• Banner image

Hakuba

Japan

The destination

View our suggested itinerary:  Cultural Ski Odyssey

The Japanese Alps are located on the main island, just a short distance on a bullet-train from Tokyo. Once ensconced in this mountainous terrain, where rugged peaks tower over 3,000 metres, skiing intuition leads you to the Hakuba valley where even the valley floor is blessed with an average annual snowfall of over 12 metres per annum.

hakuba luxury ski holiday japan

Credit: Nevermode / Shutterstock

There are 11 separate ski resorts in the valley, all unified under one lift pass, namely (from north to south): Cortina, Norikura, Tsugaike Kogen, Iwatake, Happo-One, Hakuba 47, Goryu, Sanosaka, Kashimayari, Jigatake, and Minekata. This equates to 960 hectares of skiable terrain, 90 miles of piste, 200 plus courses, 135 lifts (5 gondolas) and at least nine terrain parks. Although there is a huge amount of terrain for beginners through to advanced skiers and snowboarders, visitors will need to be prepared to catch a shuttle bus each day if they want to sample it all. The Hakuba Valley also has great backcountry with opportunities to hike/skin up from the top of some of the ski resorts. Backcountry skiing and snowboarding can be absolutely phenomenal, we have the contacts and local knowledge to secure the best guides.

hakuba luxury ski holiday japan

Credit: Nume Chnn / Shutterstock

The main hub of the valley is Happo, where most of the luxury accommodation is found. The ski village has a great vibe and caters well to English speaking guests with a wide range of restaurants including Western style dining as well as plenty of opportunities to sample the fabulous Japanese food. Happo One, the ski mountain on your doorstep is the largest in the valley. Featuring wide open pistes, intersected with vast ungroomed sections making it a breeze to dip your skis into the deep powder.

We Recommend

  • Favourite run: Olympic Course 1 on Happo One
  • Best off-piste: Cortina (northernmost ski area in the valley)
  • Mountain lunch: Roots Cafe on Happo One
  • Après Ski: Echoland
  • Nightclub: Tracks Bar
  • Dinner: Mimi's in the Phoenix Hotel
  • Non-skiers: Visit the snow monkeys and the Zenkoji Temples in Nagano City

The Essentials

  • Ski Schools: Many
  • Private Guides: Yes
  • Childcare: Yes
  • Massage: Yes
  • Transfers: Many

Map

Key Facts

  • 143 lifts
  • Over 250 runs
  • Base elevation of 760 metres
  • Top elevation of 1,831 metres
  • Pistes: Over 240 (across the entire valley)
  • Blue: 30%
  • Red: 50%
  • Black: 20%