Category Archives: Japan


Ski Plan Japan

Hokkaido Skiing Itinerary

I had to plan an itinerary for my mate Andy, so I thought I may as well share it with everyone because it would be helpful for others.


Rusutsu is sick. Wide-open powder and plenty of trees. There is no cheap dirt-bag accommodation so you have to stay at the ultra-expensive hotel or some mid-range pensions. Here are a few recommendations.

1. Pension Sky Be

2. Ohisama House

3. Pension Lilla Huset

4. Pension Clydesdale

More Options for hotels

To get there, take the bus from Sapporo Airport , Niseko, or Sapporo.


Kiroro has got some great powder runs. But there are only expensive hotels there. So unless you are a super-rich yuppy, then the only option is to stay at Otaru and catch the bus up the hill each day.

Smile Hotel Otaru, Dormitory L, and Otaru Guesthouse Harvest are close to the station and reasonably priced.


You can stay at Sapporo and ski a couple of resorts close to the city such as Kokusai and Teine.

Hotels near station – APA Hotel Sapporo Susukino Ekimae , Nest Hotel Sapporo Odori. Toyoko Inn Hokkaido Sapporo-eki Minami-guchi, Richmond Hotel Sapporo Odori.


Niseko can get crowded and tracked-out early. But if you know what you are doing and get out of bed early then there is some of the best skiing in the world. Here is my secret tip. Stay at Annupuri and ski that side before all the maggotts do the traverse over from Hirafu. If you want you can buy an all-mountain pass and ski hirafu and hanazono as well.

Alex gate 9
Annupuri Gate 9

For a room, have a look at the Niseko Annupuri Youth Hostel

Also, have a look at Moiwa. Some great powder skiing there, and there is a reasonable lodge right at the bottom of the lifts.


There are two parts to Furano, Kitanomine and Furano. It is a nice place because it still has the feel of a Japanese town, not a resort.

Place to stay include: Furano Alpine Backpackers, Furanui.

Kitanomine ski resort


Close to Asahikawa, this resort has some fantastic powder skiing. Although, it may be hard to find a room at the resort, you may have to stay in Asahikawa.

Best Plan for a month

Fly into Shin-Chitose. bus to Niseko. Stay in either Annupuri or Moiwa.
Bus to Rusutsu, stay at pension near lifts.
Furano, with day trips to Kamui and/or Tomamu.
Sapporo, ski at Kokusai/Teine.


Isshin-ji Temple and Shin-sekai

Isshinji Temple.

My last day in Japan and I had checked out of my hotel. So I went for a walk with the camera. I wanted to go somewhere different so I went past the zoo and found this amazing temple up the hill. The Isshin-ji Temple is the common people’s temple and a lot of what was there I did not understand.

Stone statue.

I saw an interesting entrance with some old stone carvings and what seemed like a garden but I think it might be some kind of cemetery. This fierce looking dude was holding up a huge globe – the world?

fierce stonework
Fierce dude.

I really liked the textures on some of the stone carvings. Do not ask me what it means.

kanji scupture
Kanji carving on stone.

Someone had left a can of coffee for this buddha.

boss buddha
Boss Buddha.

Another fierce dude. My guess is they are supposed to drive away or deter malevolent beings.

angry art
Bug Eyed Monster.


After the temple I followed the tourist route through Shinsekai. As it was Sunday there were heaps of people gawking at all the sights.

pachinko parlour
Looking into a pachinko parlour.

Except for the dudes in the pachinko parlour, who are oblivious to everything but little metal balls rolling down a machine.

lookout tower
The lookout tower.

And of course one must take a photo of the tower. It is mandatory.

shinsekai street
Street scene.

And here are the gawkers.

lunch menu
Restaurant menu board.

Lots of places to eat with touts outside trying to entice you inside.

Gotta get that selfie.

Selfies are all over the world.

okonomoyaki ad
Advertising the okonomiyaki.

angry chef
Angry chef.

Is this the japanese version of Gordon Ramsay?


Furano, Hokkaido

A Winter Walk.

Today I went for a walk into Furano town. It is in the center of Hokkaido by the Sorachi River.

Tokachidake Mountain
A view of Tokachidake from Kitanomine

Kitanomine ski resort
Kitanomine skijo

prayer disks 2
shinto prayer disk, ema.

prayer disks
more ema

prayer notes
paper prayers, omikuji

shinto temple roof

Sorachi Riverbank
Sorachi River bank

moon over tokachidake
Moon coming up over Tokachidake

yurtz rail jam

Yurtz Rail Jam

Hirafu Niseko.

Tonight I went down the road to the Rail Jam, which was skiing and snowboarding on a rail. Park tricks.

Rail Jam Yurtz
Big Crash.

Rail Jam Yurtz 2

Rail Jam Yurtz 3
Snowboarding park trick

Rail Jam Yurtz 4
skier park trick

Rail Jam Yurtz 5
Riding the rail

Rail Jam Yurtz 6


Niseko Sunny Day


Yesterday the sun came out again. No new snow.

super ridge
Super Ridge


Looking towards Kutchan from up the top of Hirafu.

niseko peak
The peak at Hirafu

niseko peak 2
Hirafu Peak


Annupuri Skiing

A Sunny Day.

Today it was a sunny day for a change. No new snow but at least the sun was out for a while. The wind was a bit chilly up the top of the mountain but down below it was ok. I took a few photos on my point and shoot. This was last night.


Sean and Mark
Sean and Mark

We took the hooded chair up to the top, then Ace number 4 and traversed across to Annupuri.

Niseko village
Looking towards Niseko Village

We did a few runs down below the quad chair. Then up the Annupuri Gondola to the top of the hill.

Kayo at annupuri

Then traverse back to Hirafu.

annupuri tree
Annupuri tree.


Osaka March 2014

Osaka tourist.

I am spending my last day in Osaka before heading back to Australia tonight. Here is the view from my hotel window this morning. At least I can see the sky.

view from hotel window
View from my window.

Before lunch I went to the hundred yen shop, had a cup of coffee, then went for a walk across the road to Shinsekai. This is the alley where all the izakayas are at. They are very popular and people line up trying to get in around lunch time.

Shinsekai alleyway.

Kuromon markets are a favourite with me every time I am in Osaka. Here are a couple of crabs in a box for sale.

crabs in a box.
Crabs in a box.

I always seem to spot a TV crew around this area. Today was no exception. There are so many food shows on TV in Japan that one gets bored with them.

film crew
Filming the cook.


Annupuri Skiing in March

Niseko Annapuri.

This morning I headed over to Annapuri. I had a bit of a little stash of snow that I thought may not be totally tracked out. There was about ten centimeters of new snow last night and it had just kept the old stuff a bit fresh.

Annapuri piste 01
Annapuri pistes

First run was down gate 1, which had a little bit of new snow but icy underneath in patches. Then I went up the Annapuri Quad chair and over the ridge. I just did laps like that for the rest of the morning.

Annapuri piste 02
Annapuri piste 2

On the way home, I went through gate 7 and skied the gully under the double chair lift.

Niseko Village
Looking towards Niseko Village

Annapuri piste 03
Snowboarder at Annapuri


Hanazono Powder Guides

Hanazono Skiing.

Joe from Hanazono picked me up from the hostel in Hirafu at 7am. There were three other Australian skiers and a couple of Japanese snowboarders in the group. We got to Hanazono and filled in the forms and then were shown how to use the beacons, shovels and probes. We were provided with a good backpack.

Hanzono Powder Guides
Hanazono Powder Guide

I took off with Joe as my guide, whilst the Aussies went with Mark and the two Japanese snowboarders went with a Japanese guide. We went up Hanazono #1 lift at about a quarter to eight and went into Strawberry Fields. At the top it was pretty wind-packed but as we got down the slope it got really nice. I guess we had got about twenty centimeters of fresh snow overnight.

Joe the guide and me
Joe and Me.

After that, we went down the Legend of Shinya piste, which was well covered but still a bit bumpy. Then down Blueberry Fields and another couple of runs down Strawberry Fields.

meathook in the fog
The meathook in the fog

The fog was pretty intense so we did not head up to Hanazono #3 lift. You could hardly see anything.


Hirafu and Annapuri

A sunny day out.

Yesterday was nice and sunny, so I had a few runs at Hirafu and then went over to Annapuri. There was no powder left. It was all tracked out and even my little stashes had been vandalised.

Snow Cave
David building a snow cave.

Looking past Kutchan from Hirafu.

Moiwa ski resort
Moiwa Ski Resort seen from Annapuri.

Mt Yotei
Mount Yotei seen from Annapuri.