Hakuba Resort Guide
The majority of visitors will stay in accommodation close to Happo-One (pronounced Happo On-ay), which is the largest of the resorts in the valley. This offers the best mix of terrain, and is also where most ski school students will take their lessons. Spend most of your days skiing Happo-One, but make sure to take advantage of the lift pass covering all other ski resorts which are also connected by a ski shuttle.
Goryu and Hakuba47 are two interconnected resorts just a 10 minute drive away from Happo-One and can be skied in one day. Stick to the Goryu side of the hill for freshly groomed runs, and visit Hakuba47 for its famous park and superpipe.
If you are looking for challenging off-piste then Cortina is known for its tree-skiing and is one of the most popular resorts for locals to visit on a powder day. Just be wary of the ski patrol as you are technically not allowed to ride off-piste here and your pass could be confiscated.
We would highly recommend lessons and guiding with a local company, who can ensure that you make the most of your resort experience. Off-piste guiding and backcountry trips are a great way to explore the terrain in a safe manner and ensure that you find the best spots - from the ridge lines on impressive peaks of Happo-One to the rolling hike-to terrain of Tsugaike Kogen.
Off the Slopes
Hakuba is the destination of choice for those who want to see the incredible snow monkeys who bathe in the hot pools at the Jigokudani Monkey Park. There are day tours available from resort to visit the park and a number of other cultural attractions in the local area including a temple and sake brewery.
Non-ski activities off the slopes include snowshoe tours, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. Then there are the many wonderful Japanese onsens to visit – most hotels will have their own or there are public onsens throughout the resort too, some of which offer fabulous views of the mountains from the rotenburos (outdoor bath).
The variety of food in resort is exceptional – head to Kikyo-ya for the best sushi in town. Cuisine ranges from Japanese and French to Chinese and Indian, and as well as Japanese izakaya bars which serve lots of tapas-style snacks there are even a few English-style pubs about.