At 700 meters above sea level, Hakuba’s high elevation, cold climate, and clear, alpine streams together form a setting which imparts superior flavor to the locally grown buckwheat known as “Hakuba soba.” Flour ground from the soba is used in several regional specialties, and a soba festival is held every autumn. Soba noodles (often simply called “soba”) are served by numerous shops in town and may be eaten hot or cold. Hakuba locals will insist, however, that the crisp air of winter brings out the noodles’ best flavor.
A galette is a crepe-like dish of French origin made with buckwheat flour. As the flavorful buckwheat flour produced in Hakuba is perfectly suited to galette, the Hakuba Galette was born, a regional specialty topped with local ingredients. This new dish is gaining popularity in hotels and bed and breakfasts around Hakuba.
Shinshu salmon is a new variety of salmon that crosses easily farmed, high quality rainbow trout with disease resistant brown trout, inheriting the strengths of both. It has beautiful silver scales and flesh with a delicate, melt-in-the-mouth texture and is getting attention as a fish that goes well with Japanese-Western crossover cuisine. Don’t miss your opportunity to try it while visiting Nagano.
Mountain carting originated in Germany is a mountain activity in which the rider drives through the mountains without an engine, using the steering wheel and brakes from the top of the mountain. The low weight, wide wheels, and easy-to-operate handlebars make it fun for beginners. The exhilaration of riding with the spectacular view of the Northern Alps at your back while looking down on the city is irresistible. Check it out to enjoy Hakuba in a different way!
Hakuba Soba-Making Experience
With water trickling down from the Hotaka Mountains and a cool climate with high night-day temperature variation, the Hakuma area is well-suited to buckwheat production, and is a major producer within the “buckwheat country” of Nagano. Many lodgings and soba restaurants in the Hakuba area offer experiences making soba noodles produced from this buckwheat. Experiences are approachable even for those with no experience, and participants can try their freshly made soba on the spot. Popular with families and students.
A Sea of Clouds in Hakuba
Due to its high altitude and dramatic night-day temperature shifts, there is always a high likelihood of cloud formation around the village of Hakuba, and there are several spots for viewing this sea of clouds in the mountains, such as in the Nodai area and the Donguri Panorama Observation Deck in the Kurashita area. At Kitaone Kogen Morgenrot, there is a tour that takes visitors up the mountainside at dawn by cable car. With some luck, you may be able to catch an incredible sight: a sea of clouds colored soft shades of red by the fiery rising sun.
A Three-Tiered Autumn in the Hakuba Mountains
“Three-Tiered Autumn” refers to the beautiful sight Hakuba Iwatake is famous for: snow-capped peaks, mountainside autumn colors, and green foothills all on view at once. With sweeping views of the Hakuba Mountains, the terrace at Hakuba Mountain Harbor is one of a handful of places in Japan where the incredible three-tiered autumn spectacle can be seen. The best time to visit is from mid- to late-October. Come and enjoy the beautiful contrast of these three interwoven color schemes.
Ego sliced and topped with miso
“Ego” is made by boiling and dissolving seaweed called “ego-so” and hardening it, and is a local traditional dish in Niigata. At a time when refrigerators did not yet exist, it is a highly preserved marine product that has a valuable ingredient for obtaining nutrients that were often in short supply in Nagano as it has no ocean. It is said that ego-so which came from Niigata, was sold out in the Hokushin region and rarely reached the larger towns of Nagano and Matsumoto, and that it was introduced and took root mainly in the northern part of Nagano Prefecture.
“Edible flowers” are flowers that can be eaten, and the English word “edible flower” has become a common name in Japan. Edible flowers are made without pesticides or with low amounts of pesticides and can be eaten raw, and are often served with food or sweets. In Hakuba Village, edible flower production is thriving, and many restaurants serve dishes using edible flowers or hold edible flower events. How about a nice “flower meal” in Hakuba Village?
A view from the slopes: the three peaks of Hakuba
The landscape of Hakuba is dominated by three majestic summits: Shirouma, Shakushi, and Hakuba-yari. At elevations of 2,933; 2,820; and 2,909 meters respectively, the three peaks form a striking backdrop to the Hakuba valley. Through the valley runs the Himekawa River, flowing down from its source on Mount Shirouma. The Oide suspension bridge crosses the Himekawa and leads to an area of thatch-roofed private homes. While beautiful in all seasons, the river view is particularly lovely in spring, when blooming cherry trees are framed against the towering mountains.