HAKUBA, JA­PAN

This moun­tain­ous re­gion of Ja­pan is the coun­try’s best-kept se­cret, of­fer­ing vis­i­tors a serene win­ter es­cape.

S/ - - TRENDING - BY ZEE JAMSHED

Nes­tled in the Nagano Pre­fec­ture, a district lo­cated in cen­tral Ja­pan, is Hakuba, one of the coun­try’s most ex­clu­sive ski re­sort des­ti­na­tions. With scenic views of the Ja­pan Alps that re­sem­ble a Kat­sushika Hokusai paint­ing, it’s easy to see why this re­gion is praised as one of the coun­try's most beau­ti­ful.

STAY

One Chalets—it’s ac­tu­ally a set of two con­tem­po­rary chalets named Phoenix One and One Happo that sit at the base of Hakuba’s moun­tains—of­fers easy ac­cess to Olympic-grade slopes. Guests can opt for a he­li­copter pick-up to de­liver them from the air­port to their chalet’s front door—a glass of cham­pagne awaits their ar­rival.

One Happo, the larger of the two chalets (it sleeps 10), in­cludes an im­pres­sive wine room and cock­tail bar. Three-hun­dred-and-sixty-de­gree views of the sur­round­ing land­scape are per­fectly framed by the sweep­ing floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows.

EAT

Ex­pe­ri­ence tra­di­tional Ja­panese cui­sine in the heart of the city at the lo­cal favourite, Kikoya. Known for its fresh in­gre­di­ents, Kikoya sources the ma­jor­ity of its fish di­rectly from the sea­side, a mere 60 kilo­me­tres from the restau­rant.

After in­dulging in plates of sashimi, curl up with a glass of sake at Antlers Restau­rant, a five-star lounge with cozy dé­cor and an in­ti­mate at­mos­phere. Ex­posed tim­ber walls and a crack­ling fire­place will make you for­get the cold, snowy weather out­side.

IN­DULGE

The true ap­peal of Hakuba is, of course, the out­doors. Blan­keted by per­fect pow­der with crys­tal-cut moun­tains as a back­drop, Hakuba is home to one of Ja­pan’s most fa­mous ski des­ti­na­tions: the Hakuba Happo-One Win­ter Re­sort. The epi­cen­tre of alpine ski­ing dur­ing the 1998 Win­ter Olympics, the re­sort is but one of 11 op­tions lo­cated in the Hakuba re­gion.

When you’ve had your ski­ing fix, a visit to Hakuba’s renowned on­sens (hot spring baths) are a must. For the per­fect com­bi­na­tion of scenery and com­fort, opt for a roten­buro on­sen: a hot spring bath that is in the mid­dle of na­ture, of­fer­ing strik­ing views of the sur­round­ing snow­cov­ered land­scape.

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