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 11 ski resorts that give you the ultimate snowy getaway.

skiing in hakuba
Photo by Kikuko Nakayama used under CC

Transport costs from Tokyo to Hakuba

  • By JR Hokuriku Shinkansen: about ¥9,800 with one transfer (covered by the JR Pass)
  • By JR Azusa limited express train: about ¥8,000 with one transfer (some Azusa trains go all the way to Hakuba)
  • By highway bus: average one-way ticket price is ¥4,850 while round-trip is ¥8,700 – For discounts on buses to Hakuba see the Packages section below

Resorts in Hakuba

Some of the best ski resorts in Hakuba Village are (from north to south):

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CortinaMid-December to early April4,000 yen3,000 yen1,500 yen
NorikuraMid-December to early April3,500 yen2,700 yenN/A
Tsugaike KogenLate November to early May4,900 yen3,900 yen2,000 yen
IwatakeMid-December to early April4,200 yen2,900 yenN/A
Happo-OneLate November to early May5,200 yen4,200 yen2,000 yen
Hakuba 47Late November to early May5,000 yen3,980 yenN/A
Hakuba GoryuLate November to early May5,000 yen3,980 yen1,900 yen

There is also a lift pass you can purchase starting at 6,000 yen for one day. It gives you access to all the above ski resorts, as well as Hakuba Sanosaka, Kashimayari Sports Village, 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 the deal even sweeter. It hosted several events for the Olympics in Nagano, which is probably the best sign of the quality of the slopes.

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Tsugaike Kogen

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.

Hakuba Goryu and Hakuba 47

A two-for-one deal, 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 special feature.

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 yen.

Tour packages for skiing in Hakuba

Since we at Tokyo Cheapo believe in good deals, here are some tour packages for all-out skiing on a reasonable budget.

Get to the winter wonderland Hakuba by a highway bus

Highway buses are slower than the bullet train but definitely cheaper. Plus, if you need to transport some bulky gear, better to not be cramped in a crowded train.

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The selling point of this package (besides the 6,500 yen price tag) is that it drops off at multiple locations including several villages, stations, and resorts. Each of the stops has easy access to the slopes, so no matter where you’re staying you can start having fun right away.

Enjoy two days in the ski paradise Hakuba, Japanese Alps

This is a two-day package that offers a round-trip bus or train ride, lift tickets for minimum 1 day, and accommodation with dinner and breakfast. The company chooses where you stay, but you can choose either simple accommodation or upgrade to luxury. In any case, you’ll definitely have a chance to enjoy 1.5 days on the slopes, hot springs, and good food. All starting at 32,000 yen.

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

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