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Osaka or Tokio and 100% snow guarantee in January

gauloises

Kouhai
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Hello,
I have to work in Thailand in January and want to combine that with a Japan trip together with some Thai people. Japan trip would be 18-25.1.2018. We are pretty open what to do just they want a snow guarantee.
Not just a few flakes, real masses because no one of them has ever seen snow.
The only 2 airports reachable in an ok time are Osaka or Tokio.
We do not care which city to explore just one of the 2 which is closer to a snow region.
Can anyone recommend something please?
 

thomas

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There’s no “snow guarantee” in the Kanto region (and probably even less so in Kansai). Your safest bet are mountainous regions. Nagano or perhaps Nikko from Tokyo.

Perhaps others have more ideas.
 

gauloises

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So you recommend Tokio over Osaka destination wise? We simply do not want to lose 2 full days for traveling to a region like Sapporo and back. 4-5 hours is ok to go by Shinkansen train for example. If it is boring or nothing to see around does not matter, only snow counts.
 

Mike Cash

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If you want to come to Japan just to see snow....and want a guarantee there will be snow when you get here....and you insist it has to be Tokyo or Osaka....then forget about it. You have chosen two of the worst places in Japan to expect snow.

Average Annual Snowfall in Japan - Current Results

Can't you catch a domestic flight from Tokyo to one of the snowier places? Japan does have domestic air routes, you know.
 
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gauloises

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Just asking and want to find the best reasonable solution. There are no other direct flights to Japan from Thailand than either Tokio or Osaka which do not cost a fortune. So we have to chose one of those to start with. On your snow map Nikko looks promising and that is not that far away from Tokio for example.
 

Mike Cash

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If you fly into Haneda you can catch a domestic flight to any of several places in Hokkaido.

Here's a sample to Wakkanai:
 

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johnnyG

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Catch a shinkansen from Tokyo station to Urasa (浦佐) in Niigata. It's one of the snowiest places there. The trains leave hourly, cost is ¥8200 each way, takes about 90 minutes, so this could easily be a day trip. No need even for a reservation--go to Tokyo station, buy a ticket, get on the next train. In Urasa, catch a local bus or have a taxi take you from the station to one of the 6-8 ski areas there.

Urasa is guaranteed to have snow in January. I was there once in March and the snow was 3-4 meters deep.
 

gauloises

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Catch a shinkansen from Tokyo station to Urasa (浦佐) in Niigata. It's one of the snowiest places there. The trains leave hourly, cost is ¥8200 each way, takes about 90 minutes, so this could easily be a day trip. No need even for a reservation--go to Tokyo station, buy a ticket, get on the next train. In Urasa, catch a local bus or have a taxi take you from the station to one of the 6-8 ski areas there.

Urasa is guaranteed to have snow in January. I was there once in March and the snow was 3-4 meters deep.
Thanks a lot this is exactly what we were looking for!
 

Mike Cash

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Is everybody going to buy winter clothing for this one day outing to see snow?
 

johnnyG

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One note, or caution: Urasa is a rather small town, and the joke is that the shinkansen station is bigger than the town. There's not much to it besides snow.

There are some onsen not too far, that would probably come pick you up (and deliver you back), but then you'd have to do a little planning, reservation, and so on.

This place is only a few km from the station: Google マップ

Another: Google マップ

A little further, but it seems to have a nice lift: Google マップ

This town has the huge shinkansen station since it is where Kakuei Tanaka is from. He was prime minister, and so put his town on the map. (He also had a little thing going on with Boeing!)
 
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johnnyG

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GALA YUZAWA SNOW RESORT is one and only in the world where located same building as Shinkansen station and only 75 min away from TOKYO station.
GALA Yuzawa | Yuzawa Town | Niigata | Japan | Ski and snowboard resorts in Japan | SnowJapan

We can rent a ski snowboarding wear in the facilities of the station.
GALA湯沢のスキー・スノーボードレンタル[Suica][カードOK]|ガーラ湯沢スキー場(新潟県湯沢町)
Yes, this would be as good as, or better, than my suggestion.

And coming from Thailand, they might need to rent winter wear for a day or two!
 

gauloises

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Thank you all. A lot of good ideas not causing too much hassle. You can easily buy cheap winter clothing in Thailands "fake" malls. 50-80$ for a full outfit are no problem. Everybody has their lifetime dreams and theirs is snow.
 

PatrickNZ

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Fly to Tokyo. To get snow - somewhere in Nagano is very close. For Gala-Yuzawa from Tokyo you can get the three-day Y10,000 pass - much cheaper than Y8000 each way. (It is an odd little pass, buy it on the spot/no pre-order - I'm using one tomorrow - but it is quite good as it is one of the few passes available for foreign residents).

As for clothing - many ski towns rent ski clothes, but for a full kit that can be Y5,000/day. The other thing to note (comment from a friend that takes people from warm climates to the snow in Gifu), after 15 minutes, your friends might just want to warm up again.
 
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