Welcome to Hakuba Japan
The village of Hakuba is spread across a valley running roughly North to South, towards the sea of Japan. The Mountain Range on the Western Side, which makes for stunning views, consists of multiple peaks near 3000m, incredible backcountry, and pretty much all of the ski fields.
Hakuba has numerous neighbourhoods with several small centres, the main ones being Goryu, Echoland, Happo, Wadano and the Hakuba Station area. These are outlined roughly South to North below.
The first place you come to if coming from Matsumoto / Omachi along Route 148. Sanosaka has a small but decent ski-field with car parks on the left. A couple of local restaurants, and some antiquated Japanese lodgings.
The train station and area name is Kamishiro, but the area from the main road up to Hakuba Goryu Ski Field is referred to as Goryu. There are a number of accommodation choices on the main road and in the neighborhood streets off to the right, a few restaurants and izakaya, and several bars. Goryu is a bit more low key than Echoland, Happo and Wadano, and many people choose to stay in the area again and again.
Route 148 follows North to JR Hakuba Station, by which you pass a number of restaurants and one of the larger supermarkets, Top Value. There are a number of places to eat around the station, a couple of bars, souvenir shops and ticket and accommodation bookings.
Outdoor Stores are also prominent. Locally owned and operated stores such as The Boarding Co. and Yamamoto now compete with big names such as Patagonia, who have their flagship Winter store a little up the road towards Happo and the mountains. There is talk of The North Face opening a store also.
Echoland has a history as Hakuba’s main drag throughout most of the year; in the bubble era cars were backed up on the packed streets. The area boasts a large number of accommodation choices, a lively main street and surrounds with a number of restaurants, several bars, a great cafe, a night club and more.
At the base of the Nakiyama area of Happo-one Ski Field (skiers right). For a long time Happo had the atmosphere of a quiet Japanese village town with little gong on at night. This has changed and Happo has a number of lively bars, several foreign owned hotels, and some good restaurants. Happo ski field is a short walk with many hotels on or very near the resort.
Around the base of the Sakka area of Happo-one (skiers left). Not only most of the luxury properties, Wadano has a larger number of accommodation options very near to the resort. There are several restaurants including those in the hotels, and a selection of bars. It boasts many accommodation choices in close proximity to the resort including some that are ski-in ski-out.
Hakuba Japan Area Map
Getting Around – Hakuba Transport Options
In Hakuba during the day there are numerous village and resort buses circling, with bus stops in most of the main areas. These will generally run until the resort closes, but if you are relying on a bus home then check the time before you hit the mountain. Be aware that these buses are for people going to the ski fields and when busy they don’t like to act as a taxi for people going to the supermarket and so on.
The train runs through the valley, and is possible to get from Goryu to the station and then catch a bus (not the easiest option). A better use of the train is to take you through to Otari to catch the shuttle bus up to Cortina, though the Cortina Shuttle Bus is also pretty good.
The resort bus schedules tend to change each year, so for details wait until you arrive and ask your accommodation provider for up-to-date info. If you hate public transport and a car isn’t an option, consider staying as near to one of the resorts as possible.
At night the trains are infrequent and there are no resort shuttle buses. There is one night bus which runs late December to Early March which runs around the village many times through the night – the Genki Go – details here. Apart from this – taxi, last call 3:00am – if you’re lucky.
- Alps Taxi / 0261-72-2221
- Hakuba Kanko Taxi / 0261-72-2144
- Hakuba Kanko Taxi Happo Office / 0261-72-2327
- Omachi Meitetsu Taxi / 0261-72-2236
3 Things to Remember Before Walking Around Hakuba
1. Walking anywhere in ski boots is horrible.
2. Children under 5 can’t walk at all when carrying skis and boots.
3. Drinkers: go home. Don’t get stuck somewhere sleeping in a doorway or a random unlocked car – if you are lucky. Hakuba Japan is cold in Winter, especially at night.
- Hakuba Japan Tourism – Japan’s Premier Alpine Resort
- Ski Japan – Hakuba Japan Ski Resort Information
- Japan Guide – Hakuba Japan Travel Guide
Is there anything else you’d like to know about Hakuba’s areas and how to get around? If so, let us know by commenting below!