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obviously we are coming from different angles.....I'd love to earn 150k in a week....sadly I do not

$1500/week is not uncommon in Australia people in Japan must make decent money there are heaps at the resorts and to ski/ board isn't cheap,

What kind of money do you earn TB if you don't mind me asking?

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If youre a photographer, maybe... and i know its not nagano... but have you considered .. zao?   Definite portfolio stuff there. I mean hakuba has a really nice backdrop too, but snow monsters or a

Get yourself a JR East Rail Pass. I like the 4 day Flexis that gives you any 4 days within a month and costs you pretty much the same as if you get the Narita Express/Shinkansen to Nagano return. That

If you are overnighting it in Tokyo drop all your big bags at the airport and get the Black Cat to deliever them to your hotel. Approx $20 a bag. Makes a big difference.

ManfredK going the 1st time can be quite intimidating, I know it was for me and I've been to a country or two but please dont be put off thinking you cant do it and it will be hard to sort yourself, public transport is awesome. But Im still a fan of the Dead Kennedys "Give me convenience or give me death" some times. One of the benefits of the tour type deal is contingency for delays etc, although most if not if all will happen at the Australia end.

 

Here are a few things I've found having done 6 trips now. Im no expert but hopefully this can help

 

Hypedia is a website that allows you to plan your internal travel within Japan. You cant book it on there but you can schedule it which is very helpful.

 

You have a few options to get from Narita to Hakuba, these are the main ones.

  1. Catch the Narita Express to Tokyo, then catch the Shinkansen to Nagano, then a bus to Hakuba. Its my preference, particularly if traveling during the day. If you go this way at night and cant make the last Hakuba bus from Nagano I stayed at the Metropolitan Hotel right at the Nagano station and thought it was great value.
  2. Chuoo Taxi is a shuttle bus service that runs from Narita Aiport to your Accomadation door in Hakuba. Really convenient and if at night a good way although approx 5-6 hours. Really simple and low stress.
  3. Hakubus is a bus service from Narita to Hakuba, never used so cant comment on it.

Easist way to get from Hakuba to Nozawa will be the bus from Hakuba to Nagano Station and then either the local train or bus to Nozawa. Ippy has done this many times and will hopefully chime in.

 

 

 

Best all round value for transport on the longer legs is the JR East 4 day Flexi Pass. You can use it on the Narita Express, Shinks, most local trains etc. Need to buy it before you leave approx $200 to buy.

 

On the way home I always stay near the airport on the last night to de-stress that part of the journey and in the past have stayed at the Airport Hilton (cheaper than you may think) but this time stayed in the town of Narita at the Richmond which was 5 mins from the JR station and really enjoyed the morning walking around the town and going to the temple etc then catching the local train although the hotel had a free shuttle too. I use the typical sites to book those city rooms and the contacts pages on SJF for most snow accomadation.

 

Loads of accomadation at Hakuba, when there I always stay in Echoland as I like to be able to head out to a variety of resturants and bars in that area and walk/stagger back to my digs and where I stay (Whitehorse) they drop you each morning at what ever resort you want to ride but Im sure many other places do that too - sometimes Im just a creature of habit. Hit up the accomadation page on here and email a range of them. Normally get a pretty quick response. Other people prefer to be able to walk to the lifts in the morning at somewhere like Happo and there is heaps of accomadation choices there, none of which i've stayed at so cant comment. There is a series of shuttle buses in Hakuba that can ferry you between resorts. If you are staying at Happo and want a break from Japanese food head to Uncle Stevens Mexican. Nice food and Margs :) Either area would serve you well. Sorry cant add any info re Nozawa Accom as havent stayed there yet.

 

ATM's are found at convenience stores (not always in a conveinent location) as a rule and not many other places and a LOT of places DONT accept credi cards so carry cash as a rule with a few exceptions. In the smaller towns they can be found in Post Offices only and only open during business hours. Myoko is such a place. Part of Shiga is the same but I cant recall which part.

 

On the way out if you are staying off mounatin a couple days Black Cat your bags to the airport. About $20 a bag and a great thing. Your hotel can sort this and you pick them up real close to where you check in.

 

You have HEAPS of time, start doing some doing some online free Japanese lessons. You'll be fine in Hakuba but in other places it will make your life heaps easier and open up so much more. Im embarresed how little I know after so many trips :( But then my command of the Emglish language leaves a little to be desired too.

 

Make sure you turn your data roaming off on your mobile phones before leaving Aus or you will have a NASTY surprise when you get home.Turn off all push notices too so if you get really stuck and need to turn it on it will minimise the cost.

 

You can load credit onto Skype and call any number in the world very cheaply. If you download the Skype app to your phone, find some free WiFi and make your calls.

 

Probably a good thing to do is read through all the trip reports relevant to Hakuba and Nozawa and ask as many questuons as you like. Just holler if I can help more.

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Top post pan-head. Covers most things you need to know if you're going on a ski trip to Japan.

 

Re Liquid tours, some mates and I picked up a Jestar/liquid tours package this year to Hakuba staying at the Lab for 6days on the snow. Accommodation was more like a backpackers but the people running it were really nice and helped out as much as they could. Made for some large nights out with the team at the Lab and the owner of liquid tours (28yr old wanker).

 

All that aside, for $2100 for flights from Melbourne (normally $700-1200 depending on sales), transfers to and from the airport, accomodation, lift passes (5days), breakfast each day i dont think we could have done it cheaper.

 

Last trip I did to Japan 2012 we did by booking everything ourselves. Getting around with the JR pass and booking accommodation was a breeze. Japan is an easy country to get around in if you know where to look online (check pan-heads post, covers 99% of what you need to know).

 

Looking back on the tour vs book yourself. If I was doing a short trip (ie 7 days or less of skiing), I would defineatly go the tour option, quick and easy to book, every thing taken care of. If I was going to multiple places like my last trip and or were going for a longer trip I would book myself.

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If I only had one day in Tokyo I wouldnt be wasting it shopping for boots.

thanks Pete, level nine is an amazing US web ski web site, great prices compared to aust. buying a pair of boots for my wife and I through them. I also like to THANK YOU for the effort in your advise and help...Im blowen away by the positive response I have received from everyone on here. The trips a long way off but Im going to enjoy the ride, good to have something exciting to look forward to..lifes about the journey..if the end is at a ski resort in Japan..YEEEHAA..

Cheers

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ManfredK going the 1st time can be quite intimidating, I know it was for me and I've been to a country or two but please dont be put off thinking you cant do it and it will be hard to sort yourself, public transport is awesome. But Im still a fan of the Dead Kennedys "Give me convenience or give me death" some times. One of the benefits of the tour type deal is contingency for delays etc, although most if not if all will happen at the Australia end.

 

Here are a few things I've found having done 6 trips now. Im no expert but hopefully this can help

 

Hypedia is a website that allows you to plan your internal travel within Japan. You cant book it on there but you can schedule it which is very helpful.

 

You have a few options to get from Narita to Hakuba, these are the main ones.

  1. Catch the Narita Express to Tokyo, then catch the Shinkansen to Nagano, then a bus to Hakuba. Its my preference, particularly if traveling during the day. If you go this way at night and cant make the last Hakuba bus from Nagano I stayed at the Metropolitan Hotel right at the Nagano station and thought it was great value.
  2. Chuoo Taxi is a shuttle bus service that runs from Narita Aiport to your Accomadation door in Hakuba. Really convenient and if at night a good way although approx 5-6 hours. Really simple and low stress.
  3. Hakubus is a bus service from Narita to Hakuba, never used so cant comment on it.

Easist way to get from Hakuba to Nozawa will be the bus from Hakuba to Nagano Station and then either the local train or bus to Nozawa. Ippy has done this many times and will hopefully chime in.

 

 

 

 

Best all round value for transport on the longer legs is the JR East 4 day Flexi Pass. You can use it on the Narita Express, Shinks, most local trains etc. Need to buy it before you leave approx $200 to buy.

 

On the way home I always stay near the airport on the last night to de-stress that part of the journey and in the past have stayed at the Airport Hilton (cheaper than you may think) but this time stayed in the town of Narita at the Richmond which was 5 mins from the JR station and really enjoyed the morning walking around the town and going to the temple etc then catching the local train although the hotel had a free shuttle too. I use the typical sites to book those city rooms and the contacts pages on SJF for most snow accomadation.

 

Loads of accomadation at Hakuba, when there I always stay in Echoland as I like to be able to head out to a variety of resturants and bars in that area and walk/stagger back to my digs and where I stay (Whitehorse) they drop you each morning at what ever resort you want to ride but Im sure many other places do that too - sometimes Im just a creature of habit. Hit up the accomadation page on here and email a range of them. Normally get a pretty quick response. Other people prefer to be able to walk to the lifts in the morning at somewhere like Happo and there is heaps of accomadation choices there, none of which i've stayed at so cant comment. There is a series of shuttle buses in Hakuba that can ferry you between resorts. If you are staying at Happo and want a break from Japanese food head to Uncle Stevens Mexican. Nice food and Margs :) Either area would serve you well. Sorry cant add any info re Nozawa Accom as havent stayed there yet.

 

ATM's are found at convenience stores (not always in a conveinent location) as a rule and not many other places and a LOT of places DONT accept credi cards so carry cash as a rule with a few exceptions. In the smaller towns they can be found in Post Offices only and only open during business hours. Myoko is such a place. Part of Shiga is the same but I cant recall which part.

 

On the way out if you are staying off mounatin a couple days Black Cat your bags to the airport. About $20 a bag and a great thing. Your hotel can sort this and you pick them up real close to where you check in.

 

You have HEAPS of time, start doing some doing some online free Japanese lessons. You'll be fine in Hakuba but in other places it will make your life heaps easier and open up so much more. Im embarresed how little I know after so many trips :( But then my command of the Emglish language leaves a little to be desired too.

 

Make sure you turn your data roaming off on your mobile phones before leaving Aus or you will have a NASTY surprise when you get home.Turn off all push notices too so if you get really stuck and need to turn it on it will minimise the cost.

 

You can load credit onto Skype and call any number in the world very cheaply. If you download the Skype app to your phone, find some free WiFi and make your calls.

 

Probably a good thing to do is read through all the trip reports relevant to Hakuba and Nozawa and ask as many questuons as you like. Just holler if I can help more.

Thanks Mate, at this stage our flight arrives about 7pm, so thinking of staying the night in Tokyo and traveling on the train the next day to Nagano as you have suggested. Im now thinking of just staying in Hakkuba and doing some travel to other areas from there, like Naowa for a day trip. Now I have to make up my mind on how long to stay there as it seem the airfare is the most expensive part, i work for myself so time off is not a issue, dont get me wrong im no money bags but while we are there I might do some other travel and go for 14 days. Im not young enough "in Body" to ski for that long .. Good idea on the japan lessons, I worked with japanese(photographing) for 5 years, but we had translators, new the basics. how quick you forget. Phone advise was helpful, but will probably just email anyone who needs to hear from us, and poss buy a cheap phone for each of us in japan so we can find each other, .What do you think?

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I reckon $1500 is ok it depends on how much time you have to research stuff if you can earn that in a week just pay it or else you will spend a week ginning around to save a few hunderd.

 

I use Travelplan so may be worth checking them out

I don’t understand the yardstick here. Why $1500? Researching and booking for yourself is far more rewarding than letting a “specialist” do it for you at a premium you know has been thrown in but have little idea of the scale.

 

It’s not really the monetary factor but more the knowledge and satisfaction of being able to plan and materialize your own itinerary at a price you deem good value.

 

I ALWAYS do my own bookings and I enjoy it more that way. But that’s just me.

I am a big tight arse and do waste heaps of time online checking out prices I enjoy it, it is part of the process.

But sometimes an agent can buy a package from wholesaler put margin on it and you pay the same price or less, obviously you have to some research but Travelplan are normally a few hundred cheaper than other agents so they can have my business if they save me money and time.

Thanks will check them out.. Manny

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I love Hakuba but 2 weeks there is a LONG time if you arent fully into riding every day. You can do day trips but that excludes experiencing the other places at night which is often when they are at their prettiest and you lose a LOT of time in travel tripping daily. Perhaps consider the following If you are going for 14 days and you are worried about your body holding up. I'd be going to Hakuba for 4-5 days incl a bus trip to see the Monkeys etc then send ski equip by Black Cat to Nozawa and and the head down to Tokyo for a couple days, you could even consider going to Kyoto and Hiroshima (4 days total) following which head to Nozawa for the last 4 days. You could ditch the Kyoto/Hiroshima leg though and save it for next time and spend an extra day in Tokyo and Nozawa. Just a thought.

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I love Hakuba but 2 weeks there is a LONG time if you arent fully into riding every day. You can do day trips but that excludes experiencing the other places at night which is often when they are at their prettiest and you lose a LOT of time in travel tripping daily. Perhaps consider the following If you are going for 14 days and you are worried about your body holding up. I'd be going to Hakuba for 4-5 days incl a bus trip to see the Monkeys etc then send ski equip by Black Cat to Nozawa and and the head down to Tokyo for a couple days, you could even consider going to Kyoto and Hiroshima (4 days total) following which head to Nozawa for the last 4 days. You could ditch the Kyoto/Hiroshima leg though and save it for next time and spend an extra day in Tokyo and Nozawa. Just a thought.

I love your way of thinking, that sounds pretty good to me. Id love to check out Hiroshima, dont know much about Kyoto but will look into it.

thanks mate..you havnt herad the last of me yet..lol

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Hi Manny,

It's great that you're thinking of Japan we used to go to Perisher and have now been to Hakuba twice and Nozowa Onsen.

If you are a keen photographer Hakuba is great ad there is a lot of different ski resorts to take photos Goryu and Iwatake being my favourite on a sunny day.If your wife is a beginner Goryu is great on the front slopes but you can also go up the Gondola and ski around the top where the scenery is incredible especially when there is fresh snow in the trees.You can catch the gondola down the mountain which I would sometimes do and meet my husband and boys down the bottom of the mountain there is also a large restaurant overlooking the slopes which you have a break from skiing.

If you stay at Hakuba you can easily go by bus to Nagano about 1 hr and go to Zenkoji Temple .There is a tourist information office at the top of the stairs near Nagano Train station that will give you maps and information.We caught a bus to the temple then walked back to the station taking in the sights of the town.Other day trips you can do is to Matsumoto Castle great to take photos of and you can do a trip to the snow monkeys.

 

Nozowa Onsen is more traditional ski village and smaller .Its a great place for beginners skiing .On our trip in Jan this year we bought skis for about $200 and $250 ,Vokyl and a Japanese brand around Kanda area Tokyo there are streets full of shops with very cheap prices compared to Australia dont hire clothing it's cheaper to buy and also cheaper to buy new skis tha hire -Good luck planning Snow Japan website is very helpful.

 

 

 

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Hi Manny,

It's great that you're thinking of Japan we used to go to Perisher and have now been to Hakuba twice and Nozowa Onsen.

If you are a keen photographer Hakuba is great ad there is a lot of different ski resorts to take photos Goryu and Iwatake being my favourite on a sunny day.If your wife is a beginner Goryu is great on the front slopes but you can also go up the Gondola and ski around the top where the scenery is incredible especially when there is fresh snow in the trees.You can catch the gondola down the mountain which I would sometimes do and meet my husband and boys down the bottom of the mountain there is also a large restaurant overlooking the slopes which you have a break from skiing.

If you stay at Hakuba you can easily go by bus to Nagano about 1 hr and go to Zenkoji Temple .There is a tourist information office at the top of the stairs near Nagano Train station that will give you maps and information.We caught a bus to the temple then walked back to the station taking in the sights of the town.Other day trips you can do is to Matsumoto Castle great to take photos of and you can do a trip to the snow monkeys.

 

Nozowa Onsen is more traditional ski village and smaller .Its a great place for beginners skiing .On our trip in Jan this year we bought skis for about $200 and $250 ,Vokyl and a Japanese brand around Kanda area Tokyo there are streets full of shops with very cheap prices compared to Australia dont hire clothing it's cheaper to buy and also cheaper to buy new skis tha hire -Good luck planning Snow Japan website is very helpful.

Thank you for the tips, I am thinking about buy skis in japan, we have our own boots. Did you see any used ski shops, I have heard there are a few and good value, maybe save me bring them home, if they where the right price?

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Hakuba is great for scenery of course.

Stunning, without a doubt, but I find in one way it's also kind of limited. That's it, up there to the west of the village.

If you go somewhere like Tenjin, now that's just as stunning and then you have other places very nearby that offer different flavours. Round here as well I suppose, though on a smaller scale.

Zao is amazing for photos, but there's nothing else nearby.

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Hakuba is great for scenery of course.

Stunning, without a doubt, but I find in one way it's also kind of limited. That's it, up there to the west of the village.

If you go somewhere like Tenjin, now that's just as stunning and then you have other places very nearby that offer different flavours. Round here as well I suppose, though on a smaller scale.

Zao is amazing for photos, but there's nothing else nearby.

Thanks for the advise, I will have a look at Tenjin, We are both after a nice ski holiday, powder snow is not needed as I dont have that experience, somewhere nice and comfortable with good skiing and interesting areas sounds good to us., There is so much choice, dont think I will be able to get it just right the first time, may have to keep going back every year..LOL..Cheers Manny

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Personally, I wouldn't travel from overseas for a ski holiday in Japan and base myself in Gunma. Id choose Hakuba over Minakami every day of the week. Yeah Tenjindaira is gorgeous, but the on piste skiing is limited and boring. There are quite a few other resorts in the area but Gunma isn't as well connected public transport wise as most of the other main areas. Yuzawa is just over the mountains and is just 1 or 2 extra Highway exits further on than Minakami, so if you had a car then it's not a hassle to visit over there. The resorts in Gunma and Yuzawa tend to be quite small and compact, Kagura-Naeba not included of course. This is the area I usually ride in and both Kagura and Naeba has plenty options.

 

 

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Personally, I wouldn't travel from overseas for a ski holiday in Japan and base myself in Gunma.

 

I don't think I would either, perhaps I should have said that.

I'd choose Yuzawa over Gunma.

Go to Tenjin, maybe Kawaba.

Go over to Nozawa maybe.

Of course, car needed.

Then again, I have been to all these places and so it's not a 'first time' any more.

This gives a lot more 'photo opps' variation which is the point I was trying to make.

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Yeah I was thinking practically the same TBH. If they had a car then Yuzawa as a base is good.....nip over to Tenjindaira and Kawaba....Kagura, Naeba and the Yuzawa-Minamiuonuma places and then over to Noz. How easy/difficult is it over to Myoko from Yuzawa?

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Not the easiest actually. Well it's not hard just not close. Nozawa is closer.

You either go past Nozawa and over from Madarao, or through Tokamachi and over to Joetsu area.

Getting on for the best part of 2 hours either way.

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Thanks for your imput guys, as first time travellers to japan and a a wife in tow, we might stick to the more well beaten tracks this time prob hakaba, I am not sure at this stage to stay only in Hakaba or spend a few days in Nozowa as well. we will use the public transport in any case so that sounds like the best for us. When Im on Holidays I dont spend a lot of time photographing. What I usually do is spend 1 day by myself and explore the photo opps, and then put it away..I can photograph(work) any day, but cant ski anytime in australia on the Gold Coast. Of course I have a happy snap camera which I get the usual tourist pics..Any thoughts on Hakaba/Nozawa?

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