The Hotel: Folktale Hakuba
Pension Folktale Hakuba is an intimate, family-run lodge by the Suzuki’s, quietly nestled in between the Tsugaike and Cortina ski runs on the Norikura ski field. Surrounded by fluffy white powder, the chalet-themed pension houses Japanese-style rooms, two and six-bedroom quarters, self-contained cottages and a communal dining area for up to 35 guests. Groupies start the day with a belly full of home-cooked breakfast dishes by Mrs Suzuki before heading out for a day of snow-filled fun.
The ski-in, ski-out lodge and pre-organised ski tickets allow keen ski and snowboarding bunnies to be able to clip in and hit the slopes immediately, carving up a range of runs from beginner to intermediate or pro. With Suzuki’s expert local knowledge, Groupies can partake in a luxury onsen tour. Come dinner time, hunger will be sated with a traditional Japanese meal in the dining hall, provided by the pensions busy kitchen. Folks can pass the time by chatting with fellow holidaymakers, reading by the fire, or making friends jealous by uploading holiday snaps to social media.
- Bed size/type: Twin beds
- Standard occupancy: Two people
- Private rooms boast Japanese style and have shared bathrooms
The Area: Hakuba, Japan
Located 3.5 hours’ drive northwest of Tokyo, Hakuba is one of Japan’s most popular ski areas with its mountainous landscape capped off by fluffy white snow. Now an international resort thanks to its involvement in the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, the area’s Northern Alps setting draws travellers from around the world every winter to challenge themselves on the alpine slopes and later warm cold bones with a soak in traditional Japanese onsen baths.
Head to Happo-One for the full ski experience, from runs suiting beginners to pros and a cheery mountain village vibe. Marvel over the natural scenery while zipping through the powder and breathe in the fresh, clean air before sitting down and enjoying the local food and sake of the region.
When bodies grow tired of all the action the mind is next in line to be entertained with several tour experience on offer in the region. See the unusual snow monkeys and pay a visit to Zenkoji Temple or instead Discover Matsumoto Castle, a history building famed for its black exterior and network of moats and walls. Finally, no trip to Hakuba would be complete without an onsen hot spring bath with the snowy mountains as a backdrop.