Photo/IllutrationA terrace at the Hakuba Mountain Beach resort, about 1,400 meters above sea level, in Hakuba, Nagano Prefecture, is lined with parasols and hammocks. (Takumi Ono)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

HAKUBA, Nagano Prefecture--In a prefecture without a sea, this mountaintop resort may be the closest thing to a beach.

Just past noon on Aug. 4, vacationers could be seen cooling off under umbrellas and relaxing in hammocks at the newly opened Hakuba Mountain Beach.

The beach-themed facility is part of the famed Hakuba Happo-one ski resort, about 1,400 meters above sea level.

The site is lined with palm trees and equipped with jacuzzis and saunas converted from ski gondolas for sunbathers, and has a shop that serves hamburgers and alcohol.

Having just opened in late July, the retreat is located on the rooftop of a gondola station about 10 minutes from the base.

The slope under the terrace had been covered in snow during the winter, but is now blanketed with lush greenery.

The sun on this day is blazing, but it feels cool when the wind is blowing.

"The mountainscape looks like an ocean, even though there is no sea in Nagano (Prefecture). It feels like I've come to an island," said Nanami Miyairi, 22, a vocational school student from Nagano city, as she looked at the view from the terrace. Miyairi said she visited with her friend who learned about the facility from Instagram.

"It's interesting to have a place like this in the mountains," a 43-year-old tanned man from Otari, also in the prefecture, said as he relaxed in a jacuzzi.

The beach-inspired facility, which is open until Oct. 27, was designed with the aim of building a mountain resort to attract visitors in all seasons, while the ski resort draws skiers from home and abroad during winter.

"We wanted to make a place with a novel concept," said a representative from Hakuba Resort Development Co., which also manages the ski resort.

Adult tickets for a round-trip gondola ride are 1,780 yen ($16.90), while entry to the terrace is free. Use of the saunas and jacuzzi costs 1,500 yen for two hours. Swimsuits are also available for rent.