How To Get There

There are various options regarding how to get to Hakuba Japan. The airport and Tokyo to Hakuba travel information and booking options include bus transfers to/from the airports to Hakuba and trains to Hakuba. Other Hakuba transport information includes drivingshuttles around Hakuba, shuttles to other Nagano ski resorts, and flight tips and bookings.

Where is Hakuba?

The town of Hakuba is located 44km west of Nagano (about one hour drive) in the Nagano Prefecture. Hakuba is located on the island of Honshu (the main island of Japan), about 270km northwest of Tokyo. “Hakuba Valley” is the large area that encompasses the 11 ski resorts and various villages, but most people just refer to the area as “Hakuba”.

Happo One Ski Resort and the Happo village are the main tourist hub, which extends 1.5 - 2.6km west of the town of Hakuba.

Flights

The Tokyo Narita Airport is the main gateway airport for Hakuba, or some people fly into Haneda Airport (although transfer options are not as readily available at Haneda compared to Narita). You can search for flight options here.

Unless you want to overnight in a hotel near the Tokyo train station or a Narita hotel (or a Nagano hotel), you’ll need to consider your flight times. Arrivals into Narita should be before 7pm, whilst for return flights you ideally want a late afternoon flight out of Tokyo.

How To Get to Hakuba

There are two main options for getting from Tokyo to Hakuba - Narita Airport (or Haneda Airport).

Tokyo Airport Bus to Hakuba
The Hakuba bus is the easiest transport option from Narita Airport or Haneda Airport. The bus tends to cost a fraction more than the train/train/bus combo (see below) and the Hakuba bus trip takes a little longer, about 5-6 hours, but it provides the advantage of not having to lug your bags around the train stations and on and off trains and buses, or grapple with train fares and timetables. This is also the transport of choice if you arrive at the Narita airport in the evening (so you can avoid having to overnight in a Narita hotel or Nagano hotel).

You can book a Hakuba bus with Nagano Snow Shuttlewith the option to get dropped off at your Hakuba accommodation (in Echoland, Happo, Wadano and Goryu - for an additional fee) or Hakuba Base Camp in Echoland (your lodging may be able to pick you up from there). Or if you’re staying in Tsugaike, Norikura or Cortina, pick the Otari accommodation drop off option.

For the return trip, you can opt to get dropped off at the JR Tokyo Shinjuku train station.

Nagano Snow Shuttle
Train to Hakuba from Narita Airport

You can get to Hakuba via a train/train/bus combo or a train/train/train combination. In summary, you get a train from Narita to Tokyo (or Ueno), then a bullet train (Shinkansen) to Nagano, and then a bus or train to Hakuba. This is the fastest route. From the Tokyo international airport the total trip takes about 3.5 to 4 hours depending upon connections. The other advantage of taking the trains is that it’s a great insight into a part of the Japanese culture.

See our Japan rail travel page for more information on the JR East Pass (Nagano Niigata) including is it worth purchasing a JR East Pass. The information below outlines each of the steps in the trip. 

From Tokyo (Narita) Airport
From Tokyo international airport, take the train (Narita express) to Tokyo (Shinjuku) station which will take about 1 hour. These trains depart the airport rail terminal frequently. If you don’t plan to purchase the Japan Rail Pass because you’re only going to Hakuba, one option is to pay as you go and catch the Keiser Skyliner train that goes from Narita to Ueno (a station on the Nagano side of Tokyo) in a very speedy time of about 35 minutes!

From Tokyo Station (or Ueno) to Nagano
The Tokyo train station is a tourist destination in itself, with the fascinating rush of people bustling about, the many food options to choose from, and the endless souvenir shops. Trains from Narita Airport arrive at underground platforms #1-4 so there’s quite an eye-opening hike up to the Shinkansen Bullet trains which leave from platforms #20-23. The Nagano bullet train (Asama Shinkansen) departs Tokyo Station regularly throughout the day (you can check train timetables here), and the super speedy trip (at over 200kph) takes only 90 minutes.

Or if you come into Ueno you have to swap from the local train station to the Shinkansen train station, a walk of about 150 metres. This station isn’t quite as chaotic as Tokyo and offers the advantage of a faster trip time.

From Nagano Station to Hakuba
There are various options to get from Nagano to Hakuba which all take about one hour:
  • Alpico buses from Nagano to Hakuba run every hour from 8:20am to 7:40pm (Friday night 9.00pm). Buses depart from the East (Higashi) exit of Nagano Station from bus stop 6. Most people use this option. The buses terminate at the Happo Information Centre, and many of the accommodation providers offer transport or there are lots of taxis.
  • You could get a taxi directly to your hotel for about ¥25,000, although you and the taxi driver might need to be creative in accommodating your ski/board bag.
  • You can catch a local train to the Hakuba train station. Many Hakuba accommodations provide transport from the train station.

Driving

Driving to Hakuba is becoming more popular because once you’re there, it provides a huge advantage of flexibility and ease to get around to the various Hakuba ski areas and villages. GPS navigation technology has advanced significantly and all you have to do is enter the telephone number of where you want to go, and the GPS does everything (except the actual driving!). You can get car rental at Haneda or Narita Airport or Nagano.

Getting Around Hakuba

The Happo bus terminal is the main interchange to access all ski resorts in Hakuba Valley. The Happo bus terminal is 1.7km east of the Hakuba train station (downtown Hakuba).

Road distances from the Happo bus terminal: There are four types of buses and shuttles that run around Hakuba Valley, so it can get rather confusing and it may take a little while to get your head around the bus systems. You can get Hakuba bus timetables and route maps from the information centre or your accommodation. Some of the shuttle buses to the ski resorts get very full, so there are times when you'll need to wait for another bus.

Hakuba Valley Ski Resort Buses
The Hakuba Valley shuttles run to all the HV ski resorts (ie not Sanosaka and Minekata) from the Happo bus terminal. The Blue Line is free for those with a Hakuba Valley lift pass otherwise it attracts a small fee, and the buses go to Happo One, Echoland, Hakuba 47, and Goryu, and Wadano, Iwatake and Tsugaike in the other direction. The Orange Line (Konayuki) to Norikura and Cortina (via Tsugaike) attracts a small charge. The Red Line (Omachi) to Kashimayari and Jigatake are free of charge, although there aren’t many schedules each day.

Ski Resort Buses
Most ski resorts also run their own shuttle bus (so you can see how it can get a little confusing!). These are particularly common around Happo Village, Happo One, Wadano, Echoland, Hakuba 47 and Goryu. These buses are free.

Hotel Shuttles
Some of the Hakuba hotels provide their own shuttle service between the hotel and one or various ski resorts, and potentially also restaurants and supermarkets. These can range from once a day scheduled shuttles to on-demand transport.

There are various hotels in the northern part of the valley near Norikura and Cortina that offer transport services. Examples include Big Bear Lodge Cortina, Cortina Apartments, and SunnSnow Loghouse. Other examples of hotels that offer transport include Double Black Hotel (in Wadano), Backcountry Lodge Hakuba, Hakuba Highland Hotel, and Log Cottage Epoch.

Genki Go Night Buses
From 6pm to midnight the Genki Go buses have routes that travel somewhat regularly around Echoland, Happo Village, and Wadano, and less regularly to Iwatake and Goryu villages. The fare is inexpensive, but you need to have the correct change. The bus stops are numbered - at each stop there is a small route map and the timetable for that route. The Genki Go buses only tend to run in peak season (pre-Xmas to the end of February).

Other Transport Around the Hakuba Villages 
It is possible to walk between Wadano, Happo and Hakuba town, but the walks can be fairly long. And this is probably not the place to wear your glamorous après boots because the roads can get rather sloppy!

If your hotel doesn’t offer a restaurant shuttle service and you don’t have a car, the other option is to catch a taxi.
 
Getting Between Hakuba and Nozawa Onsen, Shiga Kogen, Madarao or MyokoIf you’re sampling multiple Nagano ski resorts on your trip, there are shuttle buses between Hakuba and Nozawa Onsen, Madarao (and Tangram), Shiga Kogen and Myoko Kogen with Nagano Snow Shuttle (Inter-Resort Transfers). The inter-resort transfer buses depart or arrive at Hakuba Base Camp in Echoland. There are multiple schedules per day, so it’s ideal for day trips (departures at 6am or 8am) or if changing your destination ski resort.

Click here to book inter-resort transfers