Happo One

Closed
Jack Lee
SnowPak Local Insider
Jack Lee
Pros
  • Highest vertical, longest run and most trails in the Hakuba Valley!
  • Frequent powder dumps all season long, perfect for powder skiing
  • Diverse terrain, from Olympic ski racing trails to wide gentle groomer plus backcountry gate makes going off-piste easy
  • Easy access to the slopes from most lodgings within the resort
  • Many hotels, restaurants, stores and facilities have English speaking staff
Cons
  • Lack of beginner terrain
  • Less snowfall than Niseko, but still plenty of pow
  • The upper mountain is exposed so windhold can be an issue
  • Only one main gondola to access the upper mountain and there are some old and slow chairlifts
  • Weekends and holidays see plenty of crowds
Overall
4

With Olympic heritage, a mammoth 26,250 ft top to bottom run, and some of the finest powder on earth, Happo One (pronounced oh-neh) is without a doubt the most popular of all the Hakuba Valley ski resorts. The official resort numbers state that the ski area covers a total of 543 ac, but this doesn’t factor in the extensive side country between the runs, which provides the perfect introduction to riding powder for skiers and snowboarders who are ready to go off-piste! Enjoying a healthy 3,514 ft of vertical drop and the steepest slope coming in at 35 degrees, it’s by far the best choice in Hakuba for advanced mountain riders.

17/18 Historical Snowfall

Best month to go

Late December to April

The slopes open as soon as the snow starts falling here, which can happen by late November! From then on it just keeps coming, with January and February the prime months for powder days. By March things start warming up a bit, with more blue bird days than white outs, but generally the ski season doesn’t completely wind up until the first week of May! Visit anytime time between Christmas and April and you’re pretty much guaranteed top quality, fluffy, soft snow, but there are a few dates you might want to avoid. The Christmas and New Year holidays, along with the Chinese New Year, are certain to have the resort working at full capacity. Also, weekends, especially after a big dump, can see the pistes get packed.When picking your dates, it’s worth noting that from around December 20th to the end of February accommodation in Happo One, and Hakuba in general, will charge peak season prices. Any time before and after those dates could see you save up to 20% off your accommodation costs!

FLY TO

Narita International Airport

BUS TO

Hakuba Valley (5-6 hours)

DRIVE TO

Happo One (10 minutes)

Happo Village (Walk)

  • Made up of two base areas
  • Majority of dining, shopping and amenities
  • Ski-in/ski-out accommodation available

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Wandano Area (Walk)

  • Close to Kokusai base area
  • Slightly more expensive
  • Dining and nightlife is more spread out compared to Happo Village

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Sakka Base (Walk)

  • Clusters of lodges and chalets
  • Perfect for families and big groups
  • Great food trucks

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Hakuba Village (1-2 mi)

  • Plenty of accommodation options
  • Main tourist hub like Happo Village
  • Great base for exploring resorts across Hakuba Valley

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For beginners

There's not a huge variety of terrain for beginners to explore but that doesn't mean beginners can't have fun here! The gentle and wide open slopes at the Sakka ski area is best for never-evers and also doubles as a great family skiing spot. Beginners with a bit more experience can head further up the mountain.

More beginners tips

For intermediates

There's plenty of challenging terrain for intermediates higher up on the mountain but our top pick here for intermediates would be the Skyline Course. It has everything from bumps to bounce through, banks to launch off and deep pow between the trees in the sidecountry, our top pick here!

More intermediates tips

For experts

It was right here that the ski jumping, downhill, and super-g slalom events of the Nagano 1998 Winter Olympics were held! You can still ski the downhill and slalom courses to unleash the inner racer in you, and the annual Riesen Slalom Competition gives you exclusive access to the famous course. Take the Riesen Grat Course followed by the Riesen Slalom Course from the summit all the way down to the base. There's also plenty more to keep advanced skiers on their toes!

More experts tips

Find freshies

When it comes to sheer quantity of the white stuff, Happo One (and Hakuba in general) is trumped by Japanese ski resorts like Niseko on the northern island of Hokkaido, though not by much. The same sub-zero Siberian winds blow across the Sea of Japan, picking up moisture and transforming it into magically soft snow. The average annual snowfall here is 36 ft, so there's still plenty to be happy about here! In-bound freshies get tracked out quickly so make your way to the top of the Kurobishi off-piste zone for the fresh stuff before weaving through the powder-filled trees off the Skyline Course!

Ditch the crowds

Go off-piste to avoid the crowds on holidays and weekends. The backcountry is easily accessible via a gate at the top but it's definitely worth hiring a guide who can show you to the gnarliest gullies! In-bounds, there are two crowd-prone sections to be aware of. Adam Gondola is the main gondola which gives access to the top section of the mountain which can get quite busy in the morning. The Panorama and Kokusai chairlifts can also see some queues as it also serves a busy area of the mountain. Nonetheless, the lift system seems most skiers and snowboarders moving despite the some old and slow chairlifts.

Non skiers

Non skiers (and skiers) will love the activities here! Take a daytrip to Mastumoto Castle, the oldest castle in Japan. You can also hop into an onsen (hot spring) or see snow monkey's soak in their own hot spring at the Jigokudani Monkey Park. At the resort, non-skiers can take the gondola up to enjoy the stunning mountain views of Hakuba Valley.

Families

When it comes to skiing, it's easy for families to ski and stay together at the Sakka ski area plus there's also the Sakka Kids Park here too. For lodging, Happo Village has a range of accommodation, shops, bars, restaurants as well as facilities including the Information Center and Bus Terminal, making it a convenient option for families.

Happo One vs
Happo OneCortina
beginner30 %40 %
intermediate50 %30 %
advanced20 %30 %
expert--
total runs13 16
ski area437ac 124ac
summit elevation6,007ft 4,600ft
total lifts23 7
child lift ticketFree Free
adult lift ticket¥5,200 JPY ($46 USD) ¥4,000 JPY ($36 USD)
uncrowded
snow
back country
value for money
average total snowfall176″ 448″

Happo One Reviews

Fabulous 4.5 / 5
based on 53 reviews

How well the resort caters for beginner skiers / boarders

Beginners

How well the resort caters for intermediate skiers / boarders?

Intermediates

How well the resort caters for advanced skiers / boarders

Advanced

How accessible and convenient it is to get to this resort from a major destination

Accessibility

Quality of the off-piste terrain

Side/Backcountry

Overall value for money of the resort

Value for money

Quality of lifts, lift speed and lift layout in the resort

Lifts

Quantity and quality of the snow

Snow

How uncrowded is the resort

Uncrowded

Après ski and dining options

Town

Services and facilities e.g. child care, tubing, health care, equipment hire

Facilities

How family friendly is this resort?

Family Friendliness
Very Good!3.9 / 5Dec 07, 2017
TOToshio O.
advanced skier
It is the best ski area in Japan. The largest ski area as with awesome mountain seanery and variety of skiing course. It is valuable enough to visit just to see mountain view. You can enjoy high speed skiing on gloomed course especially early in the morning and deep snow a day after snowing. Town is not developed by a big company, so you can enjoy... More
Very Good!4 / 5Dec 07, 2017
TLTom L.
advanced snowboarder
Great place for enjoying the snow in close proximity to dining accommodation and entertainment. We had a great time here and found the area easy to navigate. As you can expect anywhere in Japan the locals were friendly and helpful and the resort facilities were excellent. Can't wait to return.... More
Fabulous!4.5 / 5Dec 07, 2017
DFDale F.
expert skier
great powder, great runs, great lifts, great staff and very little queues, what more could you ask for :-) Oh yeah and great lift ticket prices, you can't ask for more than that... More
Very Good!4.1 / 5Dec 06, 2017
SHSam H.
advanced snowboarder
Huge resort that runs into the town. Wide and full of changes and runs that keeps you occupied for days. Easy access and great food scattered around it make for a great day. Ramen and a beer for lunch halfway down is the best, quickly followed by a quick nap.... More
Good!3.7 / 5Dec 06, 2017
DFDaniel F.
expert snowboarder
Can be epic after a big dump. Often rains to the top also. Gets quite busy mid Jan and Feb. Most lifts quite slow. Good backcountry access from the top if prepared to hike and equipped.... More
Superb!4.6 / 5Dec 05, 2017
DCDominic C.
intermediate snowboarder
Happo is a great all round resort, with options for all levels of skiers and snowboarders. The village give incredible access to the mountain, with a number of ski in ski out resorts... More
Very Good!4 / 5Dec 05, 2017
RQRainier Q.
intermediate snowboarder
My favorite place in Hakuba! I love coming back here every year and seeing the beutiful landscape. Always amazing powder and looking forward to my next visit. See you soon!... More
Fabulous!4.4 / 5Dec 05, 2017
SMShaun M.
intermediate snowboarder
I thought it was very enjoyable, the staff were friendly and helpful. The food on the mountain was amazing, I had my favorite meal of my whole trip there. The variety of the slopes were good but could use some boxes and rails. Snowfall was fantastic... More
Superb!4.8 / 5Dec 05, 2017
ABAdam B.
intermediate snowboarder
Happo One is the best place I have ever ridden a snowboard. There's always great tree runs to be found especially if you know where to look. Even if the top half of the mountain goes on wind hold you can still have incredible riding on the bottom half. The food around town is incredible and there is an awesome night life. You cannot go to happo... More
Good!3.9 / 5Dec 05, 2017
DPDaniel P.
intermediate snowboarder
Happo One was the first mountain I visited during my stay in Hakuba. Amazing fields with a broad array of tracks catering for the multitude of different skill levels. The resort is accessible from most of the surrounding town area very easily and often only a short walk to any of the ski lifts. A must visit if you plan to visit Hakuba.... More

Other ski resorts in Hakuba, Japan

Cortina
40% 30% 30%
Hakuba 47 & Goryu
30% 40% 30%
Happo One
30% 50% 20%
Iwatake
30% 50% 20%
Tsugaike
50% 30% 20%