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The   ski   village   of   Hakuba   is   located   in   Nagano   prefecture,   Japan,   and   lies   next   to   the   North   Japan   Alps.   It   is   named   after   a   shape   that   resembles   a   white horse   which   appears   in   the   mountains   in   the   springtime   after   snow-melt.   (Hakuba   means   "white   horse"   in   Japanese")   It   is   4-5   hours   by   train   or   bus   from Tokyo   and   sits   at   an   altitude   of   about   800   metres.   It   is   rather   spread   out-there   are   many   rice   paddies   which   in   winter   become   fields   of   white   as   they   get buried by the snow. It's normal population of only about 9,000 swells out many fold due to the influx of skiers and seasonal workers.
Due     to     it's     location     next     to     the Northern   Alps,   and   it's   close   proximity to   the   Sea   of   Japan,   it   sees   a   lot   of snow.   It   averages   over   11   metres   of snow   a   year,   most   of   it   falling   between the   middle   of   December   and   the   end of   March.   It   was   the   site   for   5   events during     the     1998     Nagano     Winter Olympics   including   the   Ski   Jump,   and some    downhill    events    including    the Downhill,       the       Super       G       and Combined(all     held     at     Happo     Ski Resort).    There    are    currently    12    ski resorts   in   Hakuba,   with   another   one (Aokiko)     closed     and     hopefully     re- opening    next    season,    and    most    of them    are    accessible    by    free    shuttle buses. Echoland    is    a    "suburb"    of    Hakuba, and   is   known   as   the   downtown   region of   Hakuba   due   to   it's   concentration   of bars   and   restaurants.   It   is   located   in between   Happo   and   Hakuba   47,   and is   about   a   20   minute   walk   to   Happo itself.      The      main      supermarket      in Hakuba   is   called   "Big",   and   it   is   about a     20     minute     walk     downhill     from Echoland.    Another    supermarket    (A- Coop)   is   just   uphill   from   the   station. The    post    office    is    located    near    the station.   There   are   many   hot   springs   or "Onsens"   in   Hakuba-   see   the   below map.
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