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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 multi-resort passes in Japan

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Epic Pass

One of the world’s biggest multi resort passes is the Epic Pass with offers at 69 resorts worldwide including two of Japans biggest resorts – Hakuba Valley and Rusutsu. Holders of the Epic Pass can receive one 5 Day lift pass at both resorts with no blackout dates. That’s a total of 10 free days riding in Japan – which is a huge saving for pass holders visiting both resorts on a single trip. With no blackout dates holders can choose any dates they want and possibly even have a stopover in the middle of the trip. The Epic Pass price is $939, and the Epic Australia Pass is $859 AUD.

Ikon Pass

The IKON pass is another North American based pass provider, offering access to 38 destination resorts across the globe. In Japan, this pass can be used at the popular resort of Niseko United. Holders of the Ikon pass can get 7 free All Mountain 1 day tickets – with no blackout periods. The Ikon base pass will get you 5 free All Mountain 1 day tickets with some blackout dates (December 26-31, 2019; January 18-19, 2020; February 15-16, 2020). Day tickets from either pass can be used either consecutively or non-consecutively offering great freedom for pass holders. If there’s a rare down-day in the powder capital, you can take a break and visit nearby Sapporo, or Otaru. The Ikon Pass is $949 USD and the Ikon Base Pass is $649 USD.

Mountain Collective

The Mountain Collective is a worldwide pass, with participating resorts in the USA, South America, Australia and New Zealand. Pass holders receive one 2 Day Lift Pass with a bonus third day at any participating resort of their choice, as well as 50% off all additional days at any resort. The powder mecca of Niseko United is one of the best destinations available on the pass, with no blackout dates. The Mountain Collective Pass is $449 USD.

Kamori “K-Winter” Pass

Rusutsu, Sahoro, Sapporo Teine, and Nakayama Toge are some of the best resorts in Japan, and it’s possible to ride them all with just one pass. Hokkaido based operator Kamori Kanko runs all 4 legendary resorts, and their offering of the K-Winter Pass provides holders with great flexibility to ride them all season long. Pass holders can get unlimited riding at 4 major resorts at a reasonable price, plus more discounts on additional lift passes, rental, lessons and even some accommodation. Pass holders can also get 50% off lift tickets at many Vail Resorts, adding huge value to the pass. The K-Winter pass is ¥74,700 for the standard pass, and can be registered for in advance (attracts an early bird discount) by emailing the company directly, or can be purchased directly at any of the four resorts.

Hokkaido Ski Season Net

The Hokkaido Ski Season Net discount system is one of the most underrated and underused discount system for Japanese ski resorts. Season pass holders at any of the participating resorts can get discounts of up to ¥2,400 off day passes, plus a huge number of other various discounts and bonuses. This discount system includes some major resorts like Furano, Tomamu and Kiroro as well as some undiscovered local gems like Kamui Ski Links. The full list including all discounts can be found here. Season pass holders simply need to show their season pass at the ticket counter at participating resorts to receive the discounts.

Niseko All Mountain Pass

4 Resorts, 1 mountain – it’s that simple. That is the beauty of Niseko United. Skiers just need one lift pass and can access all four resorts of Niseko United which are all interconnected. This opens up a huge amount of terrain and makes it feel like all four resorts are really one in the same. Niseko has some of the best powder snow on the planet, and great terrain to match – so it makes sense to have just one pass to access all of it. The Niseko All Mountain Pass is ¥115,600 making it one of the more expensive passes on the list, but with world class, high quality snow on offer every day, it’s not hard to make the decision.

Hakuba Valley Pass

The Hakuba Valley is home to 10 different resorts including the legendary Happo-One (host of the Free Ridge World Tour), Tsugaike-Kogen, Goryu 47, and Cortina. With so many great resorts to explore, you might just need all season to see them all. Happo-One is one of the best locations and the Hakuba Gateway Hotel offers This Hakuba Valley season pass is ¥130,000 making it one of the more expensive passes, but with access to 10 major resorts it actually does pose good value.

 

Pass Resorts Price Benefits
Epic Pass Hakuba Valley, Rusutsu $939 USD for USA Epic Pass
$859 AUD for Epic Australia Pass
One free 5 Consecutive Day Lift Pass at Rusutsu. One free 5 Consecutive Day Lift Pass at Hakuba Valley. No blackout dates.
Ikon Pass Niseko United $949 USD for Ikon Pass.
$649 USD for Ikon Base Pass.
Ikon Pass holders receive up to 7 free all mountain 1 Day Tickets and 10 X 25% off 1 Day Tickets. Ikon Base pass holders receive 5 free all mountain 1 Day Tickets, and 8 X 25% off 1 Day Tickets.
Mountain Collective Niseko United $449 USD One free 2 Day Lift Pass. Holders can purchase unlimited 50% off 1 Day Tickets. Holders may purchase one 5 Day Ticket at 50% off.
Kamori “K-Winter” Pass Rusutsu Resort, Sahoro Resort, Sapporo Teine, Nakayama Toge ¥74,700 Unlimited skiing at any of the mentioned ski resorts. Up to 30% off additional day passes, ski lessons and rental. Free access to lounges, ski lockers, bathing facilities, and more (for Gold and Premium pass holders).  50% off lift tickets at Vail resorts in the USA and Australia.
Hokkaido Ski Season Net – Chart of Discounts 23 Hokaido Resorts ¥25,000 – Canmore Season Pass (Cheapest Season Pass) Holders of a season pass at listed resorts will receive discounts at 23 different ski resorts across Hokkaido. Up to ¥2,400 off day passes.
Niseko All Mountain Pass Niseko Annupuri, Niseko Village, Grand Hirafu, Hanazono ¥115,600 – Season Pass Unlimited skiing at all Niseko United resorts.
Hakuba Valley Pass All 10 Hakuba Valley Resorts ¥130,000 – Season Pass Unlimited skiing at 10 Individual resorts in Hakuba. 50% off lift tickets at Vail resorts in the USA and Australia.

Benefits of Booking Early

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Savings

One of the most obvious and best benefits to booking a Japan ski holiday early is the savings. Most resorts and accommodations offer early bird specials with significant discounts for the whole season. If you want to ski Japan and save, make sure to keep an eye out for early bird announcements. For a full list of active great deals, check out our Japan deals page.

Availability and Choice of Accommodation

Japan is one of the top ski destinations in the world, and the hottest accommodations tend to book out well before the snow starts to fall. By booking in advance, you can choose the resort you want, with the dates you want, at the time you want – making for the best ski holiday of your life.

Book for the Best Snow

Japan is renowned for its great snow all season, so you can book a Japan ski holiday well in advance without having to worry. If you’re after the deepest powder, aim for January and early February as these periods often have the most significant snowfalls.

Time to Plan Even More

By booking in advance, you’ll have time to plan even more adventures on your trip. Japan is home to some of the most unique cultural spots in the world. Kyoto, Tokyo and Osaka are just some of the best known and host stunning temples, shrines, mountains and more. Ask us about booking a stopover to one of these amazing cities during your trip.

Relax

Knowing you have your dream ski holiday sorted, you can now relax and focus on getting your mind and body ready for the best trip of your life. We can organise everything from your flights, accommodation, lessons, rental, lift passes, transfers and more.
For the best and easiest ski holiday of your life, the SkiJapan family today.

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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!

Skiing for Days: The Longest Ski Runs In Japan – Myoko Kogen

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Long ski runs and powder? To any skier this sounds like heaven. Where does one find such a thing? You would think Canada, Europe or North America, right? While northern Japanese resorts have definitely got the powder part of the equation well-covered, it turns out heading a little further south to the main island of Honshu yields some great vertical!   

If a perfect blend of prime Japanese powder snow and massive ski runs sounds right up your alley, book your next flight to Japan’s main island Honshu, and from there, make your way to Myoko Kogen in the heart of Japan’s of Jōshin’etsu-kōgen National Park.

Myoko Kogen’s ski fields are some of the largest ski areas in Japan and were established in the 30’s as Japan’s first international mountain resort, which makes Myoko one of the oldest established ski areas in the world. It’s not surprising that Myoko Kogen is a traditional mountain retreat for Japan’s imperial family. As testimony to the history of Myoko Kogen, you can find a Skiing shrine (Ski Jinja); a dedication to the protection of skiers in Myoko.

Visit the Ski Shrine at one of the world’s oldest ski resorts. Photo: www.myokotourism.com

 

Nowadays with a fast, efficient lift and gondola system, boasting 41 lifts, Myoko Kogen is a large-scale resort with great snow, terrain, and numerous ski runs catering for beginner through to advanced level riders. Myoko Kogen is composed of a 9 inter-linked resorts – the largest four: Suginohara, Ikenotaira, Akakura Onsen, and Akakura Kanko can be accessed on the Myoko Kogen Big 4 lift ticket. Myoko Kogen is also in close proximity to many other resorts such as Nozawa Onsen, Hakuba and a number of smaller scale locations, meaning there’s plenty of terrain to explore in the region!

From left: Myoko Suginohara Ski Resort, Ikenotaira Onsen Ski Resort, Akakura Onsen Ski Resort, and Akakura Kanko resort area. Photo: www.myokotourism.com

 

Located 3.5 hours north west of Tokyo, getting to Myoko is very straightforward; take the scenic Japanese bullet train ‘Shinkansen‘ to Nagano. Or if you’re flying into Narita, take the Narita-to-Myoko Kogen snow shuttle, straight to your accommodation property’s door.

After a good night’s rest, tucking into breakfast and picking up some onigiri from the local convenience store, make way to Myoko’s Suginohara ski resort.

Suginohara boasts Japans longest ski run, at approximately 8.5km, from top to bottom, you also have access to the largest vertical in Japan (1,124m) just shy of Tashiro Kagura Mitsumata (1,125m)

Skiing 8.5km and the biggest vertical in fresh powder tracks? Sign us up! Photo: www.myokotourism.com

 

Not only does Myoko Kogen boast Japan’s longest ski run, Myoko also possesses Japans steepest ski run, over at Akakura Onsen Ski Resort. At around a 38 degree angle it is also known as ‘The Wall’. Now that’s what you call getting steep and deep!

Myoko Kogen boasts not only the longest, but also the steepest ski runs in Japan. Photo: www.myokotourism.com

 

You’ll literally be skiing for days when you come to Myoko Kogen!