Best ski resort in Japan
Replies: 7 - Last Post: May 1, 2013 5:58 AM Last Post By: littlechilds
Apr 29, 2013 1:27 AM
Best ski resort in JapanApologies if this has come up before - I have done a search but got swamped by the information - what would people recommend as the best ski resort in Japan based on things such as:
- number and variety of runs given that our party ranges from beginner to intermediate
- ease of access
- add ons like hot springs etc
- reliability of snow in January
- good skiing weather
- ease of use by non Japanese speakers
- not ovverun by Australians (confession - I am one and while I do like to meet a fellow countryman oversease en mass we can be a bit much)
I've done a bit of skiing in Europe and Australia but know nothing about Japan other than that the snow is supposed to be excellent but there seems to be a bewildering number of ski resorts out there.
All advice gratefully received.
Apr 29, 2013 2:23 PM
Apr 29, 2013 3:21 PM
2I'd take a look at Furano
Apr 29, 2013 9:16 PM
3In Europe I ski blue/red and on piste only but others in our party are at beginner and will remain there while others might improve up to intermediate level so we need a range of runs with enough green to keep the beginners happy, enough more challenging (but not too challenging) runs for me and some in between for the improvers.
Apr 30, 2013 11:00 PM
May 1, 2013 4:08 AM
I have skied at a number of Japanese resorts over the past few years, so here are my thoughts.
Furano: initially chose it because it promised better weather/ visibility than Niseko. In general I think this is true and after 4 visits all of at least a week in January we have never missed a day's skiing due to the weather. It does however get less snow than Niseko(still plenty though) It has a variety of terrain and is very well suited to Intermediates with lots of long cruise runs. The top of the Kitanomine side is a little challenging as is the link run between the two sides of the resort, but these can be avoided by weaker members of your party by using the shuttle bus. There are very good beginner slopes and several ski schools which have English speaking instructors. Furano also has free ski hosts, who are locals who will ski with you for a morning or a whole day and show you the mountain. A great way to meet the locals! Furano has a wide variety of accommodation including large hotels, ryokan, minshuku, pensions and a good variety of restaurants. The town of Furano is 1.5km across the Sorachi River. From Furano you can also do day trips to Kamui and Tomamu if you want a change of terrain and there is also access to backcountry tours. I love Furano and it's friendly small town feel, and the effort the locals go to to promote their town and put on cultural activities for tourists. We have usually accessed Furano by local bus ( 800yen) from Asahikawa, about 11/2 hours. You can also get a bus from New Chitose airport / Sapporo.
Hakuba: only one visit here staying at Goryu. Some visibility problems. Hakuba is a series of resort villages along a valley floor, most of which are not connected by lifts ie you need transport between them. We skied Goryu, Happ-one, and Sun Alpina ( which I think is the prettiest) . Generally not so suited to beginners but Ok for intermediates and also more challenging terrain ie steeper and Icier than Furano in my experience. Access via Shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagano and then local bus.
Nozawa Onsen: had a couple of days here in February this year. Nozawa celebrated it's centenary as a ski village last year I think, but has a much older history as an onsen village and the village is dotted with traditional bathhouses. A fascinating place to stroll around after skiing. The skiing at the top has a very large area of very flat terrain that might even get frustratingly slow for beginners after a day or two. There are some relatively short intermediate runs at the top of the mountain and some challenging steep runs off the mountain. The days we were here we're very warm and the snow was starting to soften so we sat outside in the sun and ate green tea ice creams , which makes a change from Furano 's minus 15. Access as per Hakuba ( different bus).
None of the above are totally overrun with Australians, but there are plenty in all of them. And more every year . It strikes me that you notice Australians more, because they are much louder than Japanese, and the Japanese tend to eat in their accommodation after skiing, whereas Australians tend to want To go out and wander around and patronise small restaurants. All places are easy to navigate and manage for a non Japanese speaker, but I would suggest you try to learn a few Japanese phrases and try to understand cultural sensitivities. Hope this helps.
May 1, 2013 5:02 AM
May 1, 2013 5:58 AM
7We just returned fro Hakuba...I persoanlly thought it was "overrun" by Ausies lol. Not a big deal, but we ONLY met Ausies....maybe one other Canadian.
I found Happo One quite easy, but some say its challenging. Its huge, and lots of locals practicing moguls. I loved Cortina, lots of snow, and great off piste skiing!...but its not easy to get to. I heard great things regarding Hakuba 47.
My next trip I will be hitting Niseko:)
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