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Hakuba

Driving in and around Hakuba during February.

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#1
dimsum8six

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Hey guys,
I'll be bring a few of my mates to Hakuba this February and I have a few questions about driving.
I've driven in snow conditions before here in Australian but they're nothing like the snow fall you get in japan, will a 2WD mini van with snow tires be enough or will I need chains as well?

Also, any suggestions on stops we should make along the way from Tokyo?

#2
onehunga

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If it's only 2wd chains would be a good idea. Better to have and not need, than need and not have.

#3
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Bugger 2 wheel drives and chains. Especially if its a hire car as the potential for something to go wrong is just too great.
Get yourself a 4wd and dont worry about getting wet lying in snow, frostbite on your fingers and scratching the paint off the wheel arch when the chain comes loose for some stupid reason and costs you a fortune in excess and probably half a day explaining it to the shocked staff when you return it.


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#4
dimsum8six

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If I have snow tires I don't need chains right?>

#5
KRUSTY

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Snow tyres really make a big difference but you will still need chains at times. Been pretty icy these past few days on roads in Hakuba and chains being used on the taxis, delivery trucks etc.

#6
TubbyBeaverinho

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I'd imagine you'd get away without them BUT better to have them and never need them than need them and don't have them :)
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#7
Tachypsychia

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I've been driving in heavy snow for quite a few years, though not in Japan for more than a month. The car we have is a RWD with snow tires (all 4). While I don't feel as confident as I did with my subaru, it stil manages well in all manner of snow conditions here. As with any car, the precautions will only take you so far. I wouldn't personally reccommend chains but I understand why some use them. If you're constantly in snow/ice I could see some benefits, but if youre traveling any amount on mostly dry roads, they can cause more harm than good, forcing you to travel at low speeds and chance of sliding during braking. A good set of snow tires will go a long way. The biggest thing to remember is to take things slow. Accelerate slow, decelerate slow, don't turn and brake at the same time, leave plenty of room to stop for cars in front of you.

Since you're going to be renting a car, get a 4wd van. I see big enough vans around here with AWD stickers on em. Make sure they know where you'll be traveling so they have them fitted with snow tires. They might try to put some cheap high mileage tires on.

Every time you go out in dicy conditions, be sure to test the limits of the car in a safe manner. I always see how fast I can brake on the roads before I slide or ABS takes over. Also remember that with a van full of your mates and equipment, the car will handle very different than you by yourself in it. The cars here are small, and I learned it the hard way with a kei car and 4 people packed in.

For what it's worth I haven't seen any Japanese use chains here in Aomori

If it's fresh snow on the roads, its the easiest, most predicitable medium to travel on and when its good and wet, there's a lot more room for error. Ice and slush sucks and that's where I see more people make mistakes.

Just take your time and be safe.

Cheers.

#8
TubbyBeaverinho

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Yeah in Sapporo most cars n vans don't have chains.....only the buses and delivery trucks seem to have chains
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#9
Biggen

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Carry kitty litter with you as well as chain. Try spreading the kitty litter around the drive wheels or wheel and if that does the job you didn,t have stuff around in the cold chaining your drive wheels ( I have seen people chaining the wrong wheels many times LOL). And yes carry chain in all car and vans and a good snatch rope with you always. One more tip about 2wds you are going to used . Much sure you tick the extra car hire cover box in your travel insurance. I hope your not driving between the 13 to the 27 of Feb because don,t want be around you while your driving a 2wd. And beware of the meter deep channels or Gutter covered in snow on the side of the roads.

#10
dimsum8six

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Thanks for the advice guys.
I managed to find a Nissan rent a car with 4WD and snow tires. I'll probably be super slow on around the Hakuba area.
If you see 7 Aussie-Asian stuck on the side of the road, give us a wave. It's probably me.

Biggen: I'll be around Hakuba between the 8th-14th of Feb?

#11
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View PostBiggen, on 07 January 2014 - 03:59 PM, said:

And beware of the meter deep channels or Gutter covered in snow on the side of the roads.


Also known around these parts as "Gaijin Traps"

#12
Biggen

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View Postdimsum8six, on 10 January 2014 - 03:32 PM, said:

Thanks for the advice guys.
I managed to find a Nissan rent a car with 4WD and snow tires. I'll probably be super slow on around the Hakuba area.
If you see 7 Aussie-Asian stuck on the side of the road, give us a wave. It's probably me.

Biggen: I'll be around Hakuba between the 8th-14th of Feb?

HI Dimsum8six so your traveling with 7 mates. Are all of you keen on first track? Is that the reason behind hiring a car? I might be able to help with advice that will happen often to crews. What I will tell you will occur. Your group should discuss the subject of being ready to go in the morning so you can grab first lines. Decide on a time to be ready at the car with all your gear that includes cash for the day lifts passes. You will come across moment like they were late making breakfast . THat why I am late !. I had a big night! I have to stop at 7/11 to get cash or a memory card or any thing which should obtain the night before. Can we go back I forgot my gloves. Believe me I have won plenty of money on bet with crew. I bet them that they will not be ready to go by 8.00am. That someone will away drag the chain. To avoid tension in the crew be strict on the time on being ready to go and stick to it . I suggest appoint a leader who is the most reliable and make him in charge of the check list. 10 minutes before the departing time, go over your check list. If any of the above does happen you will be ready to leave on the time arrange and be strict on the not stopping at the 7/11 in the morning. Make a thing about shop at 7/11 on the way home. I know is info will help and avoid tension within the crew. But all of you have to be strict on this subject or you will aways miss out on grabing first lines.

#13
dimsum8six

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View PostBiggen, on 11 January 2014 - 11:03 AM, said:

View Postdimsum8six, on 10 January 2014 - 03:32 PM, said:

Thanks for the advice guys.
I managed to find a Nissan rent a car with 4WD and snow tires. I'll probably be super slow on around the Hakuba area.
If you see 7 Aussie-Asian stuck on the side of the road, give us a wave. It's probably me.

Biggen: I'll be around Hakuba between the 8th-14th of Feb?

HI Dimsum8six so your traveling with 7 mates. Are all of you keen on first track? Is that the reason behind hiring a car? I might be able to help with advice that will happen often to crews. What I will tell you will occur. Your group should discuss the subject of being ready to go in the morning so you can grab first lines. Decide on a time to be ready at the car with all your gear that includes cash for the day lifts passes. You will come across moment like they were late making breakfast . THat why I am late !. I had a big night! I have to stop at 7/11 to get cash or a memory card or any thing which should obtain the night before. Can we go back I forgot my gloves. Believe me I have won plenty of money on bet with crew. I bet them that they will not be ready to go by 8.00am. That someone will away drag the chain. To avoid tension in the crew be strict on the time on being ready to go and stick to it . I suggest appoint a leader who is the most reliable and make him in charge of the check list. 10 minutes before the departing time, go over your check list. If any of the above does happen you will be ready to leave on the time arrange and be strict on the not stopping at the 7/11 in the morning. Make a thing about shop at 7/11 on the way home. I know is info will help and avoid tension within the crew. But all of you have to be strict on this subject or you will aways miss out on grabing first lines.


Thanks for the advise Biggen. Most of my group are newbies so i don't think they really care about first tracks.
I'll probably head up early myself anyways and buy a megaphone to wake them up later.

#14
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View PostTachypsychia, on 10 January 2014 - 03:41 PM, said:

View PostBiggen, on 07 January 2014 - 03:59 PM, said:

And beware of the meter deep channels or Gutter covered in snow on the side of the roads.


Also known around these parts as "Gaijin Traps"


The ones along the steep roads leading up to Escal Plaza at Goryu gush with mega gallons of water and could easily wash away an adult. There are loads of spots where they are uncovered. We lived round there till my eldest was two and a half and I was terrified of her falling in one of them.
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