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Hi I've been lurking around the forums for a while now and thought it was time to post.


I'm planning a snow trip to japan in early feb and was looking for some advice on where to go.

I don't think I want to go to Niseko (full of to many aussies) I wouldn't mind going somewhere a bit quieter, nightlife is not a big deal.


I would prefer somewhere with ski in/out accommodation or a short walk. I've been to NZ and it's not that fun trekking up the mountain each day.

Most likely going to be using public transport to get places. Is it easy enough to use the trains?


I'm on a budget so accommodation it can't be crazy expensive


I'm looking at Yuzawa or Hakuba, but i'm open to other suggestions.




P.S whats up with Mt Granview, is it like some sort of SnowJapan inside joke? :wakaranai:

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Mt Granview is the place where dreams are made!!


Hakuba has a number of budget options.....but it's not a secret, so the Aussies are already there. Yuzawa still flies under the radar but I do t know much about the hotel options as I always just did day trips. Check out Myoko for loadsa snow, perhaps budget options and a place relatively quiet on the Oz-squad. This area is pretty close to Madarao which is a fun wee hill for a day or two, very much not on the main herd's track but not a place Id actually wanna stay at. Nozawa is in the area too.....nice slopes and village but again the word is out and it's getting busier with overseas guests. Ryuo is also there and gets good reviews but Ive not been there. Not sure exactly how good the inter-travel is, if at all between these places but the potential is there

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Hey thanks for the info.

How hard is it to get around using public transport?

That's the main reason I liked yuzawa because it's close to the Shinkansen

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Trains are easy here and always on time... just depends on if there are the trains you want going to the place you want!


Walking distance from centre of Yuzawa is basically Yuzawa Kogen. Others are a short shuttle bus... from 10-20 minutes depending on where you go. But lots of choice in Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma. Don't forget Minamiuonuma - Maiko, Ishiuchi, Joetsu Kokusa, Hakkaisan are all worth a visit. And of course, there's Mt Granview!

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Hi Windy,


We (myself, wife & 2 teenage kids) skied in Japan for the first time in January this year. We stayed in Happo village & skied Happo, Hakuba 47, Goryu and Tsugaike Kogen.


Transport between resorts is free and easy.


There were plenty of Australians (and other westerners) there but I didn't see any "hoon" elements which I hear can be commonplace in Niseko, and there were many Japanese too.


The skiing and overall holiday experience was fantastic and we are going back in January 2015 and are counting the days - I can thoroughly recommend Hakuba.

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If it's large number of foreigners you want to avoid...... go to any place other than those Big Names - Niseko, Rusutsu, Hakuba, Nozawa - and you're sorted.

There's another level perhaps like Yuzawa where there are foreigners around (esp at Gala Yuzawa and Kagura) but big picture it's still mostly Japanese.

The other 450+ places are 99% Japanese. Obviously lots of those are tiny places you wouldn't be interested in but there's plenty big and spendid places left in there.

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I did a bit more research and I'm thinking about going to Myoko. It seems to be off the radar and there looks like there are a few good interconnected resorts, lots of snow too. Any of you fellas been there before?

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I did a bit more research and I'm thinking about going to Myoko. It seems to be off the radar and there looks like there are a few good interconnected resorts, lots of snow too. Any of you fellas been there before?

Going to myoko in Feb.Seems like a nice small village, suits all levels, Plenty of places to stay. Stayed In Goryu Jan this year. Our first time and simple to get around,.

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windy, please don't link to package deals and the like.


More info in the Forums Guidelines.




Sorry I didn't realise

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just literally made this post over SBforums. Dunno if its a help, but heres some ideas. The dude wanted to go shiga kogen, its a good idea of course. Definitely not going to find too many gaijins up there. But heres the other options from an iiyama and yudanaka perspective. I should add that my choices were based on him being in a group with 4 mates and all of them being beginners.


I guess i COULD tailor it more to your preferences (very close to the ropes, more japanesey), but maybe ill leave it as is for the moment. Its long enough :)


Base yourself around Iiyama for example and you should be able to hit up any of the following in order of personal preference:


Myoko Suginohara: For beginners like yourself, its really going to deliver the perfect goods. Lots of powder, a gentle pitch pretty much all the way own the mountain (except the very top lift), pretty much an entire FUN mountain to play in as well as a true leg burner of a run if youre up for it.


Nozawa: Serene, again, incredibly beautiful place. Lots of gentle lines throughout the mountain, insane powder when it goes off. Lots to do. A few flat parts here and there, but for beginners, once youve got some turns in you, youre going to love chewing our teeth on the skyline. Youll get a good sense of accomplishment from hitting that.


Togari Onsen: SUPER CHEAP (bring passport for discount lift ticket). I love Togari. Part of it is rosy goggles. But its CUTE! The resort has enough fun lines to hit up, lots of little naughty powder stashes, and the whole vibe is seriously beginner friendly (and young). Its the kind of place youll find people burying each other in snow, having snowball fights, and scorpioning in the cutest way imaginable. Its such a fun little place. Totally under-rated for my money. I wouldnt pick it over a day at the other two, but id be tempted to pick it over the rest to follow.


Myoko Akakura: Really if you were a more advanced group this one would be above Togari, but i think its better for intermediates. It really delivers in soft slackcountry and tree riding more than anything else. It has a fair few beginner lines of course, but its a straight gradient curve from bottom to top meaning realistically you might find the top too challenging to be fun, and the bottom too flat to be fun. Still, its a genuinely decent ride out, and isnt hurt by its location near the main town area for a bit of apres fun (suginohara is a few kms away from the main town part). If you base yourself in Myoko, then a couple of days at Suginohara, and a day at Akakan and Ikenotaira should make a decent time of it.


Myoko Ikenotaira: With around ten days of riding unde rmy belt i made my way to Ikenotaira and freaking loved it. Its definitely beginner and very low intermediate friendly. Almost everyone there will either be a) family with young kids; b ) near beginners; or c) park rats. Its got a nice vibe to it, lots of straightforward terrain, completely untouched powder stashes (families stick rigidly to the groomers) and some baby park features if you feel like laughing at each other bailing on some air. Its also, cough, the first place i ever ran under a lift line or ducked a rope.


Myoko Seki: Welcome to powder snow. Ive never made it out there, but its puked on like nowhere else in Japan. Seriously, every year, most snow in Japan. Its small, but if you want that niseko powder, then this might be at the top of your hit list. The resort is pretty much a free space, which of course worries me a little for beginners going there. But if youre up for the challenge, and coped with niseko, you might be alright here. Youd have to research it a bit first before you commit.


Ryuoo: Hmmmmmm... now im taking the piss obviously. Dont come here until you feel comfortable with your turns. Because if you come to ryuoo and dont ride the b course, youre missing out on what makes it awesome. Ive no idea how long youre planning on staying, but id save it until youve got a bit of confidence in you. Its an AWESOME line. But its going to kick the crap out of you. But again, its one of those things that once you make it down, youll feel like youve stepped up a bit. But if you cant face it, there is a great vibe at ryuoo. Its young, its laid back, very student style. Its got ski-in/ski-out accommodation for DIRT CHEAP, and a super friendly beginner area at the base of the mountain. Its basically a nice long base area with a mid teen gradient, then lurches up well into the mid 30s, and finally plateaus at the top on a very soft gradient. Its a brilliant place but you need to really be starting to carve, hold your edge at speed and on total bobbly icy crud to make it fun. You probably also need to be pretty comfortable in the trees or in basic slackcountry to get the best out of it. If you start feeling you can handle it, then definitely have a trek there. Its Nagano's hidden gem. But that part of the hill is definitely not for beginners.


Madarao/Tangram: Hmmmmm... again... a bit more going for it than Ryuoo perhaps, but i cant help but feel that this mountain REALLY suits strong intermediates more than beginners. Sure, it has a lot of terrain thats accessible to beginners, but its really again, the bottom half. The top half once again thrusts up into the mid 30s rapidly. The best thing about it is the off piste policy, and alas you wont really be experiencing much of this. Its also extraordinarily busy, which can get rather frustrating. Still, worth a lookie. I dog on it, but others say im completely off base. So one to maybe check out and ignore me on.



For Apres, your best bets here are definitely the Myoko resorts (basing yourself around Akakura onsen (do not ride at akakura onsen, its a cluster**** of a resort) or Nozawa. Nozawa is beautiful. Seriously. Proper snow-globe town in the hills. Akakura is a bit more party orientated i guess, but not quite niseko or hakuba style. Its still just really a couple of streets with a few places to get drunk maybe. Not sure how the bogan infestation over the last couple of years is transforming it, (havent really stayed there since 2011), but by all accounts more amenities springing up for the foreign visitor, which cant be a awful thing i guess.


You could be hell bent on Shiga Kogen. And im not going to stop you. This means you might want to think about basing yourself in Yudanaka, and that gives you 4 decent options (in no order this time):


1. Ryuoo: Already mentioned it. But a bus leaves direct from the train station, so its worth a punt. No bus went to Nozawa at the time i stayed there, which is a freaking shame because its only 20 or so KMs away.


2. Shiga Kogen: LOADS AND LOADS to do. But very quiet place. If its all about the ride, the scenery, and the Japanese feel, then hard to beat it. So much ground to cover, so many lines to hit up, so many secrets remaining undiscovered by me personally on a 2 day trip there a few years back. But its pricey.


Accommodation is expensive at the resort itself. Its catering to Japanese travelers so this means families with full service which means pricey for your average reprobate backpacker. If youre loaded, no problem, but im scottish and the idea of paying 10,000 yen per night (with breakfast and dinner), makes me break out in a rash. 4000 makes me squirm to be honest, and thats fekkin cheap. There is also nothing going on at night. As i say, its catered to domestic tourism, and your average Japanese family will come back from a days riding, head to the onsen, eat their dinner, grab a few tins of chu-hai, watch some telly in their room, and then around 10 or 11 go to bed. Of course i know nothing about you other than youre with four mates and you went to niseko. So perhaps this is exactly the experience you want. It is lovely after all. But basing yourself at Yudanaka might be a cheaper option. No nightlife either to be honest, but you at least have a few more convenience stores around.


3. Mt. Kosha. (yomase, x-jam, yamabiko no oka, kijimadaira).


A four mountain ticket that might be right up your street. If you do base yourself in Yudanaka youd be daft not to go play there. In fact if you can ever work it out, you can find a black box deal with accommodation and lift pass for dirt cheap (same at Ryuoo by the way, and i believe akakan).


All four of these resorts offer something utterly different from one another and like shiga kogen, the area you get to ride is HUGE. Unlike shiga kogen though, its right on your doorstep. And its cheap. Yomase is the nearest resort to yudanaka itself. Its a straightforward semi-empty place you can easy cut your teeth on as a beginner group. Lots to ride just in this area. Its quiet, so you can make a pigs ear of things without too much shame. But eventually youll want to move around the mountain, and your next stop is X-Jam.


X-jam is really a massive park area. Youll find it not only HEAVING with student age kids looking to learn to snowboard, youll also find it has the most fun, party atmosphere in maybe all of this side of nagano. Its got a fun, super friendly vibe. People are face planting all over the place and making tits of themselves on boxes (including me - not a park rat). Its got a few lines around it to just play on and some decent steeps. But all in all its a bit short to really keep you stuck there for your full time. Which then brings you to:


Yamabiko: Totally gorgeous little place. Very quiet. Lovely snow and though again a little short, still has an awesome fun pitch to just blast down on it. Comes with a cross course as well with some awesome big rollers to keep everyone happy. Definitely worth hitting it up on your way to:


Kijimadaira: A full resort in itself. Has the gnarliest on piste line youre going to find in Japan i reckons. The top of the mountain is not only a 45 degree plummet, its wind blasted, bobbled to shit, and feels like an ice rink. Its an experience. The lift is also pretty terrifying to be honest smile.gif.pagespeed.ce.xM_f3u022S.gif Outside that though, kiji has lots of softish/low intermediate lines to keep you going for a day. Plenty to do and see even without the other three resorts to keep you busy. You really need a couple of days to see it all. That being said, you probably need a good three or four days to start feeling tired of shiga kogen as well. So realistically just from these two resorts alone youre pretty much covered on the riding side. The caveat is really that theres no apres scene a all around this area.


Anyways, hope this helps give you a bigger picture. I think i covered them all. But maybe i missed a couple. Im trying to think. Its all a very brief summary of your options on that part of nagano/niigata (myoko is niigata despite being incredibly close to nagano).


To the West of Nagano theres Hakuba of course. And thats also a serious option. But i wont go into that right now. smile.gif.pagespeed.ce.xM_f3u022S.gif


ETA: I did say 4. Forgot the fourth one:




A. Monkey Onsen. Yay! monkeys! in an onsen! They think theyre people! Its so adorable!


To be honest, its a massive waste of time. But then again im not really that intrigued by the idea of looking at monkeys. I mean theyre cute and all, but its a bit of a trek and a waste of a day you could be riding. So screw them. But you might wanna see it, so you know... good place to visit them. In fact, the best place to visit them.


B. Obuse: A small village a few stops on the train back into Nagano. (i could also add in nakano, but thats just really a town with town like things but nothing particularly essential outside of a bit of shopping). Obuse on the other hand is gorgeous. Its more villagy in size, but comes with some wonderful chestnut foods as well as a museum dedicated to Hokkusai. The museum is must see and the town is chocolate box stuff. Pop there for a nice relaxing day out after youve wasted time gawping at monkeys ignoring you.

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If youve got the money of course and arent a cheapskate like me, then theres ski in/out options all over the shop. If not though the only two REALISTICALLY with ski in/out on a budget is Ryuoo and Yomase/Kosha. Black box. Google etc.


Akakan also does the black box, but the two times ive used it i was in the exact same hotel and its a bit of a shank down the hill :)


Akakan also has the most awesome ski in/out place ive seen to be honest. Its right out of the shining!


As for the gaijinz... shiga will be relatively gaijin free. No gaijins either on the two days i spent on Kosha. If you stay yudanaka and wanna snow monkey, then youll see a few probs, but theyre likely there exclusively for that pointless waste of time.


Ryuoo was pretty much empty of gaijins, as was togari and madarao now i think about it. Well, madarao to a very slightly lesser extent. Realistically the only ones that has the gaijins is.... drumroll... myoko! It seems to be getting a fair bit more publicity the past few years. Pity, i always wanted to retire there and be a grizzly old lifty there supping my shochu and scowling at the idiot children on their hoverboards. I mean WHATS THE ****ING POINT OF A HOVERsnowBOARD ON A MOUNTAIN??? FFS! these stupid kids these days! why the hell am i degrading myself teleporting these rich little wankers to the top of this hill? I should get a lazerpistol. I really should.


And nozawa. Definitely saw more gaijins there last-last season than any other time. Could be though that i had a season pass and went there more often :p


Point is though that NONE of these places are comparable to either niseko or hakuba. Its still just a few others on your hill. Possibly only myoko is pushing the envelope a bit harder for a third little town in japan for bogans to call their own. But Nozawa will never be overrun by foreigners despite its popularity just because its a fully functioning all year round actual proper lived in town, as well as being a place well loved by Japanese skiers and riders. I cant see foreigners coming in and buying up cheap lots or hotels like they can do in maybe Myoko (which to be honest on my first visit there in 2009 gave the impression of being a run down shit hole that needed a good deal of investment to bring it back to life) and like they did in Hakuba and Niseko.


Then again, more speculators and investors in this forum than me that know the history far better. Either way, i wouldnt sweat the details. Myoko is a fun as shit place to ride. Youll see bogans no doubt, but you really dont have to see them if you have any japanese speaking friends who can book accommodation for you through any japanese website. The end :)

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