Hakuba Cortina3.5 out of 5 based on 6 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    100%
Hakuba day backcountry tours

Hakuba Cortina Ski Resort Japan
Hakuba Cortina Ski Resort Japan
Hakuba Cortina is a great powder hound destination
Hakuba Cortina is a great powder hound destination
Hotel Green Plaza Hakuba
Hotel Green Plaza Hakuba
Cortina Japan has some perfect tree skiing
Cortina Japan has some perfect tree skiing
Off-piste skiing Cortina Hakuba
Off-piste skiing Cortina Hakuba
Majestic views from the slopes
Majestic views from the slopes
Ski-in ski-out Cortina hotel
Ski-in ski-out Cortina hotel
Hakuba Cortina Ski Resort
Hakuba Cortina Ski Resort
Nice retro outfit!
Nice retro outfit!
Cortina accommodation includes lodges and boutique hotels
Cortina accommodation includes lodges and boutique hotels
Powder skiing Cortina Hakuba
Powder skiing Cortina Hakuba
Kamoshika territory
Kamoshika territory
Cortina offers lots of backcountry skiing options
Cortina offers lots of backcountry skiing options
Hakuba Cortina Japan
Hakuba Cortina Japan
Tree skiing Cortina Hakuba
Tree skiing Cortina Hakuba
Hotel Green Plaza Hakuba
Hotel Green Plaza Hakuba
Hakuba Cortina
Hakuba Cortina
Cortina is reasonably family friendly
Cortina is reasonably family friendly
The main run down the middle of the ski area
The main run down the middle of the ski area
Hakuba Cortina Resort
Hakuba Cortina Resort

Hakuba Cortina

Hakuba Cortina Ski Resort

Cortina Hakuba stands out from the other Hakuba ski areas as the best resort for powder hounds. Firstly the off-piste policy at Hakuba Cortina is very relaxed, unlike at some nearby resorts where they allocate a tiny area or you have to be very sneaky and risk losing your lift pass. The tree skiing at Hakuba Cortina is loads of fun, the terrain is steeper than at the other Hakuba ski resorts, and Cortina receives more snow. The only downside for powder hounds is that the “secret” of Cortina Japan is out and it’s not quite the powder skiing mecca it once was, but it’s still pretty impressive.

Powder hunters flock from Happo to Cortina Hakuba for day trips, but a multi-day stay at the very striking Hotel Green Plaza Hakuba or other Cortina accommodation also has many benefits including the convenience of ski-in ski-out accommodation, family friendliness, and a chance to get away from the somewhat westernised hub-bub of Hakuba.

Cortina (aka Koruchina) is also a major drawcard for the real powder hounds (ie the ones with four legs) because next door to the Green Plaza Hotel is Paw Paws, a hotel for the pampered pooches of Japan. And they are pampered! If you think the Japanese love Hello Kitty, wait until you see how much they adore their dogs.

Summary of Pros & Cons of Hakuba Cortina

Pros
  • Cortina is a great to visit for 3 – 5 days as an adjunct to staying at Happo or other nearby ski resorts such as Nozawa Onsen or Myoko Kogen. Alternatively we highly recommend it for a day trip from Happo.
  • Hakuba Cortina gets better and more snow than the other Hakuba ski resorts.
  • The ski resort has impressive terrain for advanced riders, superb tree skiing that is reasonably steep, easily accessed sidecountry, and a couple of fun high gradient groomers.
  • Koruchina is interconnected with Hakuba Norikura; a practically deserted ski resort with good groomed runs for upper-end beginners to intermediate riders.
  • The Hakuba Cortina hotel is conveniently ski in ski out and provides very good value for money for the quality of the accommodation.
  • Cortina Japan is very family friendly (unless you’re wanting group ski lessons in English – as to be expected you have to pay a premium for private lessons).
  • The onsen is fabulous, especially the semi-outdoor “peak-a-boo” area where you can peer across the ski resort.
Cons
  • The size of the terrain (particularly on-piste) is reasonably small with only enough variety for a maximum of 3-4 days (which is typical of lots of Japan ski resorts).
  • As is common with many Japanese ski resorts, there’s negligible nightlife and a resort feel. Even though the hotel is large, there’s the potential if you stay there for many days that you could get a bit of cabin fever in the evenings. However you can get a night bus to Tsuigake and visit the various restaurants and izakayas there in the little main street.
Pro or Con Depending on Your Perspective
  • Cortina Hakuba is a favourite of powder hounds due to the lack of prohibition on off-piste skiing, so on some days (especially in January) the off-piste areas can score some traffic whilst at other times it’s a very uncrowded ski resort.
  • There is no village at Cortina (as is common with a lot of Japan ski resorts), but unlike Happo and Echoland there aren’t many westerners that stay at Cortina and not many staff speak English, which can be rather refreshing. You’ll get to absorb plenty of modern Japanese resort culture.

Ski and Snowboard Terrain

The Cortina ski area is reasonably small with only 124 acres (50 hectares) of terrain (which is probably measured as the piste terrain), 503 metres of vertical, 7 lifts and 16 trails. Cortina is interlinked with the Hakuba Norikura Ski Resort (which can be accessed via a combined lift ticket), and in recent years they purchased two little lifts from Norikura which opened up the terrain a little, although it still feels rather small.

With the exception of the former Norikura terrain, the Cortina terrain is enclosed within one bowl. The grooming is exceptional on the highway-wide beginner run through the middle of the resort, the intermediate runs, and the advanced runs which are rather pitchy for a Japanese ski resort. A couple of “ultimate courses” are even steeper and one of the Hiedayama courses has an average pitch of 36 degrees and a maximum of 42.

The real treats for freeriders are in the off-piste zones (aka self-responsibility areas) and the tree skiing is an absolute ripper! There is a myriad of fantastic lines off ridge lines that drop into well spaced trees with moderate to steep gradients. The sidecountry provides even more delights for powder hounds, and the nearby backcountry is also great for stormy days.

Where is Cortina Japan?

Cortina (aka Koruchina Ski Resort) is the most northern of the Hakuba Valley ski resorts and is only about 14 km from the town of Hakuba and 16km from Happo One ski resort, a drive that takes 20 to 30 minutes. The closest town is Otari which is about 6km away and has the associated JR Minami Otari Train Station (Oito line).

There are public buses connecting Hakuba Cortina with Happo (the main tourist hub of Hakuba), and the Green Plaza Hotel also provides transfers from Happo or the local train station.

See the getting to Hakuba Cortina page for more information.

Hakuba Cortina Hotel

At the base of the Hakuba Cortina ski resort there is the massive Hotel Green Plaza Hakuba. The hotel looks incredibly striking, particularly in the afternoon when the sun hits the bright red roof. The external architecture is sort of Tudor gothic style whilst the interior comes complete with gold adorned glass elevators and a mix of European and Japanese kitsch! The upscale hotel has 257 Japanese-western combo rooms that have western beds as well as an area with tatami (woven-straw) flooring for futons. Room types suit singles through to small families & groups.

Other Cortina Accommodation

There are a few other options for Cortina accommodation including a nice lodge and boutique studio apartments. Or there are various options closer to the base of Norikura Ski Resort.

See the Hakuba Cortina accommodation listings for more information, availability and rates.

Or some folks stay at more central Hakuba accommodation and commute to Cortina for day trips.

Facilities

Most of the Cortina ski resort facilities are housed within the Green Plaza Hotel. These include a few restaurants, ski school, equipment rentals, lockers, a small ski shop, a souvenir and convenience store, and the most amazing onsen. The hotel also has massage services, a huge games arcade, and a karaoke bar if you love singing in front of your friends.

Adjacent to the hotel is a large kids’ area with play equipment, a jumping castle, tubing, tobogganing, mini snowmobiles, and child care facilities.

Tours That May Include Cortina

Safari (Road Trip) Tours
Alps to Coast Tour DETAILS
HAKUBA & MYOKO BC TOUR
9 Nights | Option of 1 Day Cat Skiing | Deluxe Option
From price based on a twin share room for group tour (price displayed is per person).
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,835
Ability: Advanced to Expert
This backcountry tour includes the HAKUBA region with its steep alpine terrain and the MYOKO area which receives big snow falls. Choose from either a side country tour (lift accessed backcountry) or ski touring/skinning backcountry. Option to include a day of cat skiing & option for deluxe accommodation.
More
See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Hakuba Cortina here
Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours
Hakuba Backcountry Powder DETAILS
HAKUBA BACKCOUNTRY TOUR
9 Nights | 8 Days Guided Skiing / Riding
From price based on a twin share room for group tour (price displayed is per person).
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,835
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Most people who visit Hakuba only ever drool at the possible backcountry endless lines from a distance. Explore the steep & deep backcountry terrain of Hakuba with either a lift accessed side country tour or go deep in the backcountry via skinning/split board.
More
See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Hakuba Cortina here
Backcountry Skiing Tours
Hakuba Guided Day Tours DETAILS
GUIDED DAY TOURS from HAKUBA
For PRIVATE & MIXED GROUPS of up to 5 people
From price based on a group touring (price displayed is per person).
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 162
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
If you are in the HAKUBA area you can't go past a day or more of guided skiing or snowboarding in the backcountry or sidecountry. Tours are for PRIVATE or MIXED GROUPS of up to 5 guests. So get a group together or join a group as a solo traveler, couple or small group.
More
See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Hakuba Cortina here