Hakuba in Summer - Things to Do & What to See
Hakuba - famous for its powder snow and killer ski slopes, is very popular amongst foreign visitors to Japan. Home of the 1998 Winter Olympics, Hakuba is definitely worth visiting in the cold season, when you can indulge in snow activities abound. Much less well known is Hakuba in the summer season. Being within easy travel distance of Tokyo, Hakuba makes a wonderful summer retreat, with hiking, cycling, boating and its unbeatable fresh alpine air.
What to do
Flowing down from the alps, the Hakuba rivers provide not only a refreshing place to swim, but plenty of entertainment for everyone. You can take part in rafting, tubing and canyoning.
If you fancy relaxing by the waterside, bring a picnic and enjoy the fresh air. You can also try stand up paddle boarding, kayaking and wakeboarding in Hakuba's many lakes. There is Lake Kizaki which is best known for its onsens, but also has rental kayaks and boats. Lake Aoki offers kayak, canoe, SUP, rafting, water skiing and canyoning, so is a very popular destination. It is also a prime swimming location with crystal clear water. You can also take a night time canoe tour on Lake Aoki to see the fireflies - magical!
Being situated at the base of the Northern Alps means that Hakuba is full of amazing hiking courses for all levels. Many families enjoy the hike on Happo One to the Happo Pond as it is only a 90 minute hike to the pond.
Mountain Biking & Cycling
The Iwatake Resort has a mountain biking course with terrain designed for both beginner and expert riders. You can rent the bikes and go freely or you can opt for lessons. Hakuba Cycling also offers cycling tours and rental bicycles.
See all the wildflowers
There are several places around Hakuba where you can delight in summer alpine flowers. Kitaone Kogen is one of these, where they have more than 300 kinds of mountainous wildflowers along with a foot onsen to soak in at the end. Tsugaike Kogen is another place known for nice walks and flowery landscapes. The Iwatake Resort is not only known for its stunning views and mountain biking, it is also home to thousands of summer lilies.
Zipline and high ropes
The biggest adventure park in Hakuba is WOW Tsugaike. They have rock climbing, obstacle courses and a wire bike course, along with plenty of other activites. There is also a smaller high ropes course next to the onsen at the base of Iwatake.
Adventure seekers have it all in Hakuba, from water activities like rafting, to land activities like mountain biking. Most exciting of all is paragliding, where you can see the Northern Alps with a bird's eye view from above.
Where to stay
We recommend Wadano Gateway. They have 9 self-contained family suites, 2 two-bedroom apartments - all fully equipped with Netflix and Apple TV, as well as two restaurants on site, and everything is English-friendly. The units are a short walk from Happo Village and the bus terminal, with free shuttles running to each ski slope. They provide each unit a free breakfast basket each morning, allowing you to enjoy your food in the private comfort of your own place.
How to get there
Take the JR Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Nagano Station (1 hour, 40 minutes). Then take the special bus from Nagano to Hakuba Station (1 hour).
Take the JR Azusa Limited Express from Shinjuku Station to Hakuba Station (2 hours, 30 minutes).
If you are interested in booking a trip to Hakuba, whether for the Summer or any other season, click here!