There’s a huge range of accommodation scattered all over Hakuba Valley, but the vast majority of it is concentrated around Hakuba Village and Happo One. Being wedged between all the other ski areas makes it the perfect place to base yourself, as no resort should take you longer than around half an hour to reach! The majority of restaurants, bars, hire shops, and other amenities are all located in and around Hakuba Village and Happo Village, so let’s start here.
Bluebird Apartments is our top pick for conveniently located self-catered accommodation, it’s just a five-minute walk to the Happo Bus Terminal interchange, and ten minutes’ walk to the gondola at Happo One! If you want to do without the self-catering, the Hakuba Panorama Hotel down the street is a great option.
If you'd prefer to stay in a mid-range hotel, try the Springs Hotel, it covers all the essentials and is situated halfway between the Happo One lifts and Happo Bus Terminal, a five-minute walk to both. For a luxury hotel with all the trimmings, the Hakuba Tokyu Hotel is a great choice, particularly because the free shuttle bus that runs through the Happo One resort stops here!
As you venture away from Hakuba Village, the accommodation options become more and more sparse, but there are some great places to stay if you know where to look! Also, you’ll find that a shuttle bus stops right outside each of these following hotels, so it’s simple to connect to anywhere in Hakuba Valley!
While there is no accommodation directly at the base of Hakuba 47, not too far away is the 3-star Shakespeare Hotel, where the English Tudor lodge facade gives way to modern rooms with beautiful mountain views. At Goryu, Hotel Montblanc is a relaxing hotel with an open air onsen, situated on a quiet street less than ten minutes’ walk from the slopes.
North from Hakuba Village, the first stop is at Iwatake, where accommodation options are few and far between, but just past Iwatake on the road to Tsugaike is the Sierra Resort Hotel. Offering luxury lodgings nestled within lush woodlands, expect to pay top dollar here! Once you reach Tsugaike you have a few more choices for places to stay, but our recommendation is the Tsugaike Kogen Hotel. The food here is great, it has its own onsen, and it’s a ski-in/ski-out hotel!
Next along the valley we have Norikura, and the Hakuba Alps Hotel. This place is packed full of facilities to keep you entertained, from an arcade and karaoke rooms to spa baths and a sauna. After a further ten-minute drive you’ll arrive at the northernmost ski resort in Hakuba Valley, Cortina. There is actually only one option for accommodation right next to the slopes here, which is the grandiose Green Plaza Hotel. It’s ski-in/ski-out, has its own convenience store and ski hire, plus from its outdoor onsen you can watch skiers and snowboarders coming down the mountain!
Getting Around the Valley
If you’ve decided on equipping yourself with a hire car then you’ll enjoy the simplest way of getting between all ten ski resorts in Hakuba Valley, which is to drive yourself! Motoring between the two ski resorts furthest away from each other, Jiigatake and Cortina, will take you roughly one hour. Leaving from Happo Bus Terminal, regarded as the centre of Hakuba Valley, it’ll take just under 30 minutes to reach Cortina, and around 30 to 40 minutes to arrive at Jiigatake. Ski resorts like Iwatake and Hakuba 47 can usually be reached in under ten minutes’ drive from the Happo Bus Terminal, while Tsugaike and Sanosaka will take 15 minutes or more. For an added bonus, you’ll find free parking available close to the main lifts at all the different resorts!
Without a car, the shuttle buses servicing the entirety of Hakuba Valley will get you around just fine! There are three different lines that operate, split between each third of the valley. The Omachi Line connects Jiigatake, Kashimayari, and Sanosaka to Happo Bus Terminal, and the Konayuki (Otari) Line leaves Happo Bus Terminal to stop at Tsugaike, Norikuna, and Cortina. The third line, the Goryu - Tsugaike Line, provides links between Goryu, Hakuba 47, Happo One, Iwatake, and Tsugaike. The main interchange for all these buses is Happo Bus Terminal, so get yourself here and you can go anywhere! The Omachi Line is free of charge (as long as you’re skiing or boarding at a resort somewhere along the route), while a single fare on the two other lines will set an adult back ¥500 JPY ($6 AUD) and a child ¥250 JPY ($3 AUD).
During the peak season of late December to early March, the Goryu - Tsugaike Line generally operates on a 40-minute to 1-hour schedule between each stop, with shorter waits in the early morning and late afternoon to cope with the crowds. From one end of the line to the other is a journey time of 1 hour and 10 minutes. The Konayuki (Otari) Line runs five times a day, leaving Happo Bus Terminal at 7:30am to start and reaching Cortina at 8:10am. The last bus to leave Cortina for Happo Bus Terminal is at 5:20pm. Finally, the Omachi Line leaves Happo Bus Terminal twice a day, at 9:45am and 5:15pm, taking 1 hour and 5 minutes to complete its route to Jiigatake. Check out the Hakuba Valley shuttle bus schedule to plan your trips between ski resorts and avoid long waits!
If you miss the bus, or just fancy a more comfortable ride, there’s always the option of taking a taxi. They operate between all the different ski resorts in Hakuba Valley, and you’ll usually see a few, or at least one, waiting by the base area of whichever resort you’re at. If not then just pop your head into the nearest shop or restaurant and ask a member of staff to order you one, they are always happy to help. Expect to pay roughly ¥1,400 JPY ($17 AUD) per mile.