Hakuba (白馬) is a skiing resort in Nagano prefecture, in the Chubu district of Japan.
Hakuba is a stop on the JR Oito Line.
From Shinjuku in Tokyo, there is one daily Super Azusa limited express service that runs to Hakuba. The ride takes 3 hours, 45 minutes and costs ¥8070 each way. As of January 2006, the outbound service leaves at 11:00, and the inbound service (to Shinjuku) departs from Hakuba at 14:57. There is also an additional Azusa service on certain dates, making the run to Hakuba in about 4 hours.
Otherwise, you will have to take an Azusa or Super Azusa to Matsumoto and take one (possibly two) Oito Line local trains, increasing the journey to 4 1/2 hours.
The fastest route from Tokyo is by Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo Station to Nagano: 105min./8,170yen. Then by bus from Nagano to Hakuba 65min./1,500yen. Trains run every half hour or so, buses every hour. Note that the last bus from Nagano Station to Hakuba is 8:30pm. This whole trip takes just over 2.5 hours, 9,700yen one way.
These trips are useful for Japan Rail Pass holders, or else it is probably cheaper to take the bus.
From Tokyo, Buses run from Shinjuku every two or three hours and stop at several places in the Hakuba region. The trip takes around 4 and a half hours and costs ¥8500 return for adults or half that for children. Timetable
Buses run every hour during ski season from Nagano and cost ¥1400/¥700 for adults/children. The journey takes just over an hour. Timetable
- Outside of the winter months, there are plenty of bike trails and walking paths to get around the area. Many hostels have bike rental which helps if you are a little bit outside of Hakuba proper.
- If you are based around Kamishiro station, you are on the main rail line and road so a trip into Hakuba proper is only five minutes by JR or by Bus.
During the Green Season
Near Hakuba, during the green season (i.e. spring, summer & autumn), there are three freshwater lakes that are so clean that you can swim in them. In order from south to north, they are called Aoki-ko, Nakazuna-ko, and Kizaki-ko. The use of engines and outboard motors is banned on Aoki-ko, making it the quietest and nicest of the three. Popular activities include boating, sport fishing, and windsurfing. Nakazuna-ko is very small and only really attracts fishermen. Kizaki-ko is the most developed, and since engines are allowed, sports like wakeboarding are popular.
During the summer, most of the ski resorts operate some of their lifts to allow access to higher elevations. At Hakuba 47 and Aokiko (in nearby Omachi), the lifts allow access for mountain biking. Hiking or simply enjoying the views are popular at Happo, Goryu and Tsugaike. Above Happo, an easy trail extends for 40 minutes to a small pond in which the local alpine peaks are reflected. A couple of hours further up the trail lies the peak of Mt. Karamatsu on the main ridge of the North Alps. The top ski run at Goryu becomes an alpine garden in summer and another trail leads further upward to a viewpoint (around 50 minutes) or the peak of Mt. Goryu itself (around four hours). Above Tsugaike, a further ropeway takes you to a wetland that is designated as a national park. A trail from here takes you up to Mt. Shirouma, after which Hakuba is named. Shirouma and Hakuba are different readings of the kanji for "white horse". The smaller ski field of Iwatake uses its pistes to grow thousands of lilies in summer and also has a dry ski slope if you're desperate for turns.
Like all mountain areas in Japan, temperatures in Hakuba stay much cooler than in the cities on Japan's Pacific coast. That alone makes it worthy of a visit.
Whether you're a snowboarder or skier, beginner or pro, with seven ski resorts in the area you shouldn't have problems finding a run to suit your style.
- Hakuba 47 Winter Sports Park 24196-47, Kamishiro, Hakuba Village, +81 261-75-3533. . Open 8.30AM to 4.30PM daily, Dec-May approx. With an annual snowfall of over 10m, Hakuba 47 offers 23 name runs, from beginner to advanced, as well as snowshoe and snowmobile tours. Private lessons for skiers or snowboarders are available in English and they rent basic equipment too.
There are plenty of onsen (hot spring baths) in the Hakuba area, perfect for soaking away the aches and pains of a day on the slopes. List. Don't forget to wash off before you enter the water.
- Juro No-Yu, +81 261-71-8160 Ten minutes walk from Kamishiro station. This onsen is open 24 hours a day from December to March, 10AM-10PM the rest of the year. Closed on the 2nd Tuesday of every month. Enjoy the piping hot mineral waters in the inside and outside baths while looking out over the snow capped mountains. When your skin starts shrivelling up, dry off and head to the lounge to kick back on the tatami and watch TV or dig into a steaming bowl of tempura soba. Sauna, lockers provided. ¥500/¥400 for adults/children for 2 hours bathing. Meals around ¥1000.
- Tenjin No-Yu, +81 261-72-3450. 15 minutes walk from Hakuba station. Open 9AM-10PM. Closed Tu. Recommended by locals for its healing waters, Tenjin No-Yu offers great views of the mountains from both indoor and outdoor baths. Lockers available. ¥500.
Hakuba's specialty products include blueberries and purple rice.
- Fresh blueberries can be picked straight from the vine during spring and summer at The Blueberry Farm, tel. +81 261-75-2735, or purchased from most gift stores in the region.
- For the same berry flavor with increased shelf-life, try some locally made blueberry youkan (sweet jelly) or daifuku (rices cakes with sweet paste).
- Hakuba Murasakimai, or purple rice, is the result of boiling a mixture of glutinous and non-glutinous grains. It's available from roadside stations around Hakuba.
Accommodation in Hakuba is very inexpensive compared to other international ski resorts. 
For personalised ski holidays in Hakuba SnowbedsTravel.com offer packages including accommodation, transfers, lift tickets, rentals and lessons/guiding. Their service is second to none and won't disappoint in their hands on approach. 
www.ski-hakuba-japan.com provides all the information you'll need on the Hakuba region. They are able to offer a variety of snow holiday packages ranging from group tours to luxury getaways. Pacakges can also include a Tokyo experience to ensure you get a true feel of Japan. 
- Gravity Worx Cafe. Next to Hakuba station, this warm and inviting cafe has English menus and delicious homemade apple pie. A wide range of pizza and pasta dishes are available, or you can settle in with a few drinks and watch a movie on the bar tv. The large hot chocolate, served rich and steaming in a huge beer stein, is the best medicine for the icy winter days. Service is excellent and there is local produce and baked goods for sale. Meals ¥800-1500 Deserts ¥400.
- White Horse Restaurant, in Echoland, . Offers a great range of hearty western style meals including steaks, burgers, and pizzas. They have a large international wine list and english speaking staff. Friday night is the famous BBQ night. Expresso coffee available.
- Uncle Steven's Mexican Restaurant just across the bridge up the hill from Happo Village. Some of the best Mexican food in Japan. Don't miss the baked banana. It usually runs a family of four about 8,000 including beer and bananas.
- Yamano Hotel Restaurant, in Happo-One, in front of the Ski Jumping Stadium, phone: 0261-72-8311 or by e-mail: [email protected], . Offers delicious French Style and traditional Japanese Style meals (Chanko Nabe - famed sumo wrestlers one-pot meal) and also a wide range of drinks: wine, beer, sake etc. to enjoy with. Service is excellent with friendly English speaking staff. A reservation is required in advance.
- Tracks Bar, One of Hakuba's most happening nightspots .
- White Horse Bar, . A cool atmosphere for apres drinks with a great selection of local and international beers, wines and spirits and some smooth tunes. Situated in Echoland.
- Yamano Hotel Bar called "Noroc" in Happo - One, in front of the Ski Jumping Stadium, . Good music, wide range of drinks and friendly staff. Opening hours: 22:00 - 1:00
- Snowbeds Backpackers, 2937-304 Hakujo, Kita-Azumi Gun, Hakuba, Nagano 399-9301. Tel 81 90 7310 4032 email [email protected] or see at 
Hakuba's first and most famous backpackers, and still the best in town. With a great atmosphere and cheap long term rates, minutes walk to restaurants and bars. Snowbeds was opened in 1998 and was one of the first foreign owned business's in Hakuba. Still the most popular backpackers accommodation in Hakuba due to location and word of mouth, if the Snowbeds staff don’t know something about Hakuba then it’s not worth knowing. Free shuttle bus stop for 5 resorts right out front. Closest ski resorts being Happo One and 47/Goryu. Features western style private and shared rooms, communial kitchen, satelite TV, ski/drying room, workshop and tuning room. Y3000 per night. English spoken.
- Hakuba Alps Backpackers, 22407-4 Ohaza, Kamishiro, tel. +81 261-75-4038, . Look for the wooden building with a windmill on top, just a few minutes walk from Kamishiro station. Facilities include kitchen, jacuzzi, lounge with DVD player and satellite TV and a BBQ on the deck. HAB is run by a group of friendly expats happy to offer advice about their time on the slopes. ¥3000 pp/pn dorm accommodation.
- Hakuba Powder Lodge, tel. 090-1147-8741 (English spoken) email: [email protected], . Biggest backpacker operation in Hakuba, minutes away from Happo One and Goryu/47. Private double rooms available, great views from the fire place. Facilities include Large kitchen, shower/bath, 2 lounge rooms smoking and non-smoking, cable TV, Large screen TV with a DVD player. ¥3000/night or ¥40000/month.
- Yamago Snow Lover's Club, tel. 090-6511-0792, . Private and dorm rooms available. No beds, only futons. From ¥3000/day, 500yen/day for a shuttle to/from the mountain and around town. special rates for long stayers. English spoken.
- K's Hostel Hakuba, 22201-36 Kamishiro TEL +81(0)261-75-4445 FAX +81(0)261-75-4448 . A couple of minutes walk from Kamishiro Station, however if you are feeling lazy, when you arrive you can phone and one of the members of staff can pick you up. Run by two cheerful young Japanese folk, they like to hang out with visitors when the hostel is less busy. Facilities include a kitchen, large bath house, large lounge with TV, DVD and Playstation 2 with plenty of games and DVDs. Only 8 minutes downhill from Goryu. ¥2,800 pp/pn for dorm accommodation and ¥3,900 pp/pn for ensuite double bedroom.
- Yamano Hotel Hakuba, +81-261-72-8311, fax +81-261-72-8312, e-mail: [email protected], . Located in front of the Olympic Ski Jumping Stadium, 5 min on foot to the slopes of Happo One resort (Nakiyama Area). In front of the hotel there is a bus station from where you can take a free shuttle bus to Hakuba 47 ski resort. Free wifi/PC in lobby, ski & snowboard rentals, indoor hot spring and sauna, coin-operated laundry, games/entertainment room area, drying room, DVD player rental, oriental massage. All the rooms have refrigerator, private bathroom, hair dryer, television, telephone, air conditioning, yukata (Japanese bathrobe).Free pick-up/drop off service from Hakuba bus/train station. Long stay and group discounts available.
- Blue Dragon Hakuba, is an exciting Australian-owned & operated art~hotel in a fantastic location.
Blending contemporary Japanese design with western service and facilities, Blue Dragon Hakuba delivers a fusion east meets west experience.
Whether its on the mountain, dining out, or finding that great photo-opportunity, Blue Dragon Hakuba keeps you one step ahead of the usual tourist trail.
Email us: [email protected] Skype us: bluedragonhakuba Call us: +81 (0)907 017 5331 or visit .
- Pension Hayaokidori, five minutes walk from Kamishiro train station and the bus-stops for travellers arriving from Shinjuku or Nagano city, tel. +81 261-75-2142, . It's also within walking distance of Hakuba Goryu ski resort. Rooms are simple but clean with shared bathrooms, including Japanese-style bath. Friendly owner Bono-san speaks excellent English and may be able to help you rent ski equipment or drive you to some of the closer resorts. The common bar area is warm and inviting, if a little musty-smelling, and serves alcohol until 11PM along with delicious lasagne and other home cooking. One night's accommodation will set you back ¥7350/10920/16380 for singles/doubles/quads without food. A huge breakfast is available for a little extra.
- Morino Lodge, 5 minutes walk from Happo bus terminal and close to Hakuba station with free pick up. Tel. +81 261-85-9098, . MorinoLodge has clean, spacious twins, doubles and group rooms in western and Japanese style. The rooms all come with ensuite bathroom, shower and toilet plus televison, DVD player, mini fridge and patio windows with balconies. There is also a huge lounge with big sofas to chill out on. The Lodge is surrounded by great restaurants and bars and is only 4 minutes walk from the Happo gondola. The western owners have been in Hakuba for 7 years and have great knowledge of the surrounding area
- Green Valley Hakuba, 24196-24 Kamishiro, TEL:+81-261-75-4000 (http://www.gvhakuba.com/). Living and Bed rooms (TV, Heater, Fan Vacuum cleaner, Bed). Kitchen (Gas or electric stove, Refrigerator, Rice cooker, Microwave, Toaster, Pot, Kitchen utensils, grill). Bathroom (Washing machine, Drier, Shampoo and Conditioner, Hand soap, Toothbrush, Towel). Outside (Parking, barbeque space).
- Sierra Resort Hakuba, Between Tsugaike and Happo-One ski areas, ph. +81 080 5144 4700. (http://www.sierra.ne.jp/hakuba/) English site in progress. Largest hotel rooms in the area. En-suite fireplaces, heated floors. Outdoor onsen (hot spring) complex. Free limousine service to ski areas, shopping/eating/drinking areas and station. Long stay and group discounts available.
- White Horse Hotel, . The White Horse Hotel is a boutique style hotel situated in Echoland. English speaking staff. Japanese rooms with western comforts and situated in the main restaurant/bar area of the valley. Free shuttles to any of the ten resorts in the valley.
- Hakuba Apartments, Echoland area, ph.090-1147-8741, [[email protected]]. 5-minute shuttle ride away from Happo-one. Many bars and restaurants within a short walking distance. Rates 30000 yen for 6 people or less.
- OHARUKANOYU, 2942-17 Misorano Hokujou (http://oharuka.com/). Lobby, Dining room, Japanese-style and Western-style rooms (35 guest rooms, Satellite television(BS, SKY PerfecTV), Washlet(Toilet with bided function), High speed internet all rooms correspondence), Indoor Onsen (hot spring), Rotenburo (Open-air hot spring), Ski & board drying room / Separate changing room / locker room / wash room.