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Snowboarding in Hakuba

Updated: Aug 15, 2021

This is the time of the year when everyone should be in the snow and yet everyone is staying home right now due to covid. How much we miss boarding in the fluffy white snow. Hakuba is among the top destinations for snowboarding and skiing in Japan and this is our first leg of our Tokyo trip.

We landed in Tokyo Haneda airport at about noon to pick up our rental and drove 5 hours up north to reach Hakuba. This is a very cosy town with cottages and villas all over the place. The town is divided in to 3-4 districts with 9 different runs. We parked ourselves at the Shakespeare Hotel at Echoland which is pretty much at the center of Hakuba.

The Shakespeare Hotel, Hakuba

The Sharkspeare Hotel is at a great location, nothing fancy but nice and we got everything we needed. Restaurants, cafes and gear rentals are on the same street within walking distance. Every morning we had our breakfast, got changed in hotel, drove to the resort, got in our boots, grabbed our gears and started our day in the snow before driving back in the afternoon. We saw many carrying the gears walking to the resort in snowboots but we'd rather spare our energy for the slopes. We are rather beginners and spent our time at Hakuba Goryu and Hakuba 47, mostly on the green and occassionally the red line.

2019 was a year with average snow condition but we still found it very acceptable, just that we had to go up a bit higher. With 9 runs spreaded across Hakuba, we never found it very crowded. Some resorts like Goryu has more facilities while others like Happo One is more catered for experienced players. You get there, park you car and immediate see the ski lift staring at you right there next to the parking lot. It's pretty hardcore to us. Do your research before heading to any resort. Some buy package tickets but we suggest to get individual tickets to try out different runs. One good tip is always pre-order passes at hotel conceirge so you will get it first thing in the morning than lining up at the ticket counters. You may find discounts when bookeing through hotels too. We did just that.

Another very important note is even though there are plenty of restaurants around, they are usually very small and are always fully booked. There was one evening that took us visiting 5 restaurants before finding a table for ourselves. Again, hotel concierge is the best resource for recommendation and booking.

We had an amazing time in Hakuba enjoying the snow and will definitely return when we are ok to travel again. We have never been to Niseko but heard we have to pay a premium and it's very crowded now being occupied by a lot of mainland Chinese visitors. Next time we might try to go fly in to Niigata Airport onwards to Hakuba and to Tokyo. Afterall it's always nice to end the trip in Tokyo City before leaving.

We are very ready our our next ski trip!




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