Hakuba is just over three hours from downtown Tokyo in the Northern Japanese Alps located outside the city of Nagano. There are a variety of transport options to get you to this alpine wonderland including car, coach and train. Hakuba is one of Japan’s largest and most well known alpine resort with 11 ski resorts to choose from. Hakuba is an experience incomparable to others. The valley can claim more sunshine than its neighbours, has wide ranging terrain, delicious restaurants, great bars, huge snowfalls and the steepest runs of the country’s 600 alpine resorts.
One option for getting to Hakuba is renting a car in Tokyo and driving to Hakuba. The average time to drive to Hakuba is around 3hrs 30mins. The cost to hire a car will depend on what size you choose plus the additional costs for toll roads. When visiting Hakuba in winter it is essential to reserve winter tyres with your car rental to cope with the snowy alpine roads.
An alternative to hiring car is getting a chartered taxi from companies including Alpico Taxi and Chuo Taxi. These taxis can transport up to 7 passengers and cost between 110,000-120,000 Yen.
Catching a coach is the best method to get to Hakuba if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of transferring between connections and hauling all your luggage around train stations and in crowds. Catching the bus is the cheapest way to get to Hakuba and the journey takes roughly 5 to 6 hours with two rest stops along the way. The Nagano Snow Shuttle costs 10,250 Yen and takes you from Narita Airport into Hakuba. The shuttle is also available from Haneda Airport and costs 9,500 Yen.
Catching the train is the fastest way to get to Hakuba from Tokyo. The total trip to Hakuba takes about 3.5 to 4 hours depending on the timing of your connections. First you need to catch the Narita express from Narita to Shinjuku station in Tokyo which will take about an hour. You will then need to catch the Nagano bullet train to Nagano which departs regularly. This trip takes 90 minutes as you travel at 200kmph across the Japanese landscape. Once you reach Nagano you will then have three options to get to Hakuba. You can catch the Aplico bus which run every hour. Another option is getting a taxi directly to your hotel. You can alternatively catch a local train to the Hakuba station and then arrange for your accommodation to pick you up from there.Getting to Hakuba this way does involve some transfers but it is the fastest way and you get to experience Japan’s famous Shinkansen bullet train.