You won’t have any difficulty in getting rental gear in Hakuba. There are so many rental shops the bigger problem will be to decide where to get it from. It is better to pre book your gear since even though all of the ski resorts do have inhouse rental shops they do tend to be more expensive then elsewhere since a) they rely exclusively on walk ins, and b) they cater for Japanese sizes, so your size might not be available. Some of the shops with online booking also offer an online or earlybird booking discount so that makes it a no brainer. Hakuba is a very spread out place, so it is important to make sure that if you do pre-book rentals that the shop is either near your accommodation or that the shop does free pick ups and drop offs. A wide range of gear is available. If you are a beginner then it is a waste of money to rent the most expensive gear, but on the other hand if you are already shredding it then you will benefit from having better gear. It is better to be realistic about your choice of gear-powder skis/boards are great in deep powder but not so great on groomers or in the park. Contrary to common belief, Hakuba does not have deep snow every day (unless perhaps you are going backcountry). All mountain or an all purpose set of gear is a better option. Depending on how deeply you want to get into the sport it is often worthwhile to purchase items such as gloves, googles etc and only rent the stuff that is hard to carry on your flight like the skis themselves and the boots. Having said that, it is no point to go off and buy a cheap pair of goggles from K’Mart- they just won’t cut it on the days that you really need them (the heavy snow day). Thin gloves will have you wishing you were back in your warm hotel room and not on the mountain. The following shops can all be recommended by SkiHakuba.com and all have online booking facilities.
Rhythm Sports Hakuba
This well known Australian base snowsports shop not only does rentals, but also has an excellent retail section. Located in the Wadano region of Hakuba, near the Mominoki hotel. Their huge shop has a wide range of gear, especially top of the range gear.
Hakuba Central Snowsports
Another popular and well known Australian company which has branched into Japan. Central Snowsports has 3 shops in Hakuba in Happo, Wadano and Goryu, as well as offering free pick ups. They also have a wide range of premium gear.
Japanese owned chain with the most number of shops in the greater Hakuba area including shops at Tsugaike and Iwatake as well as in Hakuba itself.
The Boarding Co.
Locally owned by a long term Aussie expat, this shop has an extensive range of skis and snowboards, particularly backcountry gear. They do free pick ups of course and are relatively close to the station.
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