Since hosting the Winter Olympics in 1998, Hakuba has exploded in popularity attracting snow enthusiasts from around the world. In fact, Hakuba will host 200,000 foreign stays this year alone and has been added to the prestigious list of resorts on the Epic Pass for the 2018/19 season. Situated in the heart of the Japanese Alps, Hakuba attracts skiers from around the globe looking to ski Hakuba’s epic 10 meters of annual snowfall, famous powder, and nearly perfectly placed tree runs. But the nightlife in Hakuba is equally epic. The following are the must visit nightlife spots for the 2018/19 season.

Hakuba Village

Hakuba

Blizzard

The newest entry to the Hakuba bar and restaurant scene, Blizzard boasts one of the only wood-fire pizza ovens in the Hakuba Valley. More importantly, the person manning the oven is Paolo Coluccio, the former national champion of Italy’s most prestigious pizza making competition. Sitting directly across from the Happo Gondola, Blizzard will be a great place to chill out with tasty pizza after a day on the slopes. In the evenings, Blizzard will host daily live music followed by DJs on the second floor, and with two bars, a dance floor, and lounge area Blizzard may quickly become the spot for those looking for a night out in Hakuba.

Blizzard, Hakuba

Blizzard boasts one of the only wood-fire pizza ovens in the Hakuba Valley

Insider tip: Blizzard will open for breakfast and serve espressos for the early risers from 7 am.

English menu: Yes
English speaking staff: Yes
Open: 17:00–2:00
Website: Blizzard

Bar Refuel

Bar Refuel is one of the few watering holes that stays open well into the early hours of the morning. It has a great local vibe, plays good music and offers late night snacks. It really is one of the best mixtures of locals and visitors and the menu is a combo of Japanese and foreign bar foods. The kitchen stays open late and the menu ranges from udon noodles to French fries and chicken nuggets. Drinks are half price during the daily happy hour from 6 to 8.

Refuel, Hakuba

Refuel has a great local vibe, plays good music and offers late night snacks

Insider tip: Bar Refuel has a dart machine and it’s common to stop in and play a game with the owners and some locals. But beware, loser takes a shot.

English menu: Yes
English speaking staff: Yes
Open: 16:00–late
Website: Bar Refuel FB

Jack’s Sports Bar

An awesome mix of live sports, live music, and relaxing atmosphere makes Jack’s a must visit on your Hakuba bar crawl this season. Located in the heart of Happo-Village in the Hakuba Springs Hotel, Jack’s may be the best spot to watch a game in the valley. They have an absurd 200 sports channels to choose from and cozy fireside couches to relax on with a beer while you enjoy the game. As the night goes on, Jack’s transforms from a cozy sports bar to a thriving night scene, with DJs and live music performing regularly. It’s one of the best bars for mingling with fellow travellers.

Jack's Sports Bar, Hakuba

Jack’s is a must visit on your Hakuba bar crawl this season

Insider tip: Every Tuesday night Jack’s hosts a really popular trivia night. Get there early and brush up on your Japan facts; the last round is always Japan related.

English menu: Yes
English speaking staff: Yes
Open: 17:00–2:00
Website: Jack’s Sports Bar

The Rabbit Hole

Up in Wadano is The Rabbit Hole (pictured, top), which aside from breathtaking mountain views, makes you feel like you’ve encountered an edgy Melbourne laneway bar. Even the barmen have Chet Faker beards going on. In addition to having an excellent selection of beer, wine and spirits on hand The Rabbit Hole is also known for their burgers (probably the best in the valley). Don’t leave without trying the Chuck Norris burger. The Rabbit Hole often has live music and DJs and also has pool and darts as well. It’s one of the coolest bars in Hakuba.

The Rabbit Hole's Chuck Norris burger, Hakuba

Don’t leave Hakuba without trying the Chuck Norris burger

Insider tip: If you’re vegetarian, The Rabbit Hole has you covered. We recommend the Smells Like Bean Spirit. You won’t be disappointed.

English menu: Yes
English speaking staff: Yes
Open: 17:00–2:00
Website: burgershopgenkste.rs

Mocking Bird

Mocking Bird will be buzzing on just about any night of the week, often with a mix of locals and Westerners. The bar is creatively decorated with woodwork – there’s a large tree made of driftwood centred in the middle of the bar – and has a great selection of beer, wines and traditional Japanese cocktails.

Mocking Bird, Hakuba

Mocking Bird has a great selection of beer, wines and traditional Japanese cocktails

Insider tip: Order the Ken Special! While the full list of ingredients is even too insider to share here, the drink has vodka, yuzu, and a whole lot of other tasty ingredients.

English menu: Yes
English speaking staff: Yes
Open: 17:00–2:00
Website: mockingbird.jp