Getting to Hakuba

Getting to Hakuba

Getting To Hakuba

There are various options regarding how to get to Hakuba Japan. The airport and Tokyo to Hakuba travel information below includes bus transfers to/from the airports to Hakuba, direct transfers, and trains to Hakuba.

Other Hakuba transport information includes drivingshuttles around Hakuba, shuttles to other Nagano ski resorts, and flight tips and bookings.

Where is Hakuba?

The town of Hakuba is located 44km west of the city of Nagano (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 Valley” is the large area that encompasses the 11 ski resorts and various villages, but most people just refer to the area as “Hakuba”.

Happo One Ski Resort and Happo village are one of the main tourist hubs, which extends 1.5 - 2.6km west of the town of Hakuba.


The Tokyo Narita Airport is the main gateway airport for Hakuba, or some people fly into Haneda Airport. You can search for flight options here.

Unless you want to overnight in a hotel near the Tokyo train station, a Narita hotel, or a Haneda Airport hotel (or a Nagano hotel), you’ll need to consider your flight times. Arrivals into Narita or Haneda should be before 7pm, whilst for return flights you ideally want a late afternoon flight out of Tokyo.

How To Get to Hakuba From Tokyo Airports

There are three main options for getting from Tokyo to Hakuba - Narita Airport or Haneda Airport.

Shared or Private Shuttle to Hakuba From Airport

Chuo Taxi is the easiest way to travel to Hakuba from the airports, and it’s surprisingly affordable. It provides the advantage of door-to-door transport, not having to lug your bags around the train stations and on and off trains and buses, or grapple with train fares and timetables. Unlike the Hakuba bus (see below), it runs 24 hours a day according to flight schedules. There are two types of Chuo Taxi, either a private shuttle to Hakuba, or a shared shuttle. Both are a fixed rate. The latter may require waiting at the airport for up to 1.5 hours, but it’s usually rather timely. You can get a shared taxi regardless of whether you are travelling alone or with a group. You need to book at least a week in advance.

Tokyo Airport Bus to Hakuba

The Hakuba bus is an easy transport option from Narita Airport or Haneda Airport. The bus costs about the same as the train/train/bus combo (see below) and the Hakuba bus trip takes a little longer, about 6 hours. One disadvantage is that there are only limited schedules, so its suitability will depend on your flight time. This transport can be good if you arrive at the Narita airport in the evening so you can avoid having to overnight in a Narita hotel or Nagano hotel, but keep in mind that not all Hakuba hotels will allow check-in at 1:30am.

You can book a Hakuba bus with Nagano Snow Shuttle. The day schedule drops off at Hakuba Base Camp in Echoland whilst the evening buses drop off at your accommodation (so the trip time can be long).

For the return trip, you can opt to get dropped off at the JR Tokyo Shinjuku train station.

[AdListings collection="Japan" category="Hakuba" subcategory="Airport Transfers"]

Train to Hakuba from Narita Airport

You can get to Hakuba via a train/train/bus combo or a train/train/train combination. In summary, you get a train from Narita to Tokyo (or Ueno), then a bullet train (Shinkansen) to Nagano, and then a bus or train to Hakuba. This is the fastest route. From the Tokyo Narita Airport the total trip takes about 3.5 to 4 hours depending upon connections. The other advantage of taking the trains is that it’s a great insight into part of the Japanese culture. The information below outlines each of the steps in the train trip. 

From Tokyo (Narita) Airport

From Tokyo international airport, take the train (Narita express) to Tokyo (Shinjuku) station which will take about 1 hour. These trains depart the airport rail terminal frequently. If you don’t plan to purchase the Japan Rail Pass because you’re only going to Hakuba, one option is to pay as you go and catch the Keiser Skyliner train that goes from Narita to Ueno (a station on the Nagano side of Tokyo) in a very speedy time of about 35 minutes! 

From Tokyo Station (or Ueno) to Nagano

The Tokyo train station is a tourist destination in itself, with the fascinating rush of people bustling about, the many food options to choose from, and the endless souvenir shops. Trains from Narita Airport arrive at underground platforms #1-4 so there’s quite an eye-opening hike up to the Shinkansen Bullet trains which leave from platforms #20-23. The Nagano bullet train (Asama Shinkansen) departs Tokyo Station regularly throughout the day (you can check train timetables here), and the super speedy trip (at over 200kph) takes only 90 minutes.

Or if you come into Ueno you have to swap from the local train station to the Shinkansen train station, a walk of about 150 metres. This station isn’t quite as chaotic as Tokyo and offers the advantage of a faster trip time. 

From Nagano Station to Hakuba

There are various options to get from Nagano to Hakuba which all take about one hour:

  • Nagano Snow Shuttle operate scheduled bus services from late December to end Feb with several daily departures.
  • Alpico buses from Nagano to Hakuba run every hour from 8:20am to 7:40pm (Friday night 9.00pm). Buses depart from the East (Higashi) exit of Nagano Station from bus stop 6. Most people use this option. The buses terminate at the Happo Information Centre/bus terminal, and many of the accommodation providers offer transport or there are lots of taxis.
  • You could get a taxi directly to your hotel for about ¥25,000, although you and the taxi driver might need to be creative in accommodating your ski/board bag.
  • You can catch a local train to the Hakuba train station. Many Hakuba accommodations provide transport from the train station.
[AdListings collection="Japan" category="Hakuba" subcategory="Inter Resort Transfers"]

Train to Hakuba From Haneda Airport

Catch the inexpensive monorail from Haneda Airport to Hamamatsucho. The monorail takes about 15 minutes, although the walk to get to the monorail may take 8-10 minutes depending on how good you are at hauling your luggage. From Hamamatsucho, there are very regular and inexpensive local trains to Tokyo. From Tokyo, see steps above to get to Hakuba.

How to Get to Hakuba from Tokyo City

If you’re doing a stop-over in Tokyo before heading to Hakuba, you can catch the train (as above) or there are Alpico buses from Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal to Goryu, Central Hakuba and Happo bus terminal. Nagano Snow Shuttle offer a train/bus combo from Tokyo to Hakuba via Nagano.

Bus to Hakuba from Osaka and Kyoto

Alpico have buses from Osaka and Kyoto to Hakuba once a day that depart late in the evening and do early morning drop offs at Goryu, Happo bus terminal, Hakuba Base Camp in Echoland, Iwatake, Tsugaike, Norikura and Cortina. Particularly for the northern ski areas, it’s a might looooong bus trip, and significantly longer than if you used the trains.

Driving to Hakuba

Driving to Hakuba is becoming more popular because once you’re there, it provides a huge advantage of flexibility and ease to get around to the various Hakuba ski areas and villages. GPS navigation technology is well developed and all you have to do is enter the telephone number of where you want to go, and the GPS does everything (except the actual driving!). You can get car rental at Haneda or Narita Airport or Nagano. If the former, make sure you request snow tyres because they don’t come standard. Also see our general driving in Japan tips.

[AdListings collection="Japan" category="Honshu" subcategory="Car Rentals"]

Getting Around Hakuba

The Happo bus terminal is the main interchange to access all ski resorts in Hakuba Valley. The Happo bus terminal is 1.7km east of the Hakuba train station (downtown Hakuba). Road distances from the Happo bus terminal: There are different types of buses and shuttles that run around Hakuba Valley, so it can get rather confusing and it may take a little while to get your head around the bus systems. You can get Hakuba bus timetables and route maps from the information centre or your accommodation. Some of the shuttle buses to the ski resorts get very full, so there are times when you'll need to wait for another bus.

Hakuba Valley Ski Resort Buses

The Hakuba Valley shuttles run to all the HV ski resorts from the Happo bus terminal. The Blue Line is free for those with a Hakuba Valley lift pass (or Epic Pass) otherwise it attracts a small fee, and the buses go to Happo One, Echoland, Hakuba 47, and Goryu, and Wadano, Iwatake and Tsugaike in the other direction. The Orange Line (Konayuki) heads to Norikura and Cortina (via Tsugaike). The Red Line (Omachi) travels to Sanosaka, Kashimayari and Jigatake via Echoland, Hakuba 47 and Goryu, although there are only a few schedules each day.

Note that the HV shuttle buses around Hakuba only operate during the peak of the season ie Dec 24 – mid March (and late Feb for the Omachi line).

Ski Resort Buses

Most ski resorts also run their own shuttle bus. These are particularly common around Happo Village, Happo One, Wadano, Echoland, Hakuba 47 and Goryu. These buses are free.

Hotel Shuttles

Some of the Hakuba hotels provide their own shuttle service between the hotel and one or various ski resorts, and potentially also restaurants and supermarkets. These can range from once a day scheduled shuttles to on-demand transport.

There are various hotels in the northern part of the valley near Norikura and Cortina that offer transport services, which is ideal considering that the bus schedules from Norikura and Cortina to other ski resorts are not frequent or well-timed for chasing powder, and because local evening dining options are limited.

Hakuba Night Shuttles 

In the evenings there is an on-demand free night taxi (it has replaced the Genki Go night bus) from 5-10pm that operates during peak season. It does specific stops at Happo, Wadano, downtown Hakuba, Echoland, Misorano, Goryu and Iwatake. Reservation via an app is required to use the shared-ride taxi service. Outside of those hours, you’ll need to try your luck with a taxi.

Other Transport Around the Hakuba Villages 

It is possible to walk between Wadano, Happo and Hakuba town, but the walks can be fairly long. And this is probably not the place to wear your glamorous après boots because the roads can get rather sloppy!

If your hotel doesn’t offer a restaurant shuttle service and you don’t have a car, the other option is to catch a taxi.

Getting Between Hakuba & Nozawa, Shiga Kogen, Madarao or Myoko

If you’re sampling multiple Nagano ski resorts on your trip, there are shuttle buses between Hakuba and Nozawa Onsen, Madarao, Shiga Kogen and Myoko Kogen with Nagano Snow Shuttle. The schedules are most ideal for those changing accommodation/destination rather than day trips. The inter-resort transfer buses depart or arrive at Hakuba Base Camp in Echoland.

[AdListings collection="Japan" category="Hakuba" subcategory="Inter Resort Transfers"] It’s also possible to use train/bus combos to get to other Nagano/Niigata ski resorts, or if you want door to door on-demand transport, Chuo Taxi does a fixed rate shuttle service in a mini bus (up to 12 people) between Hakuba and Nozawa Onsen and Shiga Kogen.