Hakuba is one of the best destinations for skiing in Japan. The snow-clad Hakuba Valley offers consistent snow and remains far less crowded compared to Niseko. But when should you head to Hakuba? Hakuba ski season usually gears up in late November and winds down in the first weeks of May. The months in between offer various weather and snow conditions which you should consider before locking down your travel dates. If you’re dreaming of that unforgettable winter holiday in Hakuba, check out these need-to-know stats of Hakuba ski season.
Start of the Season: Last Week of November – Mid-December
Predicting the weather in Hakuba is not, of course, an exact science. At the beginning of the season, snow conditions can be particularly hard to predict. Typically there is enough snow starting from the beginning of December for the biggest Hakuba resorts to open their top lifts. During this early season, you might even be lucky enough to steal a few early powder sessions. It’s good to note that this early in the Hakuba ski season, some resort services might not be available and not all restaurants are open yet. Operations usually start running normally starting December 20th. That being said, there are plenty of restaurants in Hakuba, so even if you’re travelling early in the season, you should still have plenty of options to choose from.
Why travel to Hakuba during early season:
- Minimal crowds
- Affordable accommodation and ski pass discounts
- Great availability of exclusive Hakuba chalets (booking in advance is still recommended to get the best chalet at the best price)
High Season in Hakuba: 20th of December – Late February
The peak Hakuba ski season starts from Christmas and spans until the end of February. During this period, Hakuba resorts see the best snow conditions. You’ll have plenty of days with great powder as well as having your choice of nightlife, dining and entertainment. Naturally, all the best chalets and other accommodation gets fully booked very early in the game, so it’s very important to book way in advance. Though there are plenty of holidaymakers and ski bunnies heading for the slopes during peak Hakuba ski season, the queues at the lifts rarely stretch too long.
Why travel to Hakuba during high season:
- The best ski conditions
- Great variety of dining options and nightlife
- Various entertainment and festivals taking place during and after the Christmas holidays
Shoulder Season in Hakuba: March
The shoulder season in Hakuba spans the whole month of March and offers excellent skiing and weather conditions. There are also significant discounts available for accommodation, tickets and ski passes.
Why travel to Hakuba during shoulder season:
- Plenty of sunny days
- Small crowds
- Powder skiing in excellent weather conditions
Late Season in Hakuba: Early April – Early May
As far as snow goes, the late Hakuba ski season is clearly inferior to both high and shoulder season. This perior is, however, perfect for joining long backcountry tours on the highest peaks of the ski resorts in Hakuba Valley.
Why travel to Hakuba during late season:
- No crowds
- Your choice exclusive chalets and accommodation at bargain prices
- Fantastic warm weather
- Great opportunity to try Hakuba’s summertime activities (sightseeing, hiking, canoeing, etc.)