Skiing in Hakuba: The Slopes of Olympians

Emily Ting

Hakuba Village was the main venue when Nagano hosted the 1998 Winter Olympics. If that isn’t a testament to the quality of its slopes, we don’t know what is. The village is part of the greater Hakuba Valley, where you can find 10 ski resorts that give you the ultimate snowy getaway. Read on for a quick idea of how to go skiing in Hakuba and what it costs.

skiing in hakuba
Photo by Kikuko Nakayama used under CC

Getting from Tokyo to Hakuba

  • By JR Hokuriku Shinkansen: About ¥9,800 including a transfer to an express bus at Nagano Station, in total takes about 3-4 hours
  • By JR Azusa Limited Express train No.3: ¥8,300, goes all the way from Shinjuku to Hakuba Station, takes about 4 hours
  • By highway bus: A one-way ticket can be had from about ¥4,850, while a round-trip starts from about ¥8,700, prices vary between bus companies so some Googling is recommended, trip takes about 5 hours

Train tip: All JR lines (the trains mentioned above) are covered by the JR Pass, which is highly recommended if you have any other travel planned in Japan.

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Bus tip: You can take a (more expensive) bus directly to Hakuba from Narita Airport or Haneda Airport. For other suggestions on buses to Hakuba, see the “Packages” section below.

a person snowboarding at Hakuba
Photo by Travis Rigel Lukas Hornung used under CC

Ski resorts in Hakuba

Some of the most popular ski resorts in Hakuba Village include (from north to south):

CortinaMid-December to early April¥4,000¥3,000¥1,500
NorikuraMid-December to early April¥3,500¥2,700N/A
Tsugaike KogenLate November to early May¥5,100¥3,900¥2,000
IwatakeMid-December to early April¥4,200¥2,900N/A
Happo-OneLate November to early May¥5,200¥4,200¥2,000
Hakuba 47Late November to early May¥5,000¥3,980N/A
Hakuba GoryuLate November to early May¥5,000¥3,980¥1,900

Note: There is also an all-mountain lift pass called the Hakuba Valley Ticket, which you can purchase starting at ¥6,000 for one day. It gives you access to all the above ski resorts, as well as Hakuba Sanosaka, Kashimayari Sports Village and Jiigatake.


Happo-one is the largest and most famous resort in Hakuba. Among the resorts, it is closest to the village center and Hakuba Station, making a visit even sweeter. It hosted several events for the Olympics in Nagano, which is probably the best sign of the quality of the slopes. A one-day pass for Happo-one is ¥5,200.

Tsugaike Kogen

This is the second-biggest resort, with 26 lifts. It has a lot of nice, wide slopes for beginners and just as many advanced courses. It is also right next to Iwatake. A single-day lift ticket at Tsugaike Kogen costs ¥5,100.

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Hakuba Goryu and Hakuba 47

A two-for-one deal, you can buy a ticket at one and use it at both resorts. They are on the same mountain and their slopes are also connected, which makes it easy to take advantage of this feature. A single-day pass will set you back a modest ¥5,000.

Hakuba Norikura and Hakuba Cortina Kokusai

These two are on the outskirts of Hakuba. Like Goryu and 47, Norikura’s and Cortina’s slopes are interconnected, and you can get a combination ticket to both resorts for ¥4,800.

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Note: You can rent gear at Hakuba, if you don’t have your own skis, board, boots etc.

view of snow field at Hakuba ski resorts, Japan
Photo by f99aq8ove used under CC

Tour packages for skiing in Hakuba

Since we believe in good, convenient deals, here are our package picks for all-out skiing on a reasonable budget:

Highway bus tickets

Highway buses may be slower than the bullet train, but they are definitely cheaper. Plus, if you need to transport some bulky gear, it’s better to not be cramped in a crowded train. The main selling points of this ticket package are that it’s easy to reserve, and the tickets can be delivered to your hotel.

Hotel + ski combo package

This four-day package includes accommodation, breakfast and an all-access ski lift pass. The pick-up point is Nagano, and the featured hotel has a hot spring on site, perfect for soaking the warmth back into your extremities after a day on the slopes.

For more slopes, see our guide to skiing and snowboarding near Tokyo.

While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change. Post first published in January, 2018. Last updated in January, 2019.

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Filed under: Things to do
Tags: City Escape, Mountains, Nature, Outdoors, Resort, Ski, Ski Resort, Skiing, Snow, Snowboarding, Sports, Winter
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