Very early Dec travel – advise needed

Answered Answered
Snoopy Female Singapore 2017/05/31

Hi, we will be flying into Nagoya in end Nov and my tentative plan will be  Nagoya – Takayama (via the Limited Express Wide View Hida) – Shin Hotaka ropeway -shirakawago – Kanazawa – Nagano (via the Kagayaki) .  By the time we arrive in Nagano, it should be around 5th or 6th Dec. (dates not fixed)  We should have about 4-5N in Nagano.  We really wanted to go skiing, but am afraid the season will not be open yet and there will be no snow at Habuka.  I also plan to go and see the Snow Monkey and Matsumoto.  Appreciate any advise on possibility of going to ski in Habuka during that time, If yes, which resort would yield the best chances ? We are a family of 4 (2A and 2 teens) .  Should I do the snow monkey and Matsumoto from Nagano as my base or should I go straight to the ski resort and attempt to do day trips out from resort ?  If there is no possibility of skiing (anytime from 5th Dec -10th Dec), any other areas I can cover ?  I am exiting out of Tokyo, so my lsat leg will be Nagano-Tokyo for 1N and catch my flight out thereafter.  Looking forward to valuable suggestions on how to improve my itinerary ! Thanks ! 

Answers
Nagano Prefecture Tourism PR character “Arukuma” 2017/05/31

Hi Snoopy,

Snow conditions in late November and December fluctuate every year, so I can’t promise whether or not most resorts will be open. But based on last year’s season, you may be able to ski at one of these resorts:

Check weather reports and ski resort blog posts for more information as winter approaches. I would recommend visiting Matsumoto or the snow monkeys first before skiing, as generally the ski resorts improve the later in December you go. The snow monkeys are at the base of Shiga Kogen, so if you plan to ski at Kumanoyu you can stay in Yudanaka/Shibu Onsen for both.

Karuizawa is on the way to Tokyo from Nagano, so if you would like to ski there you could spend your last day or two in Karuizawa. It is a known as a summer resort area and has many cafes, shops and villas. The Karuizawa Prince Shopping Mall (located very close to the ski resort) has over 240 shops and restaurants with brand name goods at outlet prices.

If the ski resorts aren’t open, here are some other things you may be interested in seeing:

Chuo Alps Senjojiki Cirque: A beautiful ampitheatre-shaped bowl carved by glacial movement over thousands of years. Ride one of Japan’s longest ropeways to heights of over 2,600m.

The Kiso Valley and the Nakasendo: Once an important trade route between Kyoto and Edo, the Nakasendo had 69 post towns where travelers rested along their journey. The Kiso Valley has preserved many of these towns and the atmosphere of Edo period architecture takes you back in time. Tsumago, Magome, and Narai post towns are especially popular.

I hope that helps answer your question. Let me know if I can help you with anything else.

-Blair

Guest 2017/05/31

Hi Blair, thanks for your suggestions. Certainty very helpful ! I will look into all these possibilities ! Thanks !

how will be the weather be generally like in Nagano during these times ? 

Nagano Prefecture Tourism PR character “Arukuma” 2017/06/01

The temperature in Nagano may be between -1°C and 10°C, and it may or may not be snowing during your travel. Expect colder/snowier conditions in the mountains of Hakuba and Northern Nagano.

-Blair

Guest 2017/11/17

Hi Blair – i am almost finalising my itinerary. Now, I am torn between staying base in  Nagano city for 2N (plan to see snow monkey)  or to go to Yudanaka onsen area to stay for 2N .

My kids are not keen  on public onsen-hopping , so not sure if we should stay 2N @ Yudanaka.. & face possibility of limited food / shopping options for 2 full days. 

Any suggestions on what would be a better base area ?

we will be off to Karuizawa after these 2 nights. 

 

Thanks in advance ! 

Nagano Prefecture Tourism PR character “Arukuma” 2017/11/21

If your children aren’t interested in visiting the hot springs around Yamanouchi, then it probably won’t be worth it to stay there for two nights. Nagano City has Zenkoji Temple and many other places to see nearby (Togakushi, Obuse, and Matsushiro), and is closer to Matsumoto and Karuizawa as well.

I hope that helps with your decision. Enjoy your trip!

-Blair

Guest 2017/11/25

Hi Blair, 

Due to some last min changes with my other friends , below is another proposed route i may have to consider – 

Dec 5 – Kanazawa – Hakuba 

Dec 9 – Hakuba – Shinjuku 

Questions – 

  1. The fastest and best way for Kanazawa to Habuka would be to Nagano & then take the bus ? which JR east pass would cover the Kanazawa – Nagano leg (can I use it on the Kagayaski ?) 

2. For Habuka to Shinjuku – I read that there is  super azusa and only 1 timing that has the direct train. Would the JR east pass cover that sector ? 

3. If we do a side trip from Shinjuku to the Karuizawa outlet for a day of shopping – can I use the JR east pass as well for the transfer ? 

Thank you do ,much in advance again !

 

 

Guest 2017/11/25

Hi Blair, 

Due to some last min changes with my other friends , below is another proposed route i may have to consider – 

Dec 5 – Kanazawa – Hakuba 

Dec 9 – Hakuba – Shinjuku 

Questions – 

  1. The fastest and best way for Kanazawa to Habuka would be to Nagano & then take the bus ? which JR east pass would cover the Kanazawa – Nagano leg (can I use it on the Kagayaski ?) 

2. For Habuka to Shinjuku – I read that there is  super azusa and only 1 timing that has the direct train. Would the JR east pass cover that sector ? 

3. If we do a side trip from Shinjuku to the Karuizawa outlet for a day of shopping – can I use the JR east pass as well for the transfer ? 

Thank you do ,much in advance again !

 

 

Nagano Prefecture Tourism PR character “Arukuma” 2017/11/27

1. The fastest way between Kanazawa and Hakuba would be to take the Hokuriku Shinkansen to Itoigawa, then change to the JR Oito line and get off at Hakuba Station (about 135 min. depending on the schedule). Taking the Hokuriku Shinkansen all the way to Nagano Station and switching to the Nagano-Hakuba bus takes a bit longer (about 155 minutes). The only JR Pass valid between Kanazawa and Nagano Station is the Hokuriku Arch Pass or Nationwide Japan Rail Pass. Also, see the Hyperdia Website to arrange your train schedule.

2. You are correct. There is only one Super Azusa Express train between Hakuba and Shinjuku. It departs Hakuba at 14:37 and arrives at Shinjuku at 18:36. The JR East Nagano-Niigata Pass covers this train.

3. Yes, the JR East Nagano-Niigata Pass covers travel between Shinjuku and Karuizawa (Shinjuku to Tokyo, Tokyo to Karuizawa).

Have a safe trip!

-Blair

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