Hakuba’s Southern Secrets: Kashimayari And Jigatake

Don’t miss the HAKUBAVALLEY’s southern secrets, Kashimayari and Jigatake Snow Resorts.

Sure, most international visitors head for the better known areas, but locals know there is plenty on offer at the south end of the valley too.

Even toddlers love the Kid’s Park at Kashimayari © Kashimayari Snow Resort

Tucked away at the southern end of the valley these resorts are essentially locals areas, popular with school groups and young boarders. We saw no other westerners at all the last time we skied Kashimayari for example, and your are unlikely to do so most days at Jiigatake, the last resort in the HV group.

But there’s no excuse not to visit – just use the HV shuttle to get there or rent a vehicle to do more exploring in the beautiful region past Lake Aoki. Kashimayari is 30 minutes from Hakuba, Jigatake 60 minutes on the HV 1 (Red) line.

Especially good for families and beginners at Jigatake, and those looking for uncrowded lines and plenty of fun options at Kashimayari. Let’s take a closer look at both.

The HV Shuttle is free with a valid HAKUBAVALLEY lift pass

Kashimayari Snow Resort

Kashimayari is the largest of the southern HAKUBAVALLEY areas, located in a saddle in the range at the top of a pass with the runs either side of the highest base area in the valley at 1200m. The lifts run up to 1550m, for a decent vertical and the higher base makes for consistent snow conditions. There is a lower base – Nakatsuna – on the Hakuba Valley side, which is also the HV Shuttle stop.

Strapping in with a view at the top of #2 Pair Lift Kashimayari Snow Resort
Strapping in with a view at the top of #2 Pair Lift © Kashimayari Snow Resort

In our experience there’s no one around to stop you taking advantage of the fresh snow. It’s usually very uncrowded, especially midweek. Everything from food and drink to souvenirs is cheaper than the at larger internationally popular resorts.

There’s a decent 720m vertical drop and runs up to 5km long back to the Nakatsuna slope base area.

In the upper Kashimiyari bowl area less people means less competition on powder days. First Tracks operates on weekends and holidays, with the 1st quad lift and 5th pair lift operating from 8:00 am, 30 minutes before regular hours, for ¥500 extra.

The local lift passes are great value too: ¥4000 adult, ¥3700 senior/student, ¥2400 child elementary – middle school.

And the view from the other side © Hiroya Nakata

They have a good park as well.

The views are ruggedly wild over the back western side, best enjoyed after skiing from their awesome indoor/outdoor onsen.

Pokemon Snow Adventure, Kashimayari Snow Resort
Pokemon Snow Adventure, Kashimayari Snow Resort

For family fun Kashimayari’s new Pokemon Snow Adventure activity park includes a huge 6-lane snow tubing course, a snow play area with fun features and a new debut ski slope perfect for beginners. The tube park and beginner slope each have dedicated magic carpet lifts.

And they’re racing.. © Kashimayari Snow Resort

Snow Trekking wearing traditional Japanese snowshoesKanjiki – is a chance to enjoy a natural snow experience with amazing views and opportunity to see some wildlife if you are lucky. The guided tours start at 9am, for groups of 2 – 8 people. The 3 – 4 hour route, at an easy level, is ¥8000 per person, the 6 hour moderate level route ¥13000 per person.

Snow trekking © Kashimayari Snow Resort

Getting to Kashimayari

Apart from the HV shuttle as above, Kashimayari is only 10 minutes walk from Yanaba Station on the JR Oito Line, or a 50 minute drive from the Azumino Interchange on the Nagano Expressway.

More info

Kashimayari Snow Resort website is here or visit HAKUBAVALLEY ski resort info

Wide open uncrowded slope at Jigatake Snow Resort
Wide open uncrowded slope at Jigatake Snow Resort © Hiroya Nakata

Jigatake Snow Resort

Secluded and sheltered, Jigatake is the last, most remote and most peaceful ski area in the whole HAKUBAVALLEY group. No crowds, no rush. No steep mountain roads to negotiate either, it sits very much on the lower slopes beside the valley.

Ideal for families with little kids to relax and enjoy a variety of great value on snow activities.

Learn to ski or board at your own pace without worrying about getting taken out by traffic.

Three pair lifts open up some surprisingly long runs, up to 1.5km long, over a 260m vertical. A massive 70% is beginner terrain, 30% easy intermediate slopes.

Snowmaking has been added this year to improve key area coverage.

No crowds here © Jigatake Snow Resort

Jigatake’s large Kid’s Park comes complete with their unique ‘Troika’ lift. The kids seem to have as much fun riding it as sliding down afterwards.

Troika Lift full of excited kids at Hakuba Jigatake Snow Resort
Troika Lift full of excited kids © Jigatake Snow Resort

Adults and bigger kids can enjoy Jigatake’s snowmobile tours.

Choose from short 15 minute excursions to longer one hour ‘Liberation Ride’ trips through the forest. New this season is night snowmobiling from 5 – 9pm.

Snowmobile Adventure Jigatake Snow Resort
Snowmobile Adventure Jigatake © Jigatake Snow Resort

More info Jigatake Snow Resort website (Japanese) is here or visit HAKUBAVALLEY ski resort info