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Hakuba Guide

Japan flag. Japan City Guides: Hakuba, Nagano

Hakuba Ski Resorts | Hakuba Onsen | Hakuba Restaurants & Bars | Hakuba Access | Hakuba Map | Hakuba Accommodation

Hakuba 白馬

Hakuba, Nagano.
  • Population - 9,000 full-time.
  • World-class ski resorts
  • Site of the 1998 Winter Olympics
  • Easy access from Nagano to the south east
  • Famous for its powder snow
  • A total of around ten ski resorts in the Hakuba Valley
  • Great hiking, cycling and canoeing in summer
  • Situated at the foot of the northern Japan Alps

Ski Resorts in Hakuba

The ski resorts of the Hakuba Valley in Nagano Prefecture, in central Japan, along with Niseko in Hokkaido, offer some of the very best skiing and snowboarding in Japan.

Hakuba and the Japanese Alps, Nagano.

Skiing in Hakuba, the Japanese Alps, Nagano Prefecture

Located in the Japan Alps, 60km northwest of Nagano, Hakuba increasingly appeals to the international ski-set from as far afield as Australia, China, Hong Kong and Europe.

The snowfall in the area is heavy and the quality of the powder snow arguably some of the best on Japan's main island of Honshu. Hakuba's slopes offer good skiing for all ranges of ability and every visitor to the area will share the spectacular backdrop of the 3,000m peaks of the Japan Alps.

Happoone was the site of the 1998 Nagano Olympics downhill skiing course and is the largest of Hakuba's ski resorts. One or two-day ski-passes are available here and at the other main resorts in the valley. Gondolas run up to the start of the ski runs and there are chairlifts to the tops of the mountains for fantastic views of the snow-covered peaks.

The linked ski resorts of Hakuba 47 and Hakuba Goryu are the next largest after Happoone and offer up to 5km downhill slopes from the top of the piste. Ski passes are valid for both resorts. Hakuba 47 is a popular spot for snowboarders. Hakuba 47 has 8 pistes, 6 ski lifts and 800m of vertical descent.

Other resorts in the Hakuba Valley are Iwatake, Cortina, Norikura, Sun Alpina, Yanaba and Tsugaike Kogen.

A number of foreign-operated and Japanese tour companies in Hakuba offer back country skiing and snow shoe tours as well as skiing and snowboard lessons for all levels of ability.

Hakuba Onsen

In addition to the skiing, there is also good hiking in the nearby hills and mountains in summer and some fantastic onsen (hot spring baths) in Hakuba.

Onsen in the Habuka area include the Tokyu Onsen at the Tokyu Hotel, Echoland no Yu, Daiichi Sato no Yu, Daini Sato no Yu, Shobei no Yu at the Mominoki Hotel, Kurashita no Yu, Iwatake no Yu, Mimizuku no Yu, and the Hakuba-shio no Michi Onsen at the Sports Hotel Terry.

Tenjin no Yu is within the Hakuba Highland Hotel.

The Juro no Yu Onsen is close to Chokokuji Temple near Iimori Station.

Eating Out in Hakuba

Hakuba is something of a gourmet town for apres ski wining and dining. There are both Japanese and foreign-owned eateries in town. If you are staying in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn, meals - breakfast and dinner - are usually included in the price of your accommodation.

Options for eating out in Hakuba include British- and American-style pubs, Italian, French, Thai, Tex-Mex, Korean and Indian restaurants in addition to more local soba noodles, wagyu (Japanese beef), teppanyaki and izakaya (Japanese-style "pubs").

A number of hotels in Hakuba are known for their food including the Ridge Resort, the Sports Hotel Terry (see above for its hot spa), the Luna Hotel and the Hakuba Springs Hotel.

Hakuba also has numerous bars and clubs if you wish to drink or dance the long winter nights away.

Hakuba Museums

If you are not skiing, Hakuba has some interesting museums and a botanical garden to see. Hakuba's museums include the Hakuba Ski Jump Stadium (Tel: 0261 72 7611) used in the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, the Hakuba Saegusa Art Gallery (Tel: 0261 72 4685), the Laforet Hakuba Art Museum (Tel: 0261 72 6084) and the Hakuba Miyajima Craft Museum (Tel: 0261 72 2738). Hakuba Botanical Garden (Tel: 0261 71 8118) has a number of species of alpine plants and is spectacular in the summer.

Hakuba ski slopes, Nagano.Skiing in Hakuba, Nagano.

Skiing in Hakuba, Nagano

Hakuba and the Japanese Alps, Nagano.

Hakuba and the Japanese Alps, Nagano

Hakuba Access - how to get to Hakuba

Hakuba is about one hour by bus from Nagano city. The JR Oito Line connects Hakuba to Matsumoto (1 hour). Oito Line trains from Hakuba or Kamishiro station go to Yanaba. It is easy to connect a visit to Hakuba with seeing the amazing Matsumoto Castle in Matsumoto and Zenkoji Temple in Nagano.

Hakuba, Nagano.Hakuba, Nagano, Japan.

Ski slopes in Hakuba, Japanese Alps, Nagano


Shinshu Matsumoto Airport (Tel: 0263 57 8818) is the nearest airport to Nagano. There are flights to Osaka (55 mins), Fukuoka (1 hour, 40 mins) and Sapporo (1 hour, 30 mins).


There are JR express Shinano trains from Nagoya (2 hours, 45 minutes) and Osaka (5 hours). Nagano shinkansen trains run twice hourly from Tokyo Station (1 hour, 20 mins).


There are highway bus services to Shinjuku, Tokyo, Nagoya (3 hours, 10 mins), and Osaka to Nagano as well as direct buses to Hakuba from Shinjuku (about 4 and a half hours), Tokyo, Matsumoto and from Nagoya Station. From Nagano city take National Highway 406 west if you are driving.


There are sight-seeing taxis outside JR Hakuba Station (Tel: 0261 72 2144).

Hakuba Map

View Hakuba Map in a larger map

Hakuba and the Japanese Alps, Nagano.

Hakuba, the Japanese Alps, Nagano Prefecture

Hakuba Tourist Information Center

Hakuba Tourist Office
JR Hakuba Station
0261 72 2279

Hotel Accommodation in Hakuba

Yamano Hotel Hakuba.

New places to stay in Hakuba are appearing every year and many of them are foreigner-friendly. Accommodation options in Hakuba include hotels, guesthouses and ryokan (Japanese inns).

The 5-star Hakuba Tokyu Hotel is 5 minutes from JR Hakuba Station. Also near Hakuba Station is Hotel Hakuba Nagano.

Hotels and ski lodges are also clustered around Iimori and Kamishiro Stations to the south.

The Yamano Hotel Hakuba is convenient for the slopes of Happoone.

Cheaper guesthouses with dorms include the Yama no Oyado Alupu, Backpackers Hostel Ks House Hakuba Alps, Snowbeds, Lodge Tabi-tabi, Hakuba Alps Backpackers, Hakuba Cedar House Terry and Wind Jacket Lodge.

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