Whether you’ll settle for nothing less than a luxury five-star hotel or do just fine with a self-catered apartment, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation in Happo One. Happo Village is undoubtedly the centre of everything the ski resort has to offer, and stretches across two of the base areas, both Nakiyama and Shirakaba. This is where you’ll find the vast majority of shops, bars, restaurants, along with other facilities and amenities, like the Happo One Information Centre and Bus Terminal.
For ski-in/ski-out accommodation on the slopes of Nakiyama, look no further than the Marillen Hotel, a three-star hotel in the style of a classic Austrian alpine lodge! Yamano Hotel also lets you ski straight out the front door and down to the lifts, but you’ll have a short uphill walk back once you hang your ski boots up for the day. To stay nestled within the heart of Happo Village, try Springs Hotel, a 5-minute walk to the slopes but a hop, skip, and jump to the bars and restaurants in town! If it’s an apartment you're after then Blue Bird Apartments are some of the best in Happo Village, enjoying stunning mountain views which are just 5 minutes on foot from the slopes. Next to the Adam Gondola, at the Shirakaba base area, are also a couple of convenient lodging options, obviously named Gondola Hotel and Gondola Apartments! Both of these involve just a few steps across the road before you’re on your way to the top section of the mountain.
Accommodation closest to the Kokusai base area is usually referred to as being in the Wandano area, and is known for being slightly more expensive when compared to the rest of the resort. There are some great restaurants and bars in this area, but everything is a bit more spread out than in Happo Village, and strolling around after dark isn't made any easier thanks to the narrow roads with no footpaths. However, it’s home to the high-end Tokyo Hotel, complete with its own onsen and spa, and for added convenience all the major buses passing through Happo One stop here. Another option we’d recommend in this area is The Ridge Hotel & Apartments, a luxurious modern mountain retreat that was originally built for the Japanese Imperial Family as their exclusive accommodation during the Winter Olympics!
Over by the Sakka base area you’ll find a cluster of lodges, including Luna Lodge and Penke Panke Lodge, which are great places to stay if you'd like to hang out in the communal lounge with other mountain riders. Both are just a short walk from the lifts. You’ll also find Big Bear Chalets & Apartments in this area, offering gorgeous self-contained accommodation in the form of traditional wooden mountain chalets. These are a great option for families or big groups as you can all stay together, have a chef come and cook for you, and even enjoy your own vehicle as part of the package! Other chalets are scattered throughout the Happo One resort, and a couple of the best are Phoenix Chalets and Gakuto Villas. Often you can find great deals on hotels in Hakuba at HotelsCombined.
Getting Around the Resort
Having your own hire car is certainly the easiest way to get between the four different base areas, but the amount of parking available close to the lifts at each one does differ. Nakiyama offers the largest car parking area, with the walk to the lifts ranging from 150to1,300 ft. Kokusai also provides ample parking close to the lifts and only usually gets busy at weekends, while Sakka has a medium-sized car park that often gets full because this area is home to the most beginner runs in Happo One. All of this parking is free, but over at Shirakaba there are very few spaces for parking and you’ll have to pay for them too! Also, there’s no skiing out or into the car parks, they are all below the lifts.
Without your own wheels it’s pretty likely you’ll be using the free shuttle buses that loop between the resort base areas, which isn't so bad! In addition to each base area and the Happo Information Center, the shuttle buses also stop at the Tokyo Hotel, Mominoki Hotel and Gakuto Villas, so if you're staying at any of these places you're in luck! You shouldn't have to wait more than 20 minutes before one arrives, and it only takes around 5 minutes to reach the next neighboring base area.
From one end of the resort to the other (Nakiyama to Sakka) takes between 15 to 20 minutes depending on how many people are getting on and off at each stop. There are also free shuttle buses connecting the outer areas of Happo One, including Echoland, Goryu, and Hakuba Station, which run every hour from the Happo Information Center. All these buses start running from 7:30am and wind things up at 5:30pm, so after that you’ll have to take a taxi to get around!
You’ll find a taxi stand at each of the base areas and the Happo Information Center, plus you can ask the staff at any restaurant or shop to order you one, they are always happy to oblige. The cost of a journey within Happo One is likely to fall within the ¥1,000 to ¥2,000 JPY ($9 to $18 USD) range, but if you're heading further, to areas like Echoland and Goryu, expect the price to be around ¥2,500 to ¥3,500 JPY ($23 to $32 USD). It’s also worth remembering that during peak times, between 6pm to 10pm, you could have to wait up to half an hour for your ride to arrive!
Of course, you could always use your own two legs to get your around, but crossing between more than one base area with your ski or snowboard equipment is going to be tiring. Strolling from one side of Happo Village to the other takes around 15 minutes, and the same goes for the Wadano area, while crossing between the two can take anywhere between 30 to 40 minutes on foot.