Skiing & Snowboarding in Japan
Japan boasts over 600 ski resorts and some of the best are in the Hakuba area. Hakuba is home to 13 resorts – all within a 15 minute drive! Hakuba’s famed lift-serviced deep powder, accessible back country, terrain parks and a consistent 11 meters of snow per season make it one of the best kept secrets in the snow-going world!
There are free shuttles to and from the major resorts and the Echoland, Happo and Wadano areas, the best places to stay, as well as downtown Hakuba – home of the banks, post office, train station and supermarket.
Four of the biggest and most popular resorts include:
Happo-One (that’s “happo o-nay” not “happo won”!) was home to the 1998 Winter Olympics downhill race events and is one of Japan’s largest and most famous ski resorts. Happo has the largest area of above-tree-line riding in all of Japan. It’s a dynamic mountain with courses to suit all abilities with 33 lifts providing access across 13 slopes with the longest an impressive 5 miles (about 8kms)!
The terrain at Happo-One caters mainly to intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders with wide open powder fields and long groomed trails set amongst stunning alpine views. There’s also a terrain park for boarders.
Hakuba47 is one of the newest ski resorts in Hakuba Village. Its nickname is “Yon Nana” which means “Four Seven” in Japanese although the formal resort name is “Hakuba Forty-Seven”.
Nestled between Goryu and Happo-One, it offers some suburb skiing and riding across 80 acres of immaculately groomed long cruising trails. The mountain is ideal for intermediates and beginners but there are also some challenging mogul fields and deep powder runs for the experts. Plus, the terrain park is considered the best in Hakuba.
Due to its north-facing direction, Hakuba47 receives excellent dry powder throughout the season. The mountain is also connected with the ‘Goryu’ ski area offering even more variety for a great day out.
Hakuba Goryu has 15 lifts offering an impressive 726 metres (2382 feet) of vertical descent, and 21 pistes. Hakuba Goryu is best suited to beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders but there is terrain to suit all abilities. Snowboarders can enjoy a terrain park including a half pipe. You’ll also find moguls, a great kids area, night skiing and plenty of great snow!
Don’t forget Goryu and Hakuba47 are connected and ski passes are valid between the two mountains.
Iwatake with its 15 courses boasts one of the most breathtaking views of the region, including a 360°panoramic view of the surrounding mountains. It’s a great mountain for intermediate skiers and the great terrain park makes it very popular with boarders.
For those who wish to take a break from skiing or just want to try something new, Iwatake also offers a snowshoe course at the top of the resort.