakuba 'ick' off you. Oh, and you can see monkeys in suginohara.

5 reasons why Nozawa is better than both of them

1. Nozawa is beautiful. theres no real other way to describe it.
2. Nozawa is also the most serene ride youll get in nagano. As such these two things combined take sugnohara out of the running.
3. Its also one of the most challenging rides, and has easily the BEST terrain of all of the mountains (so thats happo's main selling point gone).
4. The skyline course has one of the best optical illusions ive seen on a skifield. Its also one of the most exhilarating runs ive ever done. If you like bombing, and you LOVE the idea of bombing a pretty steep run with drops either side and small room for error, then the skyline is going to blow your mind.
5. Its owned 100% by the community who have lived there for generations. They look after every part of the mountain.

Basically if you put happo1 together with suginohara youd get something close to nozawa. But it still wouldnt be as pretty as nozawa i reckons.

5 reason nozawa sucks (nozawa couldnt suck if it tried)

1. Its park is meh... even for me its meh.
2. Theres a few flat bits that destroy the continuity of the mountain.
3. Of the three it arguably receives the worst of the pow. Its also usually the last to open.
4. accommodation can be a wee bit of a pain in teh ass.
5. How i wish there was just a nice proper full on sento instead of all these tiny onsens. I mean i like the idea of lots of free onsen, but practically speaking, when you walk in to one and see every inch of water taken up by loads of naked guys, and with other guys huddled around the side of it as well, it feels a little... intimate... for my taste. :)

truth be told, my order of interest is this:

Nozawa > Suginohara (only because of the genuine (unpaid for tour guided) BC options is it second) > Happo1 (you might hate it as a boarder, but you have to appreciate it has some of the best and most diverse terrain in the entire area, it also has great paid BC tours through evergreen sports based in echoland) > Goryu/47 > Seki > Akakan > Cortina (only after a night time puking) > ikenotaira > > > > > Akakura Onsen > > > > > > > > tsuagaike.

Dunno about iwatake and seki and cortina both have rave reviews for roughly the same reason, but both are small and outside of the pow theres not much else to do. Seki takes it though because its pow is HUGE.
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  Quote B-rad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/09/2010 at 4:29pm
ippollite this information is priceless! you have no idea how helpfull and gratefull i am for it. big ups to you!

after briefly reading what you have said (i will read in more detail at a later date) i think the plan will be to stay in Tokyo for atleast 4-5 days and see all we can in that time then head to Hakuba- ride there for a week or two then head to Nazowa (i would like to be in nazowa for the fire festival on the 15th Jan- read some reviews and it sounds pretty intense, would be a good experience i think)
http://www.snowjapan.com/e/features/features-75.html
i will look into the accommodation options you listed as the tracks bar sounds like the go for us as there will be  between 7-11 people in our group

thanks again for all the information!
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/09/2010 at 4:56pm
kk, but tracks situates you in goryu (but its the centre of all life and party party in goryu). This puts you at goryu/47 for your base camp, which has the nice park at 47 (and goryu/47 is great fun for a few days). There are shuttle buses running between echoland (the main party place in hakuba) and escal plaza (the bit next to the gondola at goryu), but they do stop around 10ish, so if you want to make a full on night of it youll be getting a taxi home. I think it was about 30 bucks(US) or so but between 4 of you aint that bad. And on days when you cant be assed for a big one, youll be staying right above a bar in the centre of goryu social life :) Cant say better than that :)
If it does dump the previous day though, get your ass to cortina (dont try and go if its been dumping all night though - the trains and buses tend to shut down if theres a foot or two of snow - at least they did the day i tried to get to tsugaike).

Nozawa during the firefestival is MUST SEE, so this is a very very wise choice. Expect it to be very busy, so you better start booking right now or else you will end up a bit disappointed.

If youre having a spot of trouble though, near nozawa is a much lesser well known resort called togari onsen. It was the first resort i ever went to in japan and where i learned to link my first turn :) I could see nozawa and it was beautiful. I dont know about transport or anything, but its DIRT CHEAP (i think theres even a foreigner discount amazingly if you show your passport), and it would definitely do as a backup if you want to be in the area but cant find accommodation at nozawa.

As for nozawa, I remember staying at this place called the apple inn or something. It was cheap, beautifully clean and tidy and the staff were sooooooo kind, they were a bit "wtf? gaijin?" but set us up and i think also had discount lift tickets on sale.

I always want to say about japanese hostels for primarily japanese clientelle that you should be a bit more quiet, but something always stops me. I think its because they are MONSTER noisy first thing in the morning :) Things tend to quiet down after 10pm, but from 6am, its all fair game :) Bear that always in mind on your hostel picks. :)
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/09/2010 at 5:34pm
wow. that's cool... I am thinking of going next feb/march too.

I'm worried about the cost though. I am thinking Niseko but accommodations are expensive.


I remember there were two hostels doing backpacker type stuff at niseko. Both of them were REALLY cheap. I think i was paying 3000 a night for a short stay, if youre in for a month or thereabouts it drops to about 2500yen. The one i stayed in was called ramble.

The other place i was recommended was mellow. I went there to check it out but there were only cleaining people at the time and i was pretty desperate to find accommodation at the time so couldnt spare the time to pop back. Someone said they only speak japanese, but well, theyre cheap and its all basics so its not like youll need too much communication :)

you might find this useful too:

Niseko and hirafu trail and Hirafu village map

Mellow you can find near the ace family pair lift.
Ramble is on the street to the right after australia house (momiji zaka).

heres the ramble site on rakuten. At least it has the phone number. theres a few people there with semi decent english so its bookable:

ramble at rakuten

heres a phonetic way of asking if they speak english :)

"soomi-massen. Aiy go ga wah kari mass kah?"

There you go, if they break into english, you know they said yes :)

If youre using google chrome you should get an automatic translation from japanese to english so you get some kind of info.

Alas, the VERY BEST prices are on rakuten for accommodation, so if youre feeling adventurous, this might give you more options than straight backpacker stuff:

Rakuten niseko
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  Quote mech9t5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/12/2010 at 6:43am
That's good info.  I'll book mark those sites and see if I can find some people who can read japanese!  lol.  Otherwise, I will try to muddle through with google translator...
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  Quote TROLL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/12/2010 at 2:22pm
hey i planned this earlier this year. I went in late feb ex sydney to niseko 7 days at niseko and 2 day stop over in tokyo. Flights, transfers and accomodation + lift pass it was just under 2700.

I used a ski specialist
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  Quote humdingaling Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/12/2010 at 3:25pm

If your looking for gear in tokyo, go see down Yasukuni street. Basically all the sports stores are down this street.

Since there isnt many stores and range in Australia, was like a kid in a candy store LOL

Access
• 9 minutes walk from B2 exits of Ochanomizu station JR Line,Refer to a separate sheet for details of Tokyo~Ochanomizu (JR)
•6 minutes walk from B2 exit of the Shin Ochanomizu station of Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line, Refer to a separate sheet for Tokyo~Shin-Ochanomizu 8 minutes walk from Jinbo-Cho station of Hanzoumon Line,efer to a separate sheet for details of Tokyo~ Jinbocho, and 6 minutes walk from B5 exit from Ogawa-Cho station of Toei Sybway Shinjuku Line.Refer to a separate sheet for details of Tokyo~Ogawacho.
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/12/2010 at 3:53pm
Oooh! good to know! Just went stuff shopping in nagano, so never bothered with tokyo.

On the issue of tokyo...
if you head to harajuku, and walk to omotesando (big department store in the area), and cross the street and nip around some back alleys, youll also find the burton store. Also at the top of the main street omotesando is on (going up the hill towards the big park), youll find a volcom store :) Worth popping in. Theres also a few others around there, but i forget what brands :)

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  Quote mech9t5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/13/2010 at 4:39am
Originally posted by TROLL

hey i planned this earlier this year. I went in late feb ex sydney to niseko 7 days at niseko and 2 day stop over in tokyo. Flights, transfers and accomodation + lift pass it was just under 2700.

I used a ski specialist

i am planning late feb/early march too...  what's the best time for powder? 
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  Quote rythymstick Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/13/2010 at 5:16am
Late Jan / early Feb is generally the best time for powder in Nagano.

I'd agree with Ippolite re Nozawa and Myoko Kogen. I'd also add in Madarao Kogen for a couple of days.
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  Quote mech9t5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/15/2010 at 2:58am
Originally posted by rythymstick

Late Jan / early Feb is generally the best time for powder in Nagano.

I'd agree with Ippolite re Nozawa and Myoko Kogen. I'd also add in Madarao Kogen for a couple of days.

i probably won't be able to go that early.  Maybe I'll try mid feb and try my luck
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  Quote sharpmeadow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/16/2010 at 6:06am
Originally posted by bugsbunnymydad

^^

I don't think so dude. I live here and there are 27 types of residence visas but for the majority of people, most of those aren't gonna apply. Working holiday visas would be your best bet as it doesn't require a 4 year college/university degree. And all visas which allow paid work requires a company, school, university, or an individual to sponsor you.

You could come on a tourist visa(valid 3 months usually but some nationalities can get 6 months+) and work under the table but that obviously has its own risks. Your employer could totally screw you and make you work longer hours and pay you less or not pay you at all and there's nothing you can do legally.

Coming on a tourist visa and finding work is doable but not really recommended. Changing to a work visa from a tourist visa is a big hassle and takes a lot of time for both you and your employer. It would actually be easier for an employer to hire someone from overseas than a person living in Japan on a tourist visa.

Edit - I saw you speak some Japanese. If you are fluent in English and Japanese, you will have ZERO problems finding a nice job in Japan. And just look around online for resort jobs as the season gets closer, you're gonna have a heads up on the other hundred foreign applicants if you speak some Japanese. Apply early though... visas take a long time to process. The employer has to do a lot of paperwork.


Yeah I'm just wondering if there is a good way to go about it. I'm almost done with my masters in Engineering  and I speak 4 other languages except English and Japanese. Can't say I'm fluent yet. But it's definitely good enough to hold general conversations. My kanji is a bit weak but I guess I can always refresh my reading and writing if needed.
I figured a work and holiday visa would be the easiest but since it seems to be such a hassle maybe I'll work in the French Alps this season and go for japan the next one. Sadly I think all internships pay like crap and have long working hours =(

I really wouldn't mind doing random jobs like working in bars, helping in a ramen shop and stuff like that. I feel you get much closer to people that way.

If you have any tips on where and who I could contact for jobs during the winter season (doesn't have to be resort jobs) I could do web stuff, engineering, translating or other things in the northern region, I'd appreciate it =)
 
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  Quote rythymstick Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/16/2010 at 5:31pm
Mid-Feb will be sweet as Mech9t5. Just try to avoid Chinese New Year as you get some crowds from HK, Singapore, etc.

Sharpmeadow - I saw this list posted on ski.com.au but it's only ski jobs. Also try gaijinpot.com for non-ski stuff
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  Quote bugsbunnymydad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/16/2010 at 6:09pm
OHhhh a fellow engineer, I finished uni with a degree in civil engineering but I just didn't want to continue down that career path... I'm surprised you're not going straight to some big engineering firm with a masters.

Yea, working in bars and restaurants and such are a lot of fun but they're not going to sponsor your visa unfortunately. Best to get an regular sponsored job and then work at those places part-time.

Places to look for jobs.... well for bilingual jobs, you can look at japn times.
http://job.japantimes.com/index_e.php
or
http://www.careercross.com/en/

Gaijinpot  is the usual place for non-Japanese speakers but they have some bilingual jobs too.

For resort jobs, I would just say go to the resort's website directly or at message boards related to skiing/boarding in japan. Jobs get posted there a lot for foreigners. rythymstick's link has some resort jobs. It's under the working holiday visa though.... so realize you are going to get taxed out the a$$. The tax difference between a working holiday and a work visa is insane...like over 10% of your income.

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  Quote da640 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/28/2010 at 9:54pm
I'm also a civil engineer just finishing my masters in Australia.

Has anybody stayed at the lab in hakuba? It's a lodge and just wondering if anybody had some thoughts on the place. It's being heavily promoted in Australia at the moment for ski trips in Jan and feb 2011
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  Quote kyk7899 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/15/2010 at 5:06pm
I'm also planning a trip to Japan, looking at Hakuba.  For all those that have been there, does location really matter? Or do shuttle buses run so frequently from different parts of the valley that it really doesn't matter? Obviously I guess hitting the bars etc will be a bit of an issue at night time? 
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  Quote humdingaling Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/15/2010 at 6:51pm
most hotels have shuttle buses either to resorts or the local bus depot where you can connect to shuttle buses to the resorts.
if you can figure out how the tokyo subway works than the shuttle buses isnt much harder

didnt find much of a night life in hakuba
we just drank beer at the little local bar near the hotel or we stayed at our room and drank the beer from the vendor machines. bottles of spirits are sold at the supermarket

find most people sleep early and wake up early to go the most out of the day boarding.
Wink

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  Quote sharpmeadow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/15/2010 at 9:49pm
Yeah well, I work now but my bones are telling me this ain't for me.
I figure I'll try a few different careers since I can always go back to more academic work later. but since the jobs I want aren't helping me getting a working visa and I'm the wrong nationality to get a work and travel visa I don't have too many options. I guess I could go as a student, study something and work on the side.

But I think I'll go to the Alps (Europe instead for this season). Maybe I'll see Japan later in 2011.
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  Quote sharpmeadow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/15/2010 at 9:50pm
there are lots of shuttles don't worry about it =)
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  Quote Guest_270058 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/16/2010 at 9:06pm
Heaps of shuttles, but not at night. There are taxis but they are expensive. People tend to hang out around their hotels (or the nearest 7-11) anyway!
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  Quote kyk7899 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/17/2010 at 11:33pm
How much is spending expenses on food, alcohol over there? Is food at the ski resorts expensive? If so how much would you be looking at? 
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  Quote sharpmeadow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/17/2010 at 11:37pm
It wasn't too bad when I was there. for under 1000 yen you eat well. I think yo might be able to make that 500 if you are lucky. Although the yes is a bit stronger now. So maybe that's more now
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  Quote Aoiree Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/18/2010 at 12:11am
...

Checking out careercross.com haha...

Maybe I'll go program bank software in Japan!

This is what I do at 5am X_X

I did take Japanese 101 (and forget most of it! yay!)
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  Quote kellow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/18/2010 at 1:48am
never been but i'd love to!
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  Quote kyk7899 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/18/2010 at 3:08am
Would you guys recommend getting the 'Hakubus' or the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Hakuba? From what I have gathered, getting the Shinkansen from Tokyo requires you to go : bus > train> bus> Hakuba? As opposed to bus > Hakuba (would make sense that Hakubus would be more convienent seeing as we will be lugging round luggage + snowboards).

Anyone had any experience with both? Care to enlighten me? Which option is cheaper?
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  Quote kyk7899 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/18/2010 at 3:15am
Also, does Hakuba get really good snow? From what I've read, it seems kind of inconsistent? Unless you are up in Hokkaido, the snow will be inconsistent? Is this true or not?
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  Quote sharpmeadow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/18/2010 at 3:42am
Buss is cheaper, and quite convenient.

Hakuba gets good snow. It was great when I was there, no Sapporo, whistler or good alps in consistency but mostly likely there will be more than decent snow. That or I've always been lucky
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  Quote kyk7899 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/19/2010 at 4:26am
Probably be staying in Hakuba for 14 days, you guys reckon thats enough time to get a good dump? (please share from previous experience)

Also, in comparison to Niseko, is Hakuba on the same par as Niseko? Niseko keeps getting bad raps due to the high number of drunk aussies, does the same hold for Hakuba?

How would you guys rate the snow (Hakuba v Niseko). I've only ever ridden Aus and NZ and the snow here is shit...best I've managed to ride was 12cm, and I had ALOT of fun.
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  Quote kyk7899 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/19/2010 at 4:27am
Probably be staying in Hakuba for 14 days, you guys reckon thats enough time to get a good dump? (please share from previous experience)

Also, in comparison to Niseko, is Hakuba on the same par as Niseko? Niseko keeps getting bad raps due to the high number of drunk aussies, does the same hold for Hakuba?

How would you guys rate the snow (Hakuba v Niseko). I've only ever ridden Aus and NZ and the snow here is crap (compared to other parts of the world)...best I've managed to ride was 12cm, and I had ALOT of fun.
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  Quote grunge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/19/2010 at 1:52pm
Kyk, I'm headed to Hakuba for 7 days myself in end Jan/Feb.

I had the choice of Hakuba or Niseko, but you're pretty much about the drunk tourists there. (Not necessarily aussies, but it's an aussie started resort so yeah.. lots of us there.)
Because of this problem they're planning to have a dry mountain

So it means it's not that crowded and there's like 5 different mountains/areas to go to.
Where will you be staying? And who are you using to organize the tour?
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  Quote will_mcc1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/19/2010 at 9:03pm
If you've got a bit of spare time on your hands - like half a days worth of spare time - have a read of this epic trip report from some bloke on an Aussie forum, this will open up a heap of options to escape the crowds but still get the goods. Its looooooooong though

http://forums.ski.com.au/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=924151&page=1#Post924151

Personally, I've been the Niseko and Hakuba, and wouldn't screw around with Hakuba next time, just get straight on a plane to Hokkaido its ridiculous
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  Quote kyk7899 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/20/2010 at 3:48am
I'm not using anyone to organise the tour, I'll just do everything myself. Accommodation, flights, airport transfers and lift passes.

Speaking of which, do you guys recommend the Hakuba happy 7 lift pass? Would you just purchase lift passes when you get there? Or purchase them online? Where could I purchase these online? Haven't been able to find a site that does it?

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  Quote bugsbunnymydad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/20/2010 at 4:07am
Originally posted by kyk7899

Probably be staying in Hakuba for 14 days, you guys reckon thats enough time to get a good dump? (please share from previous experience)

Also, in comparison to Niseko, is Hakuba on the same par as Niseko? Niseko keeps getting bad raps due to the high number of drunk aussies, does the same hold for Hakuba?

How would you guys rate the snow (Hakuba v Niseko). I've only ever ridden Aus and NZ and the snow here is crap (compared to other parts of the world)...best I've managed to ride was 12cm, and I had ALOT of fun.


Snow...Niseko is way better according to pretty much everyone that has been to both. There isn't much of a comparison.

Drunken troublemakers... Niseko wins this battle. There are TONS of stories about drunk foreigners causing trouble at resorts in Hokkaido (Mixi for example...even on English forums you will see stories) And unfortunately, in most cases where there have been problems, the foreigners were Australians which gives all Australians kind of a bad rep among some Japanese people. Not really a fair stereotype as Australians are the most common tourists so the % of troublemakers are gonna lean that way.

The common complaint (not saying I believe it) is that Aussies don't follow Japanese laws/etiquette so you'll hear about them smashing things on the street, jumping on cars, starting fights, harassing locals, etc.

Sad that a small number of Aussies causes trouble for everyone: Japanese & foreigner alike.

With that said, unless you get directly involved... it's  not gonna bother you and you're gonna have a great time in Niseko.

But if it does bother you, then Hakuba would be a safe choice. Not much trouble there usually.
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  Quote bugsbunnymydad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/20/2010 at 4:12am
Originally posted by kyk7899

I'm not using anyone to organise the tour, I'll just do everything myself. Accommodation, flights, airport transfers and lift passes.

Speaking of which, do you guys recommend the Hakuba happy 7 lift pass? Would you just purchase lift passes when you get there? Or purchase them online? Where could I purchase these online? Haven't been able to find a site that does it?



Try to get your passes before going. It's almost always cheaper through the special deals you find. I usually do package deals as there's always a discount if you book at a hotel+lift pass.

If you need help purchasing good deals, I suggest you message ippolite here. He's an expert member so you'll see his name on the left sometime. He knows all about the English websites & good deals.

I just use japanese websites/rakuten/call up tour agencies... I dont really know the good English sites.
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  Quote TunnelSnake01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Sep/20/2010 at 4:45am
Are they strict about boarding between the trees or out of bounds in the Niseko ski fields? Do they give you much freedom generally or do they usually pull lift passes quickly?
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