• Spring
      • video

        Finding the Flow from Kansai to Kochi

        Shikoku’s many mountains, valleys and proximity to the ocean has made it a hidden gem for rafting, kayaking and canyoning enthusiasts willing to take a step or two further from the Golden Route of Kyoto and Osaka.

        Solace and Giant Salamanders in Akiota

        Just beyond Hiroshima City is a tranquil outdoor destination home to some of Japan's last remaining oosanshouo, the elusive giant salamander.
        Kyoto Oni Trail Outdoor Japanvideo

        The Oni Trail: Hiking Coastal Kyoto

        The mystical oni is prevalent in Japanese children’s stories, usually as a way to scare kids straight. Adventure Travel Kyoto is shedding a new light on this folklore and developing a new hiking route in the countryside of Kyoto.
    • Summer
    • Autumn
      • Pow Bar Founder Megumi Scott

        Beyond the Brand: Pow Bar

        An interview with Megumi Scott, the founder of Niseko brand Pow Bar.
        Churamura Okinawa Sea Turtle Marine Conservation

        Churamura: Footprints in the Sand

        Churamura, an NPO in Okinawa, work to conserve marine life and protect endangered sea turtles in Japan's southernmost prefecture.

        Fall in Love with Kawazu

        Enjoy waterfall hikes and hot springs, beautiful beaches and delicious seafood in Kawazu on the western coast of Izu Peninsula.
    • Winter
    • Near Tokyo
    • Near Kyoto
      • video

        Finding the Flow from Kansai to Kochi

        Shikoku’s many mountains, valleys and proximity to the ocean has made it a hidden gem for rafting, kayaking and canyoning enthusiasts willing to take a step or two further from the Golden Route of Kyoto and Osaka.
    • All Regions
    • Article Map
    • Ocean and Beach
    • River and Lake
    • Mountain and Land
    • Sky
    • Snow and Ice
    • Travel
    • Food and Drinks
    • Races and Events

Hakuba Ski Resort Guide



As you drive or take the train from Omachi, before entering Hakuba, there are three resorts around Lake Aokiko, plus Yanaba, which is just up the road. The Aokiko resorts used to share one ticket but, unfortunately, not any more. The resorts are quiet and relaxing and a good place for kids, where you can enjoy fine views of Lake Aokiko.


The largest of the Aokiko resorts is usually to open with a short single course of man-made snow. The resort has easy access via a back road from Omachi. W: www.kashimayari.net


The middle of the three Aokiko resorts recently opened a new mountain bike course for the green season. W: www.aokiko.net


Sanosaka has a mogul school and a popular annual big air competition. In summer it also features a water jump. W: www.sanosaka.com


Where everyone goes to “steez” (show off) and learn how to ride the park. Easy to get to by train, as it is right next to Yanaba Station. The crowd is mostly snowboarders who come for arguably Hakuba’s best park, which is separated into three levels. W: www.yanaba.co.jp


Hakuba Happo-One


Escal Plaza at Goryu is the best base lodge in Hakuba. There is a ski/snowboard rental shop, three restaurants (including a Subway) and even an ofuro (bath) open until 9 p.m. daily. If you’re on a really tight budget, there is also a “resting room” where you can get some rest for 1,000. Hours: 11:30 p.m. to 8 a.m. with space for 100 people (no reservations for the common room; first come, first serve). W: www.hakubagoryu.com/ski/index.html


The numbers in the resort’s name apparently represent “four seasons” and “seven days a week.” Friendly staff in the gondola parking lot wearing neon pink cowgirl hats will direct you where you need to go. Early bird season tickets make this a popular resort for locals. W: www.hakuba47.co.jp


Huge terrain and waist-deep powder. Some of the best views of Hakuba Valley can be seen from the higher lifts. Telemark boots and skis can be rented at 500 Mile at the Usagidaira 109 complex at the top of the Happo-One gondola. W: www.hakuba-happo.or.jp


Iwatake is a great place to go to get away from the crowds. There are a lot of beginner runs but also powder runs to be had out back, and lift lines are short. W: www.hakuba.jp/iwatake/snow/index.html


On the eastern side of the Hakuba Valley are two smaller resorts great for families and beginners.


Minekata has just three pair-lifts, but it’s quiet, uncrowded and has wide runs and nice views. Also a great cross-country park. W: www.hakuba-minekata.com


This family resort has just two lifts and is next to the Hakuba Highland Hotel. The best part is the rotemburo (outdoor bath), which has one of the top views of the Hakuba Valley. Opens Dec. 23. W: www.hakuba-highland.net


Tsugaike Kogen


This is the perfect resort for a romantic weekend. The northern European architecture of the Green Plaza Hotel is breathtaking, and the complex is massive. The Ikenota Slope right outside the door is very, very gentle and perfect for couples practicing their ski and snowboard turns. There is a free shuttle from Nagano Station for guests (reservation required). There are also some steeper runs and Cortina gets plenty of snow. W: www.hgp.co.jp


Not to be confused with another mountain called Norikura Kogen in the South Alps. Hakuba Norikura Onsen Resort’s intermediate-level courses cover half the mountain, and the resort has practically no lift lines even on weekends. W: www.hakubanorikura.jp


A veritable fortress of a ski resort, Tsugaike Kogen offers a diverse terrain. The Children’s Square is great for kids just starting out on the slopes. There’s a terrain park at the top of the resort, a cross-country course and heli-skiing is available in spring (9,500 per person). Cross-country set rental available for a full day at Spicy Rental, located close to the Tsugaike gondola. W: www.tsugaike.gr.jp

[novo-map id=2 individual=”yes”]

Outdoor Japan logo tree


Latest posts