On Thursday morning we walked to the bullet train and headed for Tokyo. It was a nice ride on a comfortable train and I was able to see a quick look at Mount Fuji. We met a guide (Micki) and had a half day city tour. It was excellent. She showed us the royal palace, the Tokyo Tower (higher than the Eiffel Tower), took a boat ride, and let us shop for a short time. Then we were honored with a dinner on the 40th floor overlooking the city of Tokyo at the Akasaka Prince. The views were outstanding and the hotel was beautiful. We stayed at the Le Meridian Pacific Hotel in Tokyo which is an excellent hotel in a good location. We toured the Keio Plaza Shinjuku Hotel and it is a 5 star plus also in a good location. We ate in the Italian Restaurant at the Keio Plaza and it was excellent. The Hotel has about 7 restaurants on site. All of these hotels are large enough so that all of the ski clubs could stay in one facility. They all have meeting rooms that could be available for larger FSC functions.
Clair Quenzler under a tree in a Toyko park
I found Toyko to be a clean city with very impressive skylines. It is easy to get around Toyko with the subway system. The people are friendly and polite, you feel safe in the city, and English is readily spoken and also used frequently on the signage. We walked around the city and had some time for shopping. I liked Toyko and would have enjoyed staying in the city at least several more days.
After our two days in Toyko, we took a flight to Hokkaido. From the airport we had about a 2 hour bus ride to the Niseko Higashiyama Hotel. The bus ride was OK because the scenery was excellent. The hotel was right on the slopes and huge. Even thought the hotel was lovely, it has been purchased by Hilton so they will be remodeling it soon and so it will even be better. We toured a smaller hotel with more of a traditional Japanese flair and had dinner at that hotel. It was absolutely lovely. Both hotels had lovely Onsens (Baths).
By Clair N. Quenzler, Treasurer, Florida Ski Council