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Myoko (review)

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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Myoko (review)
    Posted: Aug/05/2010 at 8:12pm
I wrote a bit the other day about myoko and it just got me to thinking about it. As far as nagano goes, EVERYONE (and their mum) knows about hakuba, but Myoko is something maybe someone who likes heading a bit more off the tourist trail might appreciate. But first a disclaimer:

I like Myoko more than i like Hakuba. So suck it hakuba fans! :)

Where:Myoko, niigata ken, japan. (comprising of Suginohara (the main brunt of this), Ikenotaira, and Akakan)
Outline of all main areas
Suginohara trail map (just for example)

When: 2008 and 2009 season (had season pass here).

Who: At the time i was going into my second season, riding my artec 2.3 (freeride PLANK, what did i know?) and mediocre ride freestyle bindings (again, what did i know?) My season consisted of progressing basics stuff so theres very little i can tell you about parks or BC stuff alas. :)


Prices: Myoko was cheap man. Id write out all the ways you can make it cheaper, but ill just link you here because man oh man, the info! THE INFO!!! If youre riding on a budget, youre gonna be stoked :) I'm also REALLY glad to see they are offering an all day pass for the entire area. This is FANTASTIC.
I remember there also being an early bird season pass for ikenotaira being 12,000-20,000 yen (depending on group size). Its around 25,000 though which isnt bad in truth. I think the usual price is around 40,000. Theres loads of ways to make myoko cheap, just keep your eyes peeled.

info on (undisplayed) myoko prices

There is also this pass that my old boss used to get. I cant remember its name unfortunately, but if you can do the whole japanese thing you can probably find it. It covers around 30 resorts including tsugaike (hakuba) suginohara and i believe even nozawa. I think it was around 38,000 yen or something. Ridiculous price ticket for any ticket that has suginohara and nozawa on it. I'd try and find it, but it's kinda impossible without kanji alas.

Snow Conditions: The last few seasons have been generally slow all over Nagano. Its really looking like this: December - lucky to get the resort even opened these days, usually get a good covering, but not much until very late on in the month. January/February - guaranteed solid dumps and plenty of pow. March - The first couple of weeks in march are fine, but then it starts getting pretty sticky, and suginohara + sticky snow is NASTY. Avoid. So best to come january and february if youre not up for taking chances.

Other stuff Transport from nagano is VERY EASY. 8.12 train from nagano station takes you to myoko kogen station (540yen i believe), then you hop on one of the buses (they wait for the people coming out of the train since youre their main custom). The 8.58 takes you to suginosawa (the village area of suginohara and stops at ikenotaira as well. 400yen aprox for suginohara and 200ish for ikenotaira). The 9.00 takes you to akakura kanko (Akakan).
The tourist office is also INSANELY helpful. If you really want a job for example, i was offered one on the strength of my appalling japanese the day i bought my season pass (the tourist office drove me around sorting that out for me :)).

Myoko Tourist office


Individual Zone Reviews:

Because I'm foolishly lumping them all together, it makes this review tough, so I'll just break them a bit here. Lets start with
=========================================================

Akakan (Akakura Kanko).

Probably the place i spent the least time in, but I really did enjoy my ride here. It has some varied terrain and some very long runs. It also has a lot of under the lift mischief, and unlike suginohara and ikenotaira (which both have pretty dense trees) there's much more scope for tree riding here (within the resort boundaries). The trouble is that if there is a steep you can guarantee that it's going to be turned into a mogul field. Due to the fact that it does offer the most interesting terrain and the steepest runs in myoko it is quite a skier friendly area. That doesnt mean you cant have fun though and because it is long you can seriously bomb the upper half of the mountain. And the views aren't totally hideous.



Like everywhere in myoko though, the bottom 1/3 is pretty flat uninspiring stuff. As i say, i enjoyed it, but when you compare it to somewhere like happo1 it's just not in the same league. Its a great place for a day or two, but i wouldn't want to be stuck here for longer than that if im honest. Unless it dumps:

Watch this video, it'll give you a real sense of the pow (on piste and off) and facts is, when it dumps this place is rocking :)


Other stuff to note is that the main 'town' area is near the mountain, and has all your standard amenities (onsen, karaoke, food and drink),


The resort itself also has plenty of food options. It's not wild and diverse like Hakuba but all your japanese ski resort staples are here.

Overall, on a non pow day the place is mediocre, on the pow day though, its a blast.
========================================================

Ikenotaira:

I loved ikenotaira, it fit my level just about perfect. It was also in the middle of an overall facelift. Yet all that its a mountain of two halves. The first half is the WIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDDDDDEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE run which dominates the entire resort. You can see it from the bottom looking right up. As it comes down the mountain it gets a good 2 or 3 soccer pitches wide. If you have beginners in your party, man oh man, come here. Loads of space, a very clear goal that they can see (i learned with one friend in particular trying to teach him on suginohara that this is very important :)), and its not too difficult to ride. Its the area of choice for beginners.

And then theres the other part. Ikenotaira was languishing a bit in the early part of the decade so they clearly had a rethink. From what i gather, they were really looking to turn the skiers left hand side of the mountain into a gigantic park area to appeal to the hakuba crowd a bit more.

Theyre really focussing on bringing young people in and hold lots of night events to try and pull them in. From what i saw, it seemed to be working. :)

I guess i should say theres a third part - pow, tree runs, and lift runs. They're pretty basic, and won't cause too much difficulty to any experienced rider, but if youre a progressing beginner (as i was at the time) looking to start hitting natural terrain and playing under lifts, then you'll find this place is PERFECT for your level. :)

Heres some standard Ikenotaira powder though (don't really have scenic shots alas):

===========================================================

SUGINOHARA

why is it in capitals and the others aren't? quite simply: its the jewel in the crown. Now before i go, i know for a fact that if you hike above the top lift theres a bowl for you BC riders to blast in. I never went, but my boss used to go there all the time. yeah, its hiking and all that, but youll find plenty of stuff to do guaranteed.
Heres a little report on snowjapan with lots of nice cute photos of what you get to play on:
myoko trip report

Now back to the resort itself (the only bit *I* am qualified to talk about).

Myoko suginohara is stunning. The view is spectacular, the ride is serene, and the powder isnt even stashed, its right out there for you to muck about in. At 8.4km it boasts the longest run in Japan, and every moment of it is a joy. Its not got the diverse terrain like akakan, there arent many steeps and all round its pretty gentle, but theres so much space, so much powder to hit, and so many trees to dot in and out of, that youll find it hard to get bored.

Im honestly unsure what to say about the place, because its just one of those rides you have to experience. If youre a mellow snowboarder and just love the ride its certainly going to be a place that ticks every one of your boxes. If you're all about steeps and park though youll probably find the main parts a bit humdrum (though the park does have enough for you to play on its just nowhere near the size of say hakuba47s).

Instead you'll likely just head under the lifts and in the trees, (or just round the back for the BC stuff). It has some pretty gnarly tree riding and some tough lift runs (particularly under the gondola) that look like they could have been a ball for someone with a bit more experience. It really covers all levels of ability, and thats what makes it so fantastic. No ones really going to come away from this place feeling like it was a bit naff.

And dont be fooled, it might not be steep, but you can bomb that place. 8.4kms of downhill trajectory, no obstacles, connected runs, and wide open space and youll be picking up speed mate :)

Some things that i havent covered, but probably should: the lifts. Aside the one lift (that connects the mountain and is incredibly slow), all the lifts are high speed, modern, and LONG. The clear advantage of this is you are really talking three lifts max to get from the very bottom to the very top of the mountain (
Lift queues are also almost non existent.

Finally your food needs are dotted all over the mountain, but easily the best place to eat is smack bang in the middle where theres a row of about 9 or ten cute restaurants right next to the lift. Its really pretty. Heres a pic (with the lift queue, you cant see them all because this review wasn't at the top of my thoughts at the time, but it shows a couple of them):

heres some more pics. I did think about ordering them, but screw it.

Spooky tree riding:


would you look at the freaking space!!!


'...2 or 3 feet deep powder' (according to my facebook tag)


yeah its nice


and a couple of rider shots:




Anyway, that'll do for suginohara. heres a nice cute video from the same guy above (his vids are solid quality) about riding suginohara. Its not definitive in truth because its really more about bobbling off the groomers more than anything, but at least you get a sense of the powder side of things (at the side of the groomers) :)


==================================================

Seki Onsen

I never got to ride seki. It wasnt covered by my pass and i had no idea how to get there anyway. But man oh man, im going to link the dudes video to it and go have a cry about it. Seki is the powder dump of myoko. In fact its the powder dump of chubu and kanto, if not honshu. :) if powder is your thing and youre in the area, don't be me! get your ass there! Also remember, that seki is only a few Kms from the other resorts, so although it gets more, its only a meter or so per year more.


=====================================================================

Overall and concluding remarks about Myoko

Myoko is honestly a fantastic place. I blow it out of proportion sometimes because its pretty much the place i consider home. I mean it's not niseko or anything, and i'd be lying if i said it was world class. But it's certainly one of the best places to hit in nagano and I genuinely like it far more than hakuba. Individually, only really suginohara compares to anything world class if only for one of the longest and prettiest rides youll get to experience (though lacking the diversity of Nozawa). And seki is powder heaven, even if it's a little bit teensy.

What does make myoko unique in all of nagano right now though are three things:
1. The comparative prices - its dirt cheap.
2. The sheer lack of crowds and time you spend boarding instead of hanging about in lift queues. Both things mean you'll have a blast.

and of course,

3. this: Myoko does not give a crap if you decide to duck their ropes or head into the trees.The policy, as i've mentioned before, is very much 'go where you like, but if we have to come and rescue you, you'll be paying for it!'

I say it often, but Myoko is fantastic, i'd happy spend a couple of weeks here. It doesnt have as many international creature comforts like Hakuba, and honestly, the main base in Suginohara looks in need of a facelift, but the tourist association possibly recognising the money to be made from looking at both Nozawa and (particularly) Hakuba seem to be going to great pains to make every part of your stay awesome. They really want your business and will bend over backwards to help you out, so don't be afraid of the fact it has a few less creature comforts, you'll be looked after well.

Ah i love the place. The love of it comes from really a beautiful mountain thats yet to feel the effects of global tourism (hakuba) or internal tourism (nozawa/shiga). It just slips under most people's radars and doesnt get the hype it genuinely deserves. In truth, part of the motivation for this post is because I want to bring it some well deserved praise. The other part is because I want to tell you guys about a secret little powder stash in nagano that you probably don't know about.



Seriously, if you happen to be in Nagano for winter and don't hit myoko, youre kinda missing the best powder nagano/niigata (since its technically niigata) has to offer, so don't be daft and just sit at Hakuba. Hakuba is LAME!!! Myoko (and nozawa) are where its at. :)
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/05/2010 at 10:29pm
pictures added, so its all done now properly. Also removed as much whittering as i could spot. :)
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  Quote fishkur Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/06/2010 at 8:02am
Wow dude, I've been reading all your Japan posts and have to say that you're very thorough!  Tons of good advice and I like the pics and vids.  Very objective reviews as well.
I doubt I'll have the chance to visit those places any time soon but everything you've said makes me want to!
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/06/2010 at 5:31pm
thanks man. I really want to just make people stoked for the place, so im glad you feel that way. I dunno why though, as far as im concerned, all i want to do is save cash, find a nice house for cheap around there (and believe me they exist), then just relax for the next 40 years chilling out on the mountains before becoming one of those 60 year old weather-beaten shochu guzzling lift ops they have at the resort, before i die :) Sending you guys there will scupper my chances of landing a bargain! :)

Still, korean girls are way cuter, so ill end up married to the wrong visa :'(



Anyway, my mate sent me his vid of him and his mates (not even semi pro, just mates whove been riding on average around 4 years so dont be expecting mad tricks or owt), of them on suginohara back country (and a couple of bits of hitting the rails. Its looooooong, so you'll probably want to skip through a bit of it :)

Still, the reason im adding it is because it shows you some of the BC stuff around suginohara. I promise you, some of those lines are comparable to anything you get in japan :)

It is alas veoh. Its the only place they could host it in one piece. Still, even if you dont sign up you can watch 5 minutes of it and get a taste, and you dont really need more than 5 mins anyway :)

myoko backcountry stuff
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  Quote dr86 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/07/2010 at 3:32am
do u need to bring a transceiver and all that riding the bc there?
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  Quote zhenjie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/07/2010 at 3:56am
another fantastic post ippollite. Myoko is def on the cards in my next japan trip. I intend on hitting all the lesser known resorts instead of the usual Hakuba/Sapporo resorts everyone else does.

dr86. It depends where you are riding, what conditions and who with. If you are serious about the BC then its advisable to have a transceiver in any backcountry scenario. Most of Myoko seems to be known for its pow and tree riding though.

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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/08/2010 at 3:50pm
yeah, i wouldnt be going there without your usual safety gears. I also wouldnt be going there without someone that knows the terrain. Obvious safety protocols and all that. i'll ask my mate about the hazards (i wish the scumbag would just post here), but he's usually pretty busy.

I remember when i first thought about myoko reading a thread on snowjapan about myoko BC, but its pretty hard to find now. I'll do my best to dig it out, but heres 2 things i remember from it.

1. It IS prone to avalanches as you go up. It's not like constantly prone but its enough to be on your guard.
2. There is a huge gap somewhere out side the resort that if you accidentally end up skiing down you better hope you can clear it :) i think it was about 30 feet or so. Apparently if youre caught in an avalanche around there, your best bet is to hope to christ you can jump it because if not youre more than likely dropping down that ravine to your death. So yeah, dont think its just the kind of place you can explore freely. Im pretty sure that area is more for the proper hardcore and theres plenty of safer spots. But i bring it up just to make you brick yourself that you need to know exactly where youre (not) going. And hence you get the low-down before you venture out.
(i read a different thread in my search (90 pages and counting), which said these ravines and cliffs are skiers right).
This is at the top of suginohara, i dont think theres anything other than avalanche dangers on the other two. :) So yeah, tranceivers and shovels are obviously necessary equipment. Anyway, because i might be wrong, ill see if i can dig out that thread for you.

ETA: on the skiers right issue, my mate had this to say:

kiers right can be navigated pretty easily. There's one super big die of shock while you're falling drop of death if your following the creek bed down. It's safest to drop off the cat track at the bottom.

The summit is a little tricky, if you drop over the back. It's actually 2 more hikes and 2 descents to get out. You gotta stay left and avoid to bubbling hot spring. Best to get a topographic map to plot the routes and end up at the top of Akakura.
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  Quote zhenjie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/10/2010 at 2:12am
mr IP. Do you know any other good value season passes that has access to multiple resorts (excluding Hakuba/Niseko)? Looking at spending a month or longer but don't want to bunker down to any one resort area.
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  Quote eldolocal68 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/10/2010 at 3:47am
how hard is it to visit the mountains mentioned above from the cities, because i don't get to travel much, and my wife and i want to visit japan from the states, and we couldn't justify a straight up snowboarding trip.
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  Quote zhenjie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/10/2010 at 4:32am
Here's a pass, seems to be smaller resorts and bit spread out. http://www.jtb.co.jp/ski/season/
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  Quote ShredbettyZoe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/10/2010 at 5:17am
Wow awesome write up Ippollite! obviously a lot of time and effort went into this, great post :-)
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/11/2010 at 8:20pm
thanks man, i hope it goes some way to adding to the hype. :) Ive just sent a message as well to the tourist information to see if they can throw up some english speaking accommodation ideas for folks on a budget. Hopefully if they get back to me, ill be able to make this a bit more extensive.

And zhenjie you genius! thats the pass ive been looking for. Though, ill be honest, it looks kinda crap compared to the 2009 pass. Im pretty sure that one had suginohara AND Nozawa on it as well as a few places in shiga (like Ryuoo). Alas when i try linking to the 2008-2009 pass it goes to the new page. Either way, they have the three outside spots at hakuba (crotina tsugaiki and iwatake) and akakan. Maybe they just switch it about a bit at myoko. Hopefully next year itll be suginohara again.

Also, i think there is a pass, its a bit pricey mind, but it covers happo/nozawa/myoko and some of shiga. I think it was around 70,000 yen though. Still, if youre happy dotting around for a month or so, could be great value.
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/11/2010 at 8:41pm
how hard is it to visit the mountains mentioned above from the cities, because i don't get to travel much, and my wife and i want to visit japan from the states, and we couldn't justify a straight up snowboarding trip.


Do you mean places like tokyo, kyoto, osaka etc?

Myoko to any of those is pretty doable.

Myoko to nagano is about 45 minutes. Then to tokyo you just jump on the bullet train.
(this site is INVALUABLE if youre travelling by train in japan by the way): Hyperdia.com

Hyperdia puts it at 7500 yen and 1 hour 40 minutes. :)

As for the other way its a wee bit more complicated,. but not that hard.

Head to nagano again, then get the Ltd Express to nagoya. GET THE HELL OUT OF NAGOYA ASAP SO ITS YUCK DOESNT GET ON YOU.

Then hop on a bullet train (shinkansen) to kyoto or osaka. (it stops at kyoto first then hits up osaka).

Cost is around 9000 yen and takes about 3 hours 40 minutes. Bit epic but there you go :)

Now heres the single most interesting piece of budget travel im going to give you.

So long as time isnt your biggest factor and so long as you are travelling in the school holiday periods in japan (mid dec to mid jan and March 1st to early april) there is a special ticket called the seishun juhachi kippu (18ticket)

Heres the info on it:

seishun 18kippu info

You can ONLY use it on normal JR trains (no ltd express and no shinkansen), and it will cost you around 11,000 yen for a book of 5 tickets. BUT for those five days you can ride any regular jr train for sort of free (well, 2200 yen if you count the fact you paid 11,000 yens for it).

Its TERRIBLE if you want to go from say hiroshima to tokyo. Thats a bit of a huge epic journey by local trains. But from something like kyoto to myoko/hakuba to tokyo its pretty doable and will save you a stack of cash.

The five days are any five days during teh period of use so you dont have to use them consecutively. Its also available to ANYONE, the name is just the name of it. It doesnt mean you have to be under 18 or anything. There, this is one of teh best things i can tell you about on budget travel in japan, so im kinda surprised i forgot until now :)

(oh and on a similar line, if you pop out of any decent sized city train station, you will see a shop selling discount tickets for trains. Youll save usually about 500-1000 yen on most shinkansen journeys if you can find them). Its not massive, but it all accumulates, and all you had to do was head out of the train station. Theres another travel tip for you! :D

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  Quote humdingaling Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/11/2010 at 8:46pm
Great write up man
definately try add Myoko to the cards next time i go japan

Those pics make me miss the snow in japan so much Cry
Had pow days for the whole week we were in nagano area

Riding NZ and Aus just isnt the same Dead

Don't approach a goat from the front, a horse from the back, or a fool from any side..
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  Quote AyChan87 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/11/2010 at 8:52pm
wow those pictures look AWESOME!!! if only japan wasnt so far away id definitely want to go later on
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/11/2010 at 8:54pm
hehe, its kinda fun if you get dumped on. I lucked out last season. Aside the two days in nozawa i think i got to the point where it was just "oh good, pow, again? christ, i just want a nice bit of ice today!"

i think i blew off a few days for hangovers as well just because i knew itd be pow tomorrow :) If id have arrived a week earlier apparently i'd probably have appreciated it a bit more. It was supposed to be garbage until literally the day before i turned up :)
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  Quote rythymstick Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug/13/2010 at 5:08am
Good writeup Ippolite, although the more that gets written about Myoko the more people arrive. Good for the town I guess. I gave up on Hakuba and just stick to Myoko, Nozawa and Madarao now. The relaxed off-piste is what I like best about Myoko

If you're looking for Myoko trail maps (in English) you can find them here - http://myokokogen.net/myoko_ski_trail_maps/index.html

The people at the Myoko tourist board are super helpful. Wish they'd offer me a job and I could give up English teaching (at least for the winter)
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/22/2010 at 1:23am
bizzump because i want you people in myoko and not covering yoruself in hakuba filth.
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  Quote humdingaling Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/22/2010 at 1:45am
ill take hakuba filth over australia slush/man-made/ice anydayLOL
Don't approach a goat from the front, a horse from the back, or a fool from any side..
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/22/2010 at 2:01am
But why take hakuba ro australian filth (arent they the same thing?) when you can have angelic pow in myoko, or the most beautiful ride in japan at nozawa? Both literally an hour and a half away. In fact you can see myoko from goryu! its THAT close!
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  Quote woodyy05 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/22/2010 at 2:19am
wow ippollite, such an epic post.. you've pretty much convinced me to extend my trip in japan, i swear i could just spend months there checking out all the resorts, the cities and the culture
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/22/2010 at 2:30am
haha! this, as ive just learned (hunting for kamui information to stp me turning to the dark side and spending another year at niseko instead of kamui/tomamu/furano), is the mother of all myoko posts:

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

Im still reading it, if you want to get a feel fro the dump that myoko gives compared to hakuba, you have to read it and look at these pics. Honestly hakuba is a JOKE!!!
:p

haha! i have to steal one of his war on snow pictures :)



and heres myoko:



Actyually, the whole thread is PURE GOLD!!! If youre going to japan, you need to read it. By actually having photographic skills alongside a genuine ability to write, the guy puts my coloring book looking reviews to complete and total shame.

Honestly the stuff in that thread is stunning.
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  Quote woodyy05 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/22/2010 at 3:34am
i really wish that post had come up before i booked hakuba haha, oh well im sure hakuba will still be joy, maybe ill have to head to myoko next time then?
im glad im not going to niseko, if i wanted to hang around with a bunch of aussies i'd just go over east!
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  Quote krisshono Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/22/2010 at 3:35am
that looks pretty sick man
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  Quote seefarr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/22/2010 at 3:47am
Ippy, that thread is an awesome find. I've got three weeks in Myoko in Feb and my excitement is growing already.
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  Quote seefarr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/22/2010 at 4:17am
Actually, as long as we're doing Myoko info, spook on the snowjapan forums has some great photos and a short review too:

http://www.snowjapanforums.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/360732/Snowed_In_A_month_in_Myoko.html

Cheers!
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/22/2010 at 4:21am
ive just finished reading it :) I didnt even read it all, just the resorts i wanted to know about with some of the interludes for good measure. Seriously, i dont think ive read anything better. Its almost insulting that i didnt make it a thread to itself!

I like the fact that even after all the places he went to, and all the stuff he saw, he ended at niseko and just really loved riding it.







Seriously, this thread is one of the best threads on japan ive ever seen.
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/22/2010 at 4:26am
i really wish that post had come up before i booked hakuba haha, oh well im sure hakuba will still be joy, maybe ill have to head to myoko next time then?
im glad im not going to niseko, if i wanted to hang around with a bunch of aussies i'd just go over east!


"...i dun wanna tell him! you tell him!..."




































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  Quote tomek77pl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/22/2010 at 4:32am
omg those mountains look so nice i just wanna ride down in the pow:(
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  Quote mech9t5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/22/2010 at 4:33am
i'm planning a trip to niseko for a week and will also be heading to myoko for a few days.  where's a good place to stay (read CHEAP place to stay)?

Since I don't read japanese, the only places I found were canadian house and montcervin...
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/22/2010 at 4:40am
yeah, myoko unfortunately is pretty poor to get accommodation info from. Alas i lived in suzaka so it was just a day trip for me, i only once stayed at the resort and that was some place at the base of akakan i cant remember the name of. Your best bet really is to contact the tourist office and see what they suggest, or head to snowjapan and see if any of the guys there have better info for you.

When i first did this thread i tried to get some accommodation info but honestly gave up looking. Sorry man, hope someone has better advice for you :)

Two backups to consider though:

I think theres a massive dorm at the base of ikenotaira that might be like the one in escal plaza (hakuba goryu). Its just a big open room where youre given a blanket and a pillow and crash for the night. Im not sure if thats how it works, but i remember there being signs in japanese about it.

A second option is if its just a couple of days, camp at nagano. Get the train at 8.12, get the connecting bus at 8.58/9.00 and youll be ready and on the slopes by 10ish. Then around 5 (if not at suginohara - last bus from there is a ridiculous 4.05 - though you can catch a later one by walking into suginosawa (the village about 400meters away at the foot of it). Then its back on teh train to nagano and hang out there overnight before doing it again.

And if the worst really does come to the worst, theres two or three net cafes within walking distance from the train station where you can crash overnight (this was my back up to my backup plans). Finding a place wont be god awful if you dont mind the trek into nagano... but obviously its not ideal. Contatct the tourist office and see what they say :)
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  Quote seefarr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/22/2010 at 6:21am
I did a fair amount of googlidge before booking anything. This is the tourist board in Myoko who should be able to scope something for you:

http://www.myoko.tv/foreign/english/

This website also has lots of options in the area:

http://myoko-nojiri.com/hotels/index.html

Cheers!
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  Quote mech9t5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/22/2010 at 6:24am
Originally posted by ippollite

yeah, myoko unfortunately is pretty poor to get accommodation info from. Alas i lived in suzaka so it was just a day trip for me, i only once stayed at the resort and that was some place at the base of akakan i cant remember the name of. Your best bet really is to contact the tourist office and see what they suggest, or head to snowjapan and see if any of the guys there have better info for you.

When i first did this thread i tried to get some accommodation info but honestly gave up looking. Sorry man, hope someone has better advice for you :)

Two backups to consider though:

I think theres a massive dorm at the base of ikenotaira that might be like the one in escal plaza (hakuba goryu). Its just a big open room where youre given a blanket and a pillow and crash for the night. Im not sure if thats how it works, but i remember there being signs in japanese about it.

A second option is if its just a couple of days, camp at nagano. Get the train at 8.12, get the connecting bus at 8.58/9.00 and youll be ready and on the slopes by 10ish. Then around 5 (if not at suginohara - last bus from there is a ridiculous 4.05 - though you can catch a later one by walking into suginosawa (the village about 400meters away at the foot of it). Then its back on teh train to nagano and hang out there overnight before doing it again.

And if the worst really does come to the worst, theres two or three net cafes within walking distance from the train station where you can crash overnight (this was my back up to my backup plans). Finding a place wont be god awful if you dont mind the trek into nagano... but obviously its not ideal. Contatct the tourist office and see what they say :)

thanks for the info.  the net cafe sounds interesting... do you pay for a terminal and sleep at the desk?  how does that work?  the dorm sounds interesting if the price is right... The 2 places I mentioned were around 4000yen per night.  Snowjapan had listed some other places like Hawk and Hare but there isn't anyway to check prices or book with them short of calling them.  I saw Hawk and Hare on Ratuken site but they weren't accepting any reservations for Feb and thus, I could not find out the cost.

Also, it sounds like if I stay at Suginosawa it is close to all the hills?  ie. walking distance.  
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  Quote woodyy05 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/22/2010 at 11:31pm
but surely hakuka has a far more international feel to it than niseko? isn't that just ridiculously overrun with aussies?
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/22/2010 at 11:42pm
if by 'international' you mean aussies AND kiwis, then yes, its certainly international :)
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  Quote woodyy05 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/23/2010 at 1:10am
bah damn.. in not going to niseko i was hoping to avoid the majority of the australian crowd.. looks like i'll be disapointed then
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/23/2010 at 1:15am
you'll not be disappointed at all, youll be too busy having an awesome time riding to mind :) Still, if you want a break, theres always myoko and nozawa a bus and short train journey away :)
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  Quote woodyy05 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/23/2010 at 1:22am
haha yeah i know, i think we're extending our trip anyway, but i don't know if i'll manage anymore days in the snow. probably just down to osaka and kyoto along with tokyo.. so how much is a lift pass for the day at myoko?
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/23/2010 at 2:52am
its about the same price as hakuba: 4500 per day (think hakuba is 4800).

Remember theres also nozawa. Nozawa is serene.

And remember, to get there, get the bus back to nagano down at the base of the hill at the main road (1500 yen and 1 hour), then you can just hop ion a train at nagano station to EITHER myoko or Nozawa. Both trains are about 45 minutes, and both are about 600yen :)

Its honestly nothing.

oh, and you could just go to hakuba cortina or iwatake to avoid the worst of the aussie! aussie! aussie! contingent. :)   
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  Quote woodyy05 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/23/2010 at 4:45am
yeah i've read cortina is pretty good for off piste..?
which run in hakuba gets your reccomendation?

but it seems simple enough to get to myoko or nozawa, apart from the long travel there, i wouldnt want that cutting into my riding!

i just can't believe how cheap it is for a day lift pass, its crazy!

anyway, thanks for the info, gives me a bit of food for thought before i set my plans in stone :)
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/24/2010 at 3:39pm
you can just head there around 6pm, theres a bus at 6.30ish if i remember, to nagano, and then its a train ride to whichever resort youre after. Still, after that its likley youllbe dropping a spot of cash on a taxi ride. I cant remember when we turned up at nozawa, (probably around 9), but the buses had stopped for the night. Anyway, so long as you have your accommodation all nice and ready, you might even get a pick up. We didnt :) We just barreled in at 9 in the rain, and trying to figure out what the hell we were gonna do :)
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  Quote woodyy05 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/26/2010 at 1:14am
so around about 3 hours to get there, not too bad actually. depending on how my cash flow is going i might have to take up the chance and check out nozawa.. i'm not there til february so i don't think accomodation is going to be too tough to sort out, especially for a day or two
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  Quote STRICK-9 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/26/2010 at 2:04am
Ipp: these are absolutely fabulous reviews...thank you kind sir, but you make me seriously consider moving back there for good.

Nothing like Japanese Tang for breakfast.
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/28/2010 at 12:09am
SUKEBE DA!!!
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  Quote gepet0 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/28/2010 at 11:55am
ippollite, i have to say you that you have done a very good work...

the post is simply perfecttt

+99
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/28/2010 at 4:21pm
Originally posted by gepet0

ippollite, i have to say you that you have done a very good work...the post is simply perfecttt+99


Thanks dude, but after that post i linked from k9s trip report, it does feel utterly like a kids cartoon rather than a realistic account :p

And mech, i completely missed this somehow, sorry dude:

thanks for the info. the net cafe sounds interesting... do you pay for a terminal and sleep at the desk? how does that work? the dorm sounds interesting if the price is right... The 2 places I mentioned were around 4000yen per night. Snowjapan had listed some other places like Hawk and Hare but there isn't anyway to check prices or book with them short of calling them. I saw Hawk and Hare on Ratuken site but they weren't accepting any reservations for Feb and thus, I could not find out the cost.

Also, it sounds like if I stay at Suginosawa it is close to all the hills? ie. walking distance.


Net cafe actually has a small sleeping quarters. It can get BLOODY noisy mind you so take ear plugs and a sleeping mask. Theres a club right above it and if you go on friday or saturday night chances are you wont be sleeping. Price is around 1600 or so for an 8 hour night package if i remember right. I probably dont mind you :) but its going to be way cheaper than a hotel obviously. Its pretty doable though. Because i lived in suzaka (just too far for a taxi) and the buses and trains stopped running there around 11pm, id spend occasional weekends there in the (forlorn) hope of finding something fun to do in nagano.

Theres also cheap hotels in the area for around 5000 yen per night if you want a bit more luxury (and by luxury i mean typical japanese business hotel). You can just hunt around nagano for them, though your best bet is to sniff out the snack bar district. I also remember a kind of backpackers hotel, i think it was called smile or something like that... ooh! found it. Its a proper hotel hotel, so might be pricey, but its not a proper proper in terms of prices if i recall. It also has a really nice thai restaurant attached to it if i remember.

oooh! found it! http://www.smile-nagano.com/
Just use google translate... actually theres an english link. Turns out its around 4900 yen per person per night.

As for suginosawa, it depends of course WHERE You stay, but if youre in the centre of town its like a 5-10 minute walk up a hill to the bottom lift at suginohara so its no big thing. Think of it as your warm up :)
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/13/2011 at 3:36pm
"Re-engage the myoko hype machine!"

/engaged

Hey people at hakuba, get your ass to myoko. :)

PS. Seki onsen is now sitting on 540cm of snow :) We are talking the possible end of tree riding soon just because theyre gonna disappear :p
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  Quote Angry Midget Yo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/13/2011 at 4:01pm
Wow, nice write up Ippy!  It just might be better than this booklet I bought that is full of different Japanese resort reviews.
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  Quote Jrem Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/13/2011 at 5:06pm
Best place to board on the Western Coast of Japan.
Niigata is renowned for some of the highest snowfall in the world especially around Takada/Joetsu area.
I know this as I lived there for 10 months as an exchange student.
Myoko kogen is exactly as Ippy says. It's not touristy its low profile and locals are very extremely friendly.It does help if you know a bit of Japanese too. The locals always talk about Myoko and how magnificent it is. So anyone going to Japan endeavor to get here.

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  Quote Jrem Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/13/2011 at 5:08pm
Oh and ippollite its Tsukebe ;)
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