There seems to be a lot of confusion about lift passes in Hakuba. Considering Hakuba has over 10 resorts in the valley, the “Hakuba Valley Pass” sure sounds like a good deal but actually, I don’t really recommend it. One thing most people don’t realize is that it needs to be used within a set number of days. The 2 day pass must be used within 3 days, and the 3 day pass expires after 5. One good thing about the Hakuba Valley Pass is that as of the 2014/15 season you will be able to use more than 1 resort in 1 day.
However, you will need to make your way to the ticket counter to exchange your Hakuba Valley Pass for a day ticket at the resort of your choice. UPDATE: For the 2016/17 season, the bigger resorts are now buys replacing lift ticket gates so you will not have to line up to exchange your pass. I hear they won’t be able to replace all of the ticket gates yet instead some of the gates will be manned and you will have to show your pass to get through the gate. If you are really keen to check out more than 1 resort in 1 day , and want the convenience of not lining up in the morning then the mulit-day Hakuba Valley Pass is for you. However, if you are happy to stick to 1 resort a day and you are looking to save some money than the Multi-Day Passes from the resorts themselves, or discount passes for sale at the lodge provide better savings and in some ways more flexibility.
Some of the better deals to be had are:
A 3 day pass at Hakuba Goryu/Hakuba 47 is ¥12,600
A 5 day weekday pass (any 5 weekdays) at Hakuba Goryu/Hakuba 47 is ¥17,900
A day pass with lunch and onsen (spa) at Cortina is 3500 yen with a coupon.
A day pass at Kashimayari is 4100 yen
A day pass at Sanosaka is 3800 yen
A day pass at Yanaba is 2500 yen weekdays and 3500 yen on weekends
A 2 day pass at Happo is 8800 yen
The Hakuba Valley Pass (1 to 3 days available at all Hakuba Ski Areas)
1 day 5700 yen
2 day 10,000 yen (valid for 2 out of 3 days)
3 day 14,900 yen valid for 3 out of 5 days)
The Hakuba Valley Pass (4 to 7 days must be ordered in advance).
4 day is 19,700 yen (valid for 4 out of 7 days)
5 day is 24,400 yen (valid for 5 out of 9 days)
6 day is 29,000 yen (valid for 6 out of 10 days)
7 day is 33,500 yen (valid 7 out of 11 days)
If you are a beginner, you are better off not buying a day pass at all. Instead, there is a point pass (kaisuken) available that deducts points from your pass as you use the lifts UPDATE: some of the resorts in the Hakuba Valley, like Happo and Cortina, will not offer these types of tickets during the 2015/16 season. However, at Hakuba Goryu/Hakuba 47 you can still buy an 11 point pass for ¥4000. We highly recommend practicing your turns in Iimori, they have long gentle slopes, and its much quieter there too. Each lift is 1 point, while the gondola will deduct 2 points. Unlike day passes, the points do not expire at the end of the day, so if you only use a few points one day you can use the rest on any other day.
***At Lodge tabi-tabi we have discount tickets available ever year!!!! We have some of the cheapest tickets, if not the cheapest day passes in the valley! Another great reasons to stay with us! Rates and availability varies but at the moment (December 31st, 2015) we have 1 day passes for the following resorts in the Hakuba Valley:
Happo One: pay ¥4200 at tabi-tabi (regular ¥5200)
Iwatake: pay ¥3,200 at tabi-tabi (regular ¥4200)
Tsugaike: pay ¥4000 at tabi-tabi (regular 5,100)
We are now prepping for another epic season in Hakuba! With every season we provide new upgrades to our services and facilities. For the upcoming 2016 / 2017 winter season the lodge will have new curtains, painted black boards, an updated check-in counter and information area, and freshly coated walls. Just last spring as the snow was melting we finally got a chance to rip off all the old wallpaper. It was a big job but we got a lot of help from our hardworking helpers (Thanks Ken, Chris, and Steve!). Now the resurfacing has begun (with the help of Frank and Sandra). If you are curious, we are applying a natural lime-based plaster called shikui which has been used for centuries in Japanese architecture and is revered not only for its durability and beauty but is also considered to be the most environmentally-responsible plaster finish available. It helps to prevent mold and mildew during the Japanese humid summers and acts as a natural antiseptic for better air quality all year long. We hope you like it as much as we do. We have had a lot of time to hone our shikui skills at our summer location, Retreat wabi-sabi. Have a look:
Now back to the winter season 2016/17 in Hakuba:
We’ve got dinners and other treats planned. Yu-chan, our friendly manager from Osaka will be joining us again this year and is planning “Osaka Nights”, where you will learn how to make (and eat of course) Osakan specialties like okonomiyaki and takoyaki! Look out for home-baked goods, and breakfast items like home-made greek yogurt, batches of freshly-made granola, chia pudding, and fruit compote!
About the snow, as many of you probably know, last year Hakuba experienced its worst season in 120 years! That’s right, it’s doesn’t get worse then 2015/16. And it won’t, we promise you! Forecasters are still talking about La Nina, arriving this fall and with a little research you will see that La Nina means huge dumps of snow to central Japan. Come on, La Nina! Also speaking from experience (that’s now 12 seasons in Hakuba) a poor snow season is always followed by an epic winter!
In fact, The Free Ride World Tour is so confident that it will be an awesome winter that Hakuba has been scouted for their world class event. It is the first time that a location has been chosen in Asia! Yes, the Japanese Alps are epic too! Epic enough for the world’s gnarliest of skiers and snowboarders.
Temperatures here in Hakuba are now dropping, the peaks are all covered with fresh white snow, but we hope it stays warm for a little longer though because Shikui doesn’t dry well in cool temps. Once all the plaster has been applied though, we’ll be praying for snow and hoping that this coming season will make up for the last. Here is a little something to get you in the mood:
Now you may not be quite up to joining the World Free Ride Tour, or camping out in the back-country, but we have got tours to provide fun for every level and every kind of snow lover. tabi-tabi will once again be offering Snow Surf (aka yukiita) Tours!!! We now have the largest quiver of bindingless boards, so we have something for everyone! And trust me everyone CAN do this! It is pure joy, like tobagganing for adults.
We are now on booking.com and airbnb but book direct and we will have some freebies for you! Go to “book now” and we’ll see you very soon!
Angela, Yasu, Yu, and the rest of the 2016 / 2017 season tabi-tabi crew!
Lodge tabi-tabi’s home mountain, Hakuba Goryu Ski Resort, has a lot to offer. Back-country enthusiasts have endless options if they are willing to hike and have the right gear. Check conditions or better yet, get a guide because people go missing here every year.
For those who enjoy the comforts of Goryu‘s high speed gondola and well groomed runs, there are wide steep runs enjoyed mostly by high level skiers. The cat track down the center and along the top part of Iimori is meant for beginners but has fun walls great for boarders who like to shred. While the lower half of Iimori has wide quiet runs with a gentle slope perfect for those still practicing their turns. Iimori also has a small park with kickers and jumps. Hakuba Goryu is connected to Hakuba 47, you only need 1 pass to use both resorts. A day pass is 5000 yen for adults, you will save money if you buy one of their multi-day passes or ask us about our discount passes!
During the 2014/15 season Hakuba Goryu opened a new off-piste area skier’s right off The Champion. The ungroomed area is controlled by patrol so may not always be open. Keep checking it. On powder days this natural terrain is very good fun!
Access from Lodge tabi-tabi:
It takes 10 minutes to walk to Goryu’s gondola The nearest shuttle stop is in front of San Marute Hotel, take the short cut through the forest, turn left on the road and it’s the first hotel on your left. You will see a bus stop with an Escal Plaza sign on it. Please check the lodge for the time-table.
Lodge tabi-tabi has a wide selection of Hakuba discount passes available. We will be posting our best rates at the lodge everyday. At the moment we have discount passes for Happo-one, Goryu / Hakuba 47, Tsugaike, Cortina, and Iwatake. Sorry, these discounted lift tickets are available for staying guests only. One more reason to stay with us!
If you are a beginner to intermediate skier or snowboarder, Hakuba Valley’s Sanosaka Ski Resort is the place for you! Wide open runs with few people on them means you have plenty of space to practice your turns. It’s definitely one of the smaller resorts in the valley so it’s easy to navigate and a little more gentle on your wallet. Sanosaka has amazing views of Lake Aokiko below and is protected from the wind so when big resorts in the valley are shutting down their gondolas because of strong winds, you can keep cruising in Sanosaka.
Kashimayari is by far our favorite night riding spot. While most of resorts have night skiing available they tend to only keep the bunny hill open.
Kashima however, runs several lifts providing access to beginner, intermediate, park runs and even a bit of off-piste. UPDATE: Although still a fun spot for night riding, our favorite lift is now only open during the day.
During the day when all, or at least most runs are open, Kashimari has beginner to advanced trails with some ungroomed runs for powder lovers. Most people have not heard of Kashimayari which makes this a great resort for those wanting to get away from the crowds and if you really want to chill out they even have an excellent spa with majestic mountain views.
To get to Kashimayari from The Goryu Village:
Hakuba Valley Omachi Shuttle Bus Line provides several shuttles a day to/from the Goryu Village. Please check their website or Lodge tabi-tabi‘s information area for current time-tables.
You can also take the train from Kamishiro Station in Goryu to Yanaba Station and walk from there. The 12 minute ride costs ¥210.
After being shut for a season, Yanaba has re-opened in 2014 by new owners. Although the resorts has always been known for it’s nye-tahs (night skiing). Yanaba is now even more focused on bringing in locals for a late night shred with an updated bar, more features in their park, and extended lift hours. Yanaba has it’s own train station, Yanaba-skijo-mae (NOT Yanaba) so it’s really easy to get there from Kamishiro Station in the Goryu Village and the ¥210 ride only takes 9 minutes. You can use the hyperdia website to check for train schedules or check the information area at Lodge tabi-tabi. Yanaba Weekday Hours:
15:00 – 11:00 (¥2,500) Yanaba Weekend Hours:
9:00 – 16:30 (¥3,500)
17:30 – 23:00 (¥2,500 )
December 31st, 2011 was the first day I have ever snowshoed for the sake of snowshoeing. I usually have a board on my back and a beakon on my front, when I have snowshoes strapped to my feet. But on this beautiful blue bird day, I only brought my lunch, some hot tea, and great company.
I highly recommend getting away from the liftlines, and the powderhounds for this incredibly picturesque and amazingly peaceful trail that winds through forests and opens up to a panaromic view of Japan’s Northern Alps.
You can rent snowshoes at Minekata Ski Resort Hakuba for only 1000 yen, while the lift to the top is a mere 400. Another option is to buy a lift pass (half day 1900 yen, full day 2800 yen) do a bit of sliding, and a bit of walking. On the way back down, follow the cat track to Reflet, a great little cafe/restaurant that sells real hot chocolate and home-made cake. I also recommend their feshly baked cookies to take-away. A great way to end an awesome day.
UPDATE: Minekata will not be open for the 2014/15 season. 🙁