Hakuba is a famous area situated in the heart of the Japanese Alps. I have been fortunate enough to visit here on more than one occasion, everytime I leave I can’t wait for my next trip back.
Here are 3 things I love doing when I visit Hakuba:
Happo One is the premier ski resort in the area and very popular with tourists. It hit the spot light when it played center stage during the Nagano Olympics back in 1998. People from around the world were glued to their screens watch the downhill, giant slalom, ski jumping and other events, all taking place on the Happo One slopes – from then on everyone wanted to give the slopes a try. You won’t see any major competitions when you visit these days, but what you will find is a well maintained, professional and outstanding resort which is also blessed with some of the best mountain views in Japan.
Just a few miles further on from Happo One you’ll find Mount Shirouma, well you’ll have a hard time not finding it because it is over 2,900 meters tall and is the king of the Hida Mountain range. You can enjoy the mountain during every season; in the summer it is ideal for hiking with the slopes littered with beautiful alpine flowers and when the snow falls the place is full of skiers and boarders. People do also climb the mountain, it’s very popular because it’s not too strenuous, doesn’t take too long and there are camps along the way – if you have the time you should give it a go.
When come down off the slopes and closer to ground level you will see Lake Aoki, a place of natural beauty which is roughly 10 kilometres south of the valley. If you see a photo of the lake from a bird’s eye view you’ll notice that it roughly resembles the shape of a heart. In the summer months it is a haven from people who want to enjoy water sports; people kayak, swim and soak up the sun, all with the mountains forming a stunning backdrop. I found that the evening was also a very interesting time to visit the lake because fireflies light up the dark, in the winter months there are plenty of birds and in the spring the lakeside is decorated by beautiful cherry blossom hues. A fantastic place to visit regardless of the season you visit and an ideal place to relax away from the crowds at the resorts.