ATMs in Yudanaka

Another important piece of information that may save your life

So I showed you where to go to for exchanging your money if you ever get caught short of Yen when you really need them while in Yudanaka.

Please read this in Foreign Currency Exchange in Yudanaka

But what if you don’t have a cash but need to withdraw some off an ATM?

There is 1 commercial bank in Yudanaka

As far as I’m aware, there are 2 options for you.

ATMs in Yudanaka

1, Lawson


There is a convenience store called “Lawson” ローソン, a few minutes walk from Yudanaka Station.

Inside this store, on your left once you walk in, there is an ATM.

Normally most of those convenience stores are open 24/7, year-round.

2, Post Office


In Japan, Post Offices (which is run by the government) also does banking service therefore they have ATMs.

Their symbol is shown in the first photo above. It’s in red, “T” with another bar above, quite a common sight in Japan. You see this symbol everywhere on streets, maps and so on.

It’s 5 min walk from the station.

And you’ll see it right there through the first glass door.

They are open between,

Weekdays: 9am – 5pm.

Closed on Saturdays and Sundays

3, Hachijuni Bank 八十二銀行

Please be aware that it’ll take longer than what this google maps says because you can’t actually walk across the station but you have to walk around it!

Their Opening Hours are,

Weekdays: 8:45am – 9pm

Saturdays and Sundays: 9am – 7pm

Things to be aware

It is quite common for Convenience Stores, Japanese banks and Post Office to charge you commissions (normally around ¥100) for transactions.

That charge could be even higher if the transaction gets made after normal business hours or over the weekend.

So as I mentioned in “Exchanging Money In Yudanaka” post,

Preparation is the best protection

So as long as the money goes in Japan, always carry them, lots of them with you just in case.

Credit Card payments are not as readily available as you would think.

Hope this will save some of your lives!

See you next time.

Today’s Phrase

Genkin Wo Michi Aruku 現金を持ち歩く = Carry cash with (you)

I can’t stress enough to do this! Keep trying and practising!

Foreign Currency Exchange in Yudanaka

The Only Place in Yudanaka to exchange to Yen

ryuoo-ski-park-yudanaka-shop

Japan is such a “Cash Society”

Like many other Asian countries where you need to carry a wad of cash in your wallet or pocket.

Credit Card payments are not as readily available as other Western countries.

Like New Zealand, that I live, all the payments can be made by simply tapping my credit cards on EFYPOS (or DEBIT in most countries?) terminal.

I seriously do not carry cash with me these days in daily life in NZ. So this cash-carrying culture is something I’m not used to (anymore) either.

Anything can happen

Still, you can always do some research in advance and get prepared for it.

However, some unforeseen circumstances can put you in a difficult situation where you need lots of cash, like your hotel actually don’t take credit card payment and you were not aware of it until the last minute!

Solution For You

So I introduced this place when I talked about the coin lockers at Yudanaka Station. It’s in the same place, right across the station.

yudanaka-info-centre-front-door

Here’s the aerial map to show you where.

yudanaka-station-coin-locker-001

Their money-exchange machine takes 9 different currencies as below.

  • Euro
  • Chinese Yuan
  • US Dollar
  • Hong Kong Dollar
  • Taiwanese Dollar]
  • Korean Won
  • Thai Baht
  • Singaporean Dollar
  • Australian Dollar

freign-money-exchange-machine-at-yudanaka-4

Basically, you just follow the instruction on the screen.

  • Choose the currency you have
  • Confirm the exchange rate that gets calculated daily by the machine
  • feed the notes (No coins obviously)

freign-money-exchange-machine-at-yudanaka-1freign-money-exchange-machine-at-yudanaka-2freign-money-exchange-machine-at-yudanaka-3

Their shop is open from 8am till 5:30pm.

So, hopefully, now you know at least a place to rush to when you get caught short in Yudanaka!

Remember, preparations is the best prevention!

See you next time

Today’s Phrase

Ryougae Ga Dekimasuka? 両替ができますか? = Can I exchange money?

This is an useful phrase to know!

The Best Kept Secret I Found

Yomase and X-Jam Takaifuji Ski Resorts

ryuoo-and-komaruyama-from-mt-kosha

A little gem in Yudanaka

I think I should keep this to myself really… So little known that in fact they are not even on TripAdvisor!

Forget about skiing in Hakuba or Niseko if you are interested in,

  • Less touristy
  • Less crowded
  • Wide open trails
  • As much snow
  • Real (Run-Down) Japanese atmosphere

It is said to be around 500 ski areas in Japan. I’ve only been to maybe 2 dozens of them.

One of the best experiences I’ve ever had was at Yomase and X-Jam near Yudanaka.

yomase-1

What made it so awesome?

I may be repeating myself but, these are the reasons.

  • Nice wide open trails
  • Good variety of incline of slopes
  • Speed
  • It’s wide across mountains
  • Good view
  • Quiet

ryuoo-from-mt-kosha-1

Where is it?

Here’s the google map for you.

How much for Lift Passes?

Here’s the Link to their English website for you.

So there are 4 small resorts next to each other and makes sense that you buy the pass to have all the access to every chairlifts.

Those 4 resorts are,

  • Yomase
  • X-Jam
  • Yamabiko No Oka
  • Kijima Daira

There are also 3 resorts access pass available as well but the price difference for an adult pass as of Jan, 2017 is only ¥200 so I will talk about the full, 4 resorts access pass here.

It’s named “Mt Kosha” Pass

Adult: 1 day – ¥4100, 2 days – ¥7100, 3 days – ¥9700

kijimadaira-1

Your Challenges

The only downside of this is the transport.

As the time of writing, there is only one way to get there if you don’t have own car.

There is a irregular shuttle bus departing Yudanaka Station at 9am.

It’s not daily, and seems only during the weekends from Mid Dec through to End of March.

I couldn’t find the English version of their timetable, unfortunately.

Let me know if anyone needs it then I’ll translate that for you.

Hopefully there won’t be too many people at my favourite spot from here on.

Nah, I know not many people read this blog anyway!

See you next time.

Today’s Phrase

Hito Ga Hotondo Inai 人がほとんどいない = There are hardly anyone around

Listen and practise!

 

Yudanaka Station: Up Close

How Yudanaka Station looks like?

yudanaka-station-inside-2

yudanaka-station-inside-1

So when you arrive at Yudanaka Station, this is what you are expecting to see.

It is a small train station.

In case you are wondering where that is, here’s the google map for you.

Once you walk out of platforms, you quite likely will see half a dozen people with flags with their accommodation’s name on, or a paper with your name on.

Vans from accommodations are parked just outside along with local taxis in black.

There is a waiting room/information centre in this station. It’s a nice place to stay warm if you have to wait here for some reason.

There are some english-speaking staff there to help you for your every needs, as well as variety of brochures available.

There is also a free wi-fi here.

yudanaka-station-info-centreyudanaka-station-waiting-room

If you are going to Jigokudani Monkey Park to see Snow Monkey, turn right as soon as you walk out the exit and you will see the bus counter with time tables above.

yudanaka-station-bus-timetable-2yudanaka-station-bus-timetable-1

There is a smaller bus timetable in English in A4 size on the window.

This is also the place to buy a bus ticket to go skiing to Shiga Kogen.

Speaking of skiing at Shiga Kogen.

This is the only way to get there, by using these Nagaden buses, unless you have a rent-a -car.

Please be aware that their departures in the morning is quite limited.

As of Jan, 2017, there are only 3 buses leaving Yudanaka for Shiga Kogen.

7:40am, 8:20am and 10:15am.

The Fare: ¥1100 to Oku Shiga Kogen (The furthest, the end of the line)

Public Toilet is just outside, on your left.

Now you have a better idea of this station, right?

Sounds good, see you next time.

Today’s Phrase

Yudanaka Eki Ni Ikimasuka? 湯田中駅に行きますか? = Is it going to Yudanaka Station?

It’s useful when you want to know if a bus/train goes to where you want to go!

 

Shiga Kogen Beer 志賀高原ビール

A local craft beer brewery in Yamanouchi Area

shiga-kogen-beer-on-tap

shiga-kogen-beer-3

So Shiga Kogen has once won a prestigious status amongst all the domestic ski resorts because,

  1. It hosted some of the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics races
  2. Being one of the largest area for skiing with 19 resorts combined
  3. The location was used for filming a hugely popular movie in the 80s, when skiing was so popular

With that prestigious name as the brand, Shiga Kogen Beer has been around for quite many years.

Tamamura Honten 玉村本店 is the brewer of that legendary beer, based in this region, Kutsuno right across Shibu Onsen.

shiga-kogen-beer-logo-1

Duration: 2 hours round trip on foot from Yudanaka Station, including the time to enjoy a pint of beer

Tamamura Honten

Tamaura Honten is originally a Sake maker, founded in 1805, and have been producing Sake for more than 200 years at the same location!

Then in 2005, they have started brewing beer and selling those, which became “Shiga Kogen Beer”.

Also, apparently this region once produced hops to make beer until 1950s.

So using local pure water, locally grown hops with the knowledge and Sake making kind of started this beer.

Tamamura Honten Website (Unfortunately available only in Japanese)

tamamura-honten-1tamamura-honten-2

The Location 

It’s only 10 min walk from Shibu Onsen, up on the hill of Kutsuno, you can get to their main store.

First you will come across this brewery after walking a gentle uphill.

shiga-kogen-beer-brewery-1shiga-kogen-beer-brewery-2shiga-kogen-beer-brewery-3

You keep turn left on the street and go further 30m or so then you’ll find their main office/store/gallery on your right.

Once inside, you’ll find retail section, a bar counter, and the gallery upstairs.

tamamura-honten-bar-counter

They have Sake and Beer tasting. When I went there a pint of beer on tap was ¥648.

I tried their IPA, Indian Pale Ale, on tap and that was beautiful.

Where else do you find their beer?

As far as I have seen, there are numerous local restaurants and liquor stores around Yudanaka who stock this brand. It shouldn’t be too hard for you to find.

usually the bottle is for ¥600, which is reasonable for a craft beer I think.

They do have an online store too. However, they seem to have the Japanese site only and it will be a good challenge to navigate through for purchase if you don’t read the language.

Give me a private mail if you need help. See what I can do.

If you like fresh beer and the smell of brewery, 2 hours well spent!

See you next time.

Today’s Phrase

Biru Wa Oisii Desu ビールは美味しいです = Beer tastes good!

Who can argue with that! A Killer phrase to learn!

 

 

Ryuoo Ski Park 竜王スキーパーク

Ryuoo Ski Park Up Close

ryuoo-ski-park-main-building

Today’s Phrase

Ryuoo Ski Park 竜王スキーパーク = Pronounced as more like Liu-Oh

I know this is very hard for lots of people, but you gotta try!

 

What kind of mountain is Ryuoo?

This mountain/resort is made up with 2 parts.

Valley Area and Skyland Area.

And they are connected by Ropeway and Kiotoshi courses in between, being a very steep terrain only ideal for advanced skiers and snowboarders.

Also, Kiotoshi 木落し stands for “Tree Falling“, meaning “So steep that even trees fall off the face” (My translation)

Please be aware that these Kiotoshi courses tend to open up well into January due to the nature of the terrain hard to accumulate snow.

Valley Area – Lower part

ryuoo-v8-chairlift

6 Chailfts, wide open long trails, mostly gentle incline.

Along V2 Lift you have some more speed with steeper terrain.

There are some “Ungroomed” space left near V2 Lift and V10 Lift for you to enjoy some powder.

The Top part of Valley Area has V5 Lift with steeper runs, but they don’t seem to open early in the season.

The reasons being,

  1. Steeper so no groomer vehicle goes there
  2. Therefore in need of wait for the accumulation of enough natural snowfall for safety

Skyland Area – Upper Part

ryuoo-s1-chairlifttrees-with-snow

2 Chairlifts, 3 Trails

The view from the upper part, (The highest point being at around 1930m or over 6000 feet) Skyland Area is superb on a clear day.

Also being higher in altitude, the snow tends to be drier and softer than Valley Area most of the times.

At the same time the temperature is a lot colder than what it is at the lower part of the mountain so be prepared to get in colder climate.

Oh and quite often it’s in the clouds with lower visibility.

The terrain is definitely for beginners to intermediate.

There are 2 restaurants, right above the top ropeway station at at the very top of the mountain off S1 Lift so you have somewhere to rush in if it’s too cold for you.

At those restaurants, mainly you find Japanese food like Japanese curry and ramen and so on.

Some Useful Links

– Link to their English Website

– This is the link to one of my past related post Let’s go skiing!

The Location

Free Shuttle

They run every 1-1.5 hour between Yudanaka Station and Ryuoo Ski Park.

It only takes 15-20moin to get to the resort.

The first one top depart Yudanaka is just after 9am, the last one to depart Ryuoo is just after 5pm.

It departs from right in front of Yudanaka Station.

Lift Passes

Half Day: Morning 8am-1pm, Afternoon 12pm-5pm, Adult ¥3400, Kids (4 y/o to 12 y/o) ¥2200

1 Day: Adult ¥4500, Kids ¥2900

2 days: Adult ¥8000, Kids ¥5100

Rentals

Half Day: Morning 8am-1pm, Afternoon 12pm-5pm, same as the lift passes, Adult ¥3500, Kids ¥2000

1 Day: Adult ¥4000, Kids ¥2500

2 days: Adult ¥7500, Kids ¥4500

If you are staying in yudanaka, one idea is to go see the guys at Yudanaka Rental/Info Centre right behind Goen restaurant.

You can get yourself set up with gear even the day before you head up the mountain.

That’ll be a good time-saver for you to be prepared the day before, rather than rushing for everything in the morning, with a possibility of waiting if they get busy.

I hope you will enjoy your time up on this mountain, and snow too!

See you next time.

 

 

 

Obuse town 小布施

A little excursion away from Yudanaka

obuse-do

In my opinion, you need half day (2-4 hours) for this.

Where is it?

Obuse 小布施 is a very small town, 10km Southwest of Yudanaka.

How to get there?

It’s 20min train ride on an Express Train from Yudanaka.

Fare= ¥690 (¥590 Normal Fare + ¥100 Express Train Fee)

There is an express train, either Snow Monkey スノーモンキー or Yukemuri ゆけむり pretty much every hour from Yudanaka Station.

Here’s the Link to Nagaden Timetable

Things To Do

This is a very small town with many traditionally-built wooden houses confined in a small area.

Also famous as a region to produce chestnut, Kuri くり in Japanese. So you will see lots of sweet shops used locally produced chestnuts.

Also, I found 2 Sake Breweries in this town if you are into it.

Masuichi Ichimura 桝一市村酒造場

Inside they have a small bar counter where you can try their sake.

masuichi-ichimura-1masuichi-ichimura-2masuichi-ichimura-3

Matsubaya Honten 松葉屋本店 (Their website is only in Japanese)

This place was purely for retail and didn’t see any tasting area nor service.

matsubaya-honten-1matsubaya-honten-2

There was also a wine shop called “St Cousair” where I could try bit of wine tasting for ¥400/glass. I tried a white wine called, “Niagara Blanc” which is very sweet and muscat like. In here they also sell lots of Tomato based products, spices, cheese pasta and jams.

I think the owner has been heavily influenced by France/Italy and you can easily see that once you go inside.

St Cousair (Their website is in Japanese only)

obuse-st-cousair-1obuse-st-cousair-2

What I have been told is that in Nagano there has been a surge of new vineyards for the last 10-20 years.

In the past it was too cold to grow grapes in this part of Japan, but along with Global Warming and improvements on modifying grape seeds there has been multiple small vineyards springing up in this region.

You’ll never know, Nagano could be a major destination for wine tourism in near future.

So if you have a bit of time available in your hands, a little break from skiing or snowboarding, or on a rainy day, it could be an option to explore a bit more in this region.

See you next time.

Today’s Phrase

Osake Wa Oisi Desu お酒は美味しいです=Sake tastes good.

Yes that’s so true! Keep trying!

Grocery Shopping in Yudanaka?

American Drug Store in Yudanaka

Why “American”? I don’t know, don’t ask me…

But one thing in Japan is for sure in Japan.

That is: “American” influence has been huge since the end of WW2

-Today’s Phrase-

American Drug Wa Doko Desuka? アメリカン ドラッグ は どこですか? = Where is the American Drug?

Listen, learn and practise!

It’s just a matter of replacing “American Drug” with wherever you want to go to when you want to ask the direction.

Where that is

Here we go. Here’s the google map for you.

Why “Drug Store”?

I can’t really tell you exactly why, but in Japan, drug stores (or pharmacies in Down Under sense) sell not only drugs but also groceries.

But in this case, groceries as a sort of all the packaged stuff like snacks, instant noodles and even alcohol! If you are lucky, you may even find stuff like eggs, milk or cheese on the shelves.

On the other hand I hardly see fresh stuff like vegetables in those places.

I believe it’s to do with the licensing of this type of business in Japan, but I’m not 100% familiar with that side of Japan to be honest, although I grew up here…

All I can say is “This is the way it is in Japan”. And It’s widely known here these places are cheaper than those “convenience stores” such as “Seven Eleven” or “Lawson” commonly found throughout this country.

So in this “American Drug” store in Yudanaka

You’ll find stuff like:

  • Drugs
  • Grooming items such as tooth paste, brush, razors and so on
  • Supplements
  • Instant noodles
  • Coffe and Tea
  • Milk
  • Snacks
  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol such as Beer, Whisky, Sake, Shouchu and Wine
  • Cheese

So, you know where to go to if you are staying in Yudanaka for a few days and you have some needs.

Make sure to be nice to the shop staff there!

See you next time!

Coin Lockers/Luggage Storage

@ Just Outside Yudanaka Station

There are 2 ways to leave your luggage at Yudanaka Station when you are going to see Snow Monkey or going up to Ryuoo Ski Park for skiing or snowboarding.yudanaka-station-coin-locker-001

Once you walk out of the station, you will see the restaurant GOEN.

Just behind this restaurant, you will find the Ryuoo Ski Park Rental Shop.

1, Inside this rental shop

yudanaka-info-centre-front-door

¥500 for a day for up to the size of a suitcase.

Be aware of their opening hours. During the winter months, which is late December through to End of March, 8am – 6pm.

2, Coin Lockers

Right next to the rental shop behind the blue vending machine, you will find some coin lockers. ¥300 for a small items, ¥500 for a large luggage.

yudanaka-coin-locker

Now you can be stress free without a large item in your hand.

Make sure to have enough coins. These lockers only accept coins.

Well if you don’t, there are heaps of vending machines everywhere that you can break down notes by buying one of those beverages, otherwise the rental shop can offer the exchange to coins.

Go now enjoy whatever you fancy in Yudanaka!

See you next time!

-Toda’s Phrase-

Coin Locker Wa Benri Desune コインロッカーはべんりですね = Coin Lockers are convenient.

Coin Lockers are pronounced as pretty much the same! Have fun learning this!

The Best Onsen area near Yudanaka

6 reasons why Shibu Onsen 渋温泉 is the best

As far as I’ve been to and seen, in my opinion Shibu Onsen area is the best to stay around Yudanaka area.

I’ll give you 6 reasons why.

  • It still has the real old-school,almost nostalgic Japanese rural feel to it
  • It’s only 20 min walk from Yudanaka station
  • Also, Lots of major accommodation in this area have pick up/drop off service between the accomodation and Yudanaka station
  • It’s closer to The Monkey Park
  • Lots and lots of small Onsens in this area that you can drop in and have a bath
  • There are some cool hotels and a hostel in Shibu

I will go through each one of the points quickly.

  • It still has the real old-school,almost nostalgic Japanese rural feel to it

shibu-street

  • It’s only 20 min walk from Yudanaka station
  • It’s closer to Jigokudani Monkey Park
  • Lots and lots of small Onsens in this area that you can drop in and have a bath

shibu-public-bath

There are 9 of those in Shibu and only those who are staying in Shibu have access to these.

At the same time, however, most of the accommodation in Shibu has own Onsen in them and a lot of those places welcome those of you who just want to drop in for Onsen without staying.

  • There are some cool hotels and a hostel in Shibu

shibu-nozaru-hostel

I haven’t counted how many there are but looks like there are lots. This hostel “Nozaru Hostel”, (Nozaru 野猿 means Wild Monkey) seems to be very popular amongst young tourists. Of course there are more in variety in class and price range available.

Hope you’ve got better understanding of the area now.

I’ll see you on another post. Cheers.

-Today’s Phrase-

Onsen Cho Saiko! おんせんチョーサイコー = Onsen is so awesome!

Haaa… Nothing beats this in the hot water at the end of the day…