Hakuba Iwatake Resort
Photo: Hakuba Iwatake Resort

Hakuba Iwatake opens a new observatory with stunning mountain views

The mountainside observation deck in Hakuba offers views of the snow-capped Northern Alps, along with outdoor adventures

Youka Nagase
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Youka Nagase
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Hakuba is one of the most popular mountain towns for Tokyoites to ski and snowboard in winter. Nevertheless, more than half a dozen resorts remain open during the off-season, and they’re worth a visit at any time of year. Hakuba Iwatake Resort, which started offering an off-road go-kart experience in the mountains, now has one more big draw card for visitors this spring.

Hakuba Iwatake Resort
Photo: Hakuba Iwatake Resort

The mountain resort’s new Hakuba Hitotoki No Mori, an observation area 1,100 metres above sea level on Mt Iwatake, was opened briefly last autumn. After taking a short break over the ski and snowboard season, the attraction is finally ready to celebrate its grand opening on April 28.

In addition to the spectacular view of Japan’s Northern Alps, you’ll also get to cast your eyes over the entire town of Hakuba. But this isn’t just a soulless glass box observation deck – it’s a massive open space surrounded by lush greenery. To get there, you’ll need to take Gondola Noah (¥2,100, children ¥1,150) up to the summit and walk a few minutes downhill.

Hakuba Iwatake Resort
Photo: Hakuba Iwatake Resort

While you’re there, pop inside the tea latte and scone café Chavaty, which has an outdoor terrace overlooking the resort. You’ll find all the same drinks and desserts that are offered at the café’s Omotesando outlet, but we recommend trying some of the Hakuba-exclusive items like the kuromoji herbal tea scone. You can eat in at the café, or enjoy your food and drinks on one of its outdoor hammocks or swings among the trees.

Hakuba Iwatake Resort
Photo: Hakuba Iwatake Resort

The 5sen South lift will still be operating during the off-season, meaning you’ll be able to get directly from Hakuba Hitotokinomori to the summit of Mt Iwatake in just seven minutes.  At the top, you can enjoy attractions like Hakuba Mountain Harbor and Café, the Yoo-Hoo Swing with its breathtaking views, mountain biking and more. You can even bring your dog to the designated pet park, and get your furkid a meal specially prepared for dogs.

Hakuba Iwatake Resort
Photo: Hakuba Iwatake Resort

For something more active, check out the newly introduced horseback riding experiences, open to people of all ages. First timers should go for the 15-minute guided course (¥2,500 per person). If you’re already comfortable with riding, opt for the horse trekking course (¥15,000 per person), which will take you on a 45-minute ride around the mountain. Note that the horse trekking course will only be available from July.

Visit the Hitotoki No Mori website for more information.

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