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Japan 2013 (redux)

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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Japan 2013 (redux)
    Posted: Dec/21/2011 at 11:15pm
Screw it! time to start afresh. 

My reviews because im a self publicising mani... i mean er, awesome:

Hokkaido:




Nagano:



Niigata:



Other Points of Interest:  

The best website for Japan resort info: 

And finally: the greatest trip report on boarding in Japan i ever did see:

There, thatll do for a start. 

Oh, and next week im off to Yuzawa for the first time, and the week after, im off to nozawa. So there will be reviews on both id say :) 
m00m
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  Quote nawsh16 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/22/2011 at 1:11am
Nice list of write ups there mate! I know what I'll be reading at work tomorrow.Big smile
I was surprised to see Ryuoo on the list. I've been there 5 or 6 times and only seen 1 other foreigner. Great little place I reckon, good on snow accommodation and cheap as. Will be there for 3 days in 4 weeks time, followed by 4 days in Hakuba, then 3 in Nozawa.
They've had a heap of snow in the last we too so really can't wait.

Thanks for the good work!
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/22/2011 at 2:40am
I actually posted a list of favourite resorts in japan (but deleted the post because it seemed a bit... teenagery :)) and guess which one was at the top?

1. Ryuoo. 
2. Kamui.

Both for me are 1 or 2 days only, and if the B course is shut on ryuoo id be WELL bored. But when its on and kicking, theres nowhere id rather ride in japan. Its just freaking awesome. 

The rest of that list:

3. Niseko/moiwa (you cant beat the pow fields and the open gates policy. Best in japan - actually second best behind kamui (so far as ive yet to discover), but it has more terrain. Throw in moiwa and its pretty freaking awesome. Nothing like riding annupuri to moiwa and just hanging out there for the rest of the morning :) 
4. Nozawa. Its beautiful. Im a dirty hippy at heart. Nozawa therefore blows me away. 
5. Shiga Kogen. Its horizontally MASSIVE and every zone has its own vibe. Definitely a place to go if youve got a spare week or so. 
6. Myoko. Me and myoko are the same - deadbeats with our best days behind us. :) But myoko still has a little magic (and also an awesome blind eye policy on rope ducking. 
7. Im going to give it to zao over hakuba goryu/47 (which i prefer to happo and the rest of it). Even though i hated it. But i know theres massive potential there, i just got pissed off by their cable car ticket system.

There thats enough of that :) Theres LOADS of places i havent even seen yet (gunma, niigata and tohoku in particular (oh, and rusutsu). 
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  Quote jakjak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/22/2011 at 8:35am
just want to ask advice from people about japan

i'm planning a trip there in feb 2012
and currently tossing between hakuba and niseko hirafu

any comments or experiences shared would be awesome

thanks :)
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  Quote humdingaling Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/22/2011 at 1:37pm
if price and time is no object and it is your first time in japan snow

i would go Niseko
very foreigner friendly
however, as there are so many foreigners its very sanitised from Japanese culture
you will miss out from a very Japanese experience (positive or negative just depends on you)

very consistent POW

definite downside with Niseko is costs a whole lot more ....in accommodation and transfers and lift tickets are generally more expensive than rest of Japan



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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/22/2011 at 5:14pm
buuuuut... 

Eating out at niseko DEFINITELY costs more. Id stick with the combini if youre on a budget. 

You can get almost all price points on accommodation. I was in a place a half way up the main hill (im not naming it because i want to go there again and dont want everyone and their dog packing it out... oh all right, niseko powder lodge), and it was 4000 per night in january (jumped up 1k/night when it got closer to chinese NY) which is pretty much comparative with the lower end of hakuba prices (maybe 500 or so yen dearer).

Transport is more expensive. BUUUUT, skymark prices start dropping again to normal rates (depending when you go - avoid traveling around the 13th i think - its a public holiday), so a flight to sapporo can be got for around 12k each way (remember you also have to pay about for the bus to niseko on top of that). Hakuba by the shink is about 6k each way, and the bus from nagano is 1,500yen. (though there is a free shuttle bus when demand is decent for goryu/47 but you have to book in advance). 

Lift tickers are AMAZINGLY priced for what you get. Hakuba is what 4500-4800/day. An 8 hour pass at niseko is 5200 (though i just saw on the site they have a deal for bus from sapporo AND 8 hour pass for 4900 0_o???)
BUT THE REAL VALUE is in the 1 day pass for 5700 yen. You can ride 9am-9pm. Niseko nighta is honestly great fun. 


Theres also the grand hirafu pass for 4800yen which is in line with hakuba prices (and still gives you the night session). Though it does cut you off from the gates unless you come down hanazono side and enjoy unclipping through the flats :) 

Niseko is a bit of a mission and is definitely a bit more expensive,  but its honestly way worth it. Much better policy on off piste, and way more pow pow. :) (also beans and tim tams in the combini :p)
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  Quote not-ewrx Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/22/2011 at 5:50pm
I want to go on a snowboarding trip to japan for my hunnymoon.  I love cultures that are rich
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/22/2011 at 6:15pm
i dunno how much the marriage thing is happening (or if its just a kind of future hope), but if you are seriously considering honeymooning in japan and you dont go to kyoto then youre kinda missing that whole "omg! japan!" thing. :) But if you want a japanese resort to hit, id go nozawa or zao (at the moment - open to change as i find them). 
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  Quote tworunningcards Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/23/2011 at 4:22am
I can't wait to go to Japan. I won't be there for boarding at all, but I'm planning a trip for June.
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  Quote jakjak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/23/2011 at 4:56am
so lots of people talking about niseko...

anyone with any input about hakuba??
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  Quote dangerzone9k Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/23/2011 at 5:26am
I remember hearing on the news that Japan is giving away 10,000 airfare tickets to individuals who meet the requirements. Because of the tsunami and nuclear reactor problems, Japan has seen less tourist and their economy has taken the hit. In order to get the airfare tickets you have to tell them why you want to come to Japan/and if your selected you have to blog about your trip. I think they're going to set up a website next year for people that are interested in coming.
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  Quote tworunningcards Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/23/2011 at 5:43am
Originally posted by dangerzone9k

I remember hearing on the news that Japan is giving away 10,000 airfare tickets to individuals who meet the requirements. Because of the tsunami and nuclear reactor problems, Japan has seen less tourist and their economy has taken the hit. In order to get the airfare tickets you have to tell them why you want to come to Japan/and if your selected you have to blog about your trip. I think they're going to set up a website next year for people that are interested in coming.


If you find anymore info, please post it here. I'd be very interested in this.
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  Quote dangerzone9k Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/23/2011 at 5:51am
Here's an article that talks about it. It's set to start in April.

Japan giving away 10000 airfare tickets
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  Quote tworunningcards Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/23/2011 at 5:57am
Originally posted by dangerzone9k

Here's an article that talks about it. It's set to start in April.

Japan giving away 10000 airfare tickets


Awesome. Thanks a lot. That's pretty good timing if they're giving away tickets in April and I want to go in June.
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/23/2011 at 3:36pm
I honestly have a feeling this wont happen :) 

Really it was justa tourist campaign to get people thinking about a trip to japan. No money was allocated for it by the time the campaign started publicising itself. No ones heard owt about it since then. And most important of all it got people talking about coming to visit japan. Now all they have to do is a) wait for it to fall off the radar (quite a long time for people to forget). Or b) charter a plane. Fill it with tourists/journalists. Have a big photo shoot and declare that 20,000,000 people opted in and how positive that all is for japan thus gaining even more (almost) free publicity/advertorials. 
And look at this! now people have been talking about japan they might evenhave been researching about it and now they might be thinking "we should probably just go anyway..."

Job done. ClapLOL
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/23/2011 at 3:38pm
Originally posted by jakjak

so lots of people talking about niseko...

anyone with any input about hakuba??

Theres a review on goryu/47 up there with lots of info, but happy to answer any other questions you might have :) 

m00m
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  Quote rgilloway Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Dec/26/2011 at 2:14am
there are more reosrts in hakuba then just 47 and goryu
<a target=_top href=http://sessions.searchpluswin.com/?cmd=sb-register&rb=439235> <img alt=Search & Win title=Search & Win border=0 src=http://prodegebanners.sitegrip.com/images/sessions-468x60.jpg></a>
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/08/2012 at 6:04pm
Spent the weekend in nozawa and the powder was insane :) 
m00m
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  Quote Levi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/08/2012 at 6:58pm
i've been over to Japan a couple times now and i know of some really cheap flights. From Australia return for about $500... which is rad since the first time i went i paid $1,600...
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  Quote Levi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/08/2012 at 7:01pm
and the 10,000 free flights wasn't approved so yeah... not happening which sucks
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  Quote humdingaling Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/08/2012 at 7:41pm
500 ish if you live in cairns/gold coast
otherwise its closer to 600 ish these days...after you include baggage etc



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  Quote matic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/09/2012 at 12:22pm
I F'ED UP big time for not visiting this season. they are getting DUMPED!! Ouch
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  Quote Angry Midget Yo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/09/2012 at 12:46pm
Originally posted by tworunningcards

Originally posted by dangerzone9k

Here's an article that talks about it. It's set to start in April.

Japan giving away 10000 airfare tickets


Awesome. Thanks a lot. That's pretty good timing if they're giving away tickets in April and I want to go in June.

I still haven't heard any news on this yet so we'll see...
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  Quote matic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/09/2012 at 2:20pm
Originally posted by Angry Midget Yo

Originally posted by tworunningcards

Originally posted by dangerzone9k

Here's an article that talks about it. It's set to start in April.

Japan giving away 10000 airfare tickets


Awesome. Thanks a lot. That's pretty good timing if they're giving away tickets in April and I want to go in June.

I still haven't heard any news on this yet so we'll see...

it was false news. i think some news blog or someone got the info wrong and was officially announced that this was never happening.
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/09/2012 at 4:31pm
Originally posted by matic

I F'ED UP big time for not visiting this season. they are getting DUMPED!! Ouch

yupyup, nozawa has barely scraped over 2meters the last few seasons. Its already at 3 :) Seki is obviously on course for being typical seki at a 3.5m base. Niseko is a more modest 3.3meters. Yuzawa is 2.6m. All in all a pretty nice start to the season (even if it didnt all start happening until late december) :) 

Ps, for those interested: latest radiation readings can be found here:

m00m
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/15/2012 at 4:32pm
Went to kagura this weekend and had a blast. Its basically two areas mishmashed - mitsumata and tashiro. Spent most of day 1 in mistumata area and day 2 scooting from the end of tashiro back. Unfortunately the gopro ran out of battery at the end of day 1 in very flat light conditions, and the best views are from the tashiro side. Day 2 was bluebird in the morning as well making it even sadder because it was rather magnificent.

Either way, review will be coming. :) Just sans the best pictures i could have got :p
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  Quote matic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/15/2012 at 5:19pm
so many areas to check out. let us know more about kagura. i still haven't riden anything in honshu yet..but twice in hokkaido
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/15/2012 at 5:35pm
Ill be honest. The whole yuzawa area has really made me question my nagano loyalty (that will be a line in teh review somewhere i reckons :P)
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  Quote bugsbunnymydad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/16/2012 at 2:03am
If y'all come to Japan, you too could snowboard with the awesomeness that is ippollite.


Hahaha...sorry, had to...kinda sad I didn't take pics in the pow areas.
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  Quote matic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/16/2012 at 2:57am
Originally posted by ippollite

Ill be honest. The whole yuzawa area has really made me question my nagano loyalty (that will be a line in teh review somewhere i reckons :P)

nice. where are you originally from? do you live out there?
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/16/2012 at 3:13am
Originally posted by bugsbunnymydad

If y'all come to Japan, you too could snowboard with the awesomeness that is ippollite.


Hahaha...sorry, had to...kinda sad I didn't take pics in the pow areas.

Holy shit! i dont look as fat as every other photo ever taken of me on a snowboard. I am fat by the way, bugs has clearly changed the dimensions of the photo because hes nice like that :) Oblique angles for the win! PS. Come to yuzawa :) 
And matic, i live in saitama (the very dull prefecture north of tokyo), originally from scotland. :) 

PPS. Definitely not awesome. Definitely fashion challenged, and definitely likely to be found splattered on the ground somewhere because i have no balance. 
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  Quote ctoma Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/16/2012 at 4:09am
^ I disagree, you look quite chubby in that photo.

JK... really, I'm only joking... well, a bit...
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/16/2012 at 4:11am
yeah, but you dont have the others (thank ye gods) to compare it against. :)

Im not joking... not even a bit :)   
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  Quote ctoma Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/16/2012 at 4:14am
You definitely are styling, though.  What setup are you riding in that photo?
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/16/2012 at 4:36am
bataleon riot and my trusty dual forces (bindings and zoom1). :)

PS. Just destroyed the Nozawa review. Sorry dudes looking for it. I had a brain fart, was editing the nozawa review so i could grab the titles (so i could use my little template), but forgot and started the writing the review. Ended up posting it and thus wiping the nozawa review. It may be a blessing in disguise, since if i ever do bother to rewrite it, you can bet your ass it'll be a lot shorter :) 

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  Quote madsnake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/17/2012 at 11:40am

thanks for taking the time to post such a wealth of information ippollite. im hitting up japan in two weeks time so between this and the previous threads, it has been extremely helpful. cheers!

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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/19/2012 at 5:26pm
no worries dude. Its my pleasure. I love hyping japan because im literally rubbing everyone elses lack of powder (and their snowboards getting nicked because they went to the toilet for two minutes in keystone) in their faces. Where are you going if you dont mind me asking? 
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  Quote madsnake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/23/2012 at 2:44am
 flying into tokyo and spending a couple of days there then going to hakuba and back to tokyo for a couple more days on the way home. were only there for about 2 weeks and the main priority is to get as much boarding in as possible so we wont be visiting too many places.   
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/23/2012 at 1:13pm
you may really want to ninja a day trip to yuzawa then if boarding is your top priority. 
JR often have deals for day trips from tokyo, and midweek they can be super cheap. 

Heres another thing i have never personally tried (i dont live in tokyo, but north saitama so i dont think it works for me): http://www.snowjapanforums.com/index.php/topic/16494-how-to-get-cheap-shinkansen-tickets/

ETA: reading through the thread it looks like you cant use it on the same day for return. Either way, if you can get to a VIEW shop near a shink station in tokyo, they might be able to hook you up with cheap combo tickets (lift and train). 

If you can get to Omiya for 7am theres also a local train that gets you to echigo-yuzawa station for 9.45am and costs a mere 2940 yen (mere for japan). 


Its the train i get from konosu. Goes straight through to yuzawa and takes just over an hour longer than the shinkansen (but saves about 3000yen each way). 


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  Quote madsnake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/25/2012 at 12:45pm

thanks for all that info mate! i would love to check it out but the limited time we have in tokyo will probably be spent doing tourist things around tokyo. is there anything you would recommend?

are you in yuzawa at the moment?

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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/26/2012 at 6:50pm
Right now im at work in saitama. But HOLY SHEEEET!!! is it DUMPING right now?
(not here, but on the resorts). 

Nozawa just got pasted yesterday with a meter in 24 hours. Yuzawa is swimming in pow. Hakuba got another 50cms on average and cortina is still off the hook. 


Myokos daily report hasnt even come in. The dudes probably busy digging himself out.
Lets see how my little seki onsen is doing...
530cms with yesterdays still to be added and a SERIOUS hit coming midweek.

To all those who bailed on japan... 

teehee :p Thanks dudes, its shtooking awesome out here right now :) 

As for tokyo... hmm, depends what you like doing. 

If youre just kinda ambling about the places you HAVE to go to:

Shibuya
Shinjuku
Akihabara
Asakusa
Harajuku (they also have a few snowboard boutique stores there - burton and volcom are both there if i remember right). 
and if youre after snowboard gear, you might want to go to kanda area which on the subway is the street between ogawamachi and jimbocho (green line)


Either way you wont be bored, but really shinjuku shibuya and akihabara will shop you out, harajuku will give you that OMG! tokyo! thing, asakusa is the nearest temple so youll feel all traditional and kanda gives you your snowboard gears... though its WAY expensive. 

OOOOOOOh! if you want temples like kyoto so you can say youve done that, then you might also want to look into visiting Kamakura. 

Which i guess means you could also pop to yokohama as well, though i dont know what you can really do there except visit china town to be honest. Oh, and if you get on a train you can go to fujinomia and see fuji. As soon as you leave tokyo in fact you should be able to see it. I can see it from my school right now in fact and im miles and miles away from it. 


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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/28/2012 at 5:21pm
boooo! went to kagura. They shut the top lift because of an electric fault (and because its a bit deep and dodgy out there - 2 deaths earlier in the season in the region from upended (not creek beds or ninja holes, just upended and buried) snowboarders has things a little on edge. 

Kagura without its top lift (and access to tashiro which was entirely shut down), leaves only the nasty gondola run, the park, and the green run that runs parallel to it. Got my ticket at 10.12, came down by 12, got my cash back and came home. If i was on the scope i would have been alright, but a 164 slasher feels a biiiit big to just dick around with (though its way flexy). Ah well, save an extra 2man en for february and got to sleep in my own bed, so i guess thats nice. Would rather be out riding today than typing, but whatchagonnado? 

ETA: Japans numbers at the moment:

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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/12/2012 at 1:52pm
Kagura redeems itself yet again. Seriously, this is the best place in japan right now (for me). None of the niseko costs but all of the soft dry light fluffy powder and off piste youd want. Its smaller than niseko in scale of course, but theres about 1/100th of the people and 1/1,000,000th of the bogans. No beans and timtams in the combini though so it loses some points for that LOL
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  Quote namsapalooza Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/12/2012 at 2:03pm
Ippy this is awesome! Hopefully we'll be able to make it out there some time and enjoy the fabulous pow Japan has to offer :)
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  Quote madsnake Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/15/2012 at 12:02am

well unfortunately im now back at work but what a trip, japan is amazing!

the night we rocked up to hukuba it had puking all day so we woke up to so much powder! we managed to get good snow pretty much the whole time we were there except for about one day so i defintely cant complain. checked out happo one, hukuba 47, iwatake and cortina. only went to cortina on the last day but it was amazing. so much snow and some epic tree runs. cant wait to go back now.

tokyo was rad as well, checked out a lot of the places you listed and saw some temples and castles as well.

thanks again for the info mate and enjoy the rest of the season!

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  Quote matic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/15/2012 at 4:04am
so hakuba vs niseko/rusutsu?been to niseko/rusu twice. best experience ever in hokkaido. but thinking if i should check out honshu next time.
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/15/2012 at 6:13pm
entirely your call to make. In truth, if money wasnt an issue, id be in niseko/rusutsu. 

- Consistent drops
- Easy to manage with limited or no japanese.
- Lots of accommodation options.
- Beans in the combini.
- Early start, super late finish to the season.
- The nighta is still unbelievably good.
- Side country is superb.
- Lots of apres ski options.

Hakuba has a few of the environmental features, but has less consistent drops, and late season it gets cement like when it does fall. You can also get hit by a duff season. The only two seasons that have been outstanding in my time in japan were 2005 (and i only know of this because the news kept telling us about how much snow was everywhere, i didnt board then), and this season.  Hell, until this season i would have sworn blind that nozawa gets much less snow than the other mountains in the area just because thats been the pattern the past three or four years. 

Bear in mind as well that the season didnt even start until the last week of december, and even then that was more just a covering.  

It also suffers from weeks of no snow in late jan--->march when you could book two weeks in japan and be super unlucky with your timings (as i seemed to be the 2 years i was in korea and had to fly over - 2 weeks of pow, two weeks of ice). 

In niseko, youve got a much smaller window of no snow. I think the longest i went was three days, then it dropped a meter on everyone (while i was in furano and got nowt :/)

Buuuuut, honshu means more variety. 
You can access all of hakuba, all of myoko, shiga kogen, nozawa, kita shiga kogen (xjam, ryuoo, takaifuji), and a host of other resorts all within an hour by car from nagano. You can also access tokyo, osaka, kyoto, niigata, nagano, and nagoya for a change of pace. 

Ooooh, and lets not forget that theres also the Yuzawa district which is barely a stones throw away from tokyo (70 minutes by shink). And this gives you access to niseko conditions in kagura (which gets consistently dumped on), as well as a few other places like gala yuzawa, ishiuchi maruyama, naeba, iwaparra, maiko, kandatsu and a host of other smaller resorts. 

And then theres also minakami area which is just before echigo yuzawa which boasts 18 resorts (though realistically theres maybe two or three youd want to hit). 

Nagano gives you WAY more options. It also gives you some proper cities to chill out in like tokyo or nagoya (which is a dump though). (and you can also hit up places like alts bandai or even yamamagata for zao onsen if you want to hang around tokyo). 

Lots to do and see in honshu. But more consistent better quality powder and a longer season at niseko. Niseko slackcountry is second to none in japan. (There are resorts in akita and Aomori that are literally one or two lifts and you ride where the hell you like, but i know none of those im afraid and you could probably do with some local knowledge before venturing up there.)

So there you go, some pros and cons.
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  Quote matic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/16/2012 at 6:59am
pretty much what i thought but you def put in a lot insight for honshu. hokkaido is really a dream, just an amazing place. but i was looking into hakuba and areas up north for the traveling convenience between Tokyo. but i guess Hokkaido still wins. 
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  Quote ippollite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/16/2012 at 7:50pm
hakuba has much better terrain than niseko though :) 
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  Quote Migoo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/03/2012 at 11:54am
ippollite, I have a friend in Niseko at the moment. He's loving it, and rubbing it in my face every day...

Sounds like conditions are pretty good over there.
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