Some of the best resorts in Japan can be found in the Hakuba Valley. The Hakuba Snow is one of the big draws to the area and they get over 10 meters of the white stuff every year, add to that a mind blowing number of runs, it is no surprise to learn that over 200,000 foreign tourists visit every year.
So, we know you’re going to have a blast on the slopes because the quality is so high – but what about when you’re not skiing? Well, there’s no reason for you to be stuck in your room watching tv because there are a number of cultural activities for you to enjoy in the Hakuba area. Here are 5 things you should try out to get a truly Japanese experience.
You can’t go all the way to Japan and not experience an onsen. After a day or two of hitting the slopes your legs are going to get tired, so the best way to rejuvenate is by visiting one of the number of onsens in the valley. Every onsen is different from the next, the qualities that differ can be anything from the colours, minerals added to the water and also the healing qualities they boast. One thing you should notes is that that in keeping with Japanese custom you are supposed to get in the onsen naked. You might feel shy at first but there’s no reason to be because everyone else is doing the same, you won’t feel awkward after a minute or so.
These are the only monkeys in the world that have been caught bathing in hot springs, they became world famous when a photographer from Life Magazine snapped these beautiful creatures and put them on the front cover. Ever since that edition came out the snow monkey’s fame has grown and grown. I have come across several monkeys on my travels and I was so surprised by just how chilled out these guys were. Make sure you wrap up warm because you have to walk around 30 minutes to get to the place where you can see the monkeys.
If you’re in Hakuba then there’s no excuse not to visit this temple which dates back to the 7th century, the reason for having no excuse is because it is easy to get to, extremely important and absolutely stunning. Legend has it that it is home to the first Buddhist statue that came to Japan. It will take you about an hour to reach by train, we did it when we were leaving Hakuba because we were told it was a good place to have a pit stop. I highly recommend this pit stop idea because you hop off, explore the temples, eat in a local restaurant and then continue your journey.