Hakuba shopping is mostly centred around the Happo Village. Gone are many of the old Japanese souvenir shops selling strange looking produce (which is popular with the domestic tourists), sake, and lots of Japanese trinkets, and up have popped some new and shiny ski shops. Don’t be too disappointed; you’ll still be able to find sake and adequate Hello Kitty souvenirs!
Hakuba Ski Shops
Hakuba has seen a recent mini-boom of ski and snowboard shops that are owned by westerners, and an improvement in the quality and range of gear and apparel on offer. Many of the outfits on sale are now even fashionable which is possibly why the locals have stopped wearing their 80s outfits! And nowadays there are even quite a few Hakuba ski shops with backcountry equipment, technical gear, fat skis and split boards. Generally prices are about the same as what you’d find in Australia and more expensive than gear in the USA.
Rhythm Snowsports is the largest ski and snowboard shop in Hakuba, located in the old information centre at Wadano (next to the Mominoki Hotel). In addition to a good range of outerwear, inner wear, and accessories, they have lots of skis, snowboards and boots for sale. Rhythm provides ski boot fitting from experts, including a podiatrist, and they can even cater for big foot westerners! Other retail items include après boots, souvenirs, and lots of backcountry gear such as backpacks, powder skis, touring bindings, beacons, shovels, probes and backcountry poles.
There are a few other Hakuba ski shops dotted around the villages, although the highest concentration can be found in Happo Village.
Pro Ski has lots of apparel from Spyder and RH+, and lots of fat skis and boots. Three Peaks (based in the Springs Hotel arcade) has lots of Obermeyer outerwear, Liberty skis and touring bindings. The Kjus Performance shop has upped the ante on ski fashion in Hakuba, with lots of Kjus ski clothing as well as Black Crows skis.
And if you head into downtown Hakuba, check out The Board Store near the Hakuba Station and the post office. This little gem specialises in split boards and backcountry gear.
General Shopping Hakuba
Hakuba 47 has a souvenir shop in the base area, and the Escaru Plaza at the base of Goryu has a couple of souvenir shops. Ditto for Cortina, Tsugaike and Iwatake, but most of the souvenirs tend to be rather basic or garish.
Happo also has some souvenir and gift stores, but not as many as it used to have. The “I Love Hakuba” shop in Happo is probably your best bet for souvenirs and sake.
If you need some new après boots to wander round the sloppy road of Hakuba, there’s a shop not far from the Hakuba station which is solely dedicated to boots. The only catch is that they don’t have too many boots in big sizes. Girls with big feet would have to bind them to get the shoes to fit!
There’s a convenience store called Lawson in Happo (on the main intersection) which sells alcohol, snacks and basic groceries. There’s also a 7-Eleven in the Echoland area and in Iwatake.
For more substantial purchases head into one of the supermarkets in Hakuba town. There’s a big supermarket behind the post office, or check out Max Valu (bus stop 12). In addition to lots of groceries and alcohol, the supermarket has a bakery and a 100 yen section where you can pick up some Japanese crockery and souvenirs super cheap.