How To Get There
There are various options to travel to Hakuba Japan. The Hakuba travel information and booking options include bus transfers to/from the airports to Hakuba
and trains to Hakuba
Other Hakuba transport information includes getting around Hakuba
, ski resorts nearby
, and flight tips
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.
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
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’ll ideally want an afternoon flight out of Tokyo or if you want to catch the shuttle bus to the airport, you’ll need a late afternoon or evening flight out.
Hakuba Travel – Getting There
There are two main options for getting to Hakuba from Narita Airport (or Haneda Airport):
- Train/train/bus combo – this includes a train from Narita to Tokyo (or Ueno), then a bullet train (Shinkansen) to Nagano, and then a bus to Hakuba. This is the fastest route. From the Tokyo international airport the total trip takes about 3.5 to 4 hours depending upon connection timing. The other advantage of taking the trains is that it’s a great insight into a part of the Japanese culture. Further detail on getting the train to Hakuba is below.
- Direct transfer from Tokyo airports to Hakuba – this involves getting a shuttle bus or shared taxi transfer directly from Narita Airport to Hakuba (and your Hakuba accommodation), which tends to cost a little more than the train/train/bus combo. The trip takes 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 this transfer with Nagano Snow Shuttle.
OPTION 1 DETAILS - Train to Hakuba (train/train/bus combo)
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 (Shinjuju) station which will take about 1 hour. These trains depart the airport rail terminal frequently.
Option 1B): If you don’t plan to purchase the Japan Rail Pass because you’re only going to Hakuba, the other 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.
Option 1B): At 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:
From Hakuba Bus Terminal to your Accommodation
- a) Alpico buses from Nagano to Hakuba run every hour from 8:20am to 7:40pm (Friday night 9.00pm) and cost about ¥1,500 one way (children ¥700). Buses depart from the East (Higashi) exit of Nagano Station from bus stop 6. Most people use this option.
- b) You could get a taxi directly to your hotel for about ¥18,000, although you and the taxi driver might need to be creative in accommodating your ski/board bag.
- c) You can catch a local train to the Hakuba Station.
If you are coming to Hakuba via bus for part or all of the trip, your bus is likely to end up at the Happo Information Center. There is not much accommodation within walking distance of the bus terminal, so it’s likely you’ll need onward transport. The staff in the centre speak English so they’ll be able to help you with this.
Many of the Hakuba accommodation
providers offer transport from the Happo Info Center if pre-arranged, or there are lots of taxis.
Getting Around the Hakuba Ski Resorts
Resorts close to Happo One
include others in the Hakuba Valley such as: Hakuba 47
(2km away); Goryu
(4km away), Hakuba Iwatake
(3.5km away), Tsugaike Kogen
(9km away) and Cortina
To get between the different ski resorts, there are hotel-run shuttles and well as the free public bus system that operates along the valley. There are also buses around Happo, Wadano, and Echoland that connect the accommodation areas with the Happo One slopes.
The ski shuttle buses are pretty regular but for some routes (e.g. from Upper Wadano, or to Cortina, Kashimayari or Jiigatake) you may need to first change buses at the Happo Information Centre.
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.
Getting Around the Hakuba Villages in the Evening
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!
The other option is a taxi, or from late afternoon there is a paid shuttle service called "Genki-Go" which runs around Happo, Wadano, Hakuba town, and the Echoland area. It only costs 300 yen per trip. 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).
Getting Between Hakuba, Nozawa Onsen and Shiga Kogen
If you’re sampling multiple Nagano ski resorts
on your trip, there are shuttle buses between Hakuba and Nozawa Onsen, and Hakuba and Shiga Kogen with Nagano Snow Shuttle (Inter-Resort Transfers)
. The inter-resort transfer buses depart or arrive at Hakuba at Happo bus terminal or Hakuba train station.