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Frequently Asked Questions
How to use HopStepJapan.com?
How do I find a hotel that suits me? #
Start from the 'FIND DESTINATION' button on the home page. This will take you to a list of each area. You can use the filter to navigate all areas by specific activities or click on an area to explore hotels and activities in that place. It is very easy to find out what there is to do and we are sure you will find your perfect destination.
How do I check availability and book a room? #
- Using the on-line booking box
Once you have the perfect accommodation, then please set the date and number of rooms and click "Check Availability". If your room is available please make sure the dates are correct and click "Check availability/Book Now" in the bottom box.
If it is not showing as available, do not worry. We can contact the hotel and enquire about additional availability. Please send us a Reservation Request from the button below the calendar on the Room Reservation page and we will endeavor to complete your booking.
- Using the Contact Us form
Let us know your requirements and any questions you may have via our Contact Us Form and we will do everything we can to find the best options for you.
How do I pay? #
- Using the on-line booking box
If you book via our booking box you will be taken to a secure Paypal payment page where you can enter your credit card details to complete your booking.
- Booking by an email
Once we have secured a reservation for you, we can send you an invoice from our Paypal account which can be settled by credit card prior to you trip.
Snow Country Region
How do I get to the Snow Country Region? #
There are several way and all are very easy:
- Joetsu Shinkansen
- The Joetsu bullet train is the fastest way to reach the Snow Country Region. It leaves from Tokyo and Ueno and whisks you up to Jomokogen, Echigo-Yuzawa or Urasa at high speeds.
- Express Bus
- These buses leave from Ikebukuro and head up the Kanetsu Expressway stopping at Yuzawa, Muikamachi and Koide.
- Joetsu Line local trains
- The Joetsu Line runs from Takasaki to Minakami and then under the mountains to stops before and after Echigo-Yuzawa.
- Chartered Vehicles
- We can arrange buses, mini buses or cars to bring you to the Snow Country region from anywhere in Japan. Please check our option page for more details. [#Link last sentence to option page]
What about from the airport? #
- Haneda International airport
- Jump on the Tokyo Monorail to Hamamatsucho, or the Keikyu Line to Shinagawa. From either of these stations you are on the circular Yamanote line and well placed to catch the shinkansen, local line trains or express bus. Alternatively you can catch the Airport Limousine bus which takes you to various places around Tokyo.
- Narita International airport
- The Narita Express takes you directly to Tokyo Station. The Skyliner will take you to Ueno Station. Alternatively you can catch the Airport Limousine bus which takes you to various places around Tokyo.
Are there any good value deals to get me up to Snow Country? #
Public transportation can be a bit of an expense. There are some good deal JR passes available which cut the cost of train transport. You usually have to arrange these before you arrive in Japan so it is worth checking on the details.
The JR East Pass gives you unlimited travel in eastern Japan.
There is also the JR Kanto Area pass which is a great way to cut costs and is also available to people living in Japan. This is an unlimited ride train ticket that costs 8,300 JPY for 3 days and can be used on any trains or buses owned by JR in the designated area. The area reaches Jomokogen Station in Snow Country (though it is also possible to buy and extension that will bring you to Echigo Yuzawa or GALA.)
How much are ski passes and rental? #
These vary depending on resort but you would be looking at about 4,500 JPY for a day pass in most places. Rental too varies, but around 3,000 JPY a day for a full set is not unusual. We can arrange discounted ski passes and rental equipment.
Can I get ski or snowboard lessons? #
English language snow sports instruction is limited in most Japanese ski schools. We have several native speaking English speaking instructors available for lessons across Snow Country but it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment, especially in peak periods. Pod Snowsports
What is winter like in Snow Country? #
As the name suggests, there is lots of snow. Due to its geographic location it is blessed/cursed with heavy snows from December until April with the snow base remaining around until late May in a normal year. The first resorts tend to open in late November. Mid winter is January and February. Typically it is spring skiing from late March through to May as the weather improves. Most resorts open mid-December and close mid-April, depending on the snow in a particular year. The higher resorts aim to stay open for the long Golden Week holidays at the beginning of May.
Skiing and snowboarding are popular sports and easy to learn if you have never done it before. It is also possible to enjoy snowshoeing, snowmobiling, backcountry tours as well as airboarding if you are looking for other challenges.
What if you don't like sports? #
Snow Country is rich in history, tradition, and culture. The food in the region is also popular. We are happy to suggest some other activities if you are looking for a different glimpse of Snow Country. Some popular activities that our customers have enjoyed before include: sake tasting and brewery tours, fruit piking, bathing in natural hot springs, or traditional craft workshops such as sandal weaving, and textile making. If you would just like to enjoy the experience of being on the snow there are some resorts with cable cars that take you up to the top of the mountain, or in winter there are plenty of lower resorts with sledding and other activities.
How about Green Season in Snow Country? #
When the snow is gone there is still plenty to do. There are several of Japan's famous 100 peaks within Snow Country borders so there is plenty of great hiking. Outdoor sports are also popular with places to experience white water rafting, canyoning, paragliding, canoeing, mountain biking and even bungy jumping. Not to forget the gourment, culture and history of the region.
How to get to HopStepJapan.com #
Our office is located inside the Tourist Information Center just outside of the West Exit of Echigo-Yuzawa station, where our English speaking staff are ready to assist you in any way possible.
I can't live without internet... #
Our Luxury and Standard properties all have WiFi. Visitor Centers in each town also have WiFi access. HopStepJapan's head office is located in the Visitor Center just in front of Echigo-Yuzawa's West Exit and open from 9am to 6pm. Please feel free to drop in and get on-line.
If you need your own internet connection it is possible to rent mobile WiFi routers. Please feel free to enquire about availability. You will need your passport (if traveling from abroad) or a Japanese resident ID.
Where can I withdraw money in Yuzawa? #
7-11 ATM machines accept foreign cards as do the ATMs in Post Offices.
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