Happo One Ski Resort Hakuba

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Happo One Ski Resort Hakuba

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Happo

Happo3.5/510
Happo3.5 out of 5 based on 10 reviews
  • Recommend
    80%
  • Would Revisit
    80%

Hakuba Happo

The Happo One Ski Resort and the Happo Village that sits below it are the tourist and skiing hub of Hakuba Japan. Happo One (pronounced Happo “On Ay” as opposed to the number “one”) is the most popular of the Hakuba ski resorts, and many visitors to Hakuba only ski or snowboard at Happo. The Happo Village has lots of accommodation, a small number of shops, restaurants and bars, and the highest concentration of local transport options.

Pros and Cons of Happo Village and Happo One

Pros
  • Happo One is a large ski area (by Japanese standards) with reasonable terrain variety for beginners to advanced riders. It’s the best ski resort in Hakuba as an all-rounder.
  • Happo One is very accessible from the main Hakuba villages of Happo and Wadano, and there are lots of buses from nearby Echoland.
  • Happo One is a family friendly resort with group ski lessons and child care conducted by English speaking staff.
  • The views of the Japanese Alps are rather spectacular.
  • The Happo One Ski Resort provides access to mellow and steep alpine backcountry terrain.
  • Happo is one of the most vibrant of the Hakuba villages and has some restaurants, nightlife, and a few ski shops.
  • The Happo village is a central transport hub for regular buses to all the other Hakuba ski resorts.
  • There is a wide range of Happo accommodation options including hotels, ryokan, houses and apartments.
Cons
  • The ski area and the village are very popular and can suffer from crowds during peak times. This can manifest in chopped up snow, lift lines and difficulty getting into a restaurant.
  • There is not enough investment into fixing the antiquated lift system and infrastructure.
Pro or Con Depending on your Perspective
  • Happo is very westernised and many of the businesses in the village are owned and staffed by gaijin.

Happo One Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Happo One is a stand-alone resort that is fairly large by Japanese standards, and the official statistics of 16 courses and 220 hectares of piste terrain under-represents the size of the resort. The ski area has a decent amount of vertical (1,071 metres) and a reasonably steep pitch, which made it ideal as the venue for the 1998 Winter Olympics slalom and downhill events, as well as the ski jumping.

The Happo One ski resort is very well suited to intermediates with its various groomed runs, and it’s a good place to be a speed demon. Happo has mellow terrain at only one of the four base areas, so beginners may want to have lessons to help navigate the terrain. Piste runs for advanced skiers and snowboarders are commonly covered in well formed moguls (for those lucky enough to have enough cartilage left in the knees).

Historically Hakuba Happo had a strong reputation for the prohibition of off-piste skiing and the powder police used to be out in force. The resort has relaxed somewhat and there are now a couple of areas where off-piste riding is officially permitted. There are various signs around to indicate that off-piste skiing is not allowed elsewhere, yet it seems that everyone just does it anyhow and it doesn’t take long for the hill to get tracked out.

Where Happo really excels is the sidecountry and access to the Happo North Faces (that I like to call the Happy Faces!), the highly famed alpine backcountry with steep bowls and gnarly lines that sits above and behind the ski resort.

See the Happo Ski Resort terrain page for more information on the skiing and snowboarding.

Happo Snow

The average snowfall per season at Happo One is 11.7 metres (460 inches). The top of the Happo ski resort is the highest of the Hakuba ski areas and the upper reaches of the resort are in the sub-alpine, unlike the nearby resorts that are largely below the treeline. This higher elevation produces better quality powder at the top, but the downside is that it’s more exposed to the weather.

Where is Happo?

The Happo Adam gondola (the main base of the Happo One Ski Resort) is located 2.6km west of the town of Hakuba. The Happo village extends about 1km from the gondola to the southeast.

Happo One Ski Resort is flanked by the Hakuba 47 ski resort to the south and the Iwatake Snow Field to the north, but these resorts are not inter-connected via the lifts.

You can get to Happo with Nagano Snow Shuttle. See the Hakuba travel page for more information on the location of Hakuba Japan and how to get there and around.

Happo Accommodation

Happo village is a prime spot to stay because it’s right in the thick of all the action. The Happo Village sits below two base areas of the Happo One ski resort: Nakiyama; and Shirakaba (gondola). Much of the Happo accommodation is clustered within a short walk of the slopes and a few of the Happo hotels are ski-in ski-out.

Near the Kokusai base area is the top of the Happo Village and Lower Wadano, whilst most of the Wadano Village adjoins the Sakka base of Happo One. Many properties in Upper Wadano are ski-in ski-out and the best beginners’ terrain is at the Sakka base, so this area is popular with families who don’t have much need for nightlife.

Echoland is another village near Happo. It isn’t located within easy walking distance of Happo One, but advantages of Echoland accommodation include more affordability, lots of restaurants and bars, and good bus connections to various Hakuba ski resorts including Happo One.

See the Hakuba Accommodation page for more information and a map.

Ski Resort Facilities

Happo One has various on-mountain eateries as well as restaurants at each of the base areas.

Ski & Snowboard Rentals

You won’t have any difficulties finding ski and snowboard rentals in the Happo and Wadano area (see Hakuba ski rentals for more information).

[AdListings collection="Japan" category="Hakuba" subcategory="HappoOne Rentals"]

Ski & Snowboarding Lessons

There are a few options for ski school. Of note, Evergreen provides ski and snowboard group lessons in English for children (ages 3+) and adults as well as child care with English speaking staff. Evergreen is located at the Kokusai base of Happo One.

Hakuba Ski Concierge offers private lessons in English for both skiing and snowboarding, and they also offer door-to-door transport as part of the service.

[AdListings collection="Japan" category="Hakuba" subcategory="HappoOne Lessons"]
Hakuba Ski Tours

Safari (Road Trip) Tours

Myoko to Hakuba Backcountry
GUIDED LIFT ASSISTED BACKCOUNTRY TOUR
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
View Details
 
See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Happo here

Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours

Hakuba Backcountry
GUIDED BACKCOUNTRY ADVENTURE
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 4,202
View Details
 
Hakuba Backcountry Adventure
GUIDED LIFT ASSISTED BACKCOUNTRY TOUR
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
View Details
 
See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Happo here

Backcountry Skiing Tours

Hakuba Backcountry Day 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 131
View Details
 
See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Happo here
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