Hakuba Valley

As Japan's premier ski region, the Hakuba Valley offers more terrain, vertical rise and advanced ski slopes than anywhere in Japan. Having hosted the 1998 Winter Olympic Games and numerous FIS World Cup events, the Hakuba Valley has a well-established international reputation as a world-class ski destination. From one end of the valley to the other and with 11 resorts accessing over 130 ski runs as well as providing access to incredible off-piste terrain of the Japan Alps, Hakuba's reputation as a serious skiers and snowboarders’ destination is well balanced across all levels. This combination of world-class skiing, abundant snowfalls, sunny skies and over 11 ski resorts truly makes Hakuba Valley a precious gem among the rugged Japan Alps. From the complete novice to the expert skier, the Hakuba Valley provides some of the best skiing in Japan. Everything from gentle beginner slopes, to steeps, bumps and long groomers, and of course, plenty of fresh powder. Happo One Resort is Hakuba Valley's premier resort, boasting some of the highest snowfalls and longest vertical pitches in all of Japan, while Hakuba 47 and Goryu's terrain challenges everyone from first timers to experts. Tsugaike and Iwatake resorts are also well suited to the beginner and intermediate levels, with long cruising trails and plenty of powder runs for those who wish to explore. Hakuba's reputation as a serious skiers destination is well balanced across all levels, offering something for everyone.

Endless half-pipes, terrain parks, gullies, hits, powder bowls and steeps are awaiting you this season in Hakuba. From Kashimayari to Hakuba Cortina, the variety of terrain on offer is guaranteed to satisfy all levels. For the beginner, learn to snowboard with great views, English speaking instructors and gentle slopes at any one of the ski resorts. For the experts, fantastic powder conditions, jumps, half-pipes, terrain parks and plentiful freestyle action is waiting to be experienced. Take your pick, as every resort has plenty to offer snowboarders this winter in Hakuba. Favorites among the resorts are Hakuba 47 and Happo, with their challenging and diverse terrain. Also, Tsugaike's and Hakuba 47's board parks and Cortina with its light, dry, deep powder and ungroomed trails are always popular.  

Happo-One

The jewel of the Hakuba Valley, and the most famous resort on mainland Japan, Happo One (pronounce "oh-neh") boasts 1,100 metres of vertical and  four different ski base areas. Having hosted the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, and now renowned domestically and internationally, the resort has a huge variety of terrain and phenomenal backcountry opportunities.

Happo One Resort is located approximately 2 km from the Hakuba train station, the drive up to the resort offers some of the most spectacular mountain back drops in all of Japan. The Happo village and Wadano areas surround the base of the resort, and are where most accommodations are positioned.

Take advantage of the purpose built snow carpet and kids park at Sakka Plaza. There are wide gentle slopes at Sakka with two easy to ride pair lifts, to help you gain confidence and balance, before you tackle the rest of the mountain. Once you're up to it, take the Sakka quad or gondola up the mountain and make your way down the windy cat tracks – the longest up to 8,000 metres long!

Happo One is an intermediate skiers' heaven; 50% of the runs are suited to your ski level. Our best advice is to explore the area from the gondola and below, as well as heading over to skyline area for great snowy cat tracks. The heading down between the Riesen quad and the gondola is good fun, you can choose to head back to the bottom of the gondola or Nakiyama base, it's sure to get the thighs burning!

Try your hand at the 1998 Olympic downhill and super giant slalom runs, any of the steep and well-formed mogul runs, or hike up above and beyond the top lifts for some steep and deep back country skiing. Those interested in off-piste and back country tour should contact Evergreen Outdoor Activity Office. With years of experience and dedication to safety, they run outstanding back country day tours with knowledgeable guides, aimed at various levels.

Summit 1,831m
Vertical 1,071m
Longest Run 8,000m
Lifts/ Gondola 23
Average Snowfall 11m
Beginner 30%
Intermediate 50%
Advanced 20%
Kids Park Yes
Terrain Park Yes
Runs Open 8:00 - 17:00
Night Skiing 17:00 - 21:00
Ski Season Dec - May

Goryu & Iimori

Goryu is connected with Hakuba 47 & Iimori and offers some of the best terrain in the valley, from wide open beginner and intermediate runs to challenging steeps. With these resorts combined, the total skiable area is comparable to that of Happo One.

For those staying in central Hakuba, Goryu is the most popular resort for night skiing with extensive base facilities and restaurants. Goryu itself offers a number of great accommodations to suit all budgets, as well as a number of atmospheric bars and restaurants.

Goryu has a good base area geared towards those starting out skiing or boarding. Head to Iimori or Goryu Escal Plaza base area for some gentle wide groomed slopes. Take some lessons with well reputed Hakuba Snow Sports to get your riding legs ready for exploring up higher on the mountain.

Head straight to the top of Goyru to your intermediate-slope playground at Alps Daira. You're sure to enjoy the connecting runs over to Hakuba 47 Ski Resort where you will find even more intermediate terrains. Through Iimori area, too, you will find a number of well suited slopes.

Goryu only offers a few black runs, but amongst them, the steepest slope face in the valley, Champion Expert Course. On a powder day head over to Adventure Course linking 47 and Goryu resorts and do laps of the gondola.

Jumping the bounds is strictly frowned upon, but you can hike up past the top of Goryu from Jizo no Atama to access exhilarating lines through deciduous trees and down steep faces following the rive around to the bottom of the gondola. Do not head out without shovel, beacon and probe, even better, hit up the expert team at Evergreen Outdoor Centre for a tour catered to your ability level.

Summit 1,676m
Vertical 818m
Longest Run 5,000m
Lifts/ Gondola 12
Average Snowfall 11m
Beginner 35%
Intermediate 40%
Advanced 25%
Kids Park Yes
Terrain Park Yes
Runs Open 8:00 - 16:50
Night Skiing 18:00 - 21:30
Ski Season Nov - May

Hakuba 47

Hakuba 47 is an awesome ski resort, and what makes it even better is the fact it is connected to Goryu & Iimori on the same lift ticket, allowing access to ski area the size of Happo One next door. Some very long cruising intermediate pistes coupled with some interesting treed powder courses make for an unforgettable day. Northerly facing Hakuba 47 ensures a long season with top to base skiing until May! Hakuba 47 is located 5km from Hakuba train station, there is no ski-in-ski-out accommodation at the 47 base, just a huge free car park. Those wanting to stay close by should look for accommodation in the Goryu area.

Beginners will concentrate mid mountain at the top of the gondola, with a spacious area to work on your core ski and board skills. Once your feeling a little more stable through the legs, take the lifts up to the top where you can cross over to Goryu Resort.

Hakuba 47 is heaven for intermediate skiers and boarders, with a number of slopes to choose from, and the Big Snow Park if you're up to it. The pristine groomed piste offers great opportunity to work on your turns and downhill speed. Head up to the top and enjoy the connecting runs to Goryu Ski Resort.

The predominantly north facing slopes ensure great snow throughout the day, but there's only two black runs on offer at the resort, three is you count the one connecting Hakuba 47 to Iimori resort. Those a little more daring can hike up past the lifts to experience unreal back country. Make sure you and your team are each carrying a rescue beacon, shovel and probe. Best done under the expert guidance of a tour leader from Evergreen Outdoor Centre, you'll experience a hug area of bowls, cliffs and lines between deciduous trees.

Hakuba 47 is home to the biggest and best park in the Hakuba Valley, with a 100-metre half-pipe, rails and table-tops, and varying sizes of kickers. Two lifts service the park area to get you back up and around in no time.

Summit 1,676m
Vertical 794m
Longest Run 3,800m
Lifts/ Gondola 5
Average Snowfall 11m
Beginner 30%
Intermediate 40%
Advanced 30%
Kids Park Yes
Terrain Park Yes
Runs Open 8:00 - 16:00
Night Skiing No
Ski Season Dec - May

Iwatake

Ski all the four points of a compass, a variety of open to tree lined courses radiate down from the summit to all sides. This is an intermediate skiers' dream, as well as perfect for families, the summit boasts some of the best views in the entire valley.

One of Hakuba's most easily accessible cross-country tracks, at the base of Iwatake you will find a 5-km course, and a shop renting out cross-country equipment. A fun activity challenging you to use different muscles and movements than you were doing out on the mountain.

Iwatake resort is located between Happo One and Tsugaike, take a day trip here from Happo, Goryu or Tsugaike, or stay in one of the many traditional family run pensions at the base of the ski resort. Whilst there are not many restaurants around, the hosts take good care of their guests and provide great home cooked meals in the evenings. We should mention Iwatake is home to Hakuba's own local Hakuba Brewery, grab a beer and a bite to eat for lunch, or come back for great bar meal offerings in the evenings.

Iwatake offers some great wide open beginner tracks. Practice a few runs down low on the first pair lift, before heading up the gondola to the summit. You will find beginner runs pointing in all four directions down from the summit. It's an easy intermediate run to ski to the base of the gondola.

Iwatake is perfect for the blooming intermediate skier or rider. With most runs graded as intermediate, you'll have a blast doing laps of the gondola, or skiing the runs spreading out from the summit.

There are a few fun runs the advanced skier will enjoy especially the left side of the resort. Iwatake after a big dump is really fun and doesn't attract the crowds like other close-by resorts, with powder pockets through the tree-lined runs remaining for days after. As Iwatake spread in all directions from the peak, there is no back country skiing.

Summit 1,289m
Vertical 539m
Longest Run 3,300m
Lifts/ Gondola 13
Average Snowfall 11m
Beginner 30%
Intermediate 50%
Advanced 20%
Kids Park No
Terrain Park Yes
Runs Open 8:00 - 17:00
Night Skiing No
Ski Season Dec - Mar

Tsugaike

Tsugaike is a big resort well suited to all levels with long cruising uninterrupted skiing. Encompassing some very good on and off piste powder skiing, the resort is situated within the pristine environment of the Alps National Park. 

It is well worth a visit, and can be reached by shuttle from Goryu, Happo, Hakuba station, or Iwatake, or you can choose to stay in any one of a number of ski-in-ski-out hotels surrounding the wide base area at Tsugaike.

Tsugaike has Hakuba Valley's best beginner slopes for those starting out, with a ginormous 350-metre wide treeless patch of open run. With such gentle slopes and few obstacles, your confidence will sky rockets, then you can tackle some of the further beginner runs accessed by gondola mid station, and finally hit up the cat track "course through the forest."

Great opportunities are available for intermediate skiers with plenty of fun runs mid to high mountain. Hop on the gondola Eve, and ride past the mid station all the way to the top. Take one further pair lift to the top of the ridge and make your way down a new run each time.

Tsugaike has something for everyone, and whilst there are only a couple of black runs, you'll love the  off piste area, the powder pockets, and the terrain park that opens up later in the season.

Back country up top of Tsugaike is possible, never head out without taking a shovel, probe and beacon. There is heli skiing available for the thrill seekers, but the heli providers take all riders to the same drop-off point, so fresh tracks may be hard to find.

Summit 1,704m
Vertical 904m
Longest Run 4,630m
Lifts/ Gondola 20
Average Snowfall 11m
Beginner 50%
Intermediate 30%
Advanced 20%
Kids Park Yes
Terrain Park Yes
Runs Open 8:00 - 17:00
Night Skiing 17:00 - 21:00
Ski Season Nov - May

Cortina

Cortina looks small, but looks are deceiving! Cortina is a powder mecca, boasting huge snowfalls, epic tree skiing, vast beginner’s areas and some very steep treed and piste runs. The secret is out about Cortina and powder hounds here especially after a dump, because everyone knows when it snows 30 cm in Happo, it dumped 50 cm in Cortina. With almost 15 metre snowfall per season, the small resort has a big backing of fans, and offers something for everyone. Come and experience the true "Japow" here!

There is an unmissableginormous resort hotel at the base with great facilities. The iconic red-roofed Tudor-style building is in fact Hakuba's largest hotel with over 250 rooms, and can be seen from most runs acting as a point of reference to help you find your direction. There are a number of restaurants you can choose for lunch, and an expansive hot spring bath separated into male and female.

The wide open beginner run served by quad lift provides the perfect learning ground for practicing your skills. Due to the distance between main Hakuba Village, and Cortina, hiring English-speaking instructors to come out lessons is very expensive, so make sure to pick up the basics at lessons at Happo, Goryu, Iimori, or Iwatake Resorts before attempting on your own at Cortina.

You'll find plenty of terrain geared to your level, after warming up on the main Ikenotaira beginner slope, head to the top by either of the pair lifts and wind back down, enjoying the picturesque scenery and the grandiose Green Plaza Hotel. Norikura side of the mountain will have plenty of slopes perfect for your level.

On a powder day, this is heaven as the bowl protects snow from weathering away, and offers unbeatable tree and off-piste runs with a self-responsibility approach.  You'll also find one of the steepest slopes in the valley, peaking at 42 degrees! On a busy day, taxis and buses over to the resort from main Hakuba Village completely fill up, so consider staying a night at the ski-in-ski-out hotel to get first tracks.

There are three gates for back country access, with runs that take you down the valley, but as always, don't head out without an understanding of avalanche theory, and back country safety kit. Even better, hire an expert tour guide from Evergreen Outdoor.

Summit 1,402m
Vertical 530m
Longest Run 3,500m
Lifts/ Gondola 7
Average Snowfall 12m
Beginner 40%
Intermediate 30%
Advanced 30%
Kids Park Yes
Terrain Park No
Runs Open 8:30 - 17:00
Night Skiing Weekdays 17:00 - 20:00 Holidays 17:00 - 21:00
Ski Season Dec - Apr

Norikura

Norikura is Cortina’s neighbour, located at the northern end of the Hakuba valley. Known for awesome snowfalls and with lesser crowds, Norikura is well suited for intermediates, freestylers and families and is a definite hidden gem!

Norikura and Cortina can be ridden on the same ski lift pass and offer up a fair amount of terrain making for a great day trip from further south in the Hakuba valley. Finish up your day with a soak in the onsen before heading back in time for dinner.

Take your pick of gentle wide rollers to help boost your confidence and balance level, a fair surface area especially when paired with neighbouring Cortina.

There's a huge range of terrain suitable for the intermediate skier, and with sparse crowds even over the weekend, you'll have no hesitation zooming down the runs carving a new line each time.

The side country area at the top of Norikura is based on skiing at your own risk, but offers fun pockets of powder snow even a couple of days after the last dump. Once you  done with tree runs, try your hand at the half-pipe, one of the best in the valley.

Head up and above the ski resort for some exhilarating back country skiing in some of the deepest powder in the valley. Tours can be arranged through Evergreen Outdoor Centre with experienced guides.

Summit 1,300m
Vertical 600m
Longest Run 2,500m
Lifts/ Gondola 9
Average Snowfall 12m
Beginner 30%
Intermediate 50%
Advanced 20%
Kids Park Yes
Terrain Park Yes
Runs Open 8:30 - 16:30
Night Skiing No
Ski Season Dec - Apr

Jiigatake

The southern most ski resort in the Hakuba Valley sports a mere four lifts, and offers a quiet getaway perfect for beginners. The resort is tucked away behind Kizakiko Lake and the town of Omachi, and avoids much of the weekend traffic some of the larger resorts attract. Access is best done with a rental car, bring a spare change of clothes and spend the afternoon exploring the town of Omachi, its wonderful hot springs, and have dinner at a traditional Japanese restaurant – you're almost guaranteed not to bump into any fellow travelers here. If you want to grab a lunch on the hill, be sure to visit one of the restaurants for fresh stone-baked pizza.

The main central Echo Course is a wide gentle slope, where you can work on your French fries and pizza turns, and once you feel stable enough, try either side of the course for further beginner runs.

Summit 1,200m
Vertical 260m
Longest Run 1,500m
Lifts/ Gondola 4
Average Snowfall 10m
Beginner 80%
Intermediate 20%
Advanced 0%
Kids Park Yes
Terrain Park Yes
Runs Open 8:30 - 16:50
Night Skiing No
Ski Season Dec - Mar

Kashimayari

Located at the southern end of the Hakuba Valley, Kashimayari commands picturesque views of the Alps and has a network of beginners and intermediates courses, challenging advanced courses and great night skiing.

Kashimayari is the most popular resort for local Japanese from surrounding Omachi and Matsumoto City, you'll get to mix with local die-hard skiers and boarders, and won't see too many other westerners around. It's also the prime choice for locals for night skiing with the largest network of lit up runs in the Hakuba Valley. There is not much accommodation around Kashimayari, so take advantage of the complimentary shuttle down there from Happo.

Be sure to go up to #5 pair lift to ski down the slope while seeing the beautiful Aokiko Lake in the distance. You will really feel as if you are the king of the world!

Enjoy breathtaking lake views as you work to link your turns and get ready for the intermediate slopes.

You'll have a huge pick of runs at Kashimayari with long winding intermediate slopes. The night skiing is well geared for the intermediate skier and boarder, definitely get out there for a night.

There's a handful of black runs here which are generally ungroomed, you're sure to enjoy getting amongst the locals at "Kashima" , as they call it. The steepest run is called Tsukiodana, just underneath the #6 quad lift connecting Nakatsuna slopes to the main slopes and #2 pair lift. Usually Tsukiodana is closed because of the safety reason. Please ski or ride with caution and at your own risk.

There are a few back country opportunities from Kashimayari but this is generally frowned upon, so best to keep your back country localised in the centre of Hakuba with a well trained tour guide.

Summit 1,550m
Vertical 720m
Longest Run 5,000m
Lifts/ Gondola 8
Average Snowfall 11m
Beginner 40%
Intermediate 45%
Advanced 15%
Kids Park Yes
Terrain Park Yes
Runs Open Weekdays 8:30 - 16:30 Holidays 7:30 - 16:30
Night Skiing Weekdays 16:30 - 21:30
Ski Season Dec - Apr