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Japan tips: where to stay in Tokyo, where to snowboard and day trips

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Hi everyone, a friend and I are planning on heading to Japan for 12 days in January.

We plan to spend a few nights in Tokyo to begin with, so my first question is where to stay? We are both 25, very interested in good food, and we're looking to spend roughly $200 per night on accommodation between us. I have been considering Ginza and Shibuya. We also want to stay somewhere that is convenient in terms of transport.

After a few nights in Tokyo we plan to go snowboarding - we are considering either Hakuba or Nozawa, again we're looking to spend roughly $200 on accom per night between us. We're both decent but by no means expert snowboarders, interested in good slopes with good scenery. We would also like to stay ski in ski out. Any tips on which of those two places would be better? Also, I was planning on buying a snowboard there - is this a good place to buy?

If anyone has any tips on places worth visiting on a day drip from Hakuba or Nozawa that would be much appreciated - we plan on spending two days exploring other towns.

I was also hoping to buy a good kitchen knife while I'm over there - anyone know of a good place to get one over there?

Finally, we were also hoping to do a cooking course while we're there, either in Tokyo or on one of our day trips - any suggestions?

Any tips would be much appreciated!

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