Advice needed First time in Japan.With max 7 nights.

Discussion in 'Japan' started by Ludaning, May 17, 2016.


    Ludaning Active Member

    HI what would you guys recommend as the place to visit in January 2017. I only have 7 nights so its a quick one. Will be travelling alone. Not wanting to hire a car so want somewhere with transport/transfer available from Tokyo.

    I'm thinking 5 nights at the resort for 4 days skiing and 2 nights in Tokyo for a quick peek. I know its not long but its all the time the boss has given me.

    Skiing ability I guess is low-int to int so that's a factor. Just after a taste of Japan. I have a few Japanese friends, although they couldn't help with the snow side, and love the people / culture.

    What would be the easiest place to navigate. Was thinking Nozawa onsen? Hakuba?
    Alternatively would flying to Niseko be better for me. I know its been asked a lot from newbies so don't get too cranky.I have been researching as well. Just a bit daunting especially as ill be on my own.

    Would a tour provider be a better option?



    Crispy013 Dedicated Member

    Nozawa Onsen would be my suggestion.

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture


    70 mins on the shink from Tokyo to Echigo-Yuzawa station and then a short free bus ride up to Prince Naeba. Ski in/ski out accommodation at reasonable prices, there are English signs, English concierge, English instructors, English restaurant menus.

    Lots of intermediate terrain at Naeba or catch the Dragondola over to Kagura for a lot more terrain. Plenty to keep you occupied for 5 days.

    DeskRider Dedicated Member Season Pass Silver

    +1 for Nozawa

    Ludaning Active Member


    Ludaning Active Member

    Whats the feeling like there. Is it very western or retains Japanese feel?

    DeskRider Dedicated Member Season Pass Silver


    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

    It's a bubble resort, like many other bubble resorts in Japan, so in that sense it does have a unique Japanese feel. A lot different to the little old onsen town of Nozawa though.

    Prince Naeba Hotel is an international hotel although you won't find many Aussies there, maybe just a few groups, a lot less than Nozawa, Niseko or Hakuba. Most of the tourists are Korean, Chinese and a mix of other nationalities. Of course it still attracts a lot of Japanese snow lovers as well. Personally I also think Naeba/Kagura has a better selection of low intermediate terrain than Nozawa.
    Last edited: May 17, 2016
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    Froff Life

    Froff Life Dedicated Member Season Pass Gold

    Naeba has the better terrain (including Kagura) but Noz has the much more authentic Japanese town. Naeba's access is also much faster which could be a big factor for you on your short time frame.

    Ludaning Active Member

    Just looked at the Prince hotel. Says no vacancy for times Dec Jan and Feb. Would it be too early for rooms to be available. Problem with site. Or could it be booked out already. Trying to get pricing.

    DeskRider Dedicated Member Season Pass Silver

    Will be too early i think, normally available ~3months out (@Sandy?)

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Season Pass Gold

    Yes, it's too early.

    Also, if you try to pick weekends, it may be difficult, as it can be super busy at the Naeba Prince Hotel. I'd go 5 nights from Sunday to Thursday.

    Also, join the Prince Club, as you get really good discounts.

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

    The Prince won't start taking direct winter bookings until September. You can book earlier through a few Aussie travel agents but in my experience you'll pay a lot more that way.

    Ludaning Active Member

    No good. Are they dangerous?

    Ludaning Active Member

    What are the prices like?

    DeskRider Dedicated Member Season Pass Silver

    Only dangerous as in, falling asleep under one and missing dinner/drinks/etc.

    Just thought it was funny that most of the pics featured one

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

    To give you an example our family (2 adults + 2 kids) paid -

    Jan 2016 - 13,295 yen per night per room (no meals)
    Jan 2015 - 8,476 yen per night per room (no meals)

    Outside of Christmas/New Years normal Saturday nights are the most expensive, then the night before public holidays and then Friday night. Cheapest nights are Sunday-Thursday.

    You should pay less than we did since the rooms are charged on a per person basis.

    Seth Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    Go to Hakuba.

    Nozawa for an intermediate rider would involve way too much schlepping on the infinite flat spots that Nozawa has. Avoid at all costs. Would be a shite holiday.

    Hakuba has plenty for you, pick a hotel that has hotel to resort transfers and you'll be laughing.
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    Seth Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    Worst suggestion in the world. For an intermediate skier Nozawa would sucks balls. Spend the whole time pushing or skating across all the flat spots. Not fun.
    Last edited: May 17, 2016

    DeskRider Dedicated Member Season Pass Silver

    Thought worse suggestions would be sending him to Tenjin or Asahi dake..

    The +1 is an intermediate boarder and loves going to Nozawa, heaps of stuff to explore IMO and really like the town.

    Hakuba is good too, but a lot of people in similar positions would get stuck skiing Happo one the whole time.

    Zimboo Addicted Member

    Suppose the other question is do you want to socialise / meet others to ride with and or go out for a meal with etc.?
    Hakuba will provide all the terrain you need. If you stay in a lodge the opportunity to meet more english speaking people, share a meal with etc etc. will be high.
    If you stayed at place like Penke Panke (just an example), you would be in a social environment, walk to lifts at Happo and be able to take a free shuttle from out the front to other resorts like Iwatake and Hakuba 47.
    The best way to get to Hakuba depends on what time your flight arrives in Tokyo.
    If meeting up with other english speaking people to share a laugh with is low on your list of priorities then Naeba would be easiest and best IMO.
    Last edited: May 17, 2016
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    skichanger Dedicated Member Season Pass Gold

    Best place really depends on what is most important to you. It is a little different for all of us. You should also consider Shiga Kogen, Madarao and Myoko Kogen.

    WRT to travel time, Naeba - via Yuzawa on the shinkansen is probably the quickest trip from Tokyo. All the others are about the same. You go to Nagano and then go in a different direction from there.

    Wrt which resort, really think about what you want. They all have good and bad points.
    :thumbs: Ludaning likes this.

    Donza Pool Room

    You don't have to stay in the Prince either... there are village options..
    You won't need a car, and you'll be able to get those "magical" japanese powder days sans people that used to be more common place.
    I agree with @Seth re Nozawa ... its a all or nothing mountain .. it takes awhile to work it out and its crowded now compared to what it used to be.
    I'd rule out Hakuba.. IMO you need a car... without it you won't even scratch the surface.
    Plus the travelling time is nothing like the journey to yuzawa.

    Ludaning Active Member

    Doesn't Hakuba have a free shuttle between hills. Is this no good. Considering I wouldn't have much time to explore with my time frame anyway

    ojisan Part of the Furniture Season Pass Gold

    Yuzawa would be good... if you base yourself near Echigo & have a JR pass, you could visit 5 different resorts in 5 days by taking the local train

    Donza Pool Room

    Free shuttle isn't probably the best way to describe it.
    Each of the resorts have buses which weave their way around the valley picking up people.
    The annoying thing is how long they take.
    Hakuba is BIG and spread out... you won't get a very good feel from such a short visit...
    and IMO Happo while being the resort with the most infrastructure at the the worst hill to ride.

    DidSurfNowSki Dedicated Member Season Pass Gold


    PMG Dedicated Member Season Pass Gold

    How much do you want to spend on accommodation per night? Is mixing with westerners a priority for you?
    :thumbs: skichanger likes this.

    Ludaning Active Member

    Got this from a lodge call Phat House. Looks a good setup. My budget is max $5k.

    Hi Daniel, we are very close to Iwatake. We provide our own Phat House private shuttles (free) to Happo, Iwatake & Tsugaike - we drop you off at the lifts and pick you up in the afternoon when you done. We also provide first tracks services to Cortina (for the best pow) and Hakuba 47 as well so you can access every major mountain in Hakuba from the front door of our lodge. Hakuba Village also provides shuttles services across the Hakuba Valley if you didn't want to use our services. If you want more info check out our website and if you have any other questions just shout out!!! Cheers, Cam

    mauricem Active Member

    Shiga Kogen, only 5 days so you wont run out of new terrain to explore and can stay in the same place with no need to worry about shuttles. Ideal for intermediates and not too westernised.

    Downsides, no real apres scene or range of restaurants to explore like say Nozawa has.

    Donza Pool Room

    5 grand? :eek: for 7 days?

    M_G Dedicated Member Season Pass Gold

    If you're on your own then I can recommend Takeda across the road from us in Akakura Onsen which has private single rooms for 7,900 a night. It's where Crispy013 stayed last year when he did his road trip (see link in the Myoko/Madarao thread). Rooms are basic but comfortable with toilet and great views. You'd be right in the middle of everything, ski in from two resorts, with a 3 minute walk to the Ikenotaira/Suginohara shuttle stop.

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

    You can have a Prince Naeba penthouse for that !

    skivet Active Member

    As an intermediate skier who only skis on piste I love Shiga Kogen, have been three times now and going back for more!
    Lots of different runs for intermediates, good restaurants for lunch on ski fields and nightlife is not our thing!
    If you stay at ichinose there are a few good bars/ restaurants to try as well, very cosy. The Tepa bar at Chalet Shiga is great.
    :thumbs: Ludaning likes this.

    PMG Dedicated Member Season Pass Gold

    Sounds good albeit not very Japanesey. But that may suit you better first visit anyway.
    Last edited: May 17, 2016

    Ludaning Active Member

    No 5k for flights and everything.

    Donza Pool Room

    ahh OK
    still easy.

    Ludaning Active Member

    Checking Shiga Kogen out now. Does look good. Not really wanting to get drunk every night.

    LMB Part of the Furniture Season Pass Gold

    Iwatake would be brilliant for you.
    I'm with @Donza - not a Happo fan.

    Shiga Kogen would give you huge variety.

    Myoko offers loads of intermediate terrain.

    The lodge option could be good - people to get advice from, drop you at the hill and maybe new mates to ski with.

    travelislife Dedicated Member

    You will do that easy for $5k.

    Flights: $1200 (could be cheaper but assume this in January)
    Lift Tickets: 5*50 = $250
    Accom: 7*100 = $700
    Transport: $150

    That's only $2300 there!

    I don't include food as that is a cost I have back home as well.

    As an aside in January we will do 3 weeks for about $4k for a couple on the ground
    Lift Tickets: 15*50 = $750
    Accom: 16*50 = $800 (luckily we do have 4-5 nights of free accom with friends)
    Transport: 15*35 = $525 (car hire)

    Total: $2075 per person.
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    Hunter Part of the Furniture Season Pass Gold

    Dont agree

    I would go to Nozawa

    Hakaba village ( if you can call it that ) is very unattractive
    :thumbs: Charles likes this.

    Seth Old And Crusty Season Pass Gold

    Is it a skiing holiday or nice town holiday?

    Hakuba blows all over nozawa skiing wise for a low to mid intermediate.

    Nozawa much nicer town but that doesn't make up enough ground.

    Tonester Dedicated Member Season Pass Gold

    ^^^^^ What skichanger said!

    Donza Pool Room

    Three feet of snow makes everything attractive

    Donza Pool Room

    Btw I don't think many villages in Japan are particularly attractive.. snow helps
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    Four! Active Member

    "Transport: 15*35 = $525 (car hire)" I'm assuming this is a per head price so daily rate for the car is about $70. If $35 though I'd be interested to know thru who as I'm currently getting a rate for a small car of about $60/day from English web pages?

    Ludaning Active Member

    Haha so what everybody is saying is there's lots of choices. Atm probably leaning toward hakuba or shiga kogen. I'm sure that could change though. When's the best time to start booking.

    Donza Pool Room

    what intended period is your travel?

    Donza Pool Room

    I paid 4000 yen this year.
    Honda FIT 2wd

    Ludaning Active Member

    Mid January