I was recently treated to a trekking tour of Hakuba Village’s Mt. Happoone. First I stopped at one of the Happoone Onsen bathhouses in Hakuba Village’s Happoone district. One gondola and two ski lift rides later, I was at 1830-meter Happo-Ike Sanso (Happo Pond Mountain Hut).
After a strenuous 1-hour hike I from the mountain hut, I reached the legendary Happo Pond. At 2060 meters, Happo Pond literally feels like it is in the heavens. Surrounded by 3,000-meter peaks on one side, and panoramic views of the Hakuba basin and beyond on the other, with alpine wildflowers scattered around at your feet, Happo Pond makes for a blissful experience. Here you can really feel the power and breadth of nature.
The day I went the pond was still covered with snow, and the Hakuba Mountain Range was playing hide-and-go-seek behind some clouds. But I got peak-a-boo views of the massive Hakuba mountains on the way, and could certainly get a sense of the grandeur Happo Pond must offer when its snow covering is gone and the majestic mountains are reflected in its surface.
Hakuba is a convenient 1 hour bus ride from Nagano City. With the guilt-enducingly easy 20 minute ride on the gondola and ski lifts, you too can be in alpine heaven.
After trekking Happoone Ridge, I came back down to the Happo district of central Hakuba for lunch. I was treated to a hearty meal at “Ohyokkuri“. Udon noodles cooked in onsen water and a thick stew known here as ohyokkuri (the namesake of the restaurant) filled me up after that strenuous trekking.
More on Hakuba’s Happoone area here.