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