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)
Every body loves the monkeys! And although, if you’re in luck, you can spot some monkeys in Hakuba, the famous Japanese snow monkeys are a day trip away. If you have a car set your navigation to Jigokudani Monkey Park. From the parking area you will need to walk about 30 minutes through a snowy forest so be prepared and bring some boots!
If you don’t have a car, the easiest way to get to see the monkeys is to join one of many tours departing Hakuba Goryu everyday. It’s a full days journey, includes lunch, and makes a few more sightseeing stops along the way. Most tours include Nagano City’s famous Zenkoji Temple, tours may also include a sake brewery where you can taste local sake for free! Book early, or better yet, book well in advance because these tours fill up quick.
Joyful Day Tours offers daily tours departing from Mont Blanc Hotel at 8:25
Sanroku Tours offers tours on Tuesdays and Fridays and has a pick up at Kamishiro Station Ski Japan has daily tours departing Hakuba Goryu Bus Stop
Your cheapest option, especially if you are traveling with a few people, would be to rent a car. More about renting a car here. But if you are not confident driving in the snow, or forgot to get an international driver’s license before departing your country, yet are on too tight a budget for a hassle free tour, you can simply take public transport instead!
To get to Jugokudani Monkey Park take a bus from Hakuba Goryu Bus Stop to Nagano, then transfer to an express bus bound for Shiga Kogen and get off at Kanbayashi Onsen Guchi Bus Stop. The most current timetables and fees posted in the information area at Lodge tabi-tabi. Let’s us help you find your way!
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.
For any and all back-country gear, summer and winter, hiking and skiing, buying or renting, we always go straight Rapie. I used to comparison shop, and waited to return to Tokyo thinking I could get a better deal but now I know better. Rapie has the best price for the best products and sells everyhing you could possibly need. I also found out they will order it for you if it is not in the store, and fix anything that is ripped or broken like zippers or tears in your tent. You will not find better service or expertise anywhere.
Rapie tel: 0261-72-7550
This is a blog entry written by Lodge tabi-tabi. Please don’t use our contact information to contact Rapie. Thanks!
The easiest way to get to Hakuba from Narita airport is to take the shared Chuo taxi. The 15,900 yen per person service will take you door to door from Narita or Haneda airport to you accommodation in Hakuba. No transfers, and no bags to lug around up and down the train station stairs. To make a reservation you will need to fill in a form at least 48 hours ahead of time. You can find the form, and more details here.
There is a new burger shack in town and what a pretty shack it is! This is actually Little Alaskan’s second location. Their first cozy cabin is still up and running on Olympic Road near Happo One Ski Resort while this colourful second shop is conveniently located right across Escal Plaza at Hakuba Goryu Ski Resort.
Both locations serve excellent chargrilled gourmet burgers. They have a choice of beef or chicken paddies and offer a huge assortment of toppings including the less obvious avocado and pineappple. The Olympic Road location also serves a fish burger which I am hoping they will add to the menu in Goryu.
A gourmet burger of your choice is around ¥1000. French fries or homecut fries are an extra ¥300 to which you can add toppings like cheese dip for another ¥100.
To wash it all down they serve beer on tap, soda, and juice.
Open: 12:00 – 20:00
Another amazing day in the backcountry! There is nothing like it! If you are fit enough to hike with pack, and are an advanced level skier or boarder, I highly recommend heading out into the backcountry to earn your turns…. with a qualified backcountry guide of course!!!! There are so many risks you may not be aware of. Knowledgable guides will be able to choose the terrain that suits your abilty so you can have your best day out ever! Moreover, you will need avalache saftey equipment to minimize the risks. I suggest you contact Evergreen Outdoor Center or contact Damian at Hakuba Mountain Life for more information about backcountry tours, avalanche awareness training, and equipment rentals. You will not regret it!
There are soba shops all over the Hakuba Valley but my favorite sansai soba is from Yamato Soba. Sansai means mountain vegetable, these wild and nutritious plants are loaded onto a plate of cold soba noodles along with some grated daikon, green onions, shredded nori (seaweed) and wasabi. You have to pour over the soba tsuyu (sauce) yourself. It comes in a ceramic flask, make sure you mix up your plate well then dig in and slurp away. Yes, it’s OK to slurp your noodles in Japan. In fact, the locals feel that you will be missing out on some flavor if you don’t.
If you get zaru soba (plain noodles in middle pic below) you will get a small cup of soba tsuyu where you can add your desired amount of wasabi and daikon. Then you load up on noodles with your chopsticks and dip it into the cup, slurp, chomp, and swallow.
Yamato Soba has cold and hot versions of all of their dishes. You can also order udon (a thick white noodle) instead of soba (brown buckwheat noodles).
There are always a few specials to choose from like the seasonal tempura and okowa (sticky rice mixed with beans, see pic below). Today they also had kurumi soba which is a walnut dip instead of the usual soy-sauce based dip. Oishikatta (It was yum)!
Hours: 11:00 to 16:00 (and sometimes 17:00 or 18:00)
tabi-tabi guests Ray and G from Operation Backpack Asia, Yasu and myself drove around the backstreets looking for the best (worst?) rental shops with the meanest gear and got ourselves hooked up with 7 matching 80s appeal one pieces. Sarah and Andy of Snow Season Japan did all the work behind the scenes and organized yet another super fluoro night at Tracks Bar here in Goryu.
Here are just a couple of us getting ready to head out:
Andy and Alastair representing tabi-tabi won a huge bottle of local sake in the Fluruo Fancy Dance off:
Woke up to sunshine and got a call from K so got geared up and off we went, first to drop off a car and then to pick up J. It was really blustery at the top so we didn’t hike for long, scoped our lines and down we went. Conditions were far from ideal. We dealt with windcrust, raincrust, chunky debris, and ice. Got in only a few nice turns in powder. Great views, a dose of vitamin D, and a good catch up with friends made it all worth it anyway.