I recently wrote about the best ski resorts in Japan and talked about some of the best resorts all over the country. But I wanted to talk about our favorite area for our family to ski, Hakuba Valley. So naturally, I put together a guide to ski resorts in Hakuba

Located in northwestern Nagano Prefecture at the base of the 3,000-m tall Northern Japan Alps, Hakuba Valley boasts 10 ski resorts blessed with abundant snowfall and high-quality powder snow. Host of the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, Hakuba Valley welcomes guests from around the world to enjoy winter sports at world-class facilities.

From gentle groomed runs to 8-km-long cruising courses, Hakuba Valley has something for everyone.

This is my family’s favorite ski destination in the winters here in Japan. It’s an easy drive from where we live outside of Tokyo, has plenty of accommodation options, from cozy cabins, low and high-end hotels, and plenty of hostels. There’s plenty for us to do in the Hakuba mountains both on the slopes, and off, with our young kids.

If you spend any time in Hakuba you’ll notice the large majority of foreign, specifically Australian, residents. This makes it extremely easy for those of us who don’t speak Japanese to get help, deal with everyday issues at your accommodation, or ask for recommendations.

And for more ideas of how to spend your time in Japan off the slopes see our list.

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Ski Resorts in Hakuba

Jigatake, Hakuba mountains

Jigatake

Most of the ski slopes are gentle with the main slope offering a wide and uncrowded area with good visibility. Jigatake Snow Resort is good for families to challenge skiing and snowboarding as well as for beginners. At the top of the mountain there are tree runs to explore, it is calm and quiet. On a sunny day you can enjoy the views over Azumino. Toroika is a ski lift for small children to ride safely and enjoy sleds.

ski Hakuba Japan

Kashimayari

Kashimayari Snow Resort is closest to the Matsumoto and Azumino area with 15 different courses to challenge not to mention the great view of the North Alps. From the top of the mountain, you can enjoy a 5,000m downhill course with great view of Aoki Lake. Central Plaza 1130 is centrally located with restaurants, shops, accommodation and a stunning view to enjoy from the outdoor onsen after ski.i.

  • Number of courses: 15
  • Elevation 830m Base, 1550m highest
  • Gondola: 0
  • Chair Lift: 7
  • Ratio of Courses: 40% beginner, 45% intermediate, 15% advanced
  • Learn More
Hakuba snowboard

Hakuba Sansosaka

SANSOSAKA IS CLOSED FOR THE 21-22 SEASON

Hakuba Sanosaka Snow Resort is surrounded by beautiful woodlands and a picturesque scene of the nearby Aoki Lake. 80% of the ski slopes are for beginners and intermediates level skiers and riders. This resort is most popular amongst families and leisure skiers. In Hakuba Sanosaka Snow Resort the mogul course has been well repaired for skiers and riders of all abilities.

  • Number of courses: 8
  • Elevation: 740m Base, 1200m highest
  • Gondola: 0
  • Chair Lift: 6
  • Ratio of courses: 40% beginner, 40% intermediate, 20% advanced
  • So go check it out for yourself!
Snow Japan Hakuba

Hakuba Goryu

Hakuba Goryu Snow Resort has 3 areas of alpine skiing to enjoy. Alps-daira, Tohmi and Iimori. There are 15 courses in Goryu. Alps-daira ski slope’s attractiveness is the long-term seasonality which is open until the end of Golden Week. The resort’s snow quality and panoramic views of the North Alps are both incredible features to enjoy. Tohmi and Iimori slope is ideal for beginners, kids, and families. It also has the largest night skiing area.

See also our Packing List for Winter in Japan.

  • Number of courses: 15
  • Elevation: 750m Base, 1676m highest
  • Gondola: 1
  • Chair Lift: 12
  • Ratio of Courses: 35% beginner, 40% intermediate, 25% advanced
  • Learn More
Hakuba Valley offers

Hakuba47

In HAKUBA VALLEY, the outstanding popular snow park is in HAKUBA47 Winter Sports Park. It provides a half-pipe for professionals and a kicker for jumping as well as a variety of items in the park to play and enjoy. Ski or ride or just sit back and watch the other skiers and riders moving around the park. Good atmosphere and a great place to make park friends. From the top of the mountain one can also access Hakuba Goryu, and both resorts can be enjoyed on the popular dual mountain pass.

  • Number of Courses: 8
  • Elevation: 820m Base, 1614 Highest
  • Gondola: 1
  • Chair Lift: 5
  • Ratio of Courses: 30% Beginner, 40% intermediate, 30% advanced
  • So go check it out for yourself!
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hoppo one, valley lift pass

Happo One

Hakuba Happo-one Snow Resort is a magnificent skiing venue in Japan, widely recognized for the Nagano winter Olympic games held in 1998. The vertical of Happo is some of the steepest piste in the entire Valley at 1,071m. A place to carve and shred some epic powder snow conditions not to mention the longest runs allowing you to cruise an 8000m course. From beginners to advanced level enjoy the big scale slopes, but you need more than one day. Happo’s big scale also offers an interesting mix of restaurants, cafes and food stops on the slopes and around the base. One can truly indulge in delicious cuisine from local Nagano and around the world.

  • Number of courses: 14
  • Elevation: 760m base, 1831m highest
  • Gondola: 1
  • Chair Lift: 22
  • Ratio of courses: 30% Beginner, 50% intermediate, 20% advanced
  • So go check it out for yourself!
Hakuba iwatake in Nagano, iwatake Hakuba

Hakuba Iwatake

Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field exposes you to a 360℃ panoramic view of the Hakuba mountain range. A gondola lift will take you on a non-stop journey to the top of the mountain. Here the slopes are wide and gentle as well as challenging providing a variety of courses for all levels of skiers and riders. The Hakuba Iwatake Mountain resort is also well known here for the snow park and cross-country ski trails which are constantly maintained all year round.

  • Number of courses: 26
  • Elevation: 750m Base, 1289m highestTokyo
  • Gondola: 1
  • Chair Lift: 9
  • Ratio of courses: 30% beginner, 50% intermediate, 20% advanced
  • So go check it out for yourself!
Hakuba Valley skiing

Tsugaike Kogen

With a backdrop of 3,000m mountains known as the North Alps, this splendid mountain scenery has plenty of snowfall, heavy snow accumulates often, and is the main attractiveness for visitors. With a width of 1,200m it is well suited to families and beginners. The gondola is a distance of 4,000m you can ride it all the way to the top non-stop. Approximately 5km’s long, the ride itself is a sightseeing activity. The powder zone here is known as “Tsuga-Pow DBD” it also has an area for kids and beginners with a long course and onsen.

  • Number of courses: 14
  • Elevation: 800m base, 1704m highes
  • Gondola: 1
  • Chair Lift: 19
  • Ratio of courses: 50% beginner, 30% intermediate, 20% advanced
  • So go check it out for yourself!
Hakuba Japan ski resort

Hakuba Norikura

A superb viewpoint spreads before your eyes in the northernmost part of the North Alps. A romantic location resembles something similar to a private resort, a natural attractiveness of this region. The wide ski slopes are beginner-friendly and offer families a chance to ski together in tranquility. The steep course at 38℃ is enjoyed by advanced skiers and riders. A mogul course is also maintained offering a variety of abilities a chance to try it all. The ski slopes are both groomed and ungroomed, powder snow conditions are the best to enjoy. Snow scoot, telemark ski, and snowshoe are also popular on these slopes.

  • Number of courses: 16
  • Elevation: 700m Base, 1300 highest
  • Gondola: 0
  • Chair Lift: 9
  • Ratio of Courses: 30% beginner, 40% intermediate, 30% advanced
  • So go check it out for yourself!
Onsen Hakuba

Hakuba Cortina

Heavy snow accumulates often in Cortina, the highest annual records are in this snow resort. This fact as well as amazing tree skiing in powder conditions makes it a very popular place to visit. The attractiveness is not only in the ski resort but also the ski in and ski out Hotel Green Plaza Hakuba with 257 rooms that is the largest in this area including onsen facilities, a variety of Japanese and Italian meals and well as fast food and a café with excellent coffee and sweet menu total 5 restaurants. Cortina is a wonderful snow resort venue and location.

  • Number of courses: 16
  • Elevation: 872m base, 1402m highest
  • Gondola: 0
  • Chair Lift: 6
  • Ratio of courses: 30% beginner, 30% intermediate, 40% advanced
  • So go check it out for yourself!

best ski resorts in japan

How to Get to Hakuba

Like I said above, my family usually drives from where we live outside of Tokyo. We like the freedom of having our own car and it’s easier than taking the train into, and then back out of the city, and then catching other trains and busses.   Plus, once in Hakuba, it’s much easier to get around with a car. So a car is my recommendation but that’s not feasible for everyone.  

By Car

From Tokyo it will take just under 4 hours on the toll roads.  The tolls are pretty steep so make sure you have cash (sometimes you can use a card) or your rental car is ECT enabled (kind of like a toll tag).

By Train

The train is definitely the fastest way to get to Hakuba but it might not be the easiest.  You will take the shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Nagano, then a bus or train to Hakuba.  If you’re leaving right from the airport, you’ll obviously have to find your way into Tokyo. So as you can see, there are many trains/busses.  But that’s not to say it’s not doable.  If you’re using the JR Pass this can be the most cost-effective way of getting around.

From Narita Airport

From Tokyo international airport, take the train (Narita Express) to Tokyo (Shinjuku) station which will take about 1 hour. These trains depart the airport rail terminal frequently. If you don’t plan to purchase the Japan Rail Pass because you’re only going to Hakuba, one option is to pay as you go and catch the Keiser Skyliner train that goes from Narita to Ueno (a station on the Nagano side of Tokyo) in a very speedy time of about 35 minutes!

From Tokyo Station (or Ueno) to Nagano

The Tokyo train station is a tourist destination in itself, with the fascinating rush of people bustling about, the many food options to choose from, and the endless souvenir shops. Trains from Narita Airport arrive at underground platforms #1-4 so there’s quite an eye-opening hike up to the Shinkansen Bullet trains which leave from platforms #20-23. The Nagano bullet train (Asama Shinkansen) departs Tokyo Station regularly throughout the day (you can check train timetables here), and the super speedy trip (at over 200kph) takes only 90 minutes.

Or if you come into Ueno you have to swap from the local train station to the Shinkansen train station, a walk of about 150 meters. This station isn’t quite as chaotic as Tokyo and offers the advantage of a faster trip time.

From Nagano Station to Hakuba

There are various options to get from Nagano to Hakuba which all take about one hour:

  • Nagano Snow Shuttle operate scheduled bus services from late December to end Feb with several daily departures.
  • Alpico buses from Nagano to Hakuba run every hour from 8:20am to 7:40pm (Friday night 9.00pm). Buses depart from the East (Higashi) exit of Nagano Station from bus stop 6. Most people use this option. The buses terminate at the Happo Information Centre, and many of the accommodation providers offer transport or there are lots of taxis. 
  • You could get a taxi directly to your hotel for about ¥25,000, although you and the taxi driver might need to be creative in accommodating your ski/board bag. 
  • You can catch a local train to the Hakuba train station. Many Hakuba accommodations provide transport from the train station.

By Bus

The Nagano Snow Shuttle is the easiest transport from Narita or Haneda airports. The bus is usually much cheaper than trains but takes a little longer (about 5-6 hours) than the bullet train.  But, the bus is direct, meaning you don’t have to lug your bags around, hopping from train to train, and navigating the stations and timetables.  If you arrive at Narita in the evening, you can take the overnight bus to possibly save on a night in a hotel (if you can handle a night on a bus right after a long plane ride).

The bus will drop you off at the Hakuba Base Camp where you’ll have to walk, get a taxi, or arrange transportation with your accommodation, or they will drop you at your Hakuba accommodation for an additional fee. 

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Accommodation in Hakuba

There are so many options for places to stay in Hakuba Valley, but I just wanted to give you a taste of some of the best options depending on your budget and needs. We have stayed in a hotel, family-friendly hostel, and self contained home so we have tested a few of the options. For quick getaways where we are really going to be sleeping after a long day on the slopes or out in the snow, we go like the Hakuba Gondola hotel. But if we’re staying for a few days, we like our own space, so we go with something self contained like the Brownie Cottages. Check out our list below to see what would be best for you.

READ ALSO: Packing List for Winter in Japan

Price Key:

  • $– $100-$150 USD
  • $$– $151-$200 USD
  • $$$– $201-$300 USD
  • $$$$– $301+

Hostels

Hakuba Valley ticket
Courtesy of Hakuba Snowdrift Lodge

Hakuba Snowdrift Lodge

Hakuba Snowdrift Lodge is a simple lodge located on the resort shuttle bus route in Echoland with bunk rooms (max 6) for solos & private rooms for 1-4 guests. Beds are western-style & bathrooms/toilets are shared. Communal kitchen on-site.

  • Location: Echoland
  • Rating: 4.5
  • Facilities:
    • Bunk dorms & Private rooms
    • Communal Lounge/TV area & kitchen
    • Restaurant and Bar
    • Shared segregated bathrooms and toilets
    • Ski rentals, storage, and lessons
  • Price: $$
mt Hakuba backpackers, ski resorts hakuba

Mt. Hakuba Backpackers

Mt Hakuba Backpackers Hostel is 2 mins walk to bus stop & few mins to Echoland restaurants & bars. Not suitable for children & it has a lively bar and restaurant on-site. Shared kitchen plus a shared lounge/TV area.

  • Location: Echoland
  • Rating: 3.6
  • Facilities:
    • All use shared bathroom facilities
    • Continental breakfast
    • Lounge/tv area, wifi and parking
    • Shared kitchen
    • Western private and shared dorm rooms (1-4 guests)
  • Price: $
Hakuba Gondola Hotel, Japan ski

Hakuba Gondola Hotel

Perfectly located adjacent to the main gondola at Happo One Ski Resort. Simple western style rooms (2-5 guests), some with private bathroom. The hotel also has backpacker dormitory rooms and an onsen bath.

  • Location: Happo Village
  • Rating: 3.8
  • Facilities:
    • Close to main Happo bars and restaurants
    • Onsen bath
    • Lounge and Bar
    • Opposite a bus stop
    • Ski rental shop next door
  • Price: $

Hotels

Tokyo Hotel Hakuba, ski areas

Hakuba Tokyu Hotel

Resort hotel with large well-appointed western twin rooms & suites; all with ensuite bathroom. Indoor/outdoor onsens, 3 restaurants, lounge bar, ski/snowboard rentals onsite. 650m (8min) walk to Kokusai lift (& ski school/child care) of Happo One, & shuttle bus stop out the front.

  • Location: Wadano
  • Rating: 4.5
  • Facilities:
    • French and Japanese restaurants
    • Gift shop, non-smoking, lift pass sales
    • Lounge bar
    • Transport to/from train station or Happo bus stop
    • Sauna, massages, onsen
  • Price: $$$
Mominoki Hotel, Japan ski

Mominoki Hotel Hakuba

The Mominoki Hotel is a great pick for a Hakuba hotel, providing either western or Japanese-style rooms. It’s only 5 mins walk to the nearest lifts and offers 87 rooms, on-site hot springs (onsen), restaurants and bars.

  • Location: Lower Wadano
  • Rating: 4.2
  • Facilities:
    • En-suites with bathtub in western rooms
    • Great location and English pub next door
    • Indoor and outdoor onsen
    • Nice communal area, restaurant, and bar
    • Various restaurants in walking distance
  • Price: $$
Courtyard Marriott Hakuba

Courtyard by Marriott

Courtyard by Marriott Hakuba was renovated in Dec 2016 with spacious Japanese/western combo rooms with ensuite bathroom for up to 4-5 guests. Laforet has nice indoor and outdoor onsen baths. 200m to Echoland main street & bus stop out the front to Happo, Goryu & 47.

  • Location: Echoland
  • Rating: 4.2
  • Facilities:
    • Discounted lift passes, gift shop, free wifi
    • Indoor/outdoor onsen
    • Restaurant/bar with western cuisine
    • Shuttle bus stop outside hotel
    • Various restaurants in walking distance
  • Price: $$$
Sierra Resort Hakuba

Sierra Resort

The secluded Hotel Sierra Resort Hakuba is halfway between Iwatake & Tsugaike ski areas. Deluxe hotel with spacious modern rooms (twin or king) & suites (up to 4-5 guests). High levels of service & English-speaking concierge. Popular with families, babysitting services are available.

  • Location: Tsugaike
  • Rating: 4.6
  • Facilities:
    • Award-winning restaurants, even restaurant shuttles
    • Babysitting, kids activities, sledding
    • English speaking concierge
    • Karaoke, lounges, shops
    • Massage services, onsens, swimming pool
  • Price: $$$
Hakuba Panorama Hotel

Hakuba Panorama Hotel

Hakuba Panorama Hotel is centrally located in Happo. Modern hotel rooms (western style or combo) with ensuite bathroom & mountain views. Onsen baths onsite & the Hakuba Taproom restaurant with craft beers. Within walking distance of Happo One and Happo bus terminal (staff also provide some shuttles).

  • Location: Happo Village
  • Rating: 4.5
  • Facilities:
    • English Speaking Staff
    • Onsen onsite
    • Taproom with craft beer and meals
    • Views of the mountains
    • Western buffet breakfast
  • Price: $

Self-Contained Homes

The Hakuba Villas

The Hakuba Villas

The Hakuba Villas offer self-contained accommodation including 1BR studio & 1 BR villa for 4 guests & 1 BR apartment for 5 guests. Superior villa has 5 bedrooms for up to 10 guests. Located in Misorana about 600m from Echoland main street & 2.6km from Happo One.

  • Location: Echoland
  • Rating: 4.4
  • Facilities:
    • Free parking, free wifi, non smoking
    • Kitchenette or kitchen in all rooms
    • Parking on-site
    • Living Area
    • Plenty of space
  • Price: $$$$
Zen Chalets Hakuba

Zen Chalets

Zen Chalets provide simple self-contained accommodation (with kitchen and sitting area) with 1 bedroom cabins or 2 bedroom chalets for up to 6 guests. This Hakuba accommodation is very well located, only 300m walk from Evergreen ski school and child care and the Happo One slopes.

  • Location: Lower Wadano
  • Rating: 4.7
  • Facilities:
    • 200m to closest Happo One lift
    • Close to bus stop 
    • Full Kitchen amenities and laundry
    • Living area with couches and TV
    • Western-sized beds
  • Price: $$$$
Koharu Hotel Hakuba

Koharu Resort Hotel

Located only a couple of minutes walk (130m) to the slopes of Happo One ski resort. Koharu Resort has modern studios (with kitchenette) and one and two bedroom apartments (with kitchen) that are very tastefully furnished.

  • Location: Lower Wadano
  • Rating: 4.6
  • Facilities:
    • 1 and 2 bedroom apartments (2-4 guests)
    • Laundry amenities
    • Parking
    • Studios with kitchenette
    • Transport to/from Hakuba station or Happo bus stop
  • Price: $$
Brownie Cottages Hakuba

Brownies Cottages

Brownies comprise cozy wooden cottages (catering for 3 – 7 guests) and Japanese-style condos (up to 5 guests). They are located about 3 minutes walk to the nearest ski resort shuttle bus stop and 10 mins walk into the middle of Echoland.

  • Location: Echoland
  • Rating: 4.6
  • Facilities:
    • 3 minutes walk to ski resort shuttle
    • Lessons, rentals, and discount lift tickets
    • On-site hot tub and free wifi
    • Restaurant next door service breakfast/dinner
    • Self-cater accommodation (3-7 guests)
  • Price: $$$$
Hakuba Gondola Apartments

Hakuba Gondola Apartments

Hakuba Gondola Apartments are located in one of the best spots; opposite the Happo One gondola & just 2 mins walk to restaurants & bars. These modern 2BR (up to 4 guests) and 3BR (up to 6 guests) apartments are furnished with elegant decor. All rooms can be configured with either 2 x twin beds or a split king bed.

  • Location: Happo Village
  • Rating: 5
  • Facilities:
    • 2 minutes walk to restaurants
    • Babysitting services upon request
    • Drying room, laundry
    • Lift ticket sales, equipment rentals
    • Lounge with fireplace, leather sofas, TV
  • Price: $$$$

Ski-in/Ski Out

Green Plaza Hotel Cortina

Green Plaza Hotel

Hotel Green Plaza Hakuba sits at the base of the Hakuba Cortina Ski Resort in a perfectly ski-in ski-out position. Large resort hotel with extensive facilities and services. Rooms with twin western beds plus tatami sitting area for up to 3 futons. Also maisonette rooms for up to 7 guests with a combo of western/Japanese beds.

  • Location: Cortina
  • Rating: 4.1
  • Facilities:
    • 3 restaurants, buffet breakfast
    • Babysitting, games rooms, karaoke, massage
    • Onsen overlooking mountains
    • Shuttle to/from Happo
    • Ski/snowboard rentals, lessons in English
  • Price: $$$
Marillen Hotel Hakuba

Marillen Hotel

Hotel Marillen is an Austrian-style hotel located on the slopes of the Nakiyama base of Happo One with direct ski-in/out access and is only 1 min walk to many of Hakuba’s great restaurants & bars. This very popular hotel sells out quickly due to its amazing location.

  • Location: Happo Village
  • Rating: 4.7
  • Facilities:
    • Absolute ski-in/ski-out
    • Minutes from central village
    • Ski rentals and lessons available in-house
    • Tyrolean restaurant and bar
    • Western-style beds and private en-suites (2-4 guests)
  • Price: $$$
Yamano Hotel Hakuba

Yamano Hotel

Hakuba Yamano Hotel offers Japanese, western and combo rooms for 2-5 guests: all with private bathrooms or you can bathe in the onsite onsen. Quiet location in front of the Hakuba ski jump, 500m walk to Happo One slopes (Nakiyama) or you can catch the shuttle bus

  • Location: Happo Village
  • Rating: 4.4
  • Facilities:
    • 10 minute walk to Echoland
    • Ideal spot of you have a car
    • Indoor onsen, sauna
    • Restaurant with western cuisine
    • Shuttles to lifts, restaurants
  • Price: $$

Restaurants in Hakuba

Gravity Worx

When you step food in this homely hut of an Italian restaurant, the first thing that you notice might be the smell of garlic and basil cooking.

The pizza’s rye dough is homemade, vegetables is home grown and herbs are locally harvest right here in Hakuba.

If you are here for the coffee, their triple-layered latte is a must-try signature. For hearty, authentic Italian fare in Hakuba, it doesn’t get better than this. It is the perfect place to relax after a hard day of skiing in the freezing cold!

  • Location: 6305 Hokujo Hakuba Kitaazumi-gun Nagano
  • Open: 11:30-20:00 Daily
  • Reservation: +81-261-72-5434

Roots Café

Conveniently located on the slopes of Happo One, Roots is a mostly vegan cafe (they do have dairy milk with their coffee) that serves quality comfort food for the health-conscious.

They serve up generous portions to satisfy hungry powder hounds, and have the best vegan baked foods in the region (don’t miss the brownies). It is probably the healthiest place you will find in the ski resort. The smoothies and cookies are a big hit with the kids.

  • Location: Happo, In Kokusai Lodge, 399-9301 Hakuba, Japan
  • Open: Daily 8:30-16:00
  • Reservation: 0261-85-0034

Hakuba Pizza

The family-owned, 20-seater Hakuba Pizza is another trusted place you can go to fill up on comfort food favourites (or save the trek to the log house, and order in for delivery when going out is just too much after a long day on the slopes). Their pizzas are loved for that thin and crispy base, plus toppings freshly prepared every day.

B.O.S. Okonomiyaki

B.O.S. is a cozy hangout in Echoland that specializes in okonomiyaki, the classic Japanese savory pancake, cooked on a hot place in front of you the way you like it. Perfect for when you just want a quick place to sit, some cool company, hot drinks, and a local snack done right.

Where to Eat in Hakuba

Mon Pigeon

Dog friendly (with their own friendly dogs, no less)? Fresh baked goods? Cozy atmosphere with a wafting scent of coffee? Checked, checked and checked. Mon Pigeon is a lovely patisserie hidden in the woods, perfect for a lazy afternoon in the sun.

The owners make all the baked treats in the house, from savory bread-like cheese rolls to pretty cakes. They also serve up wood-fired pizza for lunch and dinner, accompanied by fresh brewed coffee!

Where to eat in Hakuba? Top restaurants to try in 2019

Hakuba Taproom

Hakuba Taproom is a chic bar newly opened in the Panorama Hotel, serving a wide range of domestic craft beers with a great view of the mountain, good music and a hipster vibe.

Sports play on the big screen and bar favorites such as fish and chips and homemade pasta are served. It is a fun neighborhood bar worth coming at lease once.

Antlers Restaurant

Antlers restaurant located at The Ridge offers a ‘West meets East’ fusion menu – aka a beautiful choice of Aussie dishes with a lovely selection of traditional puddings. The pub menu features delicious burgers, while for formal dinner items, there are such options as lamb rack and grilled angel shrimp with creole. Fresh local produce and organic ingredients are used wherever possible, wine selection is extensive.

Hakuba Hifumi

As Japanese fine dining goes, Hakuba Hifumi is one of the top picks in the area especially ideal for more formal get-togethers and date nights. The place is part of a modern hotel serving up authentic Japanese fare, with premium items as Wagyu Shinshu beef, and more sophisticated options of sashimi platters. Guarantees a satisfying experience after a elaborate kaiseki meal!

  • Location: 4998 Hokujo happo hakuba vill. NAGANO pref. JAPAN, Hakuba-mura, Kitaazumi-gun 399-9301 Nagano Prefecture
  • Open: Serves Breakfast and Dinner
  • Reservation: +81 261 8411

Kiko-ya

Kikyo-ya along R 148 has grown to be a favorite sushi joint among locals and in-the-know frequent tourists alike. Location is right in Hakuba town within the 47 resort. There is a great selection of sushi items from seasonal local catch, while for non-sushi lover there are also lots of options. Kids would especially enjoy the tempura set.

Prices are reasonable and the traditional Japanese ambiance makes it even more worth coming back to. DO take your time going over the autograph walls, and have fun spotting the one signed by T-Swizzle.

Izakaya Hie Hakuba

If you happen to be staying at Echoland and craving some quality Japanese tapas over fine sake, go for Hie just on the main street. The place is dimly lit and feels nicely intimate for couples. Great and comfortable atmosphere accompanied with a hearty selection of small dishes, all the way from skewers to stew through soba noodles to soak up the shots.

This lovely little izakaya (bar-restaurant) in Echoland is so popular that you’ll need to make a booking; get your accommodation owner to set you up at least a day ahead. Expect all the usual izakaya fare here on a useful English menu, but you’ll also find house specials such as seared tuna and avocado. Cosy atmosphere next to Mockingbird Bar.

Zen

Another great informal dining hidden loved for authentic soba dishes, Zen is hands down our first choice for family outings. The homemade tofu and egg cake are big hits. They also offer a great choice of sashimi and sushi.

Traumerei

Tucked in a decadent hotel near the Echoland main street, this French diner place is voted the No.1 French restaurant in “Jaran” East Japan. In fact, some guests stay in the hotel just for the good old-fashioned French “auberge” experience here. Date nights, special occasions or milestones in Hakuba? Seriously, this place needs to go on your bucket list.

Marillen Hotel

For a Swiss Alp-like experience, Marillen offers Bavarian-style cuisine in front of a roaring open fire. The restaurant provides favorites like cheese fondue, steak, house-made sausages, and schnitzels. Pair this heart-warming comfort food with one of the many German beers in stock, and you’re bound to have a really good night.

Hummingbird

For a warm and welcoming environment that’s perfect for an evening with friends and family, try out Hummingbird. The restaurant serves Japanese and Western home-style cuisine with fresh seasonal ingredients. The menu features vegetarian options and a wide selection of sake, shochu and cocktails.

Luce

For the meat-lovers, Luce is the place to treat yourself. Dig into the A5-grade wagyu beef and enjoy a drink from the vast wine selection. The restaurant is directly across from the Kokusai chairlift, making it very accessible after a long day on the slopes.

ski resorts in Hakuba

Pilar Café and Restaurant

Sitting atop Happo-One and with majestic panoramic mountain views, Pilar is a ski-in-ski-out dining experience. Indulge your taste buds with the full-service a-la-carte Italian meal. The restaurant is only open for lunch.

Hakuba Valley Lift Passes

Ski and ride all the resorts of the valley on just 1 pass!

Valid at Hakuba Sanosaka, ABLE Hakuba Goryu, Hakuba47, Hakuba Happo-one, Hakuba Iwatake, Tsugaike, Hakuba Norikura, Hakuba Cortina, Kashimayari, and Jigatake.

**Hakuba Sanosaka Snow Resort is closed for the 2021-22 season.

Type of TicketAdult PriceChild PriceValid for:
1 Day pass6,600 yen3,800 yenOnly day of use
2 Day pass12,500 yen7,100 yenFor 4 days from the first day of use
3 Day pass18,700 yen10,500 yenFor 6 days from the first day of use
4 Day pass24,900 yen13,900 yenFor 8 days from the first day of use
5 Day pass31,000 yen17,400 yenFor 10 days from the first day of use
6 Day pass37,200 yen20,800 yenFor 11 days from the first day of use
7 Day pass43,400 yen24,300 yenFor 12 days from the first day of use
8 Day pass49,000 yen27,400 yenFor 13 days from the first day of use
9 Day pass54,700 yen30,400 yenFor 14 days from the first day of use
10 Day pass60,300 yen33,500 yenFor 16 days from the first day of use
Season Pass142,800 yen77,000 yenEntire season
※ Adult: Ages 13+
※ Child: Ages 6 to 12
※ Free entry: Under age 6 (Under age 3 at Jigatake Snow Resort)
※ Valid at all HAKUBAVALLEY snow resorts. Can be used at multiple resorts on the same day.
※ You can ride the HAKUBAVALLEY Shuttle Bus for free on days when you ski or snowboard.
※ The Hakuba Valley Shuttle Bus will be operating from December 25, 2021 to February 23, 2022.
※ Not valid for night skiing or the night shuttle bus.

For information on Epic Pass and Hakuba Valley Season Pass holder benefits, click here.

Buy Lift Passes Online

The HAKUBAVALLEY Web Shop offers the HAKUBAVALLEY Day Pass,
valid for skiing and riding at all HAKUBAVALLEY snow resorts,
as well as lift tickets for the following snow resorts: ABLE Hakuba Goryu and Hakuba47 Winter Sports Park (※1), 
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field, Hakuba Norikura Onsen Snow Resort, and Hakuba Cortina Snow Resort.
**:Joint lift ticket for use at both Hakuba Goryu and Hakuba47.
Hakuba Happo-one Snow Resort has a separate web shop. Visit here.
Tsugaike Mountain Resort has a separate web shop. Visit here.
Kashimayari Snow Resort has a separate web shop. Visit here.

Klook.com

Other Ski Activities

Backcountry Tours

The Hakuba backcountry is a highlight of the area for those willing to earn their turns. The pinnacle is the Happo backcountry, which has some easy bowls as well as lines of gnar. There are quite a few Hakuba backcountry tour operators but choose wisely if you want longevity on earth. We’ve seen a couple of tour groups who’ve seemed a little too eager to get out onto the Happo Faces straight after a massive a snow storm.

There are various backcountry and off-piste tour operators. They can cater for varying abilities and the distance hiked or skinned, and they can rent you backcountry gear if you don’t have your own. Tours typically go from the top of Cortina or Tsugaike on stormy days, or Happo-One when the snowpack is adequately settled.

            You can try: 

            Good Guides Hakuba

            Check out the incredible side or backcountry at one of Hakuba’s resorts or at one of the 20 other nearby resorts such as Myoko Kogen. Join a group or get your own group together (max 5 per group).

            Evergreen BC Guides

            Take advantage of the huge lift infrastructure in the Hakuba Valley to access some of Japan’s best side-country whilst staying safe with a qualified guide with local knowledge.

Heli Skiing

Alternatively, the Tsugaike Kogen resort offers spring heli-skiing. This isn’t typical heli-skiing as the terrain is all national park and there are various restrictions on where helicopters can land, so they repeatedly land at the same place. The “backcountry” is very mellow and sign-posted in places (!) so it’s more like tracked-out piste than the virgin snow you’d expect from heli-skiing (unless you are lucky to be amongst the first few riders after a fresh dump). It’s still worth it though, just for the thrill of the helicopter ride and the scenery.

What to do with Kids in Hakuba Valley

Ski and Snowboard Lessons

            The Hakuba Snow Sport School also offers ski & snowboarding lessons, both for private & group lessons. Only ski lessons are currently available in English. If you want English snowboarding lessons, Hakuba Ski Concierge offers private lessons at all Hakuba ski areas.  For the little kids, they have a kids program (Frank Club) which offers full-day lessons, equipment rental & lunch for kids 4 – 12. Pre-schoolers 5 and under get a free lift ticket.

Evergreen Outdoor Center offers English-speaking instructors for ski or snowboard lessons at Happo for children (aged 3+) and adults in either a half-day or full-day format. Evergreen also provides powder clinics and on-mountain guiding. Evergreen also provides lessons at Iwatake and Tsugaike.

Childcare

In addition to the ski lessons provided for children, Evergreen also offers child care for the morning or full-day (18 months to 6 years) with English-speaking staff. The child care facility is located at the Kokusai base of Happo-One and they provide transport between your hotel and the center. Evergreen also provides child care at Iwatake and Tsugaike for ages 18 months to 6 years. 

There is also childcare at Cortina inside the Green Plaza Hotel, although there’s no guarantee that the staff speaks English. 

There are also a couple of Hakuba babysitting and nanny services.

Kid’s Snow Parks

Nakiyama Snow Land

New for the 2020/21 season, Nakiyama Snow Land has a covered magic carpet.

Happo Usagi Kids Park

Usagi Kids Park, located at the top of the Happo One Gondola, is open in the off-peak season & the beginning of spring ski (March-end until the season end) to help ensure that there is always a kids park with enough snow to operate.

Sakka Kids Park

Sakka Kids Park located in Wadano, it is the main kid’s park that opens up once there is enough snow. Probably one of the more popular kid’s snow parks in the valley. There is a cafeteria at the base of the park for the parents to watch from and enjoy a refreshment. This is where the “Snow Chao” event is held.

Hakuba 47 Kids Park

Hakuba 47 has a small kids park with a separate sled and ski slopes serviced by a magic carpet. If your children do not want what to use the magic carpet, they can play with the sleds/toboggans for free.

Goryu Kids Wonderland

Goryu, like the Sakka kids park, has a large indoor cafeteria, where the parents can sit and watch their children through the large glass windows. There is also a large indoor kids play area in the Escal Plaza building “Wood land”, where the children can escape the elements and try their skills on the jungle gym

Cortina Wonder Village

The Cortina Winder Village consists of 2 areas “Kids park” & “Snow play park”.

Kids park area is located right in front of the hotel with usual kids play area with rental items for children to play with (Tubes, Sleds etc.)

Snow park area, located about 5 min walk from the hotel and is open for children to adults making snow house, sled play, snow soccer, snowmobile adventure ride, night sled, marshmallow cooking etc.

Where to Rent Ski Gear in Hakuba

There are a very good number of Hakuba ski rental and snowboard hire shops located at the base of each of the ski resorts and in some of the Hakuba hotels and pensions, although in some cases with the latter, it looks like they’re renting gear from the pre-Olympics era!

A great pick for a Hakuba ski rental /snowboard shop is Central Snowsports which has three locations across Hakuba: in the heart of Happo near the Happo-One gondola; opposite the Sakka lifts (and great beginner area) in Upper Wadano; and Goryu opposite the Escal Plaza. They also offer a guest shuttle whereby they pick you up and drop you off at your accommodation. Central Snowsports have standard snowboard and ski rentals and clothing (pants, jackets, helmets) as well as high-performance equipment and fat skis. In addition, they have backcountry ski touring rentals, skins, collapsible poles, snowshoes, and packs with an avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe. You can pre-book your gear here.

Spicy Rentals has lots of Hakuba ski hire shops with prime locations: Echoland next to the BaseCamp shuttle bus stop; Upper Wadano; Happo; Iwatake at the gondola & Tsugaike just below the gondola. You can pre-book your gear here – standard or high-performance ski and snowboard equipment and clothing.

Woody Ski and Snowboard Hire have two Hakuba ski rental shops in Happo. One is located just a few minutes walk from the Happo Information Centre (the bus terminal with shuttles to all the ski resorts) and the other shop is just 1 minute from the Happo gondola. Woody hires out performance skis and snowboard equipment, après boots, gloves, goggles, helmets, and backcountry touring ski gear and avalanche safety equipment. You can pre-book your gear here.

Other Activities Around Hakuba

Jigokudani Monkey Park is one of the top activities you have to do in Hakuba with kids. It is an attraction widely known for its postcard-perfect snowy landscape. It draws visitors eager to catch a glimpse of snow monkeys relaxing in the hot springs to keep warm during the winter. From the entrance, it takes about a 25-minute stroll through the woods to arrive at the hot spring, where you’ll catch sight of the snow monkeys.

Jigokudani Monkey Park – 6845 Heion, Yamanouchi-machi, Shimotakai-gun 381-0401, Nagano, p. +81 269-33-4379. Opens 8.30am – 5pm daily.

Zenkoji Temple is another must-visit attraction while you are in Hakuba with kids. It boasts a longstanding history dating back over 1,400 years and is believed to house the first image of Buddha brought to Japan during the 7th century. Engaging an English-speaking guide offers a more immersive experience, as you’ll get explanations about the different statues and buildings within the temple. A culturally-rich visit for the little ones indeed!

After your visit, take a stroll along streets surrounding the temple. The lantern-lined streets are scenic, and offer plenty of souvenir shops, cafes and restaurants to explore.

Zenkoji Temple – 491 Naganomotoyoshicho, Nagano, p. +81 26-234-3591. Open 6am – 4pm daily.

If you have never tried this before, this is going to be an interesting experience for the whole family. Natural hot springs, or onsen are widely popular in Japan. The country boasts a wide-ranging variety of hot springs, with different minerals dissolved in the water. Depending on the minerals, soaking in a hot spring can bring about different health benefits. It’s also incredibly relaxing, and a great way to soothe your muscles and unwind after a day out on the slopes.

  • Hakuba Himekawa Onsen Tenjin no Yu – Take in vistas over the Alps when you soak in the sodium chloride-rich waters of the onsen. Indoor and outdoor baths available. Hakuba Highland Hotel, 21582 Hokujo, Hakuba, p. +81 261-72-3450.
  • Hakuba Happo Onsen Obinata no Yu – A small onsen enveloped by lush surroundings. The open-air bath is available for use during the winter months, starting from mid-January. 9346-1 Hokujo, Hakuba, p. +81 261-72-3745. Open 9am – 5pm daily.
  • Hakuba Ryujin Onsen – A great option for vacationers in Goryu. The onsen boasts a modern decor, and well-maintained facilities including a spacious outdoor bath, shallow pools and a steam room. 21396 Kamishiro, Hakuba, p. +81 261-85-2803. Open 11am – 9.30pm daily.
Klook.com

If you are still unsure if you want to go skiing in Japan, think no more. Skiing in Japan with kids is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is a must for snow lovers and for beginners alike. The snow and resort atmosphere in Japan doesn’t disappoint and will no doubt remain one of your favorite memories.

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Are you ready for Japan?

  • Book Your Flights– To find the cheapest flights, flexibility is a must. Some great options are Google Flights for the calendars to find the cheapest options, Skiplagged, and Skyscanner. For more options see our resources page. For Japan, check flights for both Tokyo Airports (Haneda and Narita), as well as Osaka (Kansai).
  • Find Transportation- Buy your JR Pass for your bullet train and inter-city travel before you leave home. Research a Suica card, the public transportation card you can either buy before or as soon as you arrive.
  • Book Your Accommodation– Look at Booking.com, Hotels.com, or Expedia for hotels in Japan. You can also look at AirBnB or VRBO as we’ve had great luck finding inexpensive, large, and clean homes to rent.
  • Book Tours and Experiences- Check Klook or Viator for some of the best tours and attractions for a great price for experiences like Tokyo Skytree, TeamLab Borderless, and Universal Osaka. For Tokyo Disney Resort, check my guide here.
  • Stay Connected– Order a pocket WIFI for airport pickup if you’re with a family or group, or order a SIM card just for your phone. Check out our guide to staying connected here.
  • Buy Travel Insurance- I always recommend World Nomads for insurance. It’s better to protect yourself in case of mishaps. Learn more about World Nomads in this FAQ post.
  • Pack Your Bags– Check out my packing lists, or my favorite travel gear to help you remember all of the essentials.
  • Learn About Japan– Learn about Japan with guidebooks like Lonely Planet, or, shameless plug, search around my site for more info.

BlogGuide to Ski Resorts in Hakuba Japan