Japan's Hakuba Valley fun in winter and summer

Japan's Hakuba Valley fun in winter and summer

by John Blagys

Snow enthusiasts know The Hakuba Valley for its powder snow and lively international village life. Yet Hakuba in the green season is an equally spectacular experience, filled with hiking, biking, lakes, rivers, and an excellent array of restaurants to choose from. Here are some of the best summer activities Hakuba has to offer.


There are 10 resorts spread throughout the Hakuba Valley all offering different attractions for summer visitors. You can find restaurants, adventure parks, driving ranges, botanical gardens, hiking trails, paragliding, mountain biking and so much more! There are plenty of attractions for families and adventure seekers alike.

River Sports

Rivers flow from the Japanese Alps, winding through Hakuba’s villages as they make their way towards the Sea of Japan. There are several parks adjacent to the rivers and there are hiking trails along the river banks.

Local tour operators offer river rafting, river board tubing, river shower walking and more. Himekawa River rafting tours take approximately 3 hours and cost ¥8,300 for adults and ¥6,000 for kids.

Lake Sports

Hakuba has several excellent mountain lakes perfect for picnicking, barbecuing, swimming, and sporting. The lakes are about 10k from the most popular village areas so you’ll need a car or bicycle to visit.

Several tour companies offer tours for kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddle boarding, and wakeboarding. Alternatively, you forgo the tour and rent the equipment and have a day on the lake on your own.


Hakuba sits at the base of the Northern Japanese Alps and is thus blessed with a seemingly endless number of tremendous hikes. These hikes vary in difficulty from leisurely strolls to overnight expeditions best left to advanced adventurers.

One of the most popular hikes is to Happo Pond on the resort, Happo One. It takes roughly 90 minutes from the top chair lift and is a hike the entire family can enjoy.

If you’re looking for a more rigorous hike, continue on the trail past Happo Pond, and hike another 3 hours to the Karamatsu Peak. Be sure to have appropriate hiking gear as this hike is challenging and the weather is often unpredictable.

Mountain Biking
Hakuba’s Iwatake Resort has a full mountain bike course with terrain suitable for beginners in addition to courses designed for expert riders. The longest run is 6,900 meters in length and an elevation gap of 521 meters.

A 1 Day Adult Pass is ¥4,500 and ¥3,200 for children. Hard tail and suspension bikes are available for rent and there are lessons available as well.


There are dozens of excellent dining options in the valley and on the resorts open throughout the green season. The options range from traditional Japanese to western pub food to Italian fine dining and more. Many of the restaurants offer takeout and delivery service to help limit unnecessary contact with others. The restaurant with the best view is by far, City Bakery. This excellent bakery first opened in New York City and has made its way on the mountain in Hakuba.

Day Trips

Hakuba is a great home base to explore the Chubu region of Japan. Some of the most exciting attractions close by include Matsumoto Castle, the 8th Century Zenkoji Temple, the ancient Togakushi Forest, and the medieval trade town of Nakasendo. All of these attractions are within 90 minutes of Hakuba and easiest accessed with a car.

Visit Hakuba

If you’re interested in visiting Hakuba this summer please visit Hakuba.com or email us at bookings@hakuba.com to learn more about our self-contained chalets. Winter bookings are also available at 20% off with 100% risk free booking.

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