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Hakuba 47

The Hakuba Valley is Japan’s most popular ski area, and Hakuba 47 its youngest and trendiest resort. With 2 terrain parks and a boardercross, it’s one of the friendliest places in the country for the one plank posse (and one of the steepest). If you aren’t hooked by the hills, you will be by the value for your yen and all this area’s oriental authenticity – with 11 equally awesome resorts on the same cheap lift pass.

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

At a glance: • 11 interconnected resorts • Low-cost lift pass

Great for: • Beginners • Snowboarders • Snow sure

The Hakuba Valley is Japan’s most popular ski area, and Hakuba 47 its youngest and trendiest resort. With 2 terrain parks and a boardercross, it’s one of the friendliest places in the country for the one plank posse (and one of the steepest). If you aren’t hooked by the hills, you will be by the value for your yen and all this area’s oriental authenticity – with 11 equally awesome resorts on the same cheap lift pass.

Hakuba 47 Resort

“47” comes from the fact this place is raring to go all “4 seasons”, “7 days a week” but to be honest it’s best known as a winter resort. It’s one of the newest out of 11 resorts in the super snowy Hakuba Valley and a mountain range known evocatively as the “Japanese Alps”. Hop on a chairlift and you’re greeted by vistas over an oriental empire of winter sports, with a combined 200+ runs. A common lift pass and a free shuttle connects it all and you can spend a week resort hopping if you so wish. Closer to home, the resort of Goryu sits one mountain over, with trails that mix and mingle with 47’s to provide 23 runs and a substantial ski area by Japanese standards.

Back to the views – make your way up Goryu’s 1676m Zizou peak to snap shots of some local legends. Huge, rugged Goryudake is named after the dragons and/or diamonds that townsfolk say can be seen up on the mountain… And the peaks of Yarigatake, Syakushidake, Shiroumada each have a story. Scan the horizon and you’ll spot Happo One, the valley’s biggest resort, where you may well be staying. Because, while there are restaurants and shops at the 47 base, a village and accommodation has yet to follow. Most stay in Happo or Wadano, students make a bee-line for buzzing Echoland, while families plump for peaceful Goryu village or the ski-in/ski-out properties at Goryu’s Toomi base.

One of 47’s biggest draw cards is its unique focus on snowboarding, with a halfpipe that draws the land’s daredevils (halfpipes have yet to catch on in this part of the world), a boardercross course and probably the biggest terrain park in the valley. Don’t take our word for it - take a tour of the other 9 in the region to test the theory.

When you’re not on the slopes, getting to know authentic Japan isn’t a bad way to spend your downtime. Steam in hot springs, sip sake, visit centuries old castles, learn about paper crafts and the tea ceremony and come away feeling enlightened. If you’ve flown through Tokyo, spend a few days getting intrepid in the capital to take this journey of oriental exploration to the next level.

Stats & FAQ

Location: Nagano, Japan

Established: 1990

Open: November - May

Downhill: 23.7km / 23 runs

View our detailed Hakuba 47 snow forecast or snow report and see all live webcams, piste maps, road and travel maps and lift pass prices. For a picture of historic snow conditions see the snow depths month by month with our Hakuba 47 snow history.

Nearest Airport & Transfer Time:
Tokyo Narita airport (NRT)345km, 4.5 hours
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • 30%

  • 40%

  • 30%

Top Altitude:1614m
Bottom Altitude:820m
Resort Altitude:820m
Longest run:6.4km
Slope Orientation:
Vertical Drop:794m
Skiable Vertical:
Night Skiing:No
Glacier:No

Snow Report

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Web Cam

Hakuba 47 web cams
Downhill Runs:23.7km / 23 runs
Beginner slopes:30%
Intermediate:40%
Advanced slopes:30%
Lift Pass Price: around £35 (adult single day pass)
Nearby resorts: Hakuba Iwatake

Skiing/BoardingSkiing in Hakuba 47

By itself, the Hakuba 47 ski area is rather small (about 8 runs, and 80 acres). Combined with Goryu it’s half decent. You’ll find lots of the long, well-groomed runs Japan is known for and of course, plenty of pow. Altogether this delicious dish makes up 23 runs, peppered with mogul areas, tree-riding zones and some of the best stuff for boarders in the land. Should you be left wanting more, your lift pass works on any of the other 9 surrounding resorts, so just hop on the shuttle.

Goryu’s Toomi zone is the learning place for beginner skiers and boarders, and the lower slopes serviced by the Toomi chairs are broad and gentle. These stay open every night, so you can resume your practice session after dinner (if you’re not too full of sake and soba). The Ski and Snowboard School and the Children’s Learning Centre are located in front of the Escal Plaza here, with English lessons for skiers and boarders at prices so low you’ll feel you should double check them. For a crowning achievement for the week, catch the Goryu Express Gondola up to the Panorama Course to follow the gently winding R8 and 7 trails all the way back down to the Euclid base.

Intermediates can easily roam both mountains, with Hakuba 47 more challenging than Goryu Toomi. Hit up the Grand Prix course on Zizou peak in the morning while snow is freshly groomed and on a clear day, the views will be sure to wake you up. Later on, mile-wide R1 is a thrill to soar down, skis straight.

47 has some of the best expert terrain in the valley (and Japan for that matter), with a cliff-like pitches of up to 35° in places. A permanent mogul course contains some of the largest moguls you’ll ever set goggled eyes on. Sadly, Goryu and 47 are among the majority of Japanese resorts in that they prefer to keep you from the off-piste - try to taste this forbidden fruit and you may have your lift pass confiscated. But a tree-riding zone is this area’s answer to glade skiing and for fresh lines of a sort, see if the resort still does their First Tracks package, which involves taking breakfast at the top of the Line 8 Gondola before hitting the slopes with a guide.

The main Snow Park at Hakuba 47 on Route 4 includes a 135m half pipe carved daily, as well as kickers, rails and all the good stuff. Another park, designed by pros TOMBOY sits on Route 6. Interestingly, while only private classes are available in English, you can ski in an English-speaking group as a boarder.

Hakuba 47 Apres Ski

You’ll be well fed and watered between 47 and Goryu, where on-mountain restaurants range from taco joints to traditional izakaya “pubs” where you can slurp sake with locals. Fear not about dodgy interpretations of Western food here. Luis’s “Mix Pizza” once beat the best fare from a whopping 30 different resorts to win the crown for “best slopeside eats”, making it worth a taste test.

Despite a lack of hotels here, the Beer Bar at the 47 base is one of the liveliest in the whole valley for a brew or two. From there, depending on where you’ve based yourself, the average evening might be whiled away in a steaming spring, spent learning to eat ramen with chopsticks or giggling on some of Japan’s wacky off-slope activities.

Snowmobiling and snow shoe fondue tours you may have done before, but snow “rafting”, balloon rides, and learning the art of making soba noodles you probably haven’t. Don’t miss a trip to Happo-one’s Olympic ski jump, with a lift to get you to the top – fear not, they won’t make you jump it. Another fantastic tour is to see the Matsumoto “Crow” Castle, a 400-year-old tiered Donjon construction, or joining the crowds at the area’s famous monkey park to watch macaques doing backflips in hot springs.

When night falls, the bars with the most buzz are concentrated in the Happo and Echoland area, including a handful of nightclubs. But the best evenings are spent in the izakayas. The very definition of Japanese après, squeeze yourself into tiny beer house with buds and brews, and you’ll feel right at home on this side of the world.

Scheduled bus services operate during the day to various points around the villages. In the evening, the Genki-go shuttle bus covers most of the Valley hotspots until around 10:30.

Best time to go

Best time to ski Hakuba 47

When is the best time to ski Hakuba 47?

The snow gods smile down on 47, sending an average 11 metres a season and more blue sky days than any other resort in Japan. 47 has the added bonus of largely north-facing slopes so the snow generally stays in divine condition, earning it the valley’s longest winter season, often lasting till May.

The snowfall is heavy enough for the resort to build an igloo village and ice sculptures in February as part of the Hakuba 47 Thanks Week – part of the valley wide We Love Snow Festival. This is the time the half pipe usually opens, snow sculptures line the hills, and igloos are carved to serve up ice-cold beer – even Japanese hot pots – making this a great time to visit. March is also a top month, when the crowds that flock here in January have gone on their way and the Goryu Snow Festival brings Japanese drums, torch lit skiing and fireworks like only the Japanese know how to do them to the mountain.

Peak Dates

In a land where the 25th isn’t that big a deal, Christmas in Hakuba 47 will probably be your cheapest seasonal ski holiday yet once you reach resort, where you can reward good little girls and boys with snowmobile trips, balloon rides and all other kinds of winter fun.

Festivities run throughout the day for New Year in Hakuba 47 and have previously included sake toasts, mochi rice pounding, rock-paper-scissors competitions and treasure hunts, before a good old-fashioned knees-up down in Hakuba town.

February is when the snow sculptures and the igloos hit the hills, making Half Term in Hakuba 47 all the more magical for your skiing brood. Activities like snow rafting and visits to the snow monkeys should provide plenty of stories for the holiday diaries.

With the longest season in the valley, there should still be plenty of snow for Easter in Hakuba 47 and the slopes will be at their quietest.

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Families in Hakuba 47

Families love a bit of Goryu and Hakuba 47. Gorgeous long runs, covered in knee, if not waist-deep powder are hard to say no to, and the fact there are 9 other resorts within a 20-minute bus ride keeps things exciting. If you feel like trying something different, you can (and on the same pass). Throw in cheap lift tickets and classes and this starts to look like a place you could come quite frequently. Look out for the resort’s “Family Tickets” to take costs crazily low.

Excellent instruction for less than a round of ramen can be found in private and group classes with the Hakuba Snowsports School at Goryu’s Iimori base and privately with the Hakuba 47 School Center - both for skiers from the age of 5 and boarders from 7. You’ll also find childcare at both resorts for ages 2 to 6. Though fluent English is not a given and you will need to pick kiddos up for lunch, on the plus side, prices are unbelievably cheap (previously less than £7 an hour) and staff all 100% qualified.

GroupsGroup Holidays Hakuba 47

Hakuba probably hasn’t appeared on the group shortlist before, but give this curve ball a chance and you won’t regret it. Cheap lift passes, lessons and awesome food should be enough to get you on the plane, but what makes the memories is the chance to experience real, live Japan… On a ski holiday. Steam away together in hot springs (and unfortunately, yes, your birthday suit), slurp ramen with the locals, watch samurai sword performances and even come away with origami skills…

Fun nights out include finding an izakaya pub big enough for you and getting the sake flowing, or heading to town to separate the men from the boys ordering deadly blowfish at Kikyo Ya…

More Hakuba 47 Holiday Resources


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