Hakuba Norikura Onsen Ski Area: Offering The Best Powder Snow And Rejuvenating Onsen

April 08, 2021
Hakuba Norikura Onsen Ski Area is a ski resort located in the inland area of Hakuba. Boasting one of the highest altitudes of all ski resorts on the island of Honshu, this ski resort is situated over 2,000 meters above sea level at the peak. As these ski slopes are located inland, the area is rather dry, creating excellent conditions for powder snow. The resort features a wide variety of different courses and sprawling slopes. In this article, we will go over what makes the famous Hakuba Norikura Onsen Ski Area so special.

Honshu Island’s Best Powder Snow

Ski slope
Hakuba Norikura Onsen Ski Area’s slopes are located inland in one of the coldest regions of the Hakuba area. Being located at such a high elevation, skiers who come here will have access to excellent powder snow thanks to the region’s dry conditions.

Furthermore, the resort frequently offers off-piste tours only available at a mountain resort such as this. The resort has become hugely popular thanks to its untouched non-compacted snow areas surrounded by natural beauty that let skiers ride to their heart’s content! As long as you follow the rules and instructions of your tour guide, here you can ride the slopes not normally available to the public. There are lots of tours planned during different times of year, so for those looking for a challenge, definitely check these tours out.

Be Careful Of The Harsh Cold!

The inland region here gets especially cold and these frigid temperatures extend throughout all courses on the mountain. The area can sometimes experience blizzards. This place can get colder than your average ski resort, no doubt about it. Make sure you don’t leave anything to chance! Wear extra under-layers, two pairs of gloves, and bring with you some disposable hand warmers. You’re gonna need them! It would be a shame to come out all the way to enjoy such great powder snow and then get too cold to move!

A Wide Variety Of Enormous Courses

Map of courses
The slopes at Hakuba Norikura Onsen Ski Area encompass an area of 135 hectares. This places the resort high in ranking in terms of the largest ski areas in Hakuba. With a total of 24 courses, there are all sorts available to skiers of all different skill levels.

The slopes are separated into four main areas: Norikura Slopes, Kokusetsu Slopes, Kyukamura Slopes, and Igaya Slopes. Though there are a wide variety of courses on offer here, from those stretching 2,000 meters down from the peak to those that run through conifer forests, the one downside is that the courses are not linked together well.

Since getting around the courses will take some time, it’s a good idea to pick where you want to ski before you go and then park your car close to that area. As many of the courses are narrow and feature steep inclines, it’s best to be at least an intermediate level, confident skier if you’re going to tackle these runs.

Congestion Is Practically A Non-Issue

Snow escalator
One of the best things about Hakuba Norikura Onsen Ski Area is that, for Hakuba, it’s rarely crowded. There are typically few skiers here, even over long weekends, meaning that visitors can ski from morning to evening to their heart’s content.

Perhaps the reason there are so few people here despite the excellent quality snow and the large slopes is due to the area’s poor accessibility and insufficient linkage between courses. The Kyukamura Slopes are especially devoid of other skiers throughout the season. While it may be difficult to get there, once you’ve reached Hakuba Norikura Onsen Ski Area, what awaits you is top quality snow and excellent courses.

Enjoy A Relaxing Snow Resort Experience

Snowboarder nailing a trick
The resort is located about 40 kilometers from the Matsumoto Interchange off the Nagano Expressway. You’ll need to allocate about 1 hour of driving time down narrow mountain roads to arrive at the resort. Because of the winding, narrow mountain roads, you need to be a confident driver to reach the resort. The parking lots at the bottom of the slopes are easiest when it comes to pulling in and getting out, so less experienced drivers should park here.

Since this is in one of the most difficult areas to access in all of Hakuba, day trips for those coming from the surrounding area is basically out of the question. Furthermore, getting to the resort by train is not an option. But if you’re looking to experience some of the finest skiing that Hakuba has to offer, set aside 1 or 2 nights to stay and really enjoy what the slopes have to offer.

Divine Onsen Bath After A Day Of Skiing

At the bottom of the slopes are two hotels: The Hakuba Alps Hotel and Norikuna-So. Both of these hotels offer accommodations as well as day trip bathing services, so once you’re done hitting the mountain, stop in for a relaxing dip in the onsen. Both offer 100% all-natural, free-flowing onsen directly from the Norikuna wellspring! The skiing may be excellent, but not relaxing in one of these amazing onsen afterwards would be to miss one of the region’s greatest pleasures.

An Enormous, Top Class Honshu Ski Resort

Group photo of a ski tour
Hakuba Norikura Onsen Ski Area offers some of the best snow in all of Honshu Island and a wide variety of different ski slopes to enjoy. While it may be a difficult place to reach, the powder snow here is truly divine and with so little congestion on the slopes, those looking for an amazing skiing experience should definitely check this place out. Those looking to enjoy both the slopes and the onsen should make sure to book accommodations and stay a night or two. A huge ski resort with some amazing courses awaits at Hakuba Valley Hakuba Norikura Onsen Ski Area!

Pricing information and schedule may not be up to date and are subject to change without notice. Please check before your trip.

Related ski resorts
Dec. 23rd to Mar. 31st
Longest run distance2,000 m
Maximum gradient38 °
Longest run2,000 m
Maximum38 °

Adult 2 people1 night

USD 175.81〜 (JPY 27,818〜)