Japan’s playground of Ski Resorts!
Everyone is talking about SKIING/SNOWBOARDING in JAPAN these days which is GREAT but this means EVERYONE is wanting to GO and now there is very little availability left for Dec15/Jan16 and selling fast for Feb 2016.
The good news is that few people realise the snow in Mar/Apr is also fabulous with the added bonus of sunny days and blue skies.
For those tossing up on where to go, here's our WORLD SNOWFARIS regions broken down...
NISEKO is a favourite with Aussies and it's the largest in Hokkaido, the north island of Japan.
(Most guests fly into Sapporo then transfer by bus 2.5hrs). Regarded as having some of the world’s best snow, Niseko features 6 famous ski areas known as Annupuri, Higashiyama, Hirafu, Hanazono, Moiwa and Weiss. Hirafu is where the majority of people stay due to its close access to restaurants, bars and clubs. Other services are all within a short snowy stroll from your accommodation or quickly accessible by the resort's free shuttle service.
Niseko accommodation can quite often book out 6 – 12 months in advance during the peak season of Dec – Feb however March is fast becoming a very popular time to travel with uncrowded lift lines and perfect blue bird spring skiing conditions. Accommodation style varies but is more westernised than many of the other Japanese ski resorts. The most popular choice of accommodation in Niseko are the self-contained apartments like Freshpowder Niseko and ski lodges such as Jam Lodge and Potato Lodge, as they tick a lot of boxes for large groups, families and couples.
HAKUBA in the Nagano area offers vast options for incredible skiing/boarding as well as beautiful villages rich in culture.
(Most guests fly into Tokyo/Narita then transfer by train or bus 4-5hrs weather dependent). The Hakuba Valley features 8 main ski resorts. From left to right you have in order, Sanosaka, Goryu, Hakuba 47, Happo One, Iwatake, Tsugaike, Norikura & Cortina Resorts.
Happo-One is the main village of Hakuba where you can find restaurants, pubs, rental stores, cafes etc. There is a resort shuttle service that runs most of the season and will take you from one resort to the other for free or a small fee depending on how far you want to travel. For example Happo One to Cortina will cost 1,500 YEN return per adult (approx. $15). Happo-One accommodation ranges in quality, size and location. An excellent value lodge such as Snowlines in the heart of Hakuba is only a 10 minute walk to Happo lifts. There are more upmarket lodges and hotels in Happo as well as moderate to luxurious chalets and apartments either ski in/ski out or in close walking distance to everything you need in this awesome village.
Goryu/47 is a combination of 2 mountains/resorts owned by the same local farming organisation. This means 2 mountains for the price of 1! Hakuba 47 features the best snowpark in Japan with large jumps, jib rails and a large halfpipe. It also has some of the steepest groomed runs and is the most suitable resort for the advanced skiers/snowboarders. Goryu can be reached from 47 using the Steep quad lift. It has the most runs for Intermediate level skiers and boarders as well as a fun snow park for beginner to intermediate level jumpers and railers. Goryu also has a popular on mountain restaurant in front of the huge beginner slope at the front of the resort. World Snowfaris recommend Bears Den Mountain Lodge located at the foot of Goryu/47 resort. The lodge offers a free shuttle service which will take you to the slopes daily and an evening shuttle to restaurants around Hakuba.
CORTINA located approximately 15 kms north of the Hakuba township, is essentially Hakuba's secluded powder haven.
Accommodation is genuine ski in ski out. Just don't expect a village full of restaurants and nightlife. There is no village as such, just a couple of excellent accommodation options and powder for days. Cortina is the go to resort when the snow is dumping. Long open tree lines and shoots make Cortina one of the best powder skiing/snowboarding resort in the world! World Snowfaris recommend adding on 5 or more nights at Cortina Apartments or Big Bear Cortina Lodge
NOZAWA ONSEN offers a truly traditional Japanese experience
The quaint cobblestone streets are stepped in history and the village is oozing with onsens and traditional accommodation. Experience Japanese style tatami rooms with super comfortable futons or push the budget a little further and stay in a private apartment with western touches.
Nozawa Onsen’s mountain is mostly intermediate and beginner runs making it perfect to take a family of first timers or the family in general. This isn’t to say Nozawa isn’t suitable for advanced level skiers or boarders. Nozawa has some very fun off-piste terrain with open tree shoots in both the back and side country. Guides can be provided if you would like to explore these areas with a local expert.
World Snowfaris recommend Villa Nozawa and Lodge Nagano for a great ski lodge experience with local/western hosts who can point you in the right direction for restaurants, tours and of course ski and snowboarding information.
MYOKO was once a well-kept secret, but the word is out!
Many of our travellers are now adding a week at Myoko to their week at Hakuba or Nozawa Onsen. Skiing/Boarding on the slopes of Myoko feels like you've ventured out to the backcountry... endless powder runs lined by rusty red barked dakekamba birches. If you are looking for a party scene of pubs and clubs then Myoko will disappoint you. Myoko is well known for its very laid back lifestyle where boarding and skiing is the priority. This isn’t to say you can’t enjoy a nice traditional meal with a couple of Asahi or Sapporo’s to wash the day down.
The main mountain in Myoko Kogen is called Akakura which features some extremely fun terrain for all levels but is especially well known for its deep powder runs through the side country! Apart from Akakura mountain, the Myoko region also features a handful of other amazing resorts you can ride, for example Madarao, Tangram, Suginohara, Seki Onsen and Akakura Onsen. This not only gives you diversity in the terrain you ride, but it also means you can escape crowds if you happen to come across any. The other brilliant thing about the resorts surrounding Myoko is the cheap lift tickets. It isn’t bizarre to buy a day ticket to one of the resorts nearby for as low as AUD$25 per adult.
Myoko is roughly the same distance by train from Tokyo/Narita as Hakuba and is just as easy to get there. If you are coming from another resort in the Nagano region, World Snowfaris can arrange an inter resort shuttle for you. Ask about our Myoko properties Red Warehouse and Morino Lodge Myoko coming soon to www.worldsnowfaris.com
March/April Specials are awesome this year!
The Japan 2015/2016 season is well and truly underway and selling fast, so if you are chasing a great deal and value for money then look no further than Spring Skiing in Japan!