How to Get to Hakuba – Nagano Ski Resorts Info
Located approximately 40KM (<1 hour drive) to the west of Nagano City and 275KM (<4 hours drive) to the northwest of Tokyo, the resorts of Hakuba Valley are some of the most popular in Nagano. On this page you will find the following information:
Known for their excellent terrain, snow, and array of services and accommodation for English-speakers, the resorts of Hakuba attract visitors from all over the world and is easily accessible from the following points of origin.
For many visitors, the Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal will be the most convenient entry and departure point in Hakuba, and with local buses running to and from it to the surrounding resorts, it is the main transport hub in the valley. We hope the following information assists with planning your visit to Hakuba.
WHERE IS HAKUBA?
Located in Nagano Prefecture, Hakuba lies 40KM (<1 hour drive) to the west of Nagano City and 275KM (<4 hours drive) to the northwest of Tokyo. Often referred to as ‘Hakuba Valley’, the area runs north to south between the foothills of the Hida Mountains – often called the ‘North Alps’ – on its western border. On that side of the valley, the majority of Hakuba’s ski resorts are ascend into the mountains attracting visitors from all over the world each winter. Hakuba Valley claims to be the largest ski resort in Japan however it is important to note that collectively, the ten resorts in the area make-up the largest extent of terrain in the country however, only a couple of the resorts are connected meaning that you need to use a bus or drive between them. Most famous for its winters, Hakuba is increasingly establishing itself as an all-year-round destination and one of Japan’s best ‘green season’ sports regions.
For most international, getting to Hakuba will involve coming through either (or possibly both) the Hakuba Happot Bus Terminal and Hakuba Station. In winter, shuttle buses operate from the bus terminal to all of the ski resorts making it the central hub in the valley. As such, we’ll start our HOW TO GET TO HAKUBA information with how to get to the resorts from the bus terminal before explaining how to reach it from other popular destinations:
FROM THE HAKUBA HAPPO BUS TERMINAL
Centrally located in Hakuba Village, the Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal acts as the main transport hub in the valley. Express buses run to popular destinations including Nagano Station – all year round – along with Tokyo, the major airports and other major points of departure in winter.
Refer to the information relating to how to get to the bus terminal from major destinations starting with Nagano Station – directly below. Once in Hakuba, many visitors will want to head onto nearby resorts using the Hakuba Shuttle Bus, which runs regularly from the bus terminal to the following resorts:
Hakuba Happo One Snow Resort: located within walking distance of the bus terminal, the bottom slopes and gondola of Happo One can be reached on-foot in between 5 to 10-minutes or a short taxi-ride.
Hakuba Goryu Snow Resort: located around 6km to the south of the bus terminal, the Hakuba Shuttle Bus takes around 35-minutes to reach Hakuba Goryu with taxis be a faster option, taking around 15 to 20-minutes.
Hakuba 47 Winter Sports Park: also to the south of the bus terminal, the Hakuba Shuttle Bus takes around 25-minutes to reach Hakuba 47. A taxi-ride to 47 from the bus terminal takes around 10 to 15-minutes.
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field: only 3.5km from the bus terminal, the shuttle bus takes under 20-minutes to reach Hakuba Iwatake, alternatively a taxi takes around around 10.
Hakuba Tsugaike Kogen Ski Resort: the Hakuba Shuttle Bus takes between 20 to 35-minutes to reach Hakuba Tsugaike (depending on the number of stops included in the specific service you choose), or around 15 to 20-minutes by taxi.
Hakuba Norikura Onsen Snow Resort: the shuttle bus takes around 25 to 30-minutes to reach Hakuba Norikura from the bus terminal. Taxis are likely to take a similar amount of time, between 20 to 25-minutes.
Hakuba Cortina Snow Resort: the shuttle bus takes around 40-minutes to reach Hakuba Cortina – the most northern resort in Hakuba Valley – making a taxi a job option if you are traveling with a group. A taxi-ride from the bus terminal to the resort is likely to take around 25 to 30-minutes.
The area surrounding the bus terminal, including nearby Wadano and Echoland, is the heart of Hakuba village and boasts the greatest range of accommodation, restaurants and nightlife. For more information about those areas, see our ‘Where To Stay in Hakuba’ page and for a complete overview of the resorts, see our ‘Hakuba Valley Ski Resorts’ page.
FROM HAKUBA STATION
Hakuba Station is located under 2km from the Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal – around a 5-minute drive or 20 to 25-minute walk from the terminal and main area of Hakuba Village. The station is small, easy to navigate and outside of winter, very quiet. During winter, it is another busy transport hub for visitors moving to and from the ski resorts. The Oito Line connects Hakuba to Matsumoto – 95 to 120 minutes / JPY1170 – from where, the Limited Express Shinano runs to Nagano Station, the Limited Express Azusa service runs to Shinjuku Station in Tokyo and the Limited Express Shinano service runs to Nagoya, from where you can use the Tokaido Shinkansen to reach Kyoto and Osaka.
For visitors in winter, using the train only really makes sense if you’re coming from somewhere nearby, such as Matsumoto, or distant yet relatively direct starting points such as Shinjuku Station in Tokyo – noting that there are likely to be express buses running to Hakuba from those locations during winter. Outside of winter, the journey might appeal to visitors wanting to combine their visit to Hakuba with other destinations along the way while taking advantage of the Japan Rail (JR) Pass. If you do use the train in winter, once there, the Hakuba Shuttle Bus makes regular stops at the station before or after stops at the Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal or take a taxi onto your final destination.
FROM NAGANO STATION
Connected to Tokyo by the Hokuriku Shinkansen (see below), many if not most visitors will make their way to the resorts of Hakuba via Nagano Station. The Hakuba Express Bus service operates multiple times a day from Bus Stop No.26 on the east side of the station. It takes approximately 75 minutes to reach the Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal. Tickets are purchased at the Alpico Kotsu Ticket Office, located in the shop directly next to the escalators that head into the station. Open from 05:20 to 19:30, tickets cost JPY2000 per adult (12+), JPY1000 per child (6-11) and children under 6 are free of charge (as long as they don’t require their own seat).
The journey from Nagano to Hakuba can also be made by train but we don’t recommend it. It takes considerably longer and is more expensive than the bus – in total, approximately 3 hours (including a transfer a Matsumoto Station) and costs approximately JPY4000. To do so, take the rapid Shinano service to Matsumoto and transfer to the Oito Line for Hakuba. But as stated, unless you have a reason to do it this way, we don’t recommend it.
Take the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line to Nagano Station from either Tokyo Station or Ueno Station. The journey takes between 90 to 110 minutes (depending on which train you take) and costs between JPY8000-9000 one-way. The Kagayaki and Hakutaka services starting from Tokyo Station are the fastest while the Asama service, which originates at Ueno Station, is slower, stopping at more stations en route to Nagano. Once at Nagano, follow the directions above. For full details regarding travel passes covering travel to and from Nagano, please refer to our relevant page: Japan Rail (JR) Pass / JR East Nagano & Niigata Pass / JR Hokuriku Arch Pass.
In winter, an express bus connects Shinjuku Station and Hakuba. Alpico operates daily services to and from the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal (adjoining Shinjuku Station) in Tokyo. From the Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal, the earliest service departs at 07:00 and the latest departs at 18:00. Buses take just under 5.5 hours to make the journey and cost JPY5200 per adult (12+), JPY2600 per child (6-11) and children under 6 are free of charge. To find the bus stop, exit the station using the West Exit and follow the signs toward the bus terminal nearby Yodabashi Camera.
FROM NARITA AIRPORT
Two rapid train services connect Narita Airport to central Tokyo:
1 / the Narita Express (NEX) runs from Narita to Tokyo Station. It takes 55 minutes to reach Tokyo Station (depending on the service) and costs JPY3070 with trains departing every 30 to 60 minutes. Once at Tokyo Station, follow the directions above.
2 / the Keisei Skyliner runs from Narita to Ueno Station. It takes between 40 to 55 minutes to reach Ueno Station and costs JPY2520 with trains departing every 30 to 40 minutes. Once at Ueno Station, follow the directions above.
Both Tokyo and Ueno are stops on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line connecting the capital to Nagano. In winter, a express bus service connects Narita to Hakuba. Pickup is available at Terminals 1 to 3 with drop-off available at Hakuba Goryu, Hakuba Station and the Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal. A one-way journey costs: JPY9800 per adult (12+), JPY7800 per child (6-11) and children under 6 are free of charge. For full details, please refer to Alpico’s timetables and fares page.
FROM HANEDA AIRPORT
Two train services connect Haneda Airport to central Tokyo:
1 / the Tokyo Monorail connects the airport to Tokyo Station via Hamamatsucho Station in around 30 minutes. From the airport take the monorail to Hamamatsucho Station (20 min/JPY170) and then switch to the JR Yamanote Line or JR Keihin-Tohoku/Negishi Line Rapid bound for Tokyo Station (5 min/JPY160) – a total journey of around 30-minutes / JPY660 one-way. Once at Tokyo Station, follow the directions above.
2 / the Keikyu Railway connects the airport to Tokyo Station via Shinagawa Station. Take the Keikyu Airport bound to Shinagawa Station (approx.11 min/JPY300) and transfer to the Yamanote Line bound for Osaki to reach Tokyo Station- 13 min / JPY170 or a total journey of around 30 min / JPY470.
In winter, a express bus service connects Haneda to Hakuba. Pickup is available at airport’s International Terminal with drop-off available at Hakuba Goryu, Hakuba Station and the Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal. A one-way journey costs: JPY9300 per adult (12+), JPY7300 per child (6-11) and children under 6 are free of charge. For full details, please refer to Alpico’s timetables and fares page.
FROM THE JIGOKUDANI MONKEY PARK
When heading to Hakuba from the Jigokudani Monkey Park, visitors do so via Nagano Station using: 1. an express bus from the park to Nagano Station or 2. a local bus to Yudanaka Station followed by Nagano Dentetsu train to Nagano.
Bus: the Nagaden Express Bus takes approximately 55 minutes and costs JPY1500 to reach Nagano Station from the park, departing from the stop nearby the Shiga Kogen Roman Museum (at the bottom of Kanbayashi Onsen). Full details can be found at our ‘Nagaden Express Bus’ page.
Train: to access Nagano Station by train, visitors must first head to Yudanaka Station from the monkey park using one of two local bus services. Taking around 15 mins / JPY310 buses depart the park, please refer to our ‘Nagaden Local Bus Timetable’ page for the schedule. Once at Yudanaka Station, take the Nagano Dentetsu Line to Nagano. We recommend using the limited service – 45 min / JPY1290. For further details, please refer to our’ Nagano Dentetsu Line‘ and ‘Nagano Dentetsu Line Timetable‘ page. Once at Nagano Station, follow the directions above.
FROM SHIGA KOGEN
From Shiga Kogen, use the express bus service – via the monkey park – to return to Nagano Station. Taking between 70-90 minutes /JPY1800-2100 depending where in Shiga you board – including the hub of Shiga Kogen Yamanoeki – the express bus is a convenient way to get back to Nagano Station. Once at Nagano, follow the directions above to reach Hakuba. Alternatively, a private charter from Shiga Kogen to Hakuba is a great option for groups including families who want to make the transfer as easy and quick as possible. Including transport of all your ski and snowboard gear, we’ll pick you up and drop you off directly at your accommodation – see below for details.
FROM NOZAWA ONSEN
The easiest option to reach Hakuba from Nozawa Onsen is to take the Nozawa Onsen Liner or taxi to Iiyama Station and from there, return to Nagano Station. Once at Nagano, follow the directions above onto Hakuba. For further information, please refer to our ‘Iiyama Station’ page. A private charter from Nozawa to Shiga is also a great option – see below for details.
FROM MYOKO KOGEN
From Myoko Kogen, take the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Joetsu-Myoko Station to Nagano Station. This service takes approximately 20 minutes. Alternatively, take the local Echigo Tokimeki Railway to Myoko-Kogen and switch to the Shinano Railway bound for Nagano Station. This option takes notably longer, around 80 minutes. Once in Nagano, follow the directions above. Much like those in Nozawa Onsen, a private transfer from Myoko to Hakuba is a great option – see below for details.
Reaching Hakuba from Kanazawa Station is straight-forward. As the northern terminus of the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line, any service bound for Tokyo as it will stop at Nagano Station. Once at Nagano, follow the directions above.
FROM NAGOYA, KYOTO & OSAKA
All three cities are connected to Tokyo Station by the Tokaido Shinkansen Line, meaning that travelers coming from those cities can reach Hakuba by using the Tokaido Shinkansen to Tokyo and then switching to the Hokuriku Shinkansen to Nagano. To do so, follow the directions above. When coming from Nagoya Station, we recommend using the Limited Express Shinano service to Nagano Station – 180 min / JPY6930 – and then switch to the express bus to Hakuba – an additional 75 min / JPY2000. This option is faster and substantially cheaper than reaching Nagano via Tokyo – 200 to 215 min / JPY17,380 – after which you will still need to take the bus from Nagano to Hakuba.
For visitors coming from Kyoto Station or Shin-Osaka Station, you have three options to reach Hakuba via Nagano Station: 1. also take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Tokyo and transfer to the Hokuriku Shinkansen to reach Nagano; 2. take the Limited Express Thunderbird service to Kanazawa and transfer to the Hokuriku Shinkansen heading south to Nagano and Tokyo; or 3. take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Nagoya Station and transfer to the Limited Express Shinano bound for Nagano.
All routes take around 4+ hours with options 2 and 3 being notably cheaper than option 1. Once in Nagano, follow the directions above. In winter, an overnight bus also runs from Osaka and Kyoto to Hakuba. For full details, please refer to Alpico’s timetables and fares page.
HAKUBA VALLEY SKI RESORTS: THE STATS & STATS
he resorts making-up Hakuba Valley are some of the most popular in Japan, offering fantastic skiing and snowboarding in combination with lots of great accommodation, restaurants and nightlife. Not sure why which is right for you? Our ‘Hakuba Valley Ski Resorts’ page has everything you need to know to plan and book your next winter getaway including all the resort stats and facts, how to get there and of course more accommodation and ski package info.
JAPAN SKI RESORTS: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
Did you know that the resorts of Hakuba are just some of the more than eighty ski resorts in Nagano and more than five hundred in Japan? Needless to say, when you choose Nagano for your winter getaway you are spoiled for choice! Our ‘Japan Ski Resorts’ page has everything you need to know to start planning your ski and snowboard adventure including: LATEST NEWS & DEALS, THE BEST RESORTS IN NAGANO & JAPAN, FAQs and of course OUR SKI PACKAGES, ACCOMMODATION, TRANSPORT & TOURS.
25 THINGS TO DO AROUND HAKUBA & WHERE TO STAY
Best known for its epic skiing and snowbaroding, Hakuba is quickly developing its reputation as an all-year-round thanks to the activities on offer through spring, summer and winter along its great range of accommodation, dining and shopping options. Our ’25 Things To Do Around Hakuba & Where To Stay’ page has tips and suggetions of what’s on offer in the valley plus the best areas to find accommodation including high-end hotels and luxury chalets.
JAPAN ADVENTURE TRAVEL
Lying in the foothills of the Chubu Sangaku National Park – the third largest national park in the country and Japan’s highest mountain range – Hakuba has quickly established itself as one of Japan’s premier green season/adventure travel destinations with lots on offer from outstanding hiking and mountaineering, MTB, water sports and more. Our ‘Japan Adventure Travel’ page has lots of great information about the activities on offer along with the other great adventure destinations in Central Japan.
BOOK WITH US! NAGANO’S NO.1 TOUR & CHARTER OPERATOR
Snow Monkey Resorts is Nagano’s No.1 tour and charter operator. We have the local knowledge of where and when to go, to help you discover and enjoy the region’s many ski resorts and other fantastic destinations and activities.
For guests wanting to access the resorts in the comfort of their own transport, we can arrange a private tour or charter customised to fit your needs, starting and ending at any destination including from/to Nagano Station and any resort in the region. Our drivers and vehicles are fully certified, allowing us to transport you to and from your preferred destinations in combination with any activity that suits your schedule.
All vehicles are fitted with a protective screen – separating the driver from passenger and luggage area – and our drivers wear protective masks, allowing you to move between your destinations in comfort and safety.
We can arrange both private tours with an English-speaking guide or a private charter, including a private vehicle and driver but without a guide. We’d love to be part of that experience and help you discover even more!
Why choose us?
Awarded a 2019 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award for our 1-Day Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple & Sake Tour – recognised as one of the Top 10 Experiences in Japan – we have the local knowledge and experience to help you get the most out of your time in Nagano.
Got a question about visiting Hakuba? Contact us at email@example.com and let’s get planning together!