Japan? Japan!

Discussion in 'Holidays & Travel' started by chainbolt, May 29, 2012.

  1. TheWedgie

    TheWedgie Insert Custom Title Here

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    It was a few years ago, but from memory depending on where you're staying, most of the main places are within an easy walk, we went to a few restaurants a bit further out and just got a taxi.
    We were right at the 'top' of the main drag at the Highmount Hotel (now the Abest or something) - was a bastard of an uphill walk home so a taxi or some crazy guy in a shuttle bus with disco ball & lights featured regularly - but can't remember any more details on that!

    Hit up Yamagami Syokudou NEO for the platter of gyoza.

    EDIT: After 7 years of Niseko trips and ~3 of saying I'd never go back there (but guiding a group of mates that wanted to), I think next year I'll finally go back to Hakuba, so keen to hear if it's changed for better or worse in the last few years.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2020
  2. Zee

    Zee Member

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    Sold on the gyoza!!!

    Z...
     
  3. MR CHILLED

    MR CHILLED D'oh!

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  4. Ronald Reagan

    Ronald Reagan Member

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  5. Zee

    Zee Member

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    6996F934-E4FA-4C21-BA77-477D3111E047.jpeg So... Osaka - Airbnb was right next to Lawsons - WIN.

    Hakuba - snow sucks, go North.
     
  6. mtma

    mtma Member

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    Yeah apparently it has been a light snow season so far.
     
  7. Zee

    Zee Member

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    In a selfish sort of way, I'm kinda glad it's a crap snow season, my back is still on the mend from surgery, so anything beyond teaching my 8yo to snowplough is pretty much beyond what I should be doing. Still wish I could hit the slopes properly, but alas...

    Z...
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2020
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  8. MR CHILLED

    MR CHILLED D'oh!

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    Oh wow, that's absolutely shite. No wonder there is no one around.
     
  9. Ronald Reagan

    Ronald Reagan Member

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    I think it's just this season which has been particularly bad in Hakuba...not much snow there. The train station announcements when I was there a few weeks ago warned against trying snowboarding or skiing in those conditions.
     
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  10. Zee

    Zee Member

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    Started snowing last night, would have been nearly 10cm by morning (still falling - even built a snowman with my daughter). Shame we left at 11, now in Tokyo...

    Z...
     
  11. sanjay

    sanjay Member

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  12. Ronald Reagan

    Ronald Reagan Member

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    I flew with JAL economy as well and have to say it was pretty awesome. The guy sitting next to me happened to have his birthday the same day of the flight. At the end of the flight, the cabin crew surprised him with a cake, some little gifts and a hand signed card from all the air hostesses! Another thing I noticed was that the crew, apart from the pilots, were all female...perhaps this is a Japan thing?
     
  13. TheWedgie

    TheWedgie Insert Custom Title Here

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    Not sure if it's been mentioned before, but for those of you with Amazon Prime, check out James May: Our Man In Japan.

    Really enjoyed the first 3 episodes, partly as I've been to a number of the places he's covered (may have squealed out loud when he ended up in Moon Sun Brewing), but I also enjoy his style of presenting.
     
  14. Bold Eagle

    Bold Eagle Member

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  15. sanjay

    sanjay Member

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    i want to watch this but i also don't, as i know it'll give me RFMO (regret from missing out) from all the places that are in the show that i didnt go to... and will make me want to plan another trip to japan!
     
  16. hippyhippy

    hippyhippy Member

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    Just book October with jal .. 700 return direct to hanaeda.
     
  17. ChaoS-GoD

    ChaoS-GoD Member

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    Anyone have recommendations on smaller towns/regional areas to visit in Japan during the summer/autumn months, and what was the key drawcard to that area?

    I'm looking to head off the main tourist trails, but still need some tourism facilities/public transport as I'll be travelling with my family (not backpacking).

    So far I've been looking at Matsumoto (Nagano pref), Takayama (Gifu pref), Okayama (Okayama pref), or Ise (Mie pref). Love to hear what ideas others have.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2020
  18. sanjay

    sanjay Member

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    while not really off the tourist track we did a day trip to hakone, a day trip to miyajima, and a day trip to fukuoka (where as soon as we left the train station we got some strange looks...not many tourists down that way).

    one thing i did find is that you didnt need to go far off the tourist track to encounter serious language barrier issues. i dont blame the locals for that - its my fault i dont speak japanese, not the other way around (although i was surprised at the lack of english compared to other countries ive been to where that country is the only country that speaks their language - think indonesia, malaysia, thailand, vietnam, even mainland china) - but it was frustrating nevertheless.
     
  19. Zee

    Zee Member

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    So, my point of view, keeping in mind I've been skiing in Austria, Aussieland, the USA and Canada, about 33 years of skiing experience, and comfortable on anything up to higher double black runs. Also keep in mind that I just had back surgery 3 months ago, so I was going quite easy on myself.

    The mountain - we only did Happo One, the terrain is very easy. Even their "Double blacks" barely touch a properly graded difficult blue.

    There is nothing wrong with that, I can have fun on any terrain so long as I have good snow, just something to keep in mind.

    Snow sucked - nature is nature, and whatever your thought process regarding climate change, it's here, and I heard plenty of
    "it will never rain in Hakuba in January", and yet... It rained just before we got there. Upper slopes were ok, though very wet heavy snow, but if you made an effort at the "double black runs", you'd quickly find they were basically sheets of ice.

    I did make an attempt at a couple of turns on one, seeing as, from my point of view, they are very easy, open runs that are just kinda steep. There was another guy looking on, asked him if he'd been down yet. He said no. So I took two turns and decided my back was not up to sliding down on ice for a few hundred meters. Told the guy to go another run, and I scrambled my way back up.

    The lower slopes were a shitshow, ice and mud, basically, even the green runs down to the bottom proved tricky from half way down. I didn't have my own gear with me, so crappy rental boots with skis in unknown states of tune resulted in slipping and sliding more so than any form of carving.

    With a good dump, the place would be fun. I could see a lot of very fun ways down, cut your own path through some tree sections, popping between official runs etc - but it really needs to be a good base.

    The night before we left, and up until we got on the bus to head to Nagano for our Shinkansen to Tokyo, it was snowing. About 10cm of snow had fallen over night, so probably would have been a reasonably better day of skiing than what we had experienced. I did, however, get the chance to finally build a snowman with my 8yo daughter, which rocked! I had, for years, wanted to be able to ask my daughter:
    "Do you want to build a snowman?", seeing as she loves Frozen, and we'd recently seen Frozen II.

    The village itself is underwhelming, which can be good and bad. A lot of places were closed (unsurprising, considering the crap snow).

    There did not seem to be much of a night scene, with only a couple of bars, and everyone seemingly congregating around the pizza place, as it seemed to also be the bar of choice at night. It is, however, a very small village, it's nothing like Banff or Whistler, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. It would make it very easy to crash early each day and get up for the first tracks of each day - let's face it, if you're paying to fly to another country to ski, you should make the most of your mountain time.

    Food - meh. For Japan, rather disappointing. Nothing was bad, but nothing was particularly great, either. This may have been due to being in the village at Happo One, and food being "tweaked" for the "Western taste" *le sigh*, but anyway, we ended up going to a supermarket in town, buying a heap of top grade wagyu and salmon, and had wagyu and salmon sashimi the next couple of nights.

    In terms of gear and lessons, I was blown away by the pricing. Beginner's gear was about $40/day, easily doubling if you wanted something reasonable. Lessons were about 12000 Yen (about $150) per person, per day - in a group. Is this the norm? Geez, I'm glad I know how to ski - sadly, it meant I spent most of my skiing days teaching people who have spent their whole lives in the tropics, spending more time bitching about the cold (it was barely 0ºC - I was baking with my T-shirt and shell, which was unzipped, ffs!!!).

    Would I go back? Probably, provided it's a good season. Next trip, though, which will likely be next year, we'll look at Hokkaido, with at least a full seven days dedicated to skiing.

    Z...
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2020
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  20. ChaoS-GoD

    ChaoS-GoD Member

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    Thanks for these suggestions. I've been to Miyajima, and Hakone is not a bad idea for a side trip/overnighter from Tokyo. With Fukuoka, never been that far south but did you explore the whole city or just the Hakata side (Shinkansen station side)? Anything memorable?

    Luckily for me language barrier in Japan is not an issue, I have a good grasp of conversational level Japanese. One of the reason I'm not afraid of going off the tourist track. :)
     
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