Hakuba Ski Resorts


Hakuba Ski Resorts

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Hakuba 3.5 out of 5 based on 30 reviews
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Hakuba Japan

Hakuba in the Japanese Alps near Nagano is a valley with many ski resorts. Each Hakuba ski resort alone may not offer a huge amount of terrain variety, but it’s the combination of the different Hakuba ski areas and villages that makes the valley special. Hakuba Japan is very popular with international tourists because it ticks lots of boxes that other Japan ski resorts can’t (see pros below).

Each of the Hakuba ski resorts and villages have their own pros and cons, but here is an overall impression of the Hakuba Valley.

Pros and Cons of Hakuba Japan

  • The alpine scenery of the Hakuba Valley is amazing with rugged towering peaks over 3,000m.
  • Hakuba Japan provides a huge range of piste terrain for beginner to advanced skiers and snowboarders, if you’re prepared to travel each day to sample various resorts.
  • The Hakuba backcountry skiing and split-boarding opportunities are immense and include both high alpine and treed terrain.
  • Like the other Nagano ski resorts, Hakuba scores more bluebird days than some northern Honshu and Hokkaido ski resorts.
  • The region scores plenty of snow.
  • There is a range of Hakuba accommodation including deluxe options and self-contained lodging which is a bit of a rarity at Japan ski resorts.
  • Away from the popular Happo area, the Hakuba accommodation tends to provide good value for money, especially relative to ski resorts such as Niseko, Kiroro and Rusutsu.
  • The main Hakuba ski resort, Happo One, is great for families, and child care and kids’ group ski lessons are conducted by English speaking staff.
  • Echoland and Happo offer some decent nightlife (which is very rare for a Japan ski resort).
  • Hakuba has a lot going for it so it attracts lots of Japanese and international visitors. The crowds during peak times can result in lift queues and tracked out snow, but nothing like you’d see at high profile ski resorts in Europe or North America.
  • A few of the Hakuba ski resorts only allow off-piste and tree skiing in designated areas, but the areas are so small that they chowder up quickly.
  • The ski areas and villages are very spread out, but unlike places such as Shiga Kogen or Niseko, most of the Hakuba ski areas are not inter-connected via the slopes and lifts. There are extensive shuttle services, but it takes time and effort to get around unless you have a car.
Pro or Con Depending on Your Perspective
  • Hakuba has lots of facilities for kids but the frequent need to catch buses may be a detractor for some families.
  • The main villages of Hakuba are reasonably “westernised” so it is an easy place to travel to, and you’ll be able to freely converse in English whilst still experiencing a bit of Japanese culture. If westernised isn’t for you, there are also Hakuba villages that have retained some “Japanese-ness”.
  • There are lots of cheap accommodation options, so there are various patches around Hakuba that attract drunk bogan Australians (snowgans).
  • The Hakuba Valley ski resorts can be accessed for 5 consecutive days using the Epic Pass, which may make Hakuba even busier.

Hakuba Ski Resorts

The Hakuba Valley area incorporates 10 ski resorts that combined, offer expansive terrain. The Hakuba ski resorts aren’t interconnected via the slopes (except for Hakuba 47 and Goryu, and Cortina and Norikura), yet the ski areas can be accessed off a common lift ticket (or an Epic Pass) and there are shuttle buses to get around. The Hakuba ski resorts from north to south are: Cortina, Norikura, Tsugaike, Iwatake, Happo-One, Hakuba 47, Goryu, Sanosaka, Kashimayari, and Jigatake.

The Hakuba skiing is varied across the resorts but it’s generally very well suited to beginners and intermediates, with many long perfectly groomed runs and fantastic fall-line. Advanced skiers and snowboarders will also love the steep groomers at a few of the resorts, and if you’re into bumps you’ll be in heaven. You can join many of the Japanese who just adore moguls! Freestylers are also reasonably well catered for.

Advanced and expert riders will want to head off-piste. Most Hakuba ski resorts are somewhat relaxed about off-piste skiing, whilst Goryu still mostly has an old-school approach to tree skiing. Fresh powder in-bounds tends to get gobbled up quickly, but relative to high profile North American or European ski resorts, the crowds are only moderate.

The sidecountry can be pretty good and if you’re prepared to earn your turns, the Hakuba backcountry skiing and snowboarding can be phenomenal, and powder hounds should consider doing a Hakuba backcountry tour (these need to be booked well in advance).

Hakuba Snow

Hakuba is blessed with plenty of snow, with an average of 11-13 metres (433 to 512 inches) of powder per season. Hakuba offers lots of powder days and plenty of opportunities to sample the famous Japow! The Hakuba snow isn’t quite as dry as Hokkaido powder but it’s still very good.

Where is Hakuba?

The town of Hakuba is located 44km west of Nagano City (about one hour drive) in the Nagano Prefecture. Hakuba is located on the island of Honshu (the main island of Japan), about 270km northwest of Tokyo.

Hakuba is easily accessed from Tokyo, Narita Airport or Haneda Airport via train and then bus or local train, or a direct bus or shuttle from the airport to Hakuba with Nagano Snow Shuttle. See the Hakuba travel page for more information.

Hakuba Accommodation

Hakuba covers the full spectrum of lodging from backpacker hostels to deluxe accommodation. There are lots of Hakuba hotels, some Japanese style inns where you can sleep on the floor, and self-contained apartments and houses. Hakuba accommodation is situated in various villages which all have quite different personalities. Echoland and Happo are popular with partygoers, whilst at the other end of the spectrum, Norikura and Tsugaike have retained old-school Hakuba culture. You’ll find info on the pros and cons of each village on the Hakuba accommodation page.

You can look at a map, accommodation availability, check rates and make a booking here:

Facilities & Services

Hakuba has lots of infrastructure and facilities. Some of it is archaic and stuck back in the bubble era, but recent years have seen upgrades to some lifts, shops, and other amenities.

Hakuba ski rental shops are abundant in the main villages (Happo, Wadano, Echoland) and the staff speak English. Childcare and ski and snowboard lessons in English are also available for children or adults at some of the Hakuba ski resorts, but group lessons are only available at Happo One, Hakuba 47 and Goryu (or you can pay the premium for private lessons).

There are lots of restaurants and the nightlife is rather vibrant (for a Japanese ski area) in Echoland and Happo. Hakuba restaurants include western style dining as well as plenty of opportunities to sample the fabulous Japanese food. Hakuba is also renowned for the izakayas (little Japanese bars) where you can get a good feed, and there are also some good pubs. Or if you want to stay in a very quiet Japanese village with negligible nightlife, there are options in Hakuba for that too.


Hakuba Japan has a good range of non-skiing activities that provide a great insight into traditional Japanese culture, both locally and in surrounding areas. Soak in an onsen (see the Hakuba activities page for options), dress up in a kimono, visit Japanese temples or castles, or visit the famous Japanese snow monkeys.
Hakuba Ski Tours

Safari (Road Trip) Tours

Japow Freedom Tour
8 Nights | 7 Days Guiding
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Explore in a camper van with the support of your guide & get the maximum exponent of freedom to be in the right place at the right time. The itinerary is completely flexible depending on snow forecasts and your guide can show you the best Japow spots in lift-assisted freeriding zones
Price p/p Based on a group tour for 2024 with a group of 4 people
USD 3,229
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Myoko to Hakuba Backcountry
8 Nights | 9 Days
Ability: Advanced to Expert
This lift assisted backcountry tour takes in Myoko, Nozawa Onsen & Hakuba & is ideal for advanced to expert backcountry skiers and split boarders. These 3 areas are known for deep snow & epic tree skiing. Join as a solo, couple or small group; max 8 guests per tour.
Price p/p Price per person based on 2025 tours
USD 4,699
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See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Hakuba here

Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours

Hakuba Backcountry
7 Nights | 8 Days | 6 Days Skiing/Riding
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Get away from the crowded Hakuba ski hills & explore the renowned backcountry. Lift assisted backcountry trip where the lifts will be utilised to gain some ascent, but expect to also ascend via ski touring/ splitboarding 1,500 to 2,500 metres per day.
Price p/p Price is per person based on twin or triple-share rooms
Base/invoice currency is CAD
Displayed price may vary slightly to actual due to exchange rate fluctuations
USD 4,288
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Hakuba Backcountry Adventure
8 Nights | 9 Days
Ability: Advanced to Expert
This is the ultimate lift assisted backcountry tour in Hakuba for advanced to expert backcountry skiers and split boarders. Hakuba Valley will be your base to some of the best ski and snowboard terrain in Japan. Join as a solo, couple or small group; max 6 guests per tour & guaranteed departures.
Price p/p Based on 2025 tours
USD 4,699
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See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Hakuba here

Backcountry Skiing Tours

Hakuba Backcountry Day Tours
Private Groups Only - Max 5 In Group
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Reach out above and beyond the boundaries of the Hakuba ski resorts & be guided to the sheer expanse of backcountry with touring gear. Daily rate is 99,000 yen for 1 person up to 5 people (ie solo can't join a mixed group). Day guiding or multi-day guiding.
Price p/p Price is based on a private group of 5 for 2023-24 season
base/invoice currency is JPY (Japanese Yen)
displayed price may vary due to exchange rate fluctuations.
USD 133
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See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Hakuba here