Located amidst the snow-covered peaks of the northern Japanese Alps, Hakuba Valley ski area is known for big-scale slopes worthy of hosting the 1998 Winter Olympics and for its pristine family-friendly runs and accommodations.
With 10 ski resorts combined, Hakuba Valley is Japan’s largest snow resort. The convenient All-Mountain Season Pass (¥130,000 for adults; ¥70,000 for ages 6-12) provides access to all 10 resorts, with free shuttle transportation between each.
Only 2.5 hours from central Tokyo, this season Hakuba Valley enhanced the outdoor experience by introducing several new facilities and experiences, from fine al fresco dining to mountaintop adventure courses. Here’s a look at what to expect…
Field Suite Hakuba Produced by Snow Peak
Happo-one’s Field Suite glamping experience is a high-altitude, fine-dining event like none other in Japan. Guests dine in comfortable, marquee-style tents outfitted by Japan outdoor manufacturer Snow Peak. Following the sumptous, five-course Italian meal, a snowcat tour delivers gorgeous night views of Hakuba Village below.
Guests can also ride the snowcat further up Kitaone slope to Happo-one’s luxury snow cabin. This den of blissful refinement offers a temperature-controlled (heated floor!) respite from the snow and ice. Available from 9am–3pm, features include free Wi-Fi, Bluetooth speaker, and a complimentary mini-bar. Lunch, which is absolutely divine, is optional.
Hakuba Tsugaike Snow WOW!
Tsugaike Kogen Snow Resort’s family-friendly Snow WOW! program includes 10 outdoor adventure activities for children and adults. Take the gondola to the middle station and find fire pits surrounded by fat tire bikes, sleds, snow tubes and more. Climb through hoops and scamper over rope bridges at the towering net course. For the ultimate thrill, pedal along a metal cord three stories above a frozen pond on an aerial bicycle – all while taking in the mountain scenery.
Hakuba Mountain Harbor
Sip rich hot cocoa (with a yummy marshmallow) at the summit of Hakuba Iwatake Mountain Resort overlooking Hakuba’s three famous peaks and watch snowboarders venture off-piste through the native larch trees. This café operated by City Bakery offers mixed-berry scones, pretzel croissants, oatmeal raisin cookies and more goodies baked daily onsite.
The staff of Spicy Rentals know the mountains like the backs of their hands. With six shops located throughout Hakuba Valley, and a new flagship store at Wadano, Spicy Rentals offers an extensive inventory of ski and snowboard apparel from leading brands. In summer, gear up for hikes and campouts or rent mountain bikes for Hakuba Valley’s extensive system of trails and downhill courses.
*Shuttle bus service operates until end of March. More info at hakubavalley.com/en
Top photo by Hiroya Nakata. All other photos by Rose Vittayaset