Hakuba: Stunning budget friendly slopes

Hakuba, a large village in Nagano prefecture, has a wide selection of ski slopes and resorts, plus hotels and hostels for all kinds of budgets. The season usually continues until early May, so visitors can come here during Golden Week and enjoy cherry blossoms at the same time as enjoying the slopes. Hakuba is one of Japan’s best and most well-known areas for snow, with snowboarders, skiers and other tourists coming from all over the world to experience its delights.


On the slopes at Hakuba Goryu ski resort

Late winter and early spring are great times to visit Hakuba. The sun is shining bright and adventurous types can take country tours around and up to some of the snowy mountain peaks. This is definitely time to bring your camera, as the scenery is stunning from any of the countless mountains surrounding Hakuba. The area is most picturesque around this time of year.

Where to go?

Happo One

With it’s wide selection of well maintained slopes, great restaurants and bars Happo One is gaining a reputation as one of the best places to enjoy skiing or snowboarding in Japan. There is a free shuttle bus and getting to and around the resort is super easy. It really has it all. Plus you can take a short ride to see cherry blossom trees after or before a spot of skiing.

Address: Hokujo Happo, Hakuba-mura, Nagano-ken, 399-9301, Japan

Web: http://www.happo-one.jp/english/

Open Until: Early May, 2015

Hakuba Goryu and Hakuba 47

Combined with another ski resort called Hakuba 47, Hakuba Goryu allows skiers and snowboarders to access both with one ticket. This means there are dozens of slopes to try, with slopes for all sorts of abilities and styles. A free shuttle bus is also available for these resorts.

Address: Kamishiro, Hakuba-mura, Kitaazumi-gun, Nagano-ken, 399-9211, Japan

Web: http://www.hakubagoryu.com/

Open Until: Early May, 2015


Olympic past: see what it was like to host Olympic events in a village like Hakuba

Hakuba is an internationally renown ski area, and was therefore a great place to stage some of the events from the exciting 1998 Winter Olympics. The town was used for Alpine, Ski Jump and Cross country events. Some of these buildings and areas, especially the ski jump, are still used today. You can even go up the ski jump!

The ski jump offers amazing views over the village. In spring time many of the mountains are still full of snow, but down below cherry trees are blossoming. Bring your camera and enjoy your view over the Nagano mountains.


The wonderful view from the top of the Winter Olympic ski jump

Japanese traditional architecture: take a snowy walk around some lovely Japanese buildings and cherry blossom spots

While Habuka is known for its snow resorts, its worth visiting the Tourist Information Center right inside the station and picking up some free maps of the area. You can use these to explore other sites, such as snow covered shrines and temples and some beautiful forests. Maps are also available to show visitors the best places to see cherry blossoms. These show you how to access these spots using your own wheels or public transportation, and make for a nice, relaxing day after or before spending time skiing.


Exploring nearby shrines and temples is so easy in Hakuba and Nagano

Find out more on our Hakuba budget travel guide.

Published by Matthew Baxter

Japan travel writer and onsen addict