Family Trip to Hakuba

Family Trip to Hakuba – Budget, Accommodations and Resorts

Our family trip to Hakuba was not really a trip but a very long stay due to hybrid and remote learning. We escaped the business of Tokyo to get some silence and stay healthy mentally and physically. Since I was able to spend over a month we were able to check out all the neighborhoods, the mountains, the food options, and extracurricular activities. This post is focused on budgeting and planning your trip for a family of four. If you have advice on your family’s trip to Hakuba please share it below.  Hakuba is a great area with five main ski mountains and a nice town with shopping and activities outside of skiing.  We also love Shigakogen, Nozawa, and Niseko which all have their pros and cons.

Family Trip to HakubaFamily Trip to Hakuba – Budget, Accommodations, and Resorts

Hakuba BUDGET – five days/ four nights midrange for a family of four (kids under 12 years) skiing every day. 

The Estimated Budget is 500,000JPY or about 5,000 USD for a family of four for five days. Obviously, you can lower this by staying in a 2-star hotel or good value Airbnb and cooking at home, but this estimate in based on mid-range and not scrimping on food and drink.

Transport round trip from Tokyo – approximately 40,000 – 60,000 JPY (Shinkansen train and bus, or car with tolls and gas)

Hakuba Accommodations – four-night two-bedroom house/condo rental or two bedrooms in a mid-range hotel 40,000JPY – 60,000JPY per night so about 200,000JPY.

Hakuba Ski/boarding lift tickets – Approximately per day 6,600JPY for adults and 3,800 JPY for kids; assuming four days of skiing about 80,000JPY.  If you plan to stay for more than a few days and want to try different ski resorts you can buy the Hakuba Valley Ticket which covers all resorts in Hakuba.  Also, I recommend you order your tickets (even one-day tickets) online to get a slight discount.  Once you order your ticket(s) online you can quickly pick-up them at multiple locations. 

Hakuba Ski/board rentals – about 3,500JPY for kids and 5,000JPY for adults; all rentals for four days about 70,000 JPY. We had our skis waxed at Rythm in Hakuba and they had great service and rental selection. You can also reserve your rentals online before you arrive so you don’t need to feel rushed on arrival.

Hakuba Food for lunch and dinner – Assume lunch and snack on the slopes so budget about 10,000 per day for lunch, snacks, and drinks; dinner can vary but assume 10,000 – 20,000JPY per night. I would budget about 100,000JPY for food for five days; obviously, this can go much higher with alcohol. There are two great supermarkets Big Aeon and Delicia in town so you can get everything you need to eat at home if you don’t or can’t eat out.

Family Trip to Hakuba – Budget, Accommodations, and Resorts

Hakuba Transportation
Transportation from Tokyo – Car (4-5 hours, about 8,000 in Tolls), Highway bus (about 5 hours; oneway about 5,200JPY per adults, 2,600JPY per child), Shinkansen to Nagano + Hakuba bus (oneway about 3 hours and 13,000JPY per adults and 7,500JPY per child **Note last bus to Hakuba from Nagano is around 20;00). A cab from Nagano to Hakuba costs about 20,000JPY for a four person cab. Reserve your Shinkansen Tickets here.  If you have two kids I highly recommend renting a car in Tokyo and driving. If you do drive make sure you have 4WD or chains from Nagano to Hakuba.

Hakuba Accommodations

People speak about Hakuba as it is one mountain but it actually is made up of nine ski areas; the top six being – Gyoru, Haluba 47, Happo-One, Iwatake, Tsugaike, and Cortina. We had the pleasure of skiing all, and our top four are 1. Hakuba-One, 2, Iwatake, 3. Tsugaike and 4. Cortina. There are shuttle buses that run between the slopes but we found it much easier to drive and park. All ski areas have free or cheap parking, with the exception of Happo-en which is about 500-1,000 yen per day.

There are four major areas that people choose to stay around – Goryu, Echoland, Happo, or Wadano. You can also stay near Iwatake, Tsugaike, and Cortina but those resorts are a bit further out so if you want to visit other areas you will be traveling more. We rented a house in Echoland and love the quiet neighborhood but walkability to restaurants. We had no concerns with our kids playing outside in the snow because it is not a traffic area.  Goryu has few houses, but a selection of hotels around the base of the mountain.  Echoland has some hotels but is mainly stand-alone houses with a lively main street of restaurants (you will need to drive or take the bus to a ski lift).  Happo is at the base of Happo-one and has a mixture of very hold hotels and new expensive apartments popping up. Very convenient to the mountain and restaurants, but a bit busier. Wadano is a beautiful neighborhood with a mixture of hotels and lovely homes. There are some restaurants but not as many as the base of Happo or Echoland. You can access Happo-One lifts by the Sakka lift in Wadano.  You can use Booking.com or Airbnb to find a variety of houses and hotels.

Hakuba Ski Mountains – So many options, which one to choose depends on conditions and also abilities.

GoryuA great family resort with a nice selection of easy and medium runs, not for powder and advance skiers. Located next to Hakuba 47 so if you stay in Goryu it’s nice to ski both as a family. Goyru has 13 lifts (1 gondola) The trails are 35% beginner, 40% med, and 25% advance (although almost no off-piste). 

Happo-OneHappo-One is the largest and most popular mountain. It has four bases to access the mountain and plan your accommodations. The mix of trails is Beginner: 30%, Intermediate: 50%, and Advanced: 20%. There are 22 lifts. The mix of people is Skiers: 60% and Boarders: 40%.  We usually park at Sakka base to get easy access to the lifts. The top of Hakuba can get very windy, and the top lifts are often closed. Great off-piste skiing. Happo-one facebook page, instagram page.

IwatakeFamilies with young kids love Iwatake. Although lower than other mountains it has 26 courses and 12 lifts. The official trial statistics are 30% beginner, 50% intermediate, and 20% advanced. The skier to board ratio is 60/40%. Iwatake also has quite a few areas for off-piste runs. The views from the top are unmatched on any other mountain and the highlight is visiting the City Bakery with amazing views and coffee/cocoa. Iwatake facebook page, and instagram

TsugaikeA great mountain for family skiing. Best for early to medium level. Slopes specs; beginner 50% Intermediate 30% Advanced 20%. Ride the gondola all the way up and get wide open easy runs with great powder. The official trial statistics are 30% beginner, 50% intermediate, and 20% advanced, however, it seems to have more beginner runs than Iwatake. Not recommended for advanced skiers. Tsugaike Facebook page and Instagram 

CortinaAbout a 20-minute drive from central Hakuba but well worth it. A great hill to visit right after a big snowfall, the best off-piste skiing in Hakuba. Smaller in scale than other resorts; 7 lifts and 16 trails. Slopes are beginner – 30%, intermediate – 30% and advanced – 40%.  Cortina Snow Resort facebook page, and instagram.

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Family Trip to Hakuba – Budget, Accommodations, and Resorts

 

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