When you say Japan, people often think about sakuras. Though I personally think first time visitors should travel to Japan in spring, those who are looking for winter destinations in Asia should consider Japan. Japan’s winter is not harsh and it doesn’t snow allover Japan ( I had to clear this up to my boys). It’s great because you can ski or enjoy the snow for a couple of days and back to cozy winter weather in other cities without the hassle of ice and snow.
Top destinations for ski and snow holidays in Japan are Sapporo and Niseko, but why not visit the village of Hakuba?
Hakuba is located in Nagano Prefecture ( similar to a province or state) in Japan’s Northern Alps. A top destination especially among locals, Hakuba hosted the 1998 Winter Olympics. A ski destination, let me show you things to do in Hakuba when not skiing with this post.
Hakuba is 3-4 hours from Tokyo. To get there, you need to catch a bullet train from Tokyo to Nagano and take a bus to Hakuba or a direct highway bus if you have plenty of time. From where we stayed in Japan, it took us 4-5 hours of driving.
You’ll be kept company with the sceneries of daily Japanese life along the way with these snowy peaks constantly piquing our excitement.
As we got closer to our destination, we started seeing frost and then melted snow – yeah we were shamelessly shouting ignoramus level. Snow! Snow! Snow! My brother in-law stopped along the way for the kids to touch snow for the first time. 😀 😀
When we finally reached our hotel in Hakuba, kids can’t wait to put on their snow boots and pants. Finally, snow fight!
View from our room. We opened the windows ( it wasn’t that cold or we were just being Elsa that time) and enjoyed the white fluffy scenery that blanketed us that day. Snow within reach!
It is not feasible for us to sign up for skiing lessons, we just want to play. Yet, it is nice seeing skiers in the area. When in Hakuba, you can just look for an big space and kids are happy!
It may not look like it but just walking on a small snowy field made this tropical girl happy.
After dinner, we took a drive around Hakuba village. Chalets, cabins and cottages. It looks cozy and driving along the woods, your imagination will drift to the story of Hansel and Gretel. Or Gingerbread House.
The next day, more sightseeing in Hakuba!
Snow angels! I remember how my friend who lives in Austria describes snow – they are like diamonds. True enough, they were glittering under the sun.
We passed by the Hakuba Ski Jumping Stadium. Can you spot the Olympics symbol?
Everywhere is an Instagram spot! Just be careful with the slippery icy paths.
We drove away from Hakuba center and see more winter wonderland sceneries.
We stopped by Matsuwara River to enjoy this view. Beautiful, isn’t it?
The best backdrop for a rare family photo.
Reminded me of icing.
We drove to our next hotel with powdery snow close to the parking area. It’s hard to keep the kids from enjoying the snow.
We stayed for longer than we initially planned to experience something dreamy – snowfall! And we did! Stay tuned for that story!
Thanks for reading!