| Centrip Editorial Board
In winter or summer visit Hakuba's 5 newest attractions!
The Hakuba area is well-known for its steep slopes and quality snow, and it attracts many tourists from abroad. It is considered a prime winter tourist destination, but amid the COVID19 epidemic, it is drawing attention for its summertime charms. Visitors can come and enjoy nature and outdoor activities by avoiding the usually crowded spots, and from either Nagoya or Tokyo, the drive to Hakuba is lovely.
In this article, we will introduce some of Hakuba's major ski resorts and how they look in the summer, Hakuba Iwatake, Tsugaike Kogen, and Happo-One, as well as Snow Peak LAND STATION HAKUBA and many other locations.
1. Hakuba Iwatake
Let's start with Hakuba Iwatake Mountain Resort. From the foot of the mountain, take the gondola to the mountain's peak.
At the mountaintop station, you'll find tents and benches in a grassy area where you can relax and enjoy the clean mountain air.
Iwatake offers a wide range of activities like trail buggies and mountain bike rides. Iwatake, with its 1272 meter high summit, with an elevation gain of 521 meters, is considered a mecca for mountain biking. The downhill course is 6,900 meters long! You can rent a mountain bike on-site and have it transported to the top of the mountain by gondola.
As you walk further from the summit square, you will see HAKUBA MOUNTAIN HARBOR café with its spectacular view of the Japanese Northern Alps. If you look at the cafe just right, it seems as though it's floating in the air and makes for a popular Instagrammable spot.
This year, you can try something new! A large swing with a spectacular view, the Yoo-Hoo! SWING is now available. Listen to the theme song of the Japanese anime, Heidi, Girl of the Alps, and swing above the great outdoors. The swing is open from late August to early November. Due to popularity, you may have to wait in line on weekends and holidays, especially when the weather is clear.
2. Tsugaike Kogen
Next is Tsugaike Kogen. Take a 20-minute gondola ride or a 7-minute ropeway ride to get to the top of the plateau. On the way, enjoy the view and the beauty of nature.
A short walk from the end of the ropeway takes you to Tsugaike Nature Park. At an altitude of 1,900 meters, the plateau marsh stays cool, even in summer, making for a comfortable visit.
The alpine plants that bloom in the marsh between mid-June and mid-August are beautiful, but when I visited in early October, the contrast between the colors of the autumn leaves, the trees, and the blue autumn sky was magnificent. The park's walking trail is about 5.5km long and takes about 3 hours and 30 minutes to walk around the park. For those who want to enjoy a casual stroll, there is a short course that only takes about 15 minutes.
You can get off at the mid-way station on the gondola. In 2018, Xtrem Aventures, a French-born adventure facility, opened. They have a wide range of activities for children and adults alike.
Happo-one's ski resort is one of the largest stand-alone ski resorts in Japan and the sight of the alpine skiing events for the 1998 Nagano Olympics.
In the summer, you can enjoy the magnificence of nature.
Walk an hour and a half from the end of the gondola to get to Happo. Happo lake looks beautiful, snuggled among the Alps (unfortunately, we were unable to take this trip due to unfortunate weather conditions). It is a popular and easy to enjoy hiking course.
Usagidaira Terrace is at the top of the gondola lift.
On the rooftop, there is a pure-white area like a pristine beach with a magnificent view. A sauna is available for private use. Blue skies, spectacular views, and a pure white terrace make it a great place to have a beer and a bite to eat. (unfortunately for me, the weather was not ideal)!
Happo-One in good weather. (Photo credit: Tourism Commission of Hakuba Village)
4. Lake Aoki
During your stay in Hakuba, stretch your legs and travel deeper into the mountains to visit Lake Aoki. It's only a 20-minute drive from Hakuba.
Lake Aoki boasts the most outstanding crystal clear water in Nagano Prefecture. This small lake, made from spring water, is the deepest in the prefecture. The surrounding greenery and blue of the lake lends an air of mystery and beauty to the surroundings. Camping sites dot the vicinity of the lake.
Water activities like canoeing and standup paddleboarding are also popular. Programs for beginners are also available.
5. Snow Peak LAND STATION HAKUBA
Last but not least, Snow Peak LAND STATION HAKUBA, which opened in April of 2020.
Designed by iconic Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, the facility features a Starbucks and restaurants as well as a shop by the Japanese outdoor brand Snow Peak. Outside the facilities, tents surround a large garden where you can relax with your dog.
There is also plenty of tourist information about Hakuba Village at Snow Peak LAND STATION HAKUBA. Get all the information you need on Hakuba Village, as well as making reservations for accommodations and activities. It's a good idea to stop here when planning your sightseeing in Hakuba.
With a variety of activities set in the natural beauty and wilderness of Hakuba, the summer season is very different from what you get in the winter. It's a great place to get away from the grind of city life and take in the majesty of the Japanese Northern Alps.