Hakuba Valley, once a secluded gateway to the Japanese Alps, is now a premier global ski destination complete with world-class terrain, modern accommodations and first-class dining.
The area played host to the 1998 Winter Olympics, and with more than 10 meters of exceptional powder a year, it’s a snow paradise just 2.5 hours away from Tokyo. Ten ski resorts offer more terrain, vertical rise and advanced slopes than you can find anywhere in Japan. A common lift ticket can be used at all resorts and you can travel from resort to resort via shuttle bus.
Happo-one is one of the most popular resorts in Hakuba – and also one of the country’s largest. It offers more than 1,000 vertical feet and is blessed with breathtaking, panoramic views. After an exhilarating day of exploring Happo-one’s 13 courses, hop into a Snowcat – an enclosed cab that runs on tracks and looks like it came straight from a James Bond movie.
Then prepare to be whisked away across the pristine snow to a glamorous mountain dreamland for an après and dining culinary journey.
A Pristine Mountain Retreat
Field Suite Hakuba produced by Snow Peak is a high-altitude, fine-dining experience provided in a secluded, cozy retreat on the 1,200-meter-high Kitaone Highland. Here, guests dine in comfortable, marquee-style tents outfitted by Japan outdoor manufacturer Snow Peak.
But first wind down from your day – or get the night started – by relaxing around a campfire with an aperitif in hand and a gleaming field of twinkling stars overhead. While your body and mind decompress, head chef Shingo Suzuki busily prepares an extravagant full-course meal of European-Japanese fusion cuisine.
Suzuki spent six years crafting his culinary skills at Michelin-starred restaurants in Italy, and he brings his drive for excellence to every dish served at the Kitaone Terrace. His mashed potatoes are divine. The pasta is perfect. The highlight is the mouthwatering local Shinshu beef braised in red wine sauce. Expect an ever-changing menu, as fresh local ingredients are prominently featured. In addition, each of the five courses is paired with a local Nagano wine.
Refresh and Relax
While most don’t think of Japan as wine country, the chardonnays, merlots and even pinot noirs produced by local Nagano wineries are becoming highly sought after by wine connoisseurs around the world. Sip on some of Nagano’s best varietals paired specifically with Chef Suzuki’s menu.
Following the sumptuous meal return to the bonfire to roast traditional marshmallows and savor the last moments of comfortable refinement. Finish the dining excursion with another snowcat tour, which delivers gorgeous night views of Hakuba Village below.
Back down in the valley, complete the perfect evening with a dip in the fresh outdoor air in the steamy waters of Obinata no yu onsen located at the base of Hakuba Happo-one Ski Resort. A favorite onsen of the locals, the alkaline waters provide health and beauty benefits to help relieve muscle pain and fatigue while rejuvenating the skin.
Bathing suits are allowed to be worn in Obinata no yu onsen. The price is ¥650 per adult and ¥300 per child. Groups can reserve a private onsen (¥20,000 for groups of 1–5 people and ¥4,000 per person for groups of 6 or more).
The 2019-2020 winter season for Field Suite Hakuba kicks off December 13, and is available Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Find out more information or make a reservation on the website.