Travis Rice in Japan

The Hakuba mountains in Japan is where Travis Rice filmed the Japanese segment of his latest film “The Fourth Phase”. The movie footage is amazing and you will be pretty much guaranteed similar conditions if you come here mid season for a 2 week stint. Here is some footage of what he got up to in the Valley. A Cortina powder day is an obvious choice for even the pro’s. Can I recommend ensuring you are geared up for rescue if you try any lines like these and also please don’t slide on our roads. Fun to watch but buses hurt if they hit you. I think they used a stuntman 🙂

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Mt Hakuba (Shirouma) climb. 白馬岳

Mt Hakuba 4

Almost to the top. Mt Shirouma lodge on the right with the peak just beyond that.

We have world class hiking here in Hakuba for every level of experience. I recently took on the big one, Mt Shirouma, through the Daisekkei snowfield for a day hike. I would recommend staying up at the mountain lodge for the evening to truly take in the great atmosphere of one of Japans most famous hikes. On this particular day we had a good mix of conditions which added to the experience. No rain thankfully however at times a misty fog would surround us. The snowfield is glacier like with lots of creaks and groans in the snowpack giving an eerie mood. Adding to that is the intermittent sound of small rockfalls on either side of the gorge. There is constant threat and existence of larger rockfalls so there is a need to be vigilant. It’s a solid hike for 5 hours with some of the most spectacular scenery you will ever experience. I can thoroughly recommend it along with the ramen and beer at the top. You do require crampons for the snowfield which can be purchased at the base for 1000 yen.

Mt Hakuba 27

We are going up

Mount Hakuba

A little bit further and we hit the ice field

Hakuba hiking

Conditions were icy and like walking on a giant golfball. You need crampons

Japan hiking

and looking back down the valley

Hakuba Japan

Beautiful wildflowers along the way

Japan outdoors

the scenery constantly changed from brilliant

hiking in Japan

to magnificent


the clouds would come and go

Japanese mountains

with some amazing displays


Nearly at the top


Hikers Heaven. On top of the world with a shelter, food and drinks. The peak in the background just 10 minutes away

Hakuba peak

The peak monument @ 2932 meters

Ramen 2

The ramen up top was actually very good and, well Sapporo is always good.

Thank you to my good friend and Professional Guide, Hiromi Ishihara, for taking me along on this amazing adventure.  I can certainly recommend her services if you are looking for some knowledgeable assistance to the region.

If you would like more information on this and anything else about Hakuba then please contact me directly at

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New Lift Ticket System – game changer

Hakuba lifts

and then the clouds clear.

Huge news for the Hakuba Valley this week with the anouncement of a new lift ticketing system to be introduced for this 2016-17 winter season. It’s a big and positive step for the resorts to get together and introduce a state of the art lift pass. Life will be a lot easier now for everyone coming here to ski and snowboard. No more waiting at the ticket box exchanging vouchers or buying daily passes. The lift ticket, which you will be able to pre-purchase, will enable you to walk straight through the gates which puts you on the lifts faster to get you where you want to be. Goryu, Iimori, Hakuba47, Happo One, Iwatake, Tsugaike and Norikura will all have scanning gates this season to allow you instant access to the lifts. Jigatake, Kashimayari, Yanaba, Sanosaka and Cortina will introduce them the following season however your pass will still enable you to exchange a day pass.

Just a little history on my take of the way things were done previously. There are 500 or so ski resorts in Japan. Most of them are owned by separate entities all vying for their piece of the ski market. There has been a lot of competition and that included between each of the resorts in Hakuba.  Over recent history there has been a lot of encouragement from the locals in Hakuba for the resorts to join forces and become one of the biggest and best resort areas not only in Japan but on a world scale. “THE HAKUBA VALLEY”. Finally with the hard work of a few very motivated men and woman we are starting to see the potential of what Hakuba can be.

For more info on the system check out the Skidata website HERE.

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Bucket list


Hakuba in April

Trip of a life time

April 2016. Where will you be? How about combining one of Japan’s most incredible festivals with a trip to the giant snow walls whilst checking out the Cherry Blossom season and throw in a back country Heli Ski adventure in the Japanese Alps. This is a trip of a life time.

Onabashira is commonly know as the log sliding festival.  Giant trees are  sent sliding down a hill with the local people riding atop. This event is truly an amazing spectacle and something that should not be missed. More info here

The giant snow walls of Tateyama are world renowned. We’ll be taking the adventurous route through long tunnels, over a huge dam and traversing on Japans longest single span ropeway to reach the destination. More info here

The Cherry Blossoms in Japan will even make the toughest of men ohh and arhh over their beauty. Come and celebrate as the Japanese do with a Hanami party under the Cherry trees. More info here

Heli Ski in the Japanese Alps in style with a classic Japanese  bento picnic lunch and a bottle of champagne on top of one of the most spectacular mountain regions in the world. This is available for intermediate and above skiers and boarders. Mellow lines and a good introduction to the Hakuba backcountry. More info here

Tony Anderson from the White Horse Hotel has been living in the region for 10 years and will be you personal escort for this adventure of a lifetime. Contact him directly HERE for more information and package deals. There are limited numbers so get in early.

Onabashira official website Here

Giant Snow walls site Here


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Monk Fish Festival

Hakuba tours

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

If you are in Hakuba tomorrow then this would certainly be a good way to check out a real local festival. These fish are ugly but very tasty so jump on a spectacular scenic train ride and go and enjoy a great day on the coast. I would definitely recommend it. The Nou and the Oyashirazu festivals on the following weeks are also easy to get to.

Hakuba festivals

Worth the train ride

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Discount lift tickets for Hakuba

Doctor Hakuba

Cheap tickets. They were cheap already.

Here are the discount vouchers for this season. I always wonder why people pre purchase tickets when the deals are so good. Pre purchased tickets have to be validated at the ticket box each day anyway so you may as well take advantage of these vouchers. There are a few more family deals HERE at SnowNavi

[How to use]
Print out the voucher (black and white is OK). Please fill your name, number of users, address, age and bring to the ticket office.

Happoone Ski Resort - Discount coupons pack a day pass - Snownavi

Happoone Ski Area - Discount coupons pack a day pass - Snownavi

Tsugaike kogen Ski Resort - Discount coupons pack a day pass - Snownavi

Tsugaike kogen Ski Area - Discount coupons pack a day pass - Snownavi

Tsugaike kogen Ski Area - Discount coupons pack a day pass - Snownavi

Hakuba Iwatake Snowfield - One day Lift Ticket Coupon with Lunch Ticket

Hakuba Iwatake Snowfield - Family Pack A Lift one day pack

Hakuba Iwatake Snowfield - Family Pack B Lift one day pack



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Narita Terminal 3


Tokyo Narita airport opened up it’s terminal 3 earlier this year for some of the low cost carriers like the Jetstar airline. If you are arriving into Terminal 3 then you may need to make your way to the bus stops or the train line at terminal 2. There is a bus transfer however you will probably find the walk is just as easy. Facilities at the terminal are quite good with plenty of restaurants and a Lawsons convenience store. There is also a 7/11 cash machine which you can use with your Visa or Mastercard to get some yen. (probably better to get some before you leave home though). It is a 520 meter covered walkway between terminals on a running track surface which is quite easy going. It is covered but will be really cold in the winter so have a jacket handy and some gloves.

Narita 2

Step out of customs and straight onto the race track

Narita 3

Up the escalator and you are in starting position


plenty of food options if you are peckish after your flight

Narita airport

and a lawson’s conveni for bits and pieces. (Fried chicken is yum)

Narita cash machine

Get some Yen out with your Visa or Mastercard here.


Down another escalator and off you go.

Narita terminal 2

In through the doors here to Terminal 2. Trains. baggage delivery service and information counter



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Hakuba First day of the season competition


The first day of the season last year was deeeeep

Here we go again. Each year we run a competition to pick the first day of the season. The rules are

  • The first day the lifts open for skiers and boarders at any one of the resorts in Hakuba.
  • One date per person. If 2 or more people choose the same date then we will have a draw out of a hat to choose the winner.
  • The date must be chosen at least one week in advance
  • If a date isn’t chosen then it’s the closest date before.

The prizes are

So go to the bottom of this blog and put your date in the comments section or email me HERE and I will add it. Good luck. Remember that the resorts will open as soon as there is enough snow on the ground so it’s pretty much any time now.

The list so far.

Tereza – 12th December

Daniel Bacon – 10th December

Nick Kowal – 10th December

Bussell Ruxton – 9th December

Steph H – 8th December

William – 7th December

Prasit Mankad – 7th December

Stephen Bryant – 6th December

Dee Mathiesen – 6th December

Jeff House – 5th December

Daniel Mee – 5th December

Nadine Robb – 5th December

Stacey – 5th December

Cryssiejade – 5th December

Jake Atkinson – 4th December

Mark Redhill – 3rd December

Bundy – 3rd December

James Millane – 2nd December

Richard Copland – 1st December

Scott M – 1st December

Ruthryan – 1st December

Michael Mc – 30th November

Hakubahouse99 – 30th November

Sarah Seah – 30th November

Daniel M – 29th November

Jesse Kourmouzis – 29th November

Matt Dunn – 29th November

Steve Williams – 28th November

James C – 28th November

Charlotte Nadine – 28th November

Tony A – 27th November

Toru Higashi – 27th November

Shane Taylor – 26th November

Sally Williams – 26th November

Krystal Johnson – 23rd November

Kev M – 21st November

Shane Beal – 18th November

Lucky Pete – 14th November

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Avalanche Training Courses in Hakuba Japan

AST in Japan

The first line should be straight to AST school

The resort sking in Hakuba is fantastic with lots of great terrain and of course plenty of snow. Something you will notice when you come here is a line of people at the top of the resorts each day heading off in all different directions with backpacks on. These crews are crossing into the danger zone.

The backcountry skiing and boarding in Hakuba is as good as it gets anywhere in the world however it is not something that should be taken lightly.  Do not go out of bounds without the correct gear and skills to keep you and others safe. The first step is an Avalanche Safety Course ( AST 1 ) These are run throughout the season by the very experienced team at Evergreen. If the endless backcountry lines of Hakuba are calling out to you then this is where you should be starting.

More Information and course dates are HERE

Side note : Probably the main thing that bothers me with people heading out  of the resort without the skills is the fact that they are putting other people’s lives at risk.  Firstly the people they are with, then the people below them and then the rescue teams that bravely come and look for them. Think before your drop.

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Discount lift tickets for Hakuba


This is the type of Lift line I enjoy

To get the best value for lift tickets in Hakuba you should purchase daily using the following discount coupons. Just print them off and present them at the ticket box.. It would still be cheap at twice the price. Just remember at some of the resorts there will be an extra charge of between 500 and 1000 yen for the electronic chip but you can get your money back for that at the end of the day.





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