Japan's Largest Snow Resort
Since Hakuba hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1998 Winter Olympics, this has been a hot spot for Japanese locals and international tourists looking to take advantage of the world class snow sport facilities available across the valley. At less than 3 hours from central Tokyo, Hakuba Valley has easy access for anyone looking to sample this beautiful valley and all the delights it has to offer on and off the snow.
Located at the northern part of the Nagano Prefecture, at the base of the spectacular Japanese Alps, this resort consists of 10 different and unique ski resorts spread over roughly 30km from north to south. Each Hakuba ski resort alone may not offer a huge variety of terrain options you would expect to find at a singular European ski resort, but it’s the combination of different connected ski areas and villages that make up the Hakuba ski valley along with the massive annual snowfall which makes this a pretty special place.
The ski terrain varies greatly across the 10 resorts that make up the Hakuba Valley. Beginners and intermediates are going to be well suited wherever they are based as almost all resorts have an abundance of beautifully groomed runs.
For the advanced skier you will have some fantastic steep fall line skiing t enjoy and if you are into your bumps then boy are you in for a treat as the Japanese love mogul skiing!
The Hakuba Valley is surrounded by rugged towering 3,000m peaks wherever you look, so by the time you have have warmed up your ski legs up on piste, you will be itching to start hiking and put your touring gear into use, and if it’s the steep, deep and untracked areas you are looking for, then head to Cortina, the free riding powder Mecca of the Hakuba Valley.
In a country so rich in history and a culture so vastly different to that around Europe, America, you will be spoilt when it comes to exploring new experiences and activities available to you in the Hakuba Valley.
There are a lot that area has to offer besides incredible skiing and snowboarding. From visiting the Japanese snow monkeys bathing in natural hot springs, visiting local castles and other historic monuments, to sampling the local culinary delicacies or even taking part in cooking classes and for those looking for more laid back options, you can’t visit Hakuba without taking the time out to relax your muscles in a natural onsen hot springs.
The nightlife in Hakuba is quite vibrant, which is rare for a Japanese ski area, but due to the popularity that Hakuba draws international crowds to, a more diverse nightlife has been established.
However the idea of apres is not something that has taken off in popularity in Japan (certainly not amongst the locals anyway) as drinking is still more of a late evening/night time activity. So as most bars do not open until later into the evening, (there are a few that do, you just need to hunt for them) the best option is to relax your muscles at an onsen and wait for the bars and clubs to open – just don’t expect the same rowdiness that comes with European apres at the Folie Douce.
Once the bars do start to open you will have such a diverse variety to choose from, many with themes, regular live music, KARAOKE, events and more. This may not be as crazy as your own apres/nightlife experiences from the southern hemisphere or western ski resorts, but you will certainly be kept entertained, well fed and ‘watered’ through to the early hours.