Hakuba - Reviews

Awesome powder and great to explore

Olivia
09/03/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    January
We were there end of January for two weeks and stayed in the charming (more upmarket) Wadono area two minutes walking distance to the Happo One Lifts and the free shuttle bus to the other resorts. We were amazed at how empty the resorts were despite it being peak season (having spent hours in previous seasons in other places in Japan queuing up for the lifts). Powder was amazing and we loved being able to ski different resorts depending on day/weather. We went to Happo One, Goryu and Hakuba 47. Being a big group was awesome. There was something for everyone. Well organised, friendly and flexible ski schools (Hakuba Ski School has great English speaking ski instructors from all over the world who have taught at Hakuba at many seasons- none of the kids/beginners were stuck with an instructor who was there for the first time as we have had in other parts of Japan, so they were really familiar with the mountain). Double black diamond runs and moguls are easy to find. We particularly liked that many of the easy runs crossed or met up with harder runs, so it was possible for an intermediate and expert skier to "ski together" and meet at certain points or at the bottom. It was also great that you quite often had an option to do a green/red run from the very top all the way down or choose the black runs down. It means that the beginners in our group weren't constantly on a lift and got to ski from the top to the bottom of the mountain. The lifts at the bottom of some of the more challenging black runs were great too - you could just do black runs over and over again.
The Hakuba 47 ski park with half pipes and jumps were fun and the tree runs throughout meant that you could easily ski in fresh powder every day.
Food was cheap, plentiful and reasonable. We have two favourite ramen noodle places, found countless charming ishikawa restaurants and chanced upon some awesome food trucks at the bottom of the Sakka lifts- Samurai terriyaki chicken sandwiches, tacos, thai food, homemade spicy plum sake and Little Alaskan Burgers.
The disco bus taking us to Momonoki Hotel minutes away for an absolutely amazing indoor/outdoor onsen and western/japanese buffet for everyone to enjoy was a hit!
We also enjoyed day trips to see the snow monkeys (seeing them fed and soaking in the onsen was brilliant), all you can eat strawberry picking and a really fun evening learning about Japanese drums, rice cake making at the Goryu centre.
Everyone was really friendly and lovely from the ski lift operators, ski rental, locals, bus drivers, ski school and restaurant staff. Best ski holiday every.
Hakuba-we are in love and will definitely be back!

Boringly spread out

C Dellfino
29/01/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    January
Hakuba is a lovely mountain valley area in the Japanese Alpa.... The resorts do no avalanche control, piste grooming is limited & the mountains have few side country options allowed... the town of Hakuba is spread out & like a ghost town after 7pm.... Fir me there is way better options to ski & stay at.... this place lacks atmosphere big time

hakuba valley jan 2016

lee
19/05/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    January
spent 10days/nights staying in wadano near the lifts of happo one.in the morning the hotel manager would phone around different stations to find which lifts were / weren't running due to wind /snow conditions etc and find best conditions for that day - the hotel bus would then ship us to that resort and pick up at end of day. we done happo one ,iwatake , goryu, hakuba 47 and Cortina and although the snowfall this year had been lacking in the weeks leading up to our trip we scored with plentiful snowfalls over the 10 days with lots of powder runs. only 1 bluebird day the whole time we were there so take your flat light goggles. the wind was an issue on a couple days where they would shut the top of the hill but plenty of fresh lines to be had the next day when they opened it again so make sure you check which resort has best conditions each morning. lift queues were virtually non existant - the only time I waited was 5 mins on a bottle neck with only a 2 man chair at the bottom of an awesome powder run at happo after they had opened the run up. lifts in general are slow/old lacking safety bar and foot rests but adds to the charm I suppose but might be scarey for young kids and all the lifties were great and always had a smile. there are some gondolas and 4 seater chairs around the resorts and didn't see any drag lifts. the pistes are well maintained but can get chopped up after a dump but if you know where to go you can score freshies all day. the apres is a little disappointing with a few pokie bars/cafes and the lift bases at the different hills serving beers. nightlife - there are bars/restaurants scattered all around the wadano/echoland area and all the ones we went to were good and reasonably priced. taxis were cheap only about £5 around town.

cheap lift passes, good snowfall, freshies, cheap beer, friendly locals , good food. ill be back!

when a little wind, no lifts !!!!

Jeremy 595
02/01/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    January
great snow but enormously outdated equipment. 2 seater lifts with no protection bar. If there was a little wind they closed all lifts as it was deemed to dangerous. We were there 11 days and lifts were closed for 4 days due to a little wind ....
Never again

Don't waste your money - Go somewhere else

Rob
31/12/2015
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Intermediate
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    December
Flying into Narita was good. Make sure you know when the shuttles or trains can move you to the Hakuba Valley. We couldn't get in before 9:30am so we had to spend an extra night in a hotel. Nagano Snow Shuttle moved the family for about $200 each direction. Not too bad and comparable to the train and other commercial bus services. Shuttle schedule around Hakuba Valley adjacent towns, and between the mountains is terrible. One shuttle each hour if you're lucky. Shuttles in the morning go to the hill, but don't come back until the afternoon and there are no shuttles either direction over lunch. Your only alternative is over priced taxi service if you're trying to move between mountains when they close for wind. Happo One will refund your money if they close lifts...we lost two days of skiing due to wind; however, Goryu and 47 would not...lost $100 on that hill. Went over Christmas 2015...crowd was terrible, mostly because none of the lifts were open. The day we arrived the bottom of the mountain didn't even have snow...only the top 1000' was open. Luckily it snowed 2 days later and some additional runs were opened. Impossible to tell which hills/lifts are open until you spend the hour needed to get to the hill, only to find out you really want to be at a different hill. If you go to Hakuba, stay very near the lifts, and don't go until after the New Year to ensure you have good snow for the money you'll spend. Bottom line, 2 days of good skiing out of 6, over priced taxis, too infrequent shuttle runs, and terrible wind that closes mountains. Not a good experience and won't be returning. Maybe Niseko next year.

Hakuba Valley

Joey
22/10/2015
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    12-17
  • Month Visited:
    February
I was staying in echoland for two weeks. The night life was not very good; however, we went for snow, not night life. The views and vibe of the whole place is incredible and there are well maintained roads and alleyways for walkers. The snow at each resort is roughly similar, although it gets wind affected really easily which makes it very icy on top, and powdery underneath that layer.

Happo One is incredible at the top as it gets the best views of the rest of the valley. There are lots of terrain parks throughout the valley, with terrain suitable for beginners through to expert. Cortina and Norikura are the places to go on a powder day as they have access to back country and lots of little hidden gems within walking distance from chairlifts. Happo One and other resorts are more strict when going out of bounds, and we were kicked off the mountain at Happo on our last day which was an incredible powder day. The restaurants and night life are best either in the town of Hakuba or in Happo or Echoland.

There are lifts everywhere and at some spots there are several lifts servicing the same run, this means there are rarely lines waiting except for on the old gondolas that feel like they

Hakuba

Jimmy
22/08/2015
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    18-35
Been here twice already and booking another one currently. 10/10. couldn't imagine a better boarding holiday. Although the nightlife could be better.

Powder days

Jarrod Diermajer
28/06/2015
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    18-35
Off-Piste Lines - Happo One Cortina Tree Runs Cortina Tree Runs Powder Days @ Cortina Happo One - View from Iwatake
My trip to Hakuba was filled with endless snowfall and epic powder runs. I'll breifly write some pointers for anyone thinking about a trip to this magical land. Tips:
- If you want to explore the various mountains in the hakuba region i would reccommend stay within close proximity to the Happo info centre. this is where you will get the bus services to the other mountains.
- I'd also reccommend buying your tickets on the day for the mountain you choose to ride for that day. We bought our tickets in advance and in the end it didn't provide any financial benefit or convenience.

Overall its an awesome place to come and get some good snow. Peace.

A World Class Ski Resort

Andy
11/03/2015
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    N/A
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
I have visited 36 ski resorts across Japan so far and this is by far my second most favorite, after Niseko. Massive ski areas, very long runs, challenging slopes, plenty of night shops. More importantly, probably for snowboarders, there are very little flat spots in the mountains, so no need to worry about taking your bindings off and walk up hill. Transportation is good around town, so no need to worry about late night travel. No wonder it was the chosen area for Winter Olympics.

Snow galore, many side- and off-piste options

Fil Makowski
26/02/2015
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
In some of the most reliable snow on earth, you can count on it dumping sometime in the week! And when it does, and visibility is down to a few metres, hit the trees of Happi-one and the recently opened TRZ zone of Hakuba 47. And when the sun comes out you're bound to find somewhere with unskied stashes... On top of it all the food is great and cheap - on and off the mountain.

For deep powder highlights of January 2015:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1P4dPbNYTM
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