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Japan skiing for the family ? [from Australia, with a boy]

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi, first post, hoping I've found the right place for my query.

First of all…I myself am not a skier (tried it once when I was a teenager and enjoyed it, not done it since). My partner and her son (9yo) have been skiing annually now for the past couple of years in Thredbo and are relatively new to the sport I guess.
As a family holiday, we are looking at heading off to Japan for a week in Jan but are not sure of where to head.
We have had suggestions to look at both Furano (New a Prince Hotel) as well as Hakuba as good 'beginner' ski locations. Is there anywhere else in Japan we should be considering ?
We are attracted to the quieter locations, particularly with a child, so definitely wouldn't consider the heavier traffic locations.
Any suggestions appreciated.
Steve
post #2 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrgrumble View Post

Hi, first post, hoping I've found the right place for my query.

First of all…I myself am not a skier (tried it once when I was a teenager and enjoyed it, not done it since). My partner and her son (9yo) have been skiing annually now for the past couple of years in Thredbo and are relatively new to the sport I guess.
As a family holiday, we are looking at heading off to Japan for a week in Jan but are not sure of where to head.
We have had suggestions to look at both Furano (New a Prince Hotel) as well as Hakuba as good 'beginner' ski locations. Is there anywhere else in Japan we should be considering ?
We are attracted to the quieter locations, particularly with a child, so definitely wouldn't consider the heavier traffic locations.
Any suggestions appreciated.
Steve

Welcome to EpicSki!  I gather you are in Australia.  While Family Skiing is a perfectly reasonable choice for your question, given that most EpicSki members are in North America, I'm going to move your thread to International Zone.  I think you may get more useful responses there.

 

@Jim. is an instructor in Japan who may stop in if he notices.  Does the plan include lessons for everyone?

post #3 of 12

We had a couple bears go to Japan this past season from Australia.  I'll see if I can nudge them to help out with some info. 

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

Welcome to EpicSki!  I gather you are in Australia.  While Family Skiing is a perfectly reasonable choice for your question, given that most EpicSki members are in North America, I'm going to move your thread to International Zone.  I think you may get more useful responses there.

@Jim.
 is an instructor in Japan who may stop in if he notices.  Does the plan include lessons for everyone?
appologies, yes we are in Australia and yes we would be looking at lessons for 2 adults and 1 9yo child.
post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrgrumble View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

Welcome to EpicSki!  I gather you are in Australia.  While Family Skiing is a perfectly reasonable choice for your question, given that most EpicSki members are in North America, I'm going to move your thread to International Zone.  I think you may get more useful responses there.

@Jim.
 is an instructor in Japan who may stop in if he notices.  Does the plan include lessons for everyone?
appologies, yes we are in Australia and yes we would be looking at lessons for 2 adults and 1 9yo child.

No problem at all. :)  I know it's not easy to figure out the best place for a question like yours.

 

Given that the season is not quite started in Australia and the North American ski areas are mostly closed, it may take a few days before folks with relevant experience stop by.  In the mean time, check out this thread from 2011.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/100698/skiing-japan

post #6 of 12

Nozawa Onsen is a great mellow hill, second oldest area in Japan, 13 free pubic hot spring baths, etc... Do two.three days there, then think about the Myoko Kogen (Ike no Daira is pretty flat, as is most of Myoko Kogen proper) area... lot's of mellow terrain, nice onsen town, etc... Tsugi no Hara is also close by, and again, has some nice cruisy stuff for the second year skier. Nice views both of and from the mountain. 


Edited by markojp - 6/10/14 at 11:13pm
post #7 of 12

Hi There :)

 

I went to Japan recently.

From Melbourne :)

 

We went end of March.

 

Stayed in Niseko - just near Stop 5 on the Gondola bus run .... in Forest Edge  -  which is run/managed by LankMark.

 

I would DEFINITELY reccommend Niseko-Grand Hirafu as a viable area, AKA as Niseko United.


http://www.niseko.ne.jp/en/niseko/index.html

 

 

It's called "Niseko United" because there are 4 resorts around the base of Mt Annipuri - you can access all four on the one lift pass by either bus or gondola/runs (blue and green).

 

The Hanazono resort has some REALLY GREAT beginner runs that go FOREVER. And th eLONG blue runs are also VERY easy.
(But don't be thinking that Hanazono is the easy resort ... oh, no ....it also had the RUN OF SHAME for me - yeah .... I took a wrong turn .... found me the double black ungroomed run ... frozen in fear .... JAPANESE SKI PATROL to the rescue :) YAY!

I spent most of my time at Niseko Grand HIrafu Resort - GREAT for ALL stages of snow sports.  I am *pretty* certain - but do not quote me - that they allow sight seers up in the gondolas to the mountain top cafes.

 

Niseko has one of the most traditional Onsens around as well.

 

When we went it was quite quiet.

Jan, school holidays, I can't say how busy it will be, but I have heard that Niseko Central can get rowdy.  Some have likened it to Bali, but with snow for Aussies.  HOWEVER, and i STRESS this .... there is a hell of a lot more respect in Japan. People pull their heads in and the local police do not tolerate foreigner hi-jinxing when it effects locals or breaks certain levels of respect.


I have heard that the Hanazono resort area is MUCH quieter.

 

Honestly, the 9 year old Junior Bear will be OUT like a light, and the two of you will appreciate the life around you.

 

There is heaps of shopping and OMG THE FOOD!
I'd go back just for the FOOD!!!!  and he shopping ... and the FOOD....

 

We flew Cathay Pacific to HK then straight into Sapporo (Airport is actually called New Chitose) on Hokkaido (big northern island).
From Sapporo we caught the train (oh, it's funny) to Kutchan via Otaru and then we were collected in a little shuttle bus bound for Niseko.
PowderLife Mag has info on getting there: http://www.powderlife.com/niseko/getting-there/

That was the cheapest flight we could find and, also the most direct.
 

I strongly urge you to NOT just travel straight to and from the POWDER .... take the time to explore Sapporo & Kutchan.
It's such a scenic country with the most beautiful people and succulent healthy food.

 

Info about Sapporo:  http://www.lonelyplanet.com/japan/hokkaido/sapporo

 

And the thing is that it's so safe.... you could stay in Sapporo and the partner and JnrBear (AKA JB) ((Sorry, that just happenned)) could toddle up the slopes for a week without you ..... just saying .. but that defeats the purpose of a family holiday.

 

I love Japan.

It's NOT as expensive as you've heard.

No matter where you chose to go, you're going to have an eye opening experience.

We had booked an amazing deal so we were always going to go to Niseko, but you may find that the price of the airfares govern where you go.

 

All the deals are out NOW! :) Have fun! 

 

Cheers,

Spanna

post #8 of 12
And yes, Niseko is of course an easy choice. Do have a meal at 'Bang Bang' . The owner also happens to be a really nice guy. 'Tradtional onsen' is a bit of an oxy moron in Hokkaido compared to Nozawa though. Anyhow, language will be much less of a problem in Niseko from what I hear these days if you don't speak Japanese.

The Myoko/Nozawa thing is a suggestion that's still a bit less ' Austrailian' than Niseko.
post #9 of 12

Depends on what you want, but I'd probably second Nozawa/Myoko as more fun and interesting for beginners/lower intermediates provided you're prepared to be truly in a different country.

Niseko these days offers a pretty ``at-home'' experience for Aussies. You could spend a week or two there with no more than five words of Japanese, and have a far more international atmosphere and food choices. 

You could also think about Echigo Yuzawa, a hot springs town 75 mins from Tokyo station by bullet train with multiple smaller ski areas within 5 - 15 mins by bus, and some where you can have ski-in/out or walk-to lodging. Most of them have excellent beginner/intermediate skiing. 

Snow will be no problem anywhere in January. Happy to respond to any specific questions you have.

post #10 of 12

I agree Hanazono has the best beginner terrain in Niseko and yes it would be an "at-home'' experience for Aussies.  My other skiing in Japan was at Hakuba.  There are multiple areas.  I only skied the larger 2 but there is definitely beginner terrain.  I see the attraction for a more authentic Japanese experience than Niseko, but on the other hand if you are taking lessons and renting equipment you want a place with lots of English speaking instructors and rental shops.


Edited by Tony Crocker - 6/14/14 at 12:43pm
post #11 of 12

Japan is a fantastic destination for family skiing. The Japanese people are friendly and helpful with accommodation and food good value.  I took my 10 year old daughter and 19 year old son to Nozawa Onsen in late Feb this year for 10 days and they loved it.  We have also been to Canada as a family so can compare it.  The reason we chose Nozawa Onsen over some of the Hokkiado resorts was we wanted a real Japanese experience as opposed to Neisko which is full of Aussies.  The ski area at Nozawa is great for beginners and intermediates with well marked trails and good lifts.  My daughter had a lession with an English instructor so plenty of people their speak English.  Check out www.powderhounds.com an Australian website that has good reviews of all the major Japanese resorts. We have used this website to plan all of our ski trips to both Japan and Canada. 

post #12 of 12

Hey where did you wind up going?

Japan has over 400 resorts so the most suitable area really depends on what you want. Myoko, Nozawa, Hakuba and Niseko would have all met your needs.

I need to declare my vested interest as I run a lodge in Myoko. But my place is not for everyone and I am happy to offer suggestions to people if you tell me what you are looking for.

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