Hakuba is one of Japan's most famous mountain resorts. It is located at the foot of the Japanese Alps, in the northern part of Nagano Prefecture, where it stretches over three municipalities, namely: Omachi City, Hakuba Village, and Otari Village. Given the scale of the mountains and the quality of the ski resorts and the snow, it can be regarded as one of the world's best international mountain resorts. At the Nagno Winter Olympics in 1998, many of the skiing events were held in Hakuba. The region is boasts of heavy snow (an average of 11-13 meters of snow per season), and it offers plenty of powder days and opportunities to enjoy deep fresh powder runs. Let's try "Japow"! in Hakuba.
Eight medium and large scale ski resorts are dotted around the Hakuba valley (by including small scale resorts, this becomes ten). Since each resort has its own unique characteristics, visitors can choose a suitable resort from among them according to the style and experience they seek. The best way to enjoy Hakuba is to stay for at least 4-5 days, and visit several resorts. Another highlight of Hakuba is its abundance of back country ski fileds, which offer both high alpine and treed terrain. As for accommodation, Hakuba offers many choices, which ranges from small Japanese style guest houses (so called "Minshuku") to western style hotels. Hakuba has a town area, where one can enjoy a variety of cuisines from Japanese to western. In addition, there are abundant hot springs in the Hakuba area, which one can also experience. Because of the increasing numbers of foreign visitors, the atmosphere of the Hakuba area is becoming increasingly international year by year. Consequently, the number of international restaurants and ski schools that speak English is also increasing.
|Hakuba Happo One||1831m||760m||13||23||8000m||30%||50%||20%|
The ten ski resorts in the Hakuba area constitute the "Hakuba valley." A movement to improve the linkages between the resorts has evolved over the years. For example, the shuttle bus service between the resorts has been improved, allowing skiers to enjoy all of the various resorts in Hakuba. A common lift ticket for all ten resorts is available, and ticket holders can ride shuttle bus for free, though the ticket cost is a little higher than that for each individual resort. Due to the large size of some of the resorts in Hakuba, it is not easy to visit several resorts during a short period, so the common ticket is recommended only for skiers on long visits.
|1day ticket||adult6,100yen||child 3,500yen||valid only on the day of purchase|
|2day ticket||adult11,000yen||child6,100yen||valid for 3 days from the first day of use|
|3day ticket||adult16,300yen||child9,200yen||valid for 5 days from the first day of use|
|4day ticket||adult21,700yen||child12,100yen||valid for 7 days from the first day of use|
|5day ticket||adult27,100yen||child15,200yen||valid for 9 days from the first day of use|
|6day ticket||adult32,500yen||child18,200yen||valid for 10 days from the first day of use|
|7day ticket||adult37,900yen||child21,200yen||valid for 11 days from the first day of use|
※All rates are in ￥JPY and inclusive of consumption tax.
※Adult from 13 years old and over ※Child from 6 to 12 years old ※From 5 years and under lift ticket is free of charge
To reach Hakuba from Tokyo, generally speaking, there are three options: a combination of high speed train and bus, the Japan Railway (JR) limited express train, and an express bus. Detailed information about each option including travel times is summarized as follows.
The most popular route from Tokyo to Hakuba involves a combination of train and bus via Nagano station. The high speed train (Hokuriku Shinkansen) from Tokyo to Nagano takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes at a cost of JPY 8340 for reserved seats, which is followed by a 70-90 minute bus ride to each ski resort. The service is available from roughly 8:25 to 20:10 depending on the day. The usual sequence of stops is "Hakuba Goryu," "Happo Bus Terminal," "Iwatake," "Tsugaike," and "Hakuba Norikura." Please note that some buses do not carry on to "Hakuba Norikura" (usually the final stop). Some of the buses have destinations like "Happo-one" or "Tsugaike." The bus fare is JPY 2000-2200 for a one way journey. Thus, The total journey time from Tokyo to the Hakuba area is around three to three and a half hours, including the time to change from Shinkansen (high speed train) to bus.
Visitors can also get to the Hakuba area on the JR limited express train, Azusa. Only one daily service plies directly to Hakuba, the "Azusa No.5," which departs at 08:00 from Shinjuku station and arrives at Hakuba station at 11: 41, with stops at Shinano-omachi, Hakuba, and Minami-Otari. If taking any limited express train other than "Azusa No.5," travellers will need to transfer to a local train at Matsumoto. The nearest station to each ski resort and available shuttle bus services from these stations is listed as follows.
|SKi resort||High speed train & bus||JR limited express & local train|
|Express bus from Nagano sta.
(available or not)
|Nerest Sta.||Shuttle bus from nerest sta.|
|Hakuba Cortina||Yes※1||Minami Otari||Yes|
|Norikura Onsen||Yes||Minami Otari||Yes|
|Tsugaike Kogen||Yes||Minami Otari||Yes|
|Hakuba Happo One||Yes||Hakuba||Yes|
※1:Operated by Green Plaza Hotel Hakuba
Hakuba has a wide variety of accommodation options compared to other Japanese ski resorts. It offers western style hotels, self-service apartments, and Japanese style inns. Many Japanse skiers prefer Japanese style inns, "Minshuku" (small size inns) or "Ryokan" (medium size inns, some of which offer Onsen). Generally speaking, the price range of these options is lower than for western style accommodation. Visitors wishing to experience real Japanse culture may be interested in trying them; most offer a Japanese style room with futon (Japanese style comforter ). In particular, there is abundance of accommodation in Happo, Wadano, and Echoland which are suitable to foreign guests. Although there are a variety of accommodation options, there are few large-scale hotels. Until 2019 and the opening of the Courtyard Marriott Hakuba, there had never been a five-star international brand hotel in Hakuba. During the peak season, such as the Christmas and New Year holidays, rooms in popular hotels are completely booked over six months in advance and earlier reservations are required. Omachi-Onsen village lies in the southern part of Hakuba and possesses several high grade Onsen-Ryokan (Japanese onsen inns). From Omachi Onsen, a shuttle bus to the major ski resorts in Hakuba is available, taking around 30 minute to reach central Hakuba. The Onsen Ryokan offer excellent Japanese food, sophisticated rooms, and hot springs. While Hakuba village does have several Onsen-Ryokan, Omachi-Onsen village offers a more authentic experience of Onsen-Ryokan with Japanese "OMOTENASHI."
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