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Originally Posted By: Sarge1
Change the local currency to $AUD

slap

Originally Posted By: thursday
I'dreally love a 5 star hotel at Hirafu. Kill the Kogen and let's have a Shangri-La there.

thumbsup
Awesome idea. LOVE the Shangri-La resorts!
*As long as there are cheaper options available as well - a good mix is best*

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Lots of good points here. A couple of things I'd like to comment on.

 

More shops is going to be real hard until the resort becomes much more of a year round destination. Currently most of the restaurants and bars and any other shops in the village close in the off season. You'd be amazed though how many Japanese people say they want a McDonald's here. They don't have the same prejudice against the chain that many westerners seem to. Anyway there's no chance of it happening any time soon.

 

Banning smoking from all restaurants and bars will only help to alienate Japanese customers even more than they might already be. A high percentage of Japanese smoke and expect to be able to do so over dinner and a drink. If you want a restaurant or bar to be gaijin only then sure go ahead and ban smoking. This is not Australia and we shouldn't impose our aversion to smoking on this town. There's more than enough non smoking venues already.

 

The idea that no more change should come to Niseko is just silly. I would though like to see more of the change and development coming from the Japanese themselves rather than just foreign investors. Most people who carry on about the changes and their effect hadn't ever been to this town before the foreign investment. From my point of view it really wasn't that great beforehand and I think the changes are only making it better.

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(I guess you aren't really looking, but) the makers of this site - the ones providing you with this platform - do a fair good job.

wink

My mates cousin also runs a web design company. As does his brother. They are their own competition. lol

La-de-da.

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Originally Posted By: thursday
The sulphur smell is onsen water you knumbnuts.


Yeah, and that was really helpful, thursday!
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Originally Posted By: Go Native
Lots of good points here. A couple of things I'd like to comment on.
<snip>
Banning smoking from all restaurants and bars will only help to alienate Japanese customers even more than they might already be. A high percentage of Japanese smoke and expect to be able to do so over dinner and a drink. If you want a restaurant or bar to be gaijin only then sure go ahead and ban smoking. This is not Australia and we shouldn't impose our aversion to smoking on this town. There's more than enough non smoking venues already.


OK, not concerned to deny the locals their customs, but if the restaurants are going to put in a "non-smoking" section, (as some have) it does not make any kind of sense to have it at the BACK so we have to walk through the haze to get to our table and back again to get out.

Some air flow design would be good, too. So that the air is forced away from the non-smoking section. Having a sign on the table that says "non-smoking" when the very next table has no sign and has an ashtray, makes a mockery of the non-smoking section. I mean, c'mon!
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Okay I admit that I have only been coming to Niseko since there have been some changes and yes what has been established now is great BUT realy do we need some of these other changes??

 

You know we stayed at Chateau Lake Louise for 5 weeks and they only had 4 small shops in the village 10mins bus ride away, or you went to banff 45 mins away for shopping. On days when we weren't skiing we would go for treks up the mountains or out on the lake. Now is it because it is Canada people don't want to implement 100 changes there.

 

Believe me there was less there than in Niseko.

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Originally Posted By: snowhuntress
Okay I admit that I have only been coming to Niseko since there have been some changes and yes what has been established now is great BUT realy do we need some of these other changes??

You know we stayed at Chateau Lake Louise for 5 weeks and they only had 4 small shops in the village 10mins bus ride away, or you went to banff 45 mins away for shopping. On days when we weren't skiing we would go for treks up the mountains or out on the lake. Now is it because it is Canada people don't want to implement 100 changes there.

Believe me there was less there than in Niseko.


Actually there are many shops, they are mostly hidden inside the Chateau building. I think the Canadians would happily develop the village except for hardly anyone stays there, everyone stays in Banff. It's a little like comparing Higashiyama with Hirafu.

On that point I would like to see the bus service improved. While there are sort of regular buses going between all the major points they were run by three separate companies and there was no common ticketing system. Supposedly buying an all mountain pass entitled you to a free bus, however you could easily wait for two hours for a free bus while the other bus companies came and went. Also the timetable didn't go late enough. If you were staying out of Hirafu (yes, there IS life after Hirafu) and wanted to come into town for a night out your only option was an expensive taxi to get home.
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OK I'll play.

 

I've had it on good authority that an ATM has been requested by the local companies - Japanese and non-Japanese - each year for at least the last 5 years.

 

The repeated answer, and I paraphrase:

 

'we're not putting in an ATM for at most 60 days business a year'

 

But here's a novel idea.

 

You can ski / ride at Grand Hirafu between 16 March and 05 April for JPY 21,000. That's 4.5 days to pay for itself.

 

With home / apartment owners this season getting less nights than they hoped, with some getting just 9 nights occupancy, how about offering an accommodation package to tie in with the spring pass.

 

That way more people will visit when it is absolutely dead here and more businesses will stay open.

 

I feel sorry for the visitors here now paying as much as someone in early December but without the services on offer.

 

But don't feel too sorry. Yesterday was in the top 5 for days of the season smile

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Originally Posted By: JA
Originally Posted By: Go Native
Lots of good points here. A couple of things I'd like to comment on.
<snip>
Banning smoking from all restaurants and bars will only help to alienate Japanese customers even more than they might already be. A high percentage of Japanese smoke and expect to be able to do so over dinner and a drink. If you want a restaurant or bar to be gaijin only then sure go ahead and ban smoking. This is not Australia and we shouldn't impose our aversion to smoking on this town. There's more than enough non smoking venues already.


OK, not concerned to deny the locals their customs, but if the restaurants are going to put in a "non-smoking" section, (as some have) it does not make any kind of sense to have it at the BACK so we have to walk through the haze to get to our table and back again to get out.

Some air flow design would be good, too. So that the air is forced away from the non-smoking section. Having a sign on the table that says "non-smoking" when the very next table has no sign and has an ashtray, makes a mockery of the non-smoking section. I mean, c'mon!


It's Japan! Everyone makes a song and dance about wanting to be able to enjoy a bit of Japanese culture, well this is part of it. It's extremely unusual as it is that so many of the restaurants/bars here are non smoking. Or is everyone just wanting to have culture that they like?

A mate of mine Shukin who runs a cafe in Kutchan made the following comments in a magazine recently

Quote:
'As a long time resident of Kutchan it always disheartens me to hear people complain 'there is no culture in Hirafu, Niseko or Kutchan!' Or 'It just doesn't seem like Japan!' Many act as if 5 or 6 years ago, when western real-estate development companies decided to rebuild the area, there were samurai and geisha walking the streets, only horses and rickshaws on the streests, and if you weren't careful when you went out drinking sake you would end up in a sword fight with a drunken ronin.'


I guess the point he is making is that most foreigners have no real idea what Japanese culture is in modern Japan. They have these images of Japan that no longer exist except maybe as tourist attractions in Kyoto or something.
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Hmmm.

How would I make Niseko better?

Well truth be told I disagree with a lot of the points brought up about the smoking in restaurants, fox sports on telly (, stinky onsen water and fast food outlets.

There was a KFC at the gondie. Damn there is a maccas in the gondora station at Happo and it rocks. Fast food is everywhere in Japan. The most I’ve witnessed out of North America. Wouldn’t make a dent. Smoking is Japan. Doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

My points…

Bring back 100 noodle bar. Sad demise. Same as carpark yakitori. Its those cheesy eats I reckon I’d miss.

Have a market stall area, selling Hokkaido vegetables and produce.

Nozawa had some of the nicest produce places ever. It was cool to see after all the GE flouro food at Co-op maxvalue etc.

More Onsens in Hirafu..

More frequent and better designed village buses in the morning and arvo peaks.

Build a road between Hirafu and Higashiyama. Isn’t there one in summer? It just doesn’t get graded.? It’s a mission to get between the two.

Kick out some of the tour operators. I think they have a lot to answer for in the way the accommodation supply is maybe monopolised. It seems as though there is less and less individually operator pensions and lodges.

Cut a trail from Annapuri to Moiwa through the forest. Join the resorts on one ticket.

Put a lift across there and open it up as a cat boarding powder experience hill. No grooming. Limit the punters going there.

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There's less and less individually operated pensions and lodges because they've all been selling up to foreign devlopers. Most were barely making enough money to survive and only recently were able to sell at prices similar to what they'd paid back in the 80's boom times. Many have cashed in and are probably enjoying retirement now.

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Another vote for carpark Yakitori - my kids would be in heaven!!

 

I know that the German Sausage vendor in Zermatt was on a first name basis with my kids by the time we left this year - it was sidewalk vending and always had a queue!

 

Smoking:

OK you guys know I hate it. I am a 10yr clean reformed smoker - and nothing is worse than being in a smoke filled room and not contributing to that smoke - especially when you have severely asthmatic kids that react very badly to it.

HOWEVER

Comparing to other international resorts Japan is no different to many - Europe is WAY behind Aus on banning smoking in eating houses and public places. It will come - eventually the smokers will be pushed out into exile all over the world - but lets face it - change comes slower in some places. I would personally prefer people did not smoke on the lifts in front of me, and my resturant was smoke free - but it would not stop me going there.

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The clear nasty health and flow-on effects of cigarette smoking transcend all cultures, countries, regions and social circles on the planet these days, and regardless of who you are, it is plain dumb to ignore all the proven very costly ill-effects.

 

Apart from the UN perhaps, it is not, however, up to any external countries/groups to attempt to impose "rules" or guildelines on another country/culture - it must happen from within their own government.

 

For example, in (any) CountryX, the Federal CountryX Health Dept. (or equivalent) needs to take steps, across the entire country, to help minimize passive cigarette smoke from drifting around many areas that it shouldn't.

 

It would be foolish to impose strict rules alienating smokers, rather it would be best to impose guildelines for improved smoking areas and ventilation around such, etc.

 

Like we have seen in Australia (or at least NSW) over the past decade.

 

---

 

Oh, and Re: an international ATM in Niseko - thinking further on it, the one(s) in KUtchan are very easy and cheap to get to, so they suffice.

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Originally Posted By: Donza

There was a KFC at the gondie. Damn there is a maccas in the gondora station at Happo and it rocks. Fast food is everywhere in Japan. The most I’ve witnessed out of North America. Wouldn’t make a dent.


Ouch.
That would really "make a dent" in Niseko, for mine. Keep 'em to the more built-up areas.


Originally Posted By: Donza

Have a market stall area, selling Hokkaido vegetables and produce.


Now that's a great idea.
A weekly local/Hokkaido produce market each Sunday, especailly through winter.
Perhaps a bit expensive for vendors if they don't get much turnover I guess though, shrug.


Originally Posted By: Donza

Cut a trail from Annapuri to Moiwa through the forest. Join the resorts on one ticket.
Put a lift across there and open it up as a cat boarding powder experience hill. No grooming.


That's an excellent idea - a link lift across to Moiwa, like a Gondola that goes both ways, ensure Moiwa has the same turnstyle type ticketting system and wham, the All-Mountain Pass can now include Moiwa and cost a bit more (but well worth it).
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