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  • Writer's pictureJacob Maguire

Hakuba over Niseko? Of Course!

Here it is, “THE BIG QUESTION”…

It’s sure to invoke a few head scratches and possibly even invectives from passionate people both sides of the fence, or in this case, The Tsugaru Strait. Of course people are entitled to their own opinions, but here is one for you to take on board…

  • Hakuba is located on the main island of Japan and as such is easily accessible from Tokyo by a number of different transport options. From the budget transit to the easier door to door Chuo option, there is multiple ways to get to Hakuba from the city

  • Hakuba Village is surrounded by 10 mountains (I’ll be introducing all these mountains in future blogs)

  • Hakuba has been targeted by the pros and film companies recently, including Jeremy Jones who comes here regularly and Travis Rice who filmed “The Fourth Phase” in Hakuba, he also pops past to dominate in the world free riding championship which stops in Hakuba, yes Hakuba not Niseko.

  • Apart from offering some of the steepest terrain in Japan, the Hakuba village offers tourists a great experience of traditional small-town Japanese culture. You can find around the village numerous restaurants, bars, shops and onsen, offering authentic Japanese cuisine and experiences. You’re also close enough to Day trip to the Myoko Kogen area and Nozowa Onsen. If you are keen on seeing these areas, let us know and we will get you there no fuss…… (Unless they close the motorways due to excessive snow but hey, that’s only happened to us twice…..)

Below Hakuba Valley looking back from Iwatake over Happo, 47 and Goryu

Hakuba is on top due to;

  • Greater variety of ski terrain with 10 resorts in the Hakuba valley( 6 of which can be accessed on one smart pass)

  • Steeper slopes

  • Easier access from Australia

  • Cheaper airfares as you’re not flying on from Tokyo to Sapporo

  • More of an authentic cultural experience

  • Greater vertical drop (Grand Hirafu vs Happone)

  • Cheaper, better dining

Niseko still comes close for:

  • A higher amount of snow, dryer snow (once its waist deep who cares??)

  • Better night skiing areas. (Bah, most people I know are 4 beers in by the time its dark!)

  • Accommodation options - modern, more western and more ski in/ski out properties on offer (this comes at a price!)

  • Locals in Niseko speaks English so communicating with locals is a breeze.. (How is that a cultural experience?)

  • Bigger terrain parks with more features, (with an average annual snowfall of 12mtrs ++, you won’t even be able to see the terrain park)

We believe Hakuba trumps Niseko in all the right ways. It’s not uncommon in Hakuba to lose your morning tracks by lunch, or worse still, lose your board under powder when you go for lunch! The town is getting busier every season, with more and more hounds chasing the dream. Soon enough it will be as bustling and busy as Niseko with (*SHOCK! HORROR!*) lift lines and potentially waiting at your favourite bar for cold Asahi or hot Saki, so get organised, get booked and get stoked!

The Powder Temple Team

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