Hidden Gems of Hakuba: Explore Beyond the Ski Slopes in Winter - MountainWatch Travel

Hidden Gems of Hakuba: Explore Beyond the Ski Slopes in Winter

Hakuba is a winter destination known worldwide for its top-tier ski slopes. And, while the skiing facilities in Hakuba are extraordinary, the region’s appeal extends well beyond its snow-pounded mountains.

Hakuba’s breadth of cultural experiences, stunning natural sceneries, unique attractions, and events truly enrich the winter travel experience. Whether you’re planning a respite from skiing or simply exploring the diverse winter offerings, Hakuba will surprise and inspire you. Mountainwatch Travel has been operating in the Hakuba Valley for 17 years and over that time we’ve created thousands of unforgettable ski holidays, so we’re well versed in the options both on and off the snow! Without further adieu, Let’s delve into the hidden gems of Hakuba.

Happo Valley Sunrise over the mountains
Sunrise at Happo-One

Hakuba Backcountry Tours

The backcountry tours in Hakuba cater to those who seek adventure beyond the conventional. Guided by professionals, these tours offer an opportunity to explore the untouched beauty of Hakuba’s winter wilderness. Prepare to experience skiing or snowboarding in a new, less-trodden environment. When booking your ski holiday our experienced consultants have a range of tour options with the most reputable operators in the valley.

Backcountry Snowboard mission, with snowboard attached to riders back while he hikes in Hakuba looking for a good spot.
Backcountry mission, Hakuba

Hot Springs (Onsen)

Hakuba offers a variety of onsens, each providing a unique environment for relaxation after an exhilarating day on the slopes. Firstly, the beautiful Hakuba Happo Onsen is renowned for its mineral-rich waters and promises a therapeutic soak amidst serene mountain views. The elevated, Hakuba Highland Onsen features an outdoor bath with panoramic vistas of the Northern Alps and pure hot water that springs from Himekawa, the source of Hakuba. Lastly, the charming Kurashita no Yu, with its wooden architecture, adds a rustic charm to the onsen experience. Embrace this quintessential Japanese tradition and choose the onsen that best suits your preferences for relaxation amidst stunning snowy landscapes.

Japanese Cooking Class

Want to add a flavourful twist to your holiday? Consider enrolling in a Japanese cooking class. Here, you’ll gain insights into the preparation of authentic Japanese dishes, fostering a deeper connection with local traditions. If this is something you’d like to try your hand at, our team can provide you with more information and assist you with any bookings you may like to make.

Traditional Japanese ramen dish
Traditional Japanese ramen

Snow Machine 2024

Immerse yourself in an unforgettable winter experience with Snow Machine 2024, your ultimate ski trip and music festival in one. Returning to Hakuba from February 26 – March 2nd, 2024, Mountainwatch Travel invites you to a thrilling blend of world-class skiing, spectacular alpine vistas, and vibrant music events over five action-packed days and nights. Snow Machine is bringing together a stellar lineup of regional and international music acts to set the rhythm of your snowy escapade. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie shredding the gnar or a music enthusiast seeking an exhilarating après ski experience, this is your chance to make your winter getaway memorable.


If driving through fresh powder on a powerful machine is a dream of yours, look no further. Snowmobiling in Hakuba is such a fun experience! Get off the skis or snowboard for an hour and explore the snow in a different way. We can book this experience for you with the best providers in Hakuba. 

Explore the Jigokudani Monkey Park

A visit to Jigokudani Monkey Park is an enchanting winter experience. Located just a short trip from Hakuba, the park is home to Japan’s famous snow monkeys and their antics in the hot springs create a charming spectacle. This is an option that can be easily added to your Hakuba holiday.

A snow monkey at Jigokudani Monkey Park
A snow monkey at Jigokudani Monkey Park

Explore Hakuba Art Museum

The Hakuba Art Museum offers an engaging indoor experience. While exploring the different rooms you’ll find an extensive collection of traditional Japanese and contemporary art pieces, many of which draw inspiration from Hakuba’s picturesque surroundings.

Sake Tasting and Brewery Tours

Finally, complete your Hakuba winter experience and partake in sake tasting and a brewery tour. While visiting the local Mimasaka Sake Brewery, you’ll have the chance to learn about and sample traditional sake brewing techniques.

Two Skiiers exploring Hakuba
Exploring Hakuba

Mountainwatch Travel firmly believes that Hakuba’s charm lies in its fusion of exciting outdoor activities and enriching cultural experiences. From backcountry tours to sake tastings, Hakuba’s winter offerings add depth to your ski holiday. While planning for the 2023/2024 ski season, remember that Hakuba holds a plethora of winter experiences, each ready to turn your holiday into an unforgettable journey.

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HAVE ANY QUESTIONS? Speak to one of our ski travel specialists today!