Hakuba Norikura4 out of 5 based on 1 reviews
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Wagner Custome Skis
Hakuba Alpine Powder Tour

Hakuba Norikura Ski Resort
Hakuba Norikura Ski Resort
Easy to get fresh tracks at Norikura
Easy to get fresh tracks at Norikura
Norikura Ski Resort Hakuba
Norikura Ski Resort Hakuba
Off-piste skiing Norikura
Off-piste skiing Norikura
Lots of mellow slopes
Lots of mellow slopes
No shortage of fresh tracks
No shortage of fresh tracks
Norikura Onsen Japan
Norikura Onsen Japan
Birds' eye view of Norikura Onsen
Birds' eye view of Norikura Onsen
Norikura Ski Resort Japan
Norikura Ski Resort Japan
Fresh powder at Hakuba Norikura
Fresh powder at Hakuba Norikura
More fresh powder at Norikura Ski Resort
More fresh powder at Norikura Ski Resort
Hakuba Alps Hotel is ski in ski out
Hakuba Alps Hotel is ski in ski out
Hakuba Norikura Snow Resort
Hakuba Norikura Snow Resort
The convenience of ski in ski out accommodation
The convenience of ski in ski out accommodation

Hakuba Norikura

Hakuba Norikura Onsen Ski Resort is probably what old school Hakuba used to be like, before all the westerners took over the place. A long way from the hustle and bustle of Happo and Echoland, yet only 10km north of Happo in the northern part of Hakuba Valley, Norikura Ski Resort feels relatively deserted and has a simplistic Japanese charm.

The Hakuba Norikura Ski Resort aka Hakunori is interconnected with the Hakuba Cortina Ski Resort, and you can purchase a dual lift ticket to access both ski areas. Cortina can get a little frenzied with powder hounds on powder days, otherwise it’s pretty quiet. The Cortina and Norikura Ski Resort combination is our favourite Hakuba ski area!

Summary of Pros and Cons of Hakuba Norikura

Pros
  • There is barely anyone at Norikura ski resort so beginners can learn in peace and powder hounds will have little competition for the powder.
  • The northern end of Hakuba Valley tends to score a little more snow than the southern Hakuba ski resorts.
  • The inflated prices of mainstream Hakuba haven’t reached Norikura.
  • Norikura has some ski-in ski-out accommodation, including the Hakuba Alps Hotel.
Cons
  • Norikura Ski Resort doesn’t have particularly fancy lifts, but at least a few of them go at a decent speed.
  • Hakuba Norikura itself is not a big ski area, so it’s unlikely to capture the attention of experienced skiers and snowboarders for a long holiday, but there are plenty of other options in Hakuba Valley.
  • If staying in Norikura, it’s possible but a little clunky to get to all the other Hakuba ski areas (unless you have a car).
  • For overnight guests, Norikura is a typical unwesternised Japanese ski resort, so don’t expect nightlife or an abundance of restaurants.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • Norikura is great for beginners but there isn’t an international ski school. Some visitors have reported that the Japanese ski instructors speak enough English to get the gist (particularly for kids).
  • Not a lot of English is spoken in many parts of Norikura, which is rather refreshing relative to the rest of Hakuba.

Norikura Ski and Snowboard Terrain

As is common with Japanese ski resorts, the Norikura Ski Resort is not particularly large with only 14 courses (trails), 9 lifts, and a vertical drop of 600m (700 - 1,300m). The neighbouring Cortina isn’t very big either with only 16 courses and 7 lifts, but at least the two areas combined provide adequate variety for a few days of skiing or snowboarding.

The trail split for Norikura Onsen Ski Resort is 30% beginner, 50% intermediate, and 20% advanced, although of course ability ratings are often subjective. The black runs are probably more akin to intermediate runs (except that they may not be groomed) and there are 3 double black runs that are really just black run. They are not super steep gnarly runs, so there’s no need to upgrade your life insurance just yet (the max slope gradient is only 38 degrees and it’s very wide open).

Like its neighbour Cortina, off-piste skiing is permitted at Norikura ski resort in what are termed as “self-responsibility areas” and there are also several “off-limits areas”. These are indicated on the trail map but once out in the field they are not marked and it’s a bit confusing as to whether you’re in a taboo area or not (well that’s what you might tell a ski patroller anyhow!). The Norikura off-piste runs have adequate pitch for plenty of fun but they’re not as steep as Cortina and the tree skiing isn’t as good. However relative to the crazy Hakuba ski resorts (e.g Happo One, Hakuba 47, Goryu, Tsugaike), fresh tracks are very easy to come by.

Where is Norikura Ski Resort?

Hakuba Norikura is located between the Cortina ski resort (interconnected via the slopes) to the northeast and Tsugaike to the southwest, which is not interconnected but just a stone’s throw away. Hakuba Norikura Onsen Ski Resort is located near the small village of Otari, and 10km north of Hakuba train station. See the how to get to Hakuba page for information on the location of Hakuba.

If you’re staying in other parts of Hakuba you can get a bus to Norikura for a day trip.

Norikura Accommodation

The Norikura villages (there are two main mini villages) are somewhat spread out across the bottom of the Norikura slopes. Norikura accommodation includes the large ski-in ski-out Hakuba Alps Hotel which has an onsen, swimming pool and kids snow park. The Satomi village (closer to Cortina) has lodges and economical pensions.

Cortina and Norikura Accommodation Listings

Facilities

There are a handful of daytime eating options at the base of the Norikura ski resort. SnowDrop is the main cafeteria in the Wakaguri area, serving up pretty classic Japan ski resort fare such as katsu curry and rice bowls. Just below at the Hakuba Alps Hotel, you can also get cafeteria type food in the restaurant. The “border area” between Norikura and Cortina is also home to a few simple eateries.

For ski and snowboard rentals, you can head to the Hakuba Alps Hotel, although don’t expect anything other than beginner equipment. There is also a ski school based there and whist the instructors aren’t fluent in English, various people have reported that they speak enough English for at least the kids to get by.

Just outside the Hakuba Alps Hotel is a kids’ snow park and magic carpet, and the rental shop provides complimentary sleds and tubes.


Norikura Onsen

As the name suggests, the area has hot springs. You can have a relaxing soak at Spa Norikura-So or use the onsen at the Hakuba Alps Hotel, which in addition to indoor baths, has a small open-air bath that overlooks a ski slope.

Hakuba Ski Tours

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.
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See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Hakuba Norikura 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.
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See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Hakuba Norikura 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.
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See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Hakuba Norikura here