Situated in the Northern Japanese Alps, at just a few hours’ drive from Tokyo, is the peaceful mountain village of Hakuba. Surrounded by towering mountain ranges, Hakuba offers many outdoor adventure opportunities to visitors. From exquisite powder ski slopes to therapeutic hot spring onsens, Hakuba is a paradise for winter lovers. But many of its attractions have a year-round appeal, like alpine treks along the Happo One Nature Trail, hiking the Hakuba Sanzan, exploring the Wadano no Mori area, touring the rustic village of Aoni, and more. Well-known across the world as the site of the 1998 Winter Olympics, Hakuba is one of the most popular ski destinations in Asia. With so many options, it can get quite confusing to select the best activities for your itinerary in Hakuba. Fortunately, we’ve shortlisted the best options for you! Scroll down to know more about all the things to do in Hakuba, Japan
1. Take an alpine trek along the Happo One Nature Trail
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
In the enchanting alpine region of Hakuba, get active and go on a trek along the Happo One Nature Trail. This 3-km (1.86 miles) long nature trail runs from Happo Pond Mountain Retreat to Happo Pond and can be easily completed in 4 hours. The trail takes you along alpine passes, providing fantastic views of the Shirouma Mountains reflected in the Happo Pond. This trek is suitable even for beginners and provides opportunities to observe local wildlife and rare alpine plants en route.
Happo One Nature Trail
Address: Kakutaro, Hakuba-mura, Kita-azumi-gun, Nagano
Opening hours: 8am - 4:30pm (daily)
Price: 10.59 USD onwards
2. Enjoy panoramic mountain views atop the Usagidaira Terrace
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Located 1,400m (4593.2ft) above sea level, Usagidaira Terrace is a restaurant at the Usagidaira Station on the Happo gondola lift. From this height, the restaurant provides 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains like Mt. Asama, Togakushi, Yatsugatake, etc. Visitors can also enjoy panoramic views of the cityscape of Hakuba-mura. At the Usagidaira Terrace, feel the cool mountain breeze, relax in the sunshine and enjoy yummy food as you take in the mesmerising views.
Address: 399-9301 Happo, Hakuba-mura, Kitaazumi-gun, Nagano Prefecture
Opening hours: 8am - 4:30pm (daily)
3. Hike the Hakuba Sanzan
Hakuba’s three famous mountains, Shirouma-dake, Shakushi-dake and Hakuba Yarigatake, collectively called ‘Hakuba Sanzan’ are connected by a trail that is very popular with hikers across the world. The hike takes approximately 9.8 hours, and an overnight stay at a local onsen is recommended. The hike begins at Sarukura passing through snow-covered valleys before reaching Mt. Shirouma. Suitable for both beginners and experts, this is a must-do hike in the Hakuba area.
Address: Sarukura Parking Lot, Hokujo, Hakuba, Kitaazumi District, Nagano 399-9301, Japan
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4. Soak up the healing warmth of Hakuba Happo Onsen
On your visit to Hakuba, take some time off to enjoy a relaxing soak in the natural hot springs of Hakuba Happo Onsen. Offering many healing benefits like relief from fatigue, nerve damage, and muscular pain along with keeping the skin smooth and supple, the advantages of a soak in the mineral-rich waters of Hakuba Happo Onsen are many. The onsen directs thermal spring water into four different public baths that guests can enjoy relaxing in. Rejuvenate your mind, body and soul with the healing warmth of the Hakuba Happo Onsen while admiring the views of the surrounding mountains.
Hakuba Happo Onsen
Address: 5701-2 Hokujo, Hakuba, Kitaazumi District, Nagano 399-9301, Japan
Website: Hakuba Happo Onsen
Opening hours: 10am - 9:30pm (daily)
Price: 5.67 USD
5. Admire the autumnal bloom of buckwheat flowers at Hakuba Village
In the autumn, between September and October, Hakuba Village comes alive with the beautiful bloom of buckwheat flowers. The Red Soba Flower Festival is also held at this time and presents the ideal opportunity to click photographs of the stunning fields of buckwheat blooms. These buckwheat flowers turn into buckwheat berries which are milled into buckwheat flour which are in turn transformed into buckwheat (soba) noodles. Visit the Hakuba Village in autumn to admire these pretty buckwheat blooms and also sample some yummy soba noodles made right in front of you!
Address: 399-9301, 7025 Hokujo, Hakuba Village, Kita-Azumigun, Nagano, Japan
Website: Hakuba Village
6. Explore the peaceful area of Wadano no Mori
The beautiful wooded area of Wadano no Mori in Hakuba Happo-one is a peaceful area where you can enjoy the tranquillity of nature. Besides the lovely brick chapel, visitors can also enjoy exploring the pathways of this area and take in the scenic settings of colourful flowers, rustling leaves, lush greenery and call of the birds. Wadano no Mori area is also a popular wedding destination and makes for a cosy and romantic backdrop for your escapades in Hakuba.
Wadano no Mori
Address: 4787-1 Hokujo, Hakuba, Kitaazumi District, Nagano 399-9301, Japan
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
7. Ring the The Bell of Happiness at Hakuba Goryu Snow Resort
Located just outside the Escal Plaza at Hakuba Goryu Snow Resort is The Bell of Happiness. The ski resort offers visitors access to the highest quality powder snow in the region and breathtaking views of the Japanese Alps. The bell at Hakuba Goryu Snow Resort is popular with people of all ages. Couples flock to it too because of the belief that whoever rings the bell will be blessed by the dragon of love. The quaint bell structure is easily accessible and also provides great photo opportunities.
Hakuba Goryu Snow Resort
Address: 22184-10 Kamishiro, Hakuba, Kitaazumi District, Nagano 399-9211, Japan
Website: Hakuba Goryu Snow Resort
Opening hours: 8am - 4:50pm, 6pm - 9:30pm (daily)
8. Check out the ski jump pros at the Hakuba Ski Jumping Stadium
One of the sites of the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, the Hakuba Ski Jumping Stadium is a fabulous competitive ski jumping facility in Hakuba. The facility is open year-round and visitors can experience 90 metres (295.3 feet) and 120 metres (393.7 feet) jumps from up close. The Hakuba Ski Jumping Stadium regularly holds ski jumping competitions where visitors can watch professionals face dizzying drops on the slope. The views from the top of the jumping point are also amazing.
Hakuba Ski Jumping Stadium
Address: Hokujo, Hakuba, Kitaazumi District, Nagano 399-9301, Japan
Opening hours: 8:30am - 4:30pm (daily)
Price: 4.35 USD
9. Tour the rustic village of Aoni
While in Hakuba, do not miss out on visiting the pretty village of Aoni that has well-preserved houses from the Edo and Meiji periods. The village also has picturesque rice terraces against a stunning backdrop of Hakuba’s many mountains. Take a walk back in time as you wander through the ancient streets of Aoni admiring the traditional Japanese-style houses and a walk up to the rice terraces is also recommended. Take in the simplicity and peace of the surroundings as you tour the rustic village of Aoni in Hakuba.
Address: Hokujyo, Hakuba-mura, Kitaazumi-gun 399-9301, Nagano Prefecture
10. Take a scenic drive along the Shirasawa Tunnel
Situated on the Japan National Route 406 is the Shirasawa Tunnel, the exit to which reveals spectacular vistas of snowy mountains, green valleys and blue skies. On the scenic drive along the tunnel, roll down your windows, breathe in the fresh mountain air, stop at the scenic points and take in the amazing views. The road is beautiful and scenic, and the Shirasawa Tunnel adds another level of charm with its superb mountain views all around.
Address: Kamishiro, Hakuba-mura, Kitaazumi-gun 399-9211, Nagano Prefecture
Alpine adventures in Hakuba!
The mountain village of Hakuba offers so much more to visitors than just ski slopes; there are alpine hiking trails, scenic drives, onsens and majestic views all around! To truly experience the beauty of Hakuba, equip yourself with our list of all the things to do here and make sure you have enough time to take in the alpine beauty of this charming village.
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