If Niseko is the premiere resort on Japan's northern Hokkaidõ prefecture (area), the Hakuba Valley is probably the best of the many areas on the island of Honshu. This small cluster of resorts surrounds the major city of Nagano and is around 90 minutes from Tokyo. Highlights include Hakuba 47, Sanosaka and Goryu and Happo'One. Happo'One was one of the main host venues for the 1998 Olympics, and the infrastructure from this effort is still very much in evidence. Unlike Niseko, there are few foreign skiers, making it the quintessential Nipponese skiing experience.

Metres of snow.

Easy to get to.

Vibrant town.


High avalanche danger.

Much off-piste banned.

Busy at weekends.

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