History of Hakuba and skiing in Hakuba

The history of Hakuba goes back at least 6,000 yrs ago but skiing is a very recent event.

During   these   early   days   a   type   of   serpentine   stone   found   in   Hakuba   was   was   dug   out   of   the   mountains   and   utilised   in   the   making   of   stone   axes.   In   the Yayoi   era   (300   BC   to AD   300)   ,   people   started   settling   in   what   is   now   the   south   side   of   Hakuba    village   and   began   growing   rice.   Then   in   the   Kofun   era (AD   300-700)   leaders   of   the   village   starting   building   big   tombs   for   themselves   for   when   they   passed   away. Approximately   800   yrs   ago   Hakuba    and   the Otari   area   became   Emperor   Shirakawa's   territory   and   was   called   Chikuninoshou.   There   is   a   museum   name   the   Chikuninoshou   museum   in   Otari   still today. The   Shirakawa   Emporer   got   a   manor   built   for   his   princess   daugher,   and   after   she   passed   away   the   manor   became   a   temple.   During   all   this   time the   Shionomichi   (salt   road)   was   used   to   transport   salt   from   sea   of   Japan   to   Matsumoto   for   processing,   and   this   road   passed   through   Hakuba   since ancient times. If you want to find it, it is the first road runs parallel to the train line that you encounter if you walk uphill from Max value supermarket.  After   1590,   a   land   survey   was   done   by   Lord   Matsumoto,   and   taxes   were   imposed   upon   landholders.      This   was   apparently   a   very   tough   time   for   the pheasants in Hakuba. During this era, the population of Hakuba increased and more land was devoted to rice paddies. In   1894,   Mt   Hakuba   was   officially   named   and   in   1895   a   mountaineer/church   missionary   named   Walter   Weston   climbed   it.   He   played   a   big   part   in   the establishment   of   the   Japan   Alpine   Club   in   190.   In   1899   a   Japanese   scientist   by   the   name   of   Reizo   Kono   performed   a   fauna   and   flora   survey   in   the mountains   of   Hakuba   and   found   it   was   full   of   rare   plants. As   a   result   Hakuba    became   nationally   well   known   and   it   became   prohibited   to   collect   plants from   the   mountains   in   1910.   Until   1919   the   only   access   to   Hakuba   was   by   horsedrawn   carriage   or   rickshaw,   and   there   was   no   electicity,   all   lights   were gas   lamps.   From   1919   electricity   came   to   Hakuba   along   with   the   first   motor   vehicles.   In   1932   the   trainline   to   Hakuba   was   built.   Even   at   that   time people's main income source was agriculture such as rice, silkworms and hemp. Hakuba was officially designated a village in the 1930's. At   the   end   of   Meiji   era   (the   beginning   of   1900's),   skiing   was   introduced   to   japan   and   Hakuba   was   recognized   as   a   place   for   skiing   by   mountaineers, and   uni   students. At   this   time   the   locals   in   Happo   acted   as   mountain   guides.   From   1947,   Miinshikuku   (like   a   type   of   b&b)   started   appearing   in   Hakuba. After   the   2nd   world   war   skiing   become   very   popular   in   Japan   and   ski   lifts   were   built   as   early   as   1952   in   Happo,   with   most   of   Happo   resort   being   built   in 1958. The   1980’s   brought   the   bubble   era   to   Japan,   and   skiing   was   probably   the   most   popular   sport   in   Japan   at   this   time.   To   accommodate   its   popularity many new ski lodges and hotels were built, and even today most of the ski accomodation in Hakuba can be traced back to this decade. In   1998   the   Winter   Olympics   were   held   in   Nagano,   with   many   of   the   events   such   as   the   downhill   and   ski   jump   being   held   in   Hakuba    Since   then Hakuba   has   been   "discovered"   by   foreigners   and   their   numbers   are   increasing   every   year.   The   current   permanent   population   of   Hakuba   is   about 9,000 people, but many more come to work here in the ski season.
HAKUBA SKI TRIP? SkiHakuba.com is your one stop website for everything to do with skiing in Hakuba
Japan
Specialists in Hakuba Ski Holidays
   SkiHakuba.com