Hakuba, during the
'green' season (ie. spring, summer & autumn), provides three freshwater lakes
that are so clean that you can swim in them ... Aoki-ko, Nakazuna-ko, and Kizaki-ko. The use of engines and outboard
motors is banned on Aoki-ko, making it the quietest and nicest of the three.
Popular activities include boating, sport fishing, and windsurfing. Nakazuna-ko
is very small and only really attracts fishermen. Kizaki-ko is the most
developed, and since engines are allowed, sports like wakeboarding are popular.
During the summer, most of the ski resorts operate some of their lifts to allow
access to higher elevations. At Hakuba 47 and Aokiko (in nearby Omachi), the
lifts allow access for mountain biking. Hiking or simply enjoying the views are
popular at Happo, Goryu and Tsugaike. Above Happo, an easy trail extends for 40
minutes to a small pond in which the local alpine peaks are reflected. A couple
of hours further up the trail lies the peak of Mt. Karamatsu on the main ridge
of the North Alps. The top ski run at Goryu becomes an alpine garden in summer
and another trail leads further upward to a viewpoint (around 50 minutes) or the
peak of Mt. Goryu itself (around four hours). Above Tsugaike, a further ropeway
takes you to a wetland that is designated as a national park. A trail from here
takes you up to Mt. Shirouma, after which Hakuba is named. Shirouma and Hakuba
are different readings of the kanji for "white horse". The smaller ski field of
Iwatake uses its pistes to grow thousands of lilies in summer and also has a dry
ski slope if you're desperate for turns.
Like all mountain areas in Japan, temperatures in Hakuba stay much cooler than
in the cities on Japan's Pacific coast. That alone makes it worthy of a visit.
For more details on Hakuba's many fabulous Summer 'Green' season activities and area
information, visit Hakuba Connect or
Evergreen Outdoor Centre.