The Hakuba Valley is one of the most popular and well known ski resorts in Japan – famous for its combination of great powder snow, long runs, and huge choice of terrain. Being in Honshu, and just a few hours away from Tokyo, there’s so much to see and do in and around Hakuba, so it can be hard to plan your time efficiently to get the most out of a Japan skiing holiday.
Japan’s biggest city, and the most common place to fly in to Tokyo; it has everything you could want to do in a Japanese city. There’s near infinite restaurants, shopping districts, Disney Land, Studio Ghibli Museum just to name a few.
If you plan to spend a few days here, once you land in Tokyo, find the luggage services area in the airport terminal and send your ski bags straight up to the ski resort hotel you’ll be staying at. Cost is usually about ¥2,000 per ski bag, but it will save you a lot of effort on trains and transport in Tokyo. Find out more about luggage transport services in our beginners guide to Japan.
Tokyo has a huge variety of hotels, but one of the best is the Tokyo Hilton. It’s right next to the Imperial Gardens, which are definitely a must see. The gardens are especially nice in the spring time with flowers and sakura starting bloom. Make sure to try some of Tokyo’s famous restaurants as well as retro arcades, karaoke and more. Check out our top 8 things to do in Tokyo here.
Getting to Hakuba from the city or the airport is super simple and very easy. The most popular method is to get the Nagano Snow Shuttle which runs to and from both Tokyo airports as well as Shinjuku downtown area. The bus can be booked through SkiJapan.com, and is best reserved at least a few days in advance to ensure there is space.
The second option is the train to Nagano station, then a bus to Hakuba. If you’ve got luggage with you, this can be difficult – but is definitely doable. There’s also the option of a private shuttle to take you directly from Tokyo to your accommodation in Hakuba.
Once you have booked your accommodation with SkiJapan.com, be sure to let us know your preferred method of transport or and/or your estimated arrival time to Hakuba, so that we can best advise you on what to do when you arrive and ensure a smooth transfer to your accommodation.
There’s a wide range of accommodation options in Hakuba, but two of the best choices are The Hakuba Gateway Hotel, and Hotel Hakuba Goryukan. Both are economical and in great locations with facilities inside the buildings. Hakuba Gateway Hotel has NBS rentals, a physiotherapist and a restaurant, while Hotel Hakuba Goryukan has a restaurant, souvenir store, onsen and more. For the ultimate in luxury Hakuba accommodation, there’s the Grand Phenix Hakuba, which offers one of the most comfortable stays in Hakuba.
The Hakuba Valley is made up of a number of resorts – the biggest being Happo One, Tsugaike Kogen, and Goryu 47. There are free shuttle buses that run between the village areas and the resorts that run every day till the resorts close for the day. There are also shuttle buses that run at night to get you around the village and to restaurants.
The Hakuba Valley lift pass is ¥6,000 and allows access to most of the resorts in the area. Holders of the Epic Pass can also redeem five consecutive days of skiing in Hakuba Valley. More info about the Epic Pass in Hakuba here.
Hakuba is very close to the famous Matsumoto Castle – which is one of the best preserved castles in all of Japan. This historic building is considered a national treasure, and can be easily visited on a day trip from Hakuba. Read more on Matsumoto Castle here.
Nagano’s snow monkeys are an iconic part of the Japanese mountainous landscape. The monkeys sit in the hot pools of water to keep warm during the winter, and are relaxed enough to pose for photos!
Make sure to visit our team in Hakuba Gateway Hotel to find out more about tours in the area.
If you want to visit Hakuba, make sure to talk to our experienced team – we can book every part of your Japan ski holiday so that you get the best deal and service. Contact our team today!