Two ski resorts, one hell of a place to ski. Hakuba 47 and Goryu are two resorts sharing the one mountain, making it the second largest ski area in Hakuba Valley behind Happo One. They’re connected at the top and their shared lift pass makes it easy to access runs on both sides. Even though it’s technically the same mountain, both resorts exhibit its own persona - Goryu is more beginner friendly at the base but if you’re willing to work for your powder, access the back ridge for breathtaking views and untouched white fluff. Hakuba 47 on the other hand, provides plenty for intermediate and advanced skiers with dedicated off-piste tree zone and the largest terrain park in Hakuba Valley for that extra thrill.
Hakuba 47 is home to the biggest and best terrain park in Hakuba Valley, crazy fun tree runs with amazing powder stashes, and a whopping 4 mi long trail, making it perfect for freestyle tricksters, powder hounds, and groomer cruisers! The resort might be overshadowed by its bigger brother Happo One when it comes to size, but its mostly north-facing slopes stay out of the sun, keeping the powder fresh and fluffy for days after a dump. It’s all about quality over quantity here, so if you won’t settle for anything but the best, Hakuba 47 is the place for you!
Where Hakuba 47 fails to deliver the goods is in the accommodation by the base area and lifts, because there is none. You’ll need to look elsewhere in the valley if ski-in/ski-out lodgings is a must (don’t worry, neighboring Goryu, Happo One or Cortina have you covered). It’s actually too far to walk from the nearest accommodation, meaning you’ll be reliant on transport to get here each day, but this won’t be a problem as Hakuba Valley operates a very efficient shuttle bus service. Also, if memorable dining is as important as skiing each day, you might be disappointed by the lack of restaurants on the mountain. The few eateries that are here can get terribly busy.
Despite these small inconveniences, Hakuba 47 excels in being a splendid powder playground for serious skiers and snowboarders! It’s the center of the freestyle scene in Hakuba Valley, so pro skiers and snowboarders descend upon the terrain parks here to compete each year, with awesome displays of skills to enjoy from a spectator’s view! When it’s time to give your legs a rest, you can still get your adrenaline pumping with a snowmobile adventure through the flatlands of the lower mountain. Otherwise, just enjoy some downtime in the great selection of bars dotted around Echoland!
Once you’ve had your fill of Hakuba 47, its link to the Goryu ski resort opens up a whole other dimension of terrain to explore.
Serving up slopes for every level of ability, Goryu is one of the best all-round ski resorts in Hakuba Valley, where ski virgins are looked after just as well as expert freeriders! From a dedicated kids zone to steep mogul courses, as much variety as possible is crammed into its ski terrain here. Outside of the boundaries, backcountry explorers will find a powder playground over the back ridge of the resort, with seemingly endless lines through the freshies. What’s more, because the base area at Goryu is higher than most of the accommodation surrounding it, you can often ski or snowboard back to where you’re staying along specially prepared paths!
While there’s little not to love about Goryu, the ski area does get a bit more crowded than Hakuba 47 on weekends, as it’s a popular destination for Japanese skiers and snowboarders who travel from Tokyo for their powder fix. Also, if you’re looking for as much entertainment off the slopes as on them, Goryu could leave you disappointed. There isn’t a huge range of amenities in this sleepy ski village, but the peaceful atmosphere is great if you just want to kick back and relax!
All in all, Goryu is a perfect fit for skiers and snowboarders who are all about enjoying maximum time on the mountain. Its small size makes it easy to get around on foot, plus the low-key nightlife and child-only slopes have shaped it into a great destination for young families. The resort also caters extremely well for international visitors while retaining its authentic Japanese character, which is put on display for all to see at Goryu’s weekly traditional taiko drumming performances and sake tasting sessions!
No matter what level of skier you are, beginner, intermediate or advanced, both Hakuba 47 and Goryu have got you covered!
Of all the ten ski resorts in Hakuba Valley, Goryu and Hakuba 47 has the third highest summit at 5,499 ft and the second highest amount of vertical drop at 3,038 ft. Its unique position in the valley means you’ll enjoy amazing panoramic views of the Japanese Northern Alps while tearing down the upper slopes! Snow quality is great here, much like the rest of Hakuba Valley, with 36 ft of powder falling over the course of a winter season. Icy conditions are uncommon and even whiteouts don't occur that frequently (especially on the lower section of the mountain).
Base center Euclid is where all the lifts start and all the slopes finish in Hakuba 47, which keeps things simple when it comes to arranging a place to meet with friends and family! There also aren’t different ski areas to worry about on the Hakuba 47 side of the mountain, just two main routes down, a green run for beginner skiers (but not first-timers) and a red run for intermediates, with a number of smaller more advanced runs leading off these in the midsection of the mountain.
Resort statistics state that the ski terrain is a fairly even mix of 30% beginner, 40% intermediate, and 30% advanced, but the truth is complete newbies could struggle at Hakuba 47. The main green run, Route 7 and Route 8, is a long winding cat track that is a bit too flat for beginners trying looking to practice their turns. Total vertical drop clocks in at 2,605 ft here, and the resort enjoys decent visibility during heavy snowfall or when clouds are particularly low, thanks to the many trees on the mountain.
There are two base areas in Goryu, the main one being Escal Plaza, which sits at the base of the Toomi Zone and is serviced by the resort’s only gondola. The other smaller base is called Iimori, which is at the base of the aptly named, Iimori Zone.
You’ll have the chance to enjoy three distinct ski areas within the Goryu resort boundaries, two on the lower mountain, at Toomi and Iimori, and one on the top section of the mountain called Alps-Daira. Broadly speaking, Toomi and the bottom slopes of Iimori are best for beginners, while the upper slopes of Iimori and all of the Alps-Daira area is where intermediate to advanced skiers and boarders will have the most fun. If you’re exploring the trails in Alps-Daira area, be sure to take extra layers in a backpack as it’ll be at least a few degrees colder at the top compared to the base area. You can always store your layers in a locker at the Escal Plaza base center on the off chance it’s too warm.
When to Go
The ski season at Hakuba 47 and Goryu is a little longer than at other resorts in Hakuba Valley. For both resorts, the season begins in December - as a matter of fact, the lifts to the top section of the mountain can be the first to open in Hakuba Valley. The first few weeks of December can be a bit hit or miss, but by January winter is in full swing. The most powder days fall between January and February, which is peak season, and you’re going to see that in rising accommodation prices!
During March you’ll enjoy plenty more bluebird days, but it’s a coin toss as to whether you’ll have fresh powder or more slush on the slopes. The tail end of the season in April brings with it spring conditions, with some white stuff left on the slopes but little in the way of fresh snow. If you’re looking to avoid the crowds then steer clear of Christmas, New Years and Chinese New Year (which usually falls between late January and mid-February and lasts about a week).
Tickets can be purchased at the base center Euclid at Hakuba 47 or level 1 of the Escal Plaza at Goryu. Night tickets at Goryu must be purchased separately; prices can be found on the Escal Plaza website. To skip the queues, purchase your tickets online via the Hakuba Valley website. For some extra savings, hotels often offer a discount on lift passes so be sure to check with them first before purchasing.
Lift tickets cover both Hakuba 47 and Goryu and there’s no way to buy separate tickets for only Hakuba 47 or only Goryu. How much you pay for lift tickets here depends on your age, so always bring your identification to take advantage of these discounts! Sorry adults, but kids aged 6-11, youths aged 12-17, seniors aged 50-69 and seniors (G) aged70+ all receive discounts. Kids aged 5 and under ski for free, however, a ¥500 JPY ($5 USD) deposit is required for their lift pass which will have to be renewed each day as there are no multi-day passes for these kiddies.
Multi-day passes with discounts are also on offer, but if you’re looking to make the most out of the region then check out the Hakuba Valley lift pass. It covers nine ski resorts and means less queuing and more time on the snow!