Here’s some answers and links highlighting exactly what you’re thinking.
Why Hakuba instead of Niseko?
We believe Hakuba is a clear winner due to;
Greater variety of ski terrain with 10 resorts in the Hakuba valley (6 of which can be accessed on one smart pass)
Easier access from Australia
Cheaper airfares as you’re not flying on from Tokyo to Sapporo
More of an authentic cultural experience (not as many naked, streaking aussies and definitely no Irish Bars…. Yet…)
Greater vertical drop (Grand Hirafu vs Happone)
More authentic and cheaper dining options
Niseko still comes close for:
A higher amount of snow, dryer snow (once its waist deep who cares??)
Better night skiing areas. (Bah, most people I know are 4 beers in by the time its dark!)
Accommodation options - modern, more western and more ski in/ski out properties on offer (this comes at a price!)
Niseko locals have a great grasp of english so communicating with them is a breeze
Bigger terrain parks with more features, (with an average annual snowfall of 12mtrs ++, you won’t even be able to see the terrain park)
Who do I fly with?
Download the sky scanner app or use it online. Register for specials for the Tokyo leg and you’ll spot a bargain sooner or later. When using the app, choose to view a chart of flights rather than exact days, you can save hundreds of dollars by shifting your flights a day or two. https://www.skyscanner.com.au
Where do I buy the best snowboard/ski gear the cheapest?
Australia : http://www.snowskierswarehouse.com.au
If you face international shipping problems, you can forward items through a third party www.parceliton.com
If you don’t want to carry your new purchase, ship it straight to us.
Japan: use google translate to shop in Tokyo online, some great bargains can be found.
Hakuba : Rhythm or Garage 902 (we can drop you at either place once you are here 😊)
How do I get to Hakuba once in Japan ?
The easiest, yet most costly, is the Chuo Highway Taxi. Your driver will pick you up from arrivals at Narita or Haneda airports and drive you directly to our hotel. Travel time 5-6 hours depending on traffic, cost 15,900 yen per person http://air.chuotaxi.co.jp/index.html?lang=en&tm=1494116620210
Nagano Snow Shuttle, leaves 4 times per day from Narita Airport, its travel time is 5.5-6 hours. They only leave once from Haneda and costs 9500 yen per person, it drops you off at Happo Bus terminal where we can grab you in the hotel van if pre-arranged. They do have a “door to door” service if you are arriving after 830pm. See website for details on where to find them in the terminal and what times they leave - https://www.naganosnowshuttle.com/Reservations.aspx?Ref=NSSWeb
Alpico buses only leave once a day from Narita and have 1st class seats. The driving time is 5.5-6 hours and they will drop you off at the Happo Terminal. We will then pick you up from the Terminal if you plan it with us beforehand. The trip in the Alpico bus costs 9500 yen https://www.alpico.co.jp/traffic/en/express/hakuba/narita/
The Shinkansen Bullet train is a great experience and the cheapest and fastest (if you get it right)X option of all, but firstly you will need to get to Tokyo Station. From Narita airport, you can either catch the Narita Express (around 3,200 yen) or the local train into Tokyo station. From the Airport it is possible to book all the way through to Nagano if you're not planning to stay in Tokyo before you head to Hakuba.
From Haneda airport you will need to take the monorail to Hamamatsucho Station. From there you need to get on the Yamanote Line to Tokyo Station. If you are planning to get around Tokyo you can download an english map of the Subway system here
From Tokyo Station you need to take the Bullet Train (Shinkansen) to Nagano. This train can leave from various platforms so you need to keep an eye on the electronic boards. They generally leave every 45min or so. Getting a reserved ticket can reduce the stress of trying to get a seat when it's busy. This will usually cost around 8,200 yen. The final leg from Nagano to Hakuba is by bus. The bus stop is located outside the East Exit. Tickets need to be purchased from the small convenience store on ground level adjacent to the escalator.
Local bus from Shinjuku Terminal, leaving throughout the day these buses are by far the cheapest way to access Hakuba, travel time is 5-5.5 hours and costs 6600 yen per person. Have your wits about you, Shinjuku is the busiest train station in the world! http://www.alpico.co.jp/en/transportation/detail.php?id=9
Planning a stopover in Tokyo?
Although there’s plenty to see in Tokyo, you can accomplish most of the main sights and delights in a couple of days, here’s a great guide so you can start planning.
Need to rent gear while you’re here?
We recommend Rhythm rentals as they allow our guests to swap gear if they want to try anything different, they offer basic equipment right through to high end rentals and pow boards, we drop you off they drop you back, just let us know prior to your arrival and we’ll do the rest.
What sort of dining options are there?
You name it, they cook it here from killer puffer fish to a restaurant specialising in Soba, there are plenty of western dishes around too, our hotel has a home style menu in case you can’t be bothered venturing out. Part of our menu listed below:
The Beef Burglar 1200y
The Meat Guys signature patty topped with a tasty cheddar cheese on a specialty bun, lettuce and tomato, served with a side of fries *VG Veg Burger option available
Steak Sanga 1500y
220 gram Aussie scotch fillet steak cooked close enough to how you like it, served with caramelized onion, garlic cheese, tomato, lettuce and aioli with a side of fries.
Brat Dawg 900y
The finest dawg in the land consist of a bratwurst sausage, onion, pickles, jalapenos and cheese with a side of fries
the fowl BURGER 1200Y
Homemade chicken schnitzel served in a lightly toasted bun with chunky slaw, cheese and aoli. Served with seasoned fries
The hiker 1700Y
Ok, here goes…. Beef patty, bacon, egg, caramelized onion, cheese, lettuce, tomato, beetroot and carrot, served with a mountain of seasoned fries
BASIC BLT 1000Y
Bacon, lettuce and tomato on toasted bread with garlic aoli and served with fries.
BUENOS NACHOS 1000y
House made spicy Mexican Meat mix served on Cheese Doritos and topped with melted cheese, Sour Cream and Jalapenos
Aussie Beef Pie 900y
Chunky beef pie with a side of fries
karate on the side 700y
Twice Fried JFC Chicken, side of mayo, fries
surprise Spring rolls 700y
Local spring rolls, may be vegetarian, may not be, either way they’re delicious, served with sweet chilli
Creamy Potato Bake, Coleslaw, Fries, Salad
All hail king caesar 800y
Charcoal roasted chicken, lettuce( Cos when in season), bacon, croutons and creamy dressing
garden salad 500y
Lettuce, carrot, salad onion, tomato, capsicum with choice of Italian or yummy sesame seed dressing on the side.
Chicken In Pyjamas 1500y
Chicken breast Panko crumbed schnitzel topped with a house made Napoli sauce and melted cheese, served with chunky slaw or green salad and your choice of Fries or potato bake *VG eggplant option available
BIG FAT Lasagna 1200y
layers of rich meat sauce, creamy cheese sauce and tender pasta topped with a layer of golden melted cheese and side of chunky Slaw or green salad and fries or potato bake *Vg Veg Lasagna available
Karate Chicken Curry 1000y
Made in true Japanese style this mild vegetable curry and rice is topped with Twice fried Karage style chicken pieces
Love you Long Time Curry 1000y
Take your pick; citrus lime green chili flavors, or red hot rich flavors in the Red Thai Curry, a generous serve with chicken and rice
Clucking good fettucine 1000y
As the name suggests this Chicken, bacon cream sauce fettucine with parmesan is tops.
spag bog 1000y
Slow simmered meat sauce with all the right herbs and spices served on spaghetti. *VG option available
Chicken Enchiladas 1000y
Slow cooked Chicken, red peppers, beans and house salsa wrapped in corn enchiladas and baked in sauce and cheese, topped off with a dollop of sour cream
Powder Temple Hotel Facts:
Discounted booking site: www.powdertemplehakuba.com.au
Lounge/ Bar: seats 24
Restaurant: Seats 20 Food from 700yen+ Bar drinks mostly 500 yen
Breakfast: Free of charge 7-9am, continental, house baked bread, cereal, yoghurt, fresh bottomless coffee all day
Lunch: Not served, you should be snow boarding😊
Dinner: 6-9 pm
Location: located at bus stop Hotel Cultured we are within walking distance to shops, reatsuants and echo land. Our address is 828-336 Aza Kawayoke, Oaza-Hokyujo Hakuba Village. Grab a business card on your arrival and it will help you find us.
Bank Atm; 200m away at 711, international ATM
Dry room and board storage: yes
Board tuning iron and tools: yes
Parking : yes, free
Shared Bathrooms: 2 including onsen style bath
Shared Toilets: 2 male, 2 female
Free transfers to and from trains and buses. Yes
Heated rooms: yes
Communal TV: Netflix and Spotify
How do I get around Hakuba?
Hakuba has a free day shuttle service that runs to every Mountain in the valley and stops right outside our hotel. The night shuttle stops just down the road and costs 500yen and goes right through the village, accessing all the restaurants and bars.
Windy Kobeya rents 4x4 snow ready cars and vans if you want to do it the easy way and have a sleep in. Starting from 45,180 per day for a 1 week rental, it really is an easy way to get around. Book early though, as they do book out in the busy periods: http://www.windy-kobeya.com/car-rental/
Taxis are readily available but can be pretty pricey and difficult to coordinate with the language barrier. If you are taking taxis, be sure to grab a Powder Temple card from the lobby, as it is has a map and directions to the hotel from the main street for taxi drivers 😊
When should I come to Hakuba?
With a season running from December to May there are plenty of options. If you are chasing the world famous powder, get here from January to the end of February. If your chasing a deal, aim for early December for cheap flights and early bird accommodation.. just don’t be disappointed if we haven’t had a big snow dump yet! From March onwards, you will need to like to board in spring conditions with the sun on your face or prefer park riding. We are not saying that you won’t get fresh powder in March, but it won’t be guaranteed like the other months. April and May are still options, but again, maybe have some other activities up your sleeve other than deep pow riding 😊
How much are mountain lift tickets?
With the introduction of The Hakuba Valley Pass covering lift tickets to all of the mountains there has been an increase in ticket prices. Depending on where you ride it varies from 5700 yen for a single day to 14,900yen for a 3 out of 5 day pass and can be purchased and recharged online -http://www.hakubavalley.com/en/webshop.html
If you’re not planning on swapping mountains too much, just buy you lift tickets each day at the mountain of choice, it can work out a bit cheaper this way, with lift tickets at the smaller and less populated mountains starting at 4000 yen.