Hakuba – Jewel in the Japan Alps

hakuba - hakuba 47 and happo

Hakuba has become one of the most well-known ski areas in Japan, let alone Nagano, and the reputation is deserved. With an impressive infrastructure, multiple ski resorts and a strong tourism industry, its future looks bright. With something for everybody the area should be near the top of the list when planning a Japanese ski trip.

What is known as the Hakuba Valley encompasses some of Omachi to the South, Hakuba itself, and Otari to the North. The valley offers more than 10 ski resorts, including big names such as Goryu, 47, Happo-one, Tsugaike and Cortina as well as Iwatake, Kashimayari and others.

The boom that the village is experiencing has changed the Winter landscape somewhat, and there are some who miss the authentic Japanese feel it held until recently. Others consider the development of the resort to international standards not only deserved, but the best thing that could have happened to the area. For those looking for a Japanese ski experience away from the Western spotlight however, areas like Myoko, Shiga Kogen and to a lesser extent Nozawa Onsen, may appeal more.

Hakuba Highlights

  • Multiple resorts with varied terrain & breathtaking scenery
  • Accommodation ranging from backpackers to luxurious hotels & apartments
  • Quality ski rental companies
  • Incredible off-piste, backcountry hiking & heli-skiing
  • English ski schools & daycare
  • A large range of restaurants
  • Good bars and clubs with regular live music & DJ events

Nagano Japan - hakuba bird's eyeAll About Hakuba

Hakuba is spread over a long valley running North to South. The first major ski area is Goryu. From there head 10 minutes either along the course of the river to Hakuba Station, or follow the base of the mountains to Happo. Read all about Hakuba’s areas, layout & transport options here.

hakuba ski resortsHakuba Ski Resorts

Hakuba has a large range of resorts with endless runs, groomed pistes, tree skiing, parks, moguls, and more. With so much choice, you can ski a different resort everyday, but we know you’re going to find your favourites! Read all about Hakuba’s Ski Resorts here.

Hakuba Accommodation Guide


Hakuba Snow Report

Receiving more than 10 metres of snow each year, Hakuba has been named as one of the snowiest places on Earth. If you travel in January or February expect snowstorms, powder days, and a fantastic base for groomers, with the occasional rain event to sober up proceedings. March brings clearer skies and warmer weather with some more rain, but there can be plenty of snow dumps and the base is still substantial. Happo and Hakuba 47 generally stay open until the first week of May, though by then it is patchy.

Though in some seasons the snow can come early and lifts have been known to move in early November, some years you won’t be so lucky and there may not be any big snowfalls until around Christmas. When it snows it dumps however, and it can take only a couple of days to completely cover the resorts with a solid base.

Hakuba Ski Schools & Rentals


hakuba - view from happo's skyline

External Links