- Highest vertical, longest run and most trails in the Hakuba Valley!
- Frequent powder dumps all season long, perfect for powder skiing
- Diverse terrain, from Olympic ski racing trails to wide gentle groomer plus backcountry gate makes going off-piste easy
- Easy access to the slopes from most lodgings within the resort
- Many hotels, restaurants, stores and facilities have English speaking staff
- Lack of beginner terrain
- Less snowfall than Niseko, but still plenty of pow
- The upper mountain is exposed so windhold can be an issue
- Only one main gondola to access the upper mountain and there are some old and slow chairlifts
- Weekends and holidays see plenty of crowds
With Olympic heritage, a mammoth 8,001 m top to bottom run, and some of the finest powder on earth, Happo One (pronounced oh-neh) is without a doubt the most popular of all the Hakuba Valley ski resorts. The official resort numbers state that the ski area covers a total of 220 ha, but this doesn’t factor in the extensive side country between the runs, which provides the perfect introduction to riding powder for skiers and snowboarders who are ready to go off-piste! Enjoying a healthy 1,071 m of vertical drop and the steepest slope coming in at 35 degrees, it’s by far the best choice in Hakuba for advanced mountain riders.
Late December to April
Narita International Airport
Hakuba Valley (5-6 hours)
Happo One (10 minutes)
Happo Village (Walk)
- Made up of two base areas
- Majority of dining, shopping and amenities
- Ski-in/ski-out accommodation available
Wandano Area (Walk)
- Close to Kokusai base area
- Slightly more expensive
- Dining and nightlife is more spread out compared to Happo Village
Sakka Base (Walk)
- Clusters of lodges and chalets
- Perfect for families and big groups
- Great food trucks
Hakuba Village (2-3 km)
- Plenty of accommodation options
- Main tourist hub like Happo Village
- Great base for exploring resorts across Hakuba Valley
There's not a huge variety of terrain for beginners to explore but that doesn't mean beginners can't have fun here! The gentle and wide open slopes at the Sakka ski area is best for never-evers and also doubles as a great family skiing spot. Beginners with a bit more experience can head further up the mountain.More beginners tips
There's plenty of challenging terrain for intermediates higher up on the mountain but our top pick here for intermediates would be the Skyline Course. It has everything from bumps to bounce through, banks to launch off and deep pow between the trees in the sidecountry, our top pick here!More intermediates tips
It was right here that the ski jumping, downhill, and super-g slalom events of the Nagano 1998 Winter Olympics were held! You can still ski the downhill and slalom courses to unleash the inner racer in you, and the annual Riesen Slalom Competition gives you exclusive access to the famous course. Take the Riesen Grat Course followed by the Riesen Slalom Course from the summit all the way down to the base. There's also plenty more to keep advanced skiers on their toes!More experts tips
When it comes to sheer quantity of the white stuff, Happo One (and Hakuba in general) is trumped by Japanese ski resorts like Niseko on the northern island of Hokkaido, though not by much. The same sub-zero Siberian winds blow across the Sea of Japan, picking up moisture and transforming it into magically soft snow. The average annual snowfall here is 11 m, so there's still plenty to be happy about here! In-bound freshies get tracked out quickly so make your way to the top of the Kurobishi off-piste zone for the fresh stuff before weaving through the powder-filled trees off the Skyline Course!
Ditch the crowds
Go off-piste to avoid the crowds on holidays and weekends. The backcountry is easily accessible via a gate at the top but it's definitely worth hiring a guide who can show you to the gnarliest gullies! In-bounds, there are two crowd-prone sections to be aware of. Adam Gondola is the main gondola which gives access to the top section of the mountain which can get quite busy in the morning. The Panorama and Kokusai chairlifts can also see some queues as it also serves a busy area of the mountain. Nonetheless, the lift system seems most skiers and snowboarders moving despite the some old and slow chairlifts.
Non skiers (and skiers) will love the activities here! Take a daytrip to Mastumoto Castle, the oldest castle in Japan. You can also hop into an onsen (hot spring) or see snow monkey's soak in their own hot spring at the Jigokudani Monkey Park. At the resort, non-skiers can take the gondola up to enjoy the stunning mountain views of Hakuba Valley.
When it comes to skiing, it's easy for families to ski and stay together at the Sakka ski area plus there's also the Sakka Kids Park here too. For lodging, Happo Village has a range of accommodation, shops, bars, restaurants as well as facilities including the Information Centre and Bus Terminal, making it a convenient option for families.
|beginner||30 %||40 %|
|intermediate||50 %||30 %|
|advanced||20 %||30 %|
|child lift ticket||Free||Free|
|adult lift ticket||¥5,200 JPY ($63 AUD)||¥4,000 JPY ($49 AUD)|
|value for money|
|average total snowfall||448cm||1,138cm|