Hailed as the largest mountain resort in Asia today, Hakuba Happo-one (or simply “Happo” for short) is a household name in Japan’s winter getaway scene. Not only can visitors revel in panoramic views of the North Alps, featuring the peaks of Mount Myoko and Mount Asama, but sports enthusiasts and beginners alike can enjoy a premier ski and snowboarding experience in Nagano’s famed mountain range.
Aside from the fact that most of us are itching for an outdoor adventure this winter, here are five reasons why you should visit Hakuba Happo-one:
1. Experience the slopes of a former Olympic venue
One doesn’t have to be an Olympic athlete to appreciate the excellent powder conditions and far-reaching slopes of Hakuba Happo-one, but it doesn’t hurt that the ski resort was once a key host of the 1998 Winter Olympics.
During the Olympic Games, Happo-one’s long runs and sprawling backcountry played host to downhill skiing, ski jumping, cross-country skiing and other events. Today, the resort’s high-caliber fans include the likes of American professional snowboarder Travis Rice. Experienced skiers can try their hand at the Olympic I and II courses, formerly the men’s and women’s downhill courses during the 1998 Games (detours available for beginners).
2. Spend safe, quality time in the great outdoors
Located on Mount Karamatsu in Nagano’s Hakuba (literally “white horse”) region, Happo-one is the epitome of the great outdoors. The area receives an average snowfall of 11 meters, or 36 feet, of snowfall per season and boasts an impressive 52 kilometers of slopes.
As more people look to outdoor recreation, which poses a lower risk of coronavirus transmission compared to indoor activities, Happo-one offers an opportunity for friends, families and solo travelers to enjoy their holiday season — safely and comfortably with necessary health precautions in place throughout the resort. Lift staff will manage social distancing between parties on the mountain.
3. Your kids will have a blast
Parents and those accompanying young children will be happy to learn that Happo-one is all about accommodating the whole family.
With stunning views of Japan’s Northern Alps, Happo-one’s Kids Park features activities like tubing and merry-go-rounds, and the Sakka Ski Slope is the resort’s designated first-time skier and snowboarder area. For a bigger challenge, take advantage of Happo-one’s Ski School, where you can choose from a range of flexible lessons for your little ones.
There’s also a preschool and childcare program serviced by friendly, full-time staff who can watch your children while you venture out into the outdoors.
4. Cap off your adventure in a hot spring
There’s no better way to recoup and rejuvenate after a day of adventure than to soak in an onsen (natural hot spring) bath. Nestled at the base of the Happo-one ski resort is a high-alkaline hot spring source, which feeds into over 70 facilities in the area. The rich mineral water is said to ease muscular pain, improve blood circulation and remove fatigue — all ideal benefits for those looking to heal and recharge.
Check here for a list of local accommodations (Japanese only).
5. Tap into your inner foodie
Happo-one is home to a plethora of dining options located throughout the resort. Enjoy a steaming bowl of ramen at Ramen ChaCha, gorge on a juicy Sakka hamburger or try the local specialty, Sanzoku-yaki (Shinshu-style fried chicken), at Cafeteria Yeti.
Happo-one has committed to sourcing locally to protect its community and achieve its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Check here for a full list of restaurants and cafes.
How to get from Tokyo to Hakuba Happo-one
There are various ways to travel to Hakuba from Tokyo, the most economic choice being the Alpico Bus. Without traffic, the bus ride is approximately five hours and is directly connected to the JR Shinjuku Station.
If time is of the essence, the bullet train from Tokyo Station to Nagano Station is a quicker option. Including the bus ride from Nagano Station to Habuka, the trip takes approximately three hours. Finally, by car, it takes about three and a half hours to drive from Tokyo to Hakuba. Check here for specific directions to Happo-one.
START YOUR ADVENTURE AT
HAPPO INFORMATION CENTER