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Hakuba Gateway Hotel Archives - SkiJapan.com

How to get to Hakuba

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With good snowfall, a wide variety of ski resorts and long ski runs, Hakuba is one of the most popular winter destinations in Japan. Being located just 3 hours from downtown Tokyo makes it a great place to visit for snow travellers. The best options for Hakuba transport are by private taxi, shuttle bus, bullet train, or direct train.

Private Taxi

Duration: Approx 4.5 to 6 hours depending on traffic

A private taxi is the most convenient method of Hakuba transport with great flexibility to meet you whenever your flight arrives at Tokyo airport. It might sound expensive, but in a large group, it can work out to be reasonable. Prices are around ¥15,780 per person one way (at the time of writing) in the most economical scenario.

Shuttle Bus

Duration: Approx. 6 hours

Shuttle busses frequently operate from both Tokyo airports to Hakuba ski resorts and can be quite convenient if you have ski bags and luggage. If your flight lines up with a shuttle bus schedule, then this could be a great option if you don’t want to organise a private taxi. Cost of the shuttle bus is from around ¥9,900 per person one way at the time of writing and must be booked well in advance.

Shinkansen

Duration: Approx. 2.5 hours

A little bit more complicated, but certainly the fastest method is to get the Shinkansen (bullet train). From either Haneda or Narita, you need to make your way to Tokyo train station in the heart of the city (often a train is the best option), then get on the Hokuriku Shinkansen to Nagano. At Nagano train station follow the signs to the bus terminal, and find stop number 26 and buy a ticket to Happo bus terminal in Hakuba. The total cost is around ¥12,600 per person one way.

Getting to your Hotel

Once you arrive, most Hakuba accommodation providers will be able to pick you up, but make sure to ask in advance. SkiJapan.com consultants can arrange everything for you, and if you’re staying at the Hakuba Gateway Hotel or the Grand Phenix Hakuba, a SkiJapan.com van and rep will be there waiting for you.

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Walk through the Hakuba Gateway Hotel

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The Hakuba Gateway Hotel is an affordable hotel located in Hakuba that’s a quick five-minute walk to Happo One lifts and is right next to restaurants, resort shuttles and public buses. The hotel has 18 comfortable rooms which all include kitchenettes, wi-fi, lockers and free laundry services. All guests staying in the hotel also receive complimentary breakfast each morning, and as of the 2019/20, FREE ski and snowboard rental from NBS Hakuba on the ground floor of the hotel. The hotel is also located just a few minutes’ walk from the new Hakuba accommodation Grand Phenix Hakuba.

Rooms

Each room features two large beds, making for a very comfortable stay for two people. The rooms also have an additional fold out couch suitable for kids – should the need arise.

All rooms in the hotel are identical and face the Happo-One slopes which are just a short walk away.

Tours

The hotel’s reception is also a tour desk, so visitors to the area can book an extensive range of tours and activities directly at the hotel’s reception. Recommended tours in the area are the Nagano Snow Monkey Tour (run by Sanroku Tours), and a visit to Matsumoto Castle.

Rental & Retail

NBS is one of the most recognised and experienced snowsports & rental shops from Hokkaido, where they already have three established locations. For personal service and a huge range of skis all visitors to the area can now get Hakuba ski rental at NBS Hakuba. NBS Hakuba also retails goggles, gloves and outerwear, while upstairs there’s local retailer “G-Rally” stocking a range of outdoor products. For the 2019/20 season, every guest of the hotel will receive FREE rental during their stay at NBS Hakuba.

Physiotherapist & Massage

The hotel also hosts Altitude Physiotherapy; Australia’s leading snowsports focused physiotherapist. The Altitude team is led by Winter Olympic physiotherapist Peter Caine who brings more than 20 years’ experience in the snowsports industry. Peter and the team have worked with countless elite athletes to get them back on the snow quickly and safely. Altitude’s services include general physiotherapy, massage and consultation to help manage and prevent sports injuries.

 

Harvest Café

The comfortable and warm Harvest Café is the place to go for amazing wood-fired pizzas and a range of a la carte dishes. This is a great place to hang out after a long day on the slopes while eating some of the best pizza in the area.

The Gateway to Hakuba

The once humble hotel is now undoubtedly a real hub for visitors to the area with tonnes of services all under one roof. Book your dream holiday and stay in the most central hotel in Hakuba with SkiJapan.com.

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Guide to Skiing Japan in March

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March is the unsung hero of the ski season, especially in Japan. There are no crowds, stunning weather, and the chance of some serious Japow (yes even in March). There’s also the sweetener of reduced rates on accommodation, lift passes and there’s so much more to love.

Hokkaido

With so much snow falling across the island, Hokkaido’s ski resorts are among the best to visit in March. With a great snow depth, the snow cover lasts a long time right into May. There is also the occasional full-on powder day just like in the middle of winter – since the snow cover is already good, all it needs is a top-up of powder for some fantastic riding.

As well as good snow, there are some awesome events in some of the big resorts. Hanazono in Niseko is hosting Banked Slalom and Slopestyle events this year, and Hirafu has hosted some of the best park days of the season with events like the Mad Dog Jam in previous years. As the season moves further into spring, there are even more things to do in Niseko – check out our guide to Niseko in spring for more.

March also sees much of the crowds dispersed, so you can expect much quieter streets, less competition for booking at Niseko’s famous restaurants and a very relaxed atmosphere. The snow that falls in March also lasts longer with far fewer people getting out there to carve it up.

Honshu

The Japanese Alps of Honshu are home to some of the highest peaks in Japan, but in the midst of winter, many of them are inaccessible due to the wind, poor visibility, unstable snowpack or frigid weather conditions. With March bringing clearer weather, riding Honshu’s legendary peaks starts to become more attainable giving adventurers the ride of their life.

With a generally high altitude, most major resorts in Honshu retain good quality snow up high well into the end of March and even April. Even with the sunshine expected in March, the high altitudes mean the temperatures stay low keeping the snow soft and light. Happo One resort in Hakuba Valley offers great lift access to a vast backcountry area with some of the best terrain in the country.

As is typical in shoulder seasons, hotel rates are quite low, and some already affordable hotels become even more tempting with significantly reduced rates. The Hakuba Gateway Hotel in central Happo is one the best choices with onsite rental, restaurant and massage. There’s also the Hakuba Goryukan Hotel which features an onsite onsen. Read more about the best way to see Hakuba here.

Some of the best places to soak in the culture are also in Honshu – Kyoto, Tokyo, Osaka and Kanazawa are all easily accessible from the mountainous regions of Japan’s most central island. The Shinkansen (bullet train) is one of the fastest and best ways to get around Japan’s major cities in Honshu with affordable tickets and regular schedule. March is one of the best times of year to visit the cultural hot spots, with fresh, calm and generally clear weather making stopovers in these areas a great choice.

Sakura

A trip to Japan at this time of year is a great time to see Japan’s famous “Sakura” (Cherry Blossom) trees in bloom. Japan’s southern city of Fukuoka will receive the bloom in mid-March, so there’s no better way to top off a trip to Japan than with cherry blossoms after a week on the slopes.

Find out more about Japan’s Sakura season here.

If you’ve been inspired to visit Japan in March, contact our team of experts, and we’ll start you on your journey.

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Hello Hakuba! The Best way to enjoy Hakuba and Japan

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If you’re planning to visit Hakuba, we recommend some research to help you make the most out of your trip. 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. 

Tokyo

Japan’s biggest city, and the most common place to fly into 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

Getting to Hakuba from the city or the airport is 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.

Staying in Hakuba

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.

What to do in Hakuba

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!

Choosing the right Japanese resort for your family

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With so many resorts in Japan to choose from it can be tough to pick the right one for your family. Flights to Tokyo and Sapporo are becoming cheaper from Asia & Australia, and Japanese resorts are more accessible than ever with direct transport to resorts available as well as family sized accommodation and ski lessons in English now at most resorts.

NISEKO

If you’re looking for a resort that’s going to cover all your bases with world class facilities and a huge choice of accommodation, Niseko United is the place for you. The world famous resort renowned for its deep powder snow is now also known for having some of the best ski hotels in all of Japan, including the acclaimed hotel “The Kamui Niseko”; ranked in the world’s top 3 new ski hotels in the 2016 World Ski Awards. The village of Hirafu boasts a huge number of restaurants from family friendly ramen to high end Izakaya. There is also tonnes to do off the mountain, like rock-climbing and Hokkaido’s largest high ropes course which is open all winter long. There is a huge choice for ski lessons with group lessons available in English from most ski schools. NBS ski school now also offers the smallest group sizes in Niseko for all lessons, so you and your little ones can make the most of your time on the hill.

RUSUTSU

The nearby resort of Rusutsu is also well equipped with 2 large hotels right at the base of the resort. There are group lessons available in a wide variety of languages including English for every level. Rusutsu has a large arcade with skill-tester machines, a 4-D cinema and an indoor merry-go-round. The terrain is great for developing skills with a large number of beginner and intermediate runs right next to huge powder forests. This resort was designed to keep skiers of every level entertained, so this resort is won’t disappoint!

TOMAMU

If you’re after an all-in-one resort experience,  Tomamu is your go to destinations. This resort is very family friendly with tonnes of activities for kids of all ages, including tubing, ice sculpting classes, ice slides and own ice-skating rink! The terrain  offers large areas for beginners as well as some advanced runs. Lessons can be offered in English, but it’s best to book ahead when planning your holiday.

FURANO

Furano is located in central Hokkaido and is definitely a very happy medium between traditional and new age Japan. The town of Furano is right at the base of the resort, and there are a number of accommodation options including hotels and apartments. There are now English lessons available for all ages, and good ski rental options. The terrain here is great with lots of advanced to expert runs as well as large beginner areas. This region is much less crowded than at some of the more well-known resorts, but there are still many of the same services and activities available which is great news for skiing families.

MYOKO KOGEN

The traditional town of Myoko Kogen is nothing short of magical. The town is relatively new to the international snow scene, and doesn’t have everything in English like other resorts mentioned. But what it does have is tradition and history, and lots of it! The resort has great lifts, and a wide range of beginner and advanced terrain as well as the classic Japanese powder snow. Some of the longest and steepest runs are located here, and is definitely a powder paradise rich in Japanese history and culture. This resort will have something for everyone, especially for those interested in seeing what Japanese culture is all about.

HAKUBA

One of the largest ski areas in Japan is the Hakuba Valley, hosting 7 ski resorts and many different styles of accommodation, terrain and facilities. Hakuba is located about 4 hours from the Tokyo airports, with coaches being the best choice for transport. All of the resorts in the area have great terrain for beginners, as well as long and steep runs for expert skiers. The village is quite spread out, but there are free shuttle buses that run between the main village areas and the surrounding resorts, making transport a breeze. New to the Hakuba area is the “Hakuba Gateway Hotel”, which will offer great ground services and with a SkiJapan.com office will help improve services in the area. The nearby town of Matsumoto hosts one of the greatest traditional castles in all of Japan which is a must-see if you’re in the Hakuba area. There are also the popular snow monkeys which love to hang out in the hot onsen baths.

 

If you’re still unsure about which Japanese resort is the right fit for your family, contact our professional consultants. Our team have been to many Japanese resorts, and can help you to make the best choice for your family. Whichever resort in Japan you go to, don’t forget to enjoy the culture, food and powder. With the ancient culture and amazing snow, there’s just so much to love about a winter holiday in Japan.

Contact our team and find out more today.

Matsumoto Castle

Historic Hakuba – Matsumoto Castle

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First built in 1504, Matsumoto Castle is one of the best preserved traditional castles in all Japan. This historic site features a dramatic six storey keep that overlooks a huge moat, as well as a total of five separate structures. There is only one other castle in Japan that consists of six storeys, so Matsumoto is definitely a must see while you’re in the Hakuba area. The castle walls are mostly black with white highlights which contrast beautifully against the mountainous backdrop.

When you arrive at the Castle, you can walk around the Inner Moat area before making your way inside the main keep. Once inside you can explore each level, viewing samurai armour and weapons that are on display. On the sixth storey there is a magnificent view out towards the mountain peaks and across Matsumoto town.

The castle was ruled by 23 different lords over a 280 year period up until the Meiji restoration period. The impressive site has been embraced by locals for generations and it was saved from demolition in the late 1800’s because of the love the townspeople have for the castle. The impressive structure still survives in its original design and was designated a national treasure in 1952.

A stay in Hakuba is not complete without a visit to this historic site. If you’re considering a trip to Hakuba, SkiJapan.com’s very own Hakuba Gateway Hotel is in a great, central location with onsite ski/snowboard rental, physio, restaurant and access to the Hakuba Valley resorts, transport to Tokyo and local attractions. Hakuba also boasts one of the best luxury apartment rentals in a ski resort – the Grand Phenix Hakuba is one of the best accommodations in Hakuba just a minute’s walk from the bus terminal, rentals, and a few minutes’ walk to the lifts.

Enquire now to book your stay in Hakuba and experience everything Japan has to offer.