Anyone been to Japan?


  • Philphed
    Tourist
    Philphed op 1 October 2015 · 14:41
    Hello everyone,

    I am planning on going to Japan in the end of January for 10-14 days. After doing some research I think we will go to the Hokkaido Region and will probably start off with a few days in the Black Diamond Lodge.
    Now I am wondering if you have to book rooms for the whole trip beforehand or if it is okay to monitor the snowfall and to book rooms on (very) short notice?

    I would appreciate any sort of Feedback! I have been doing some reading on SnowJapan.com already, however the Forum seems to be rather inactive.
  • Arjen
    Advanced
    Arjen op 1 October 2015 · 15:02
    @Philphed That sounds like a great trip. I've been to Japan two seasons ago and I can't wait to go back there. Anyway, I can't give you information about the Black Diamond Lodge, but @Clarky and @Vinnie might give some tips!
    One day, they'll invent synthetic powder, ban all kinds of work and give you a free liftpass...
  • Vinnie
    Advanced
    Vinnie op 1 October 2015 · 20:53
    Hi @philiphed

    January is a good time to visit and make sure you stay for 2 weeks!
    Hokkaido tends to be colder than the mainland so you should be good even considering el nino.

    We stayed at the BDL on our first trip and its a nice place to visit, but we found Niseko too crowded and pricey.

    So rent a car (they can set you up at the BDL), hop in the car and use booking.com

    we had no problem travelling around the island and sleeping for low prices at ryokans and business hotels in the city's!

    don't believe the hype, forget Niseko (do hike the Yotei) and hit the smaller resorts!

    Good luck!
    Sharing Secrets, Sharing freedom!
  • Philphed
    Tourist
    Philphed op 2 October 2015 · 10:05
    Thank you so much for your Feedback, it really helps a lot. Can't wait 😃 We definetely planned on renting a car to be able to travel, so that should work out nicely. Did you bring your own skiis or did you rent them? Considerung the hassle regarding Transportation. I read that you can rent skiis at the BDL, but since we want to travel around, renting from some sort of shop like you can do in the alps probably makes more sense right?!
  • TobyMcGreen
    Expert
    TobyMcGreen op 4 October 2015 · 00:36
    I've been there last season. I can not recoment niseko as its too crowdy and out of bound riding is often forbidden. We had a lot of trouble with the patrols there 😉 The best places on Hokkaido (in my opinion) are Kiroro and Asahidake while Asahidake is basicly powderskiing at its best. There are no pistes and freshies stay for a long time. You also shouldn't miss a hike up to Mt. Yotēi. Ski down the crater is an amazing feeling.

    Another must do is Hakuba on the main island of Honshu. Its the snowiest place in Japan with an average of around 18m of snowfall anually and the terain is just epic!

    Anyway, it's japan and you will allways find snow.

    There is one more thing... dont forget to inform your airline if you have an ABS System. The Japanese thaught its a bomb and you dont want to mess up with those guys 😉

    I wish you good pow and good fun!
    Toby
    Champagne Powder, quite possibly the closest thing to the use of illegal drugs!
  • Arjen
    Advanced
    Arjen op 5 October 2015 · 13:45
    @TobyMcGreen Lots of trouble with the ski patrol in Niseko? When you leave the area through the gates there shouldn't be a problem right? That's my experience.
    One day, they'll invent synthetic powder, ban all kinds of work and give you a free liftpass...
  • Powdernick
    Advanced
    Powdernick op 5 October 2015 · 14:49
    I was in Niseko last year, and everyone is right, it's way to busy, but it's not a bad place to base yourself out of. I actually had a lot of fun there, but I walked a lot, skins are essential. I found the best way to enjoy the place was to ski away from the crowds, find a zone in the woods and put laps in by walking. I've also heard a lot of negatives about the black diamond lodge, al though this is just hear say. With regards to what others are saying about other resorts in the area, it's true, and you have to do a trip up Yotie, it is an incredible place.
    Ski ya later.
  • Arjen
    Advanced
    Arjen op 5 October 2015 · 16:16
    Ha, I remember the boot pack traffic jam! It brought you to some nice terrain though 😃

    One day, they'll invent synthetic powder, ban all kinds of work and give you a free liftpass...
  • TobyMcGreen
    Expert
    TobyMcGreen op 5 October 2015 · 21:47
    @Arjen
    Yeah thats true. But when we were there they were often closed. There are also some areas that are allways closed even if the conditions are perfect. As we didnt come to stay on the slopes we decided not to follow all the rules. Now I think it was wrong in some opinions but we where pretty pissed off back then. In Kiroro and Asahidake they are less strickt so we prefered those places.
    Champagne Powder, quite possibly the closest thing to the use of illegal drugs!
  • Philphed
    Tourist
    Philphed op 6 October 2015 · 14:04
    Thanks for your Feedback and your tips regarding good spots! I will get in touch with BDL concerning ski Rentals. We will bring ABS Systems, so thanks for the heads up 😉
  • Arjen
    Advanced
    Arjen op 6 October 2015 · 19:21
    @TobyMcGreen My experience with ABS in Japan was completely different. When we flew back home from Narita (Tokyo) I had to check in my airbag as hand luggage. With the cylinder screwed in... Japanese security were really interested in it. Not because they wouldn't allow me to bring it on board, but they just where interested in the technology. I was flying KLM.
    One day, they'll invent synthetic powder, ban all kinds of work and give you a free liftpass...
  • TobyMcGreen
    Expert
    TobyMcGreen op 6 October 2015 · 22:05
    @Arjen Haha ok, you were lucky then 😉 I just heard the words "open, open, bomb, bomb!" I was flying All Nippon Airways and Air France and had big trouble with both airlines.
    Champagne Powder, quite possibly the closest thing to the use of illegal drugs!
  • Dutchess
    Advanced
    Dutchess op 23 October 2015 · 11:12
    It will be a great trip @Philphed you will have so much pow!

    My suggestions: do not book all rooms before hand. Stay flexible. Do book a car, and yes, 4WD with wintertires is a must.

    Follow the weathersites closely. Because of the terrain, especially in the Niseko area, the westside of a mountainarea may get dumped on a metre in a night while the southside got not even half that.

    In the Niseko area there are some quiet spots to find, either near the passes that are closed in wintertime, or at the backside of resorts where you need skins to get in or out (or both) or the route. So bring your touring gear. The Yotei is not the only volcanoe you can climb btw. (They can all be climbed, provided the government will not have warranted a warning because of heightened activity.. this you can also find on the japanese weather websites)

    Snowboarders can opt for snowshoes if they want, they are generally for hire in the japanese skiresorts and not expensive, but slooooooowwwwwww... a splitboard is better.

    Do not skip Daisetzuan national park (south of Asahidake) but here again: bring your skins. There are no lifts there. that is the beauty of it. And; Rusutsu. But anywhere there are goodies to be found.

    Do not expect gnarly alpine terrain. Do expect powder up your nose, though.

    In my experience, all american and japanese airlines are impossible to bring your ABS or Snowpulse onboard. I lost three canisters that way. They just do not do it. Oz/Newzealand and European airlines are usually okay, but do bring the IATA forms and explanations etc etc.

    Enjoy the onsen! Rotemburo's are even better (outside onsen)

    I think it is worth the hassle to bring your own gear. Totally, absolutely worth it. SKINS!
    We dont stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing
  • Dutchess
    Advanced
    Dutchess op 23 October 2015 · 11:14
    To reiniterate:

    SKINS! Then you can get this:



    We made that track. (That was HARD work!) and we were the only ones to use it all day. Niseko area.
    We dont stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing
  • Karst
    Advanced
    Karst op 29 October 2015 · 14:29
    Have had good experiences with https://rent.toyota.co.jp
    not too expensive either.
    Smile! Your ridin' pow!!!

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