Niseko4 out of 5 based on 44 reviews
  • Recommend
    89%
  • Would Revisit
    80%
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Niseko Japan: Some of the Best Powder in the World
Niseko Japan: Some of the Best Powder in the World
The famous Niseko night skiing
The famous Niseko night skiing
Hirafu Village looking up to Mt Yotei
Hirafu Village looking up to Mt Yotei
There are lots of day ski and snowboard tours available
There are lots of day ski and snowboard tours available
Niseko Nightlife: a Good Selection of Bars
Niseko Nightlife: a Good Selection of Bars
Ski Niseko Japan
Ski Niseko Japan
Niseko Restaurants: a Good Variety of Dining Options
Niseko Restaurants: a Good Variety of Dining Options
Luxury Niseko Hotel
Luxury Niseko Hotel
Heli skiing near Niseko
Heli skiing near Niseko
And did we mention the Niseko snow!
And did we mention the Niseko snow!
Hirafu Niseko Ski Resort
Hirafu Niseko Ski Resort
Ski-in ski-out Niseko accommodation
Ski-in ski-out Niseko accommodation
And you can ski Niseko powder 12 hours a day!
And you can ski Niseko powder 12 hours a day!
Skiing on Shiribetsu near Niseko Japan
Skiing on Shiribetsu near Niseko Japan
Sidecountry Tour
Sidecountry Tour
Night skiing Hirafu Niseko
Night skiing Hirafu Niseko
Upper Hirafu Village Niseko
Upper Hirafu Village Niseko
Niseko backcountry tour
Niseko backcountry tour
The Niseko ski schools have English speaking instructors
The Niseko ski schools have English speaking instructors
Niseko Hokkaido is a very family friendly resort
Niseko Hokkaido is a very family friendly resort

Niseko

Niseko Japan

Niseko ski resort in Hokkaido is probably the most famous Japan resort amongst international skiers and boarders. For those that love powder, Niseko Japan is the number one pick for a ski holiday because it seems to constantly snow, and the deep, deep powder is way too enticing. Niseko the snow factory is one big powder playground!

Niseko Ski Resort Terrain

The Niseko ski resort gets the Powderhounds award for the best ski terrain in Japan. Niseko also gets other "best skiing in Japan" awards for best powder, best off-piste terrain, best slackcountry (easily accessible backcountry), and best overall resort in Japan. The Powderhounds obviously think that Niseko has a lot going for it!

Niseko is suited to skiers and boarders of all ability levels. There are a large variety of groomed runs that are ideal for families, beginners and intermediates. For powder hounds Niseko has great off-piste skiing. The slackcountry and backcountry options are also very impressive, and thankfully both off-piste and out of bounds riding is permitted. Another element that sets Niseko apart from many other Japanese ski resorts is the combination of both alpine and tree skiing.

Fair weather skiers who want to get a tan are the only ones that might not like Niseko. Niseko rarely sees the sunshine and has plenty of cold weather in the peak of winter, but powder hounds don’t mind because it’s the bad weather that brings all that fabulous powder. And don’t worry about the cold because Niseko is equipped with various gondolas and hooded chairs.

Niseko is the largest ski resort in Japan and is made up of four interconnected areas: An’nupuri; Niseko Village (formerly Higashiyama); Hirafu; and Hanazono. The ski resort of Moiwa is also interconnected, but a separate lift ticket is required for this resort.

Where is Niseko?

Niseko is located in Hokkaido Japan, 100km southwest of Sapporo and the New-Chitose International Airport. Niseko is situated near Mt Yōtei (the "Mt. Fuji of Hokkaido") in a perfect spot to capture all the snow.

A shuttle bus or a door-to-door transfer is the best way to get to Niseko from either Sapporo or the airport. See the Niseko travel page for more information or you can book your Niseko airport shuttle transport here.

Niseko Accommodation

There is a huge range of Niseko accommodation options including hotels, pensions, lodges, and lots of self-contained apartments and houses. Some of the properties are ski-in ski-out, but many require a short walk or a shuttle bus to get to the ski area. You can search for lodging, check availability, filter by location and other requirements, and make a booking enquiry directly with the accommodation provider using our Niseko accommodation listingsNB You can book transfers and other components of your holiday (e.g. equipment rentals and lessons) on this website from October onwards.

There is accommodation in the villages of An’nupuri, Niseko Village, Hanazono, and Niseko Hirafu. The four ski areas are interconnected by the lifts and slopes towards the top of the mountain, but the base areas are not next to each other. Consequently the first choice regarding accommodation needs to be which village to stay in. See our Niseko accommodation page for information on the different villages, a Niseko map, and for accommodation bookings.

Restaurants & Nightlife

Niseko has the best nightlife and choice of restaurants of all the ski resorts in Japan. There are Niseko restaurants across all areas but most of the dining opportunities are in Hirafu. Hirafu is also the nucleus of the vibrant nightlife that Niseko is so famous for. There might be a few rowdy Aussies (and Chinese) hanging about late at night, but you can choose to either join in the fun or avoid them. And if you really want some peace and quiet, stay in An’nupuri, Niseko Village or Hanazono.

Niseko Ski Tours - Day Trips

If all the fresh tracks have disappeared in-bounds, there are lots of other Niseko ski activities to score a powder fix. You can head to a nearby ski resort, take a side-country tour, or earn your turns with a backcountry tour near Niseko. If you’ve got superhuman fitness and a fine day, you can even climb Mt Yotei. Or if you prefer to save your energy for riding down the hill, Niseko heli skiing or Niseko cat skiing are other options!

For multi-day tours see below.

Culture and Language

If you’re a little nervous about travelling in a foreign land then Niseko is the place to go because it caters really well to the international tourist. Communication is much easier for English speaking travellers than at any other ski resort in Japan. English is spoken by most of the staff at the accommodation and restaurants, signage around the resort is in both English and Japanese, and restaurants have English menus.

The international popularity of Niseko has lead to it being not as cheap or unique as other Japanese ski resorts. It has become somewhat Australianised and westernised, but there is still enough Japanese culture and food to make it a culturally interesting ski holiday destination.

Summary of the Pros and Cons of Niseko

Pros
  • What sets Niseko apart from other Japanese ski resorts is the fabulous powder that falls in abundance (15-16 metres per season on average).
  • It is a large ski area and off-piste and sidecountry riding is permitted, so there’s plenty of terrain variety.
  • Niseko makes a great base to explore nearby ski resorts and backcountry areas.
  • Another unique aspect of Niseko is that it caters very well to English speaking families with young children. Child care, in-accommodation babysitting, and kids’ group ski lessons are available from English speaking staff.
  • Other huge advantages include the great village vibe, the range of activities on offer, good shopping, the many restaurants, and a very colourful nightlife.
  • It is one of only a few Japanese ski resorts that offer a range of accommodation options, including hotels, apartments, houses and backpackers. 
Cons
  • Niseko is no longer a hidden gem. The ski area is often very crowded (especially over Xmas and during January) and freshies in-bounds don’t last for long, but with the snow factory frequently pumping out more snow, another powder day (or powder hour!) is never far away.
  • Many of the chair lifts are antiquated, which is surprising considering the number of lift tickets they sell.
  • Proportionally there isn’t that much ski-in ski-out accommodation. 
Pro or Con Depending on Your Perspective
  • There’s still a distinct Japanese culture apparent, but the Hirafu Village in particular is very westernised. This comes with advantages such as the abundance of apartment accommodation and the amount of English that is spoken (including ski school and the ski rental shops), but there's very little Japanese style accommodation.
  • During the peak of winter don’t expect too many fine weather days. Of course all that wonderful powder doesn’t fall from blue skies! 

Niseko Ski Tours

Safari (Road Trip) Tours
Hokkaido Snow Tow DETAILS
HOSTED & SELF-GUIDED ADVENTURE
6 Nights | 7 Days | 5 Skiing | 5 Ski Areas
From price based on triple/quad-share room occupancy.
Base/invoice currency is in yen not inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Base/invoice currency is in yen not inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 1,547
Book and pay deposit prior to Nov 30, 2016 and get 14.7% off advertised price
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Take the hassle out of organising your powder adventure to Hokkaido Japan next season by joining one of these great unguided tours. You still have the freedom to do your own thing at the ski areas but all of the logistics are taken care of.
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Hokkaido Storm Chaser DETAILS
GUIDED STORM CHASING SAFARI
7 Days | 6 Nights | 5 Ski Areas
From price based on twin-share room occupancy.
Base/invoice currency is in yen not including 8% consumption tax.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Base/invoice currency is in yen not including 8% consumption tax.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,639 USD 2,639
To be eligible for any advertised specials you must book & pay the required deposit by the last day of the promotion...no exceptions.
Book prior to Sept 30 for 14% discount off advertised price
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Chase the storms and access the deepest and best quality snow conditions on the day in the Niseko United area and Central Hokkaido's world famous deep dry powder.
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Hokkaido Explorer Tour DETAILS
FULLY GUIDED & HOSTED TOUR
12 Nights - 10 Ski Areas - 10 Days Skiing/Riding
From price based on twin/double-share option.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 3,381 USD 3,381
Early bird discount of $100AUD if booked and paid prior to Sept 30 2017; some tour dates
Discount of up to 2.2% if you book & pay before Sept 30
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Based in Niseko Hirafu then Furano then Otaru, chase the best conditions and snowfall at 7 of Hokkaido's best ski areas and lesser known ski areas including Niseko, Rusutsu, Moiwa, Furano, Asahidake, Kamui Links, Mt Racey and Tomamu.
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See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Niseko here
Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours
Niseko Guided Day Tours DETAILS
GUIDED DAY TRIPS IN/FROM NISEKO
For PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY of up to 6 guests
From price based on a PER PERSON rate for Niseko guided day tour (private groups only of 6 guests) in low season.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
From 60,000 yen for a group. *Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 83
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
If you are in Niseko with a group, you can't go past a guided ski or snowboard day tour in Niseko or at one of the nearby ski areas (off-piste, sidecountry or backcountry). PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY of up to 6 guests (i.e. you cannot join a group).
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BDT Lift Assisted Backcountry Tours DETAILS
LIFT ASSISTED BACKOUNTRY TOURS
Niseko Area | PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY | Min 2 Days
From price based on 2 day tour per person - 5 people in private group (lift tickets not included). You cannot join a group on these tours.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 273
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Join Black Diamond Tours on 2 days of guided powder hunting in Niseko or one of the nearby resort or backcountry areas with your own PRIVATE GROUP. Areas include Niseko backbowls, Rusutsu, Kiroro, Tiene & Kokusai.
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Powder Progression for Skiers DETAILS
GUIDED SKIER PROGRESSION TOUR
7 Nights | 5 Days Instruction - Niseko + 3 Other Ski Areas
From price based on twin/triple-share accom.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,125 USD 2,125
Discount of $100AUD if you book and pay by Sept 30 2017
Up to 3.7% discount if you pay by Sept 30
Ability: Intermediate to Advanced
Do you want to learn to ski deep powder and look like a pro? This Niseko based tour focuses on helping you to develop your powder skiing skills whilst maintaining optimal fun. Includes day trips to Kiroro, Rusutsu & Moiwa.
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See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Niseko here
Backcountry Skiing Tours
Backcountry Touring Day Trips DETAILS
GUIDED BACKCOUNTRY DAY TOURS
Niseko & Surrounding Areas | Private Groups Only
From price based on per person rate for a private group of 5 guests.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 126
10% off advertised price. Must book via Powderhounds.com and pay deposit before June 15th 2017.
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Ideal if you are staying in NISEKO and are looking for a guided BACKCOUNTRY day in or around Niseko. These day tours are specifically for those who are happy to earn their turns and are for private groups of 1 - 5 guests (but 6+ is also doable).
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BDT Guided BC Day Tours DETAILS
PRIVATE GUIDED BACKCOUNTRY TOURS
Niseko Area | Shirabetsu & Yotei | Min 2 Days
From price based on 2 days of guided backcountry skiing/riding per person (5 guests in your group).
Base/invoice currency is in JPY ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 273
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Join Black Diamond Tours on 2 or more epic days of guided backcountry skiing or riding with your own PRIVATE group. Areas include Niseko backcountry areas, Shirabetsu & lower Mt Yotei.
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High Earnings DETAILS
BACKCOUNTRY POWDER CHASING
9 Nights | 8 Guided Days
From price based on twin/triple-share with breakfast.
Price per person for a group of 5. Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,630
10% off advertised price. Must book via Powderhounds.com and pay deposit by June 15th 2017.
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Enter the powder room! Visit some of Hokkaido's most remote locations and best backcountry zones. This trip has a backcountry touring focus and the skins will probably go on every day but your group will be within reach of ski resorts if the weather isn`t suitable for touring or the lift accessed pow looks too good!
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See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Niseko here
Cat Skiing Tours
Shimamaki Snowcat Adventures DETAILS
GUIDED CAT SKIING ADVENTURE (2 or 4 days)
Stay in a Traditional Japanese Inn Inc All Meals
From price based on triple share 2-day package.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 1,320
Book by June 30 2016 and get 10% off advertised price
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
This is the best Japan cat skiing! Departing from Niseko, the trip offers incredible snowcat accessed powder skiing & boarding, staying in a traditional coastal Japanese inn. Ride deep untracked powder all day, feast on Japanese cuisine and soak in the hotel's onsen in the evening.
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Chisenupuri Cat Skiing DETAILS
CAT SKIING NEAR NISEKO (1 day)
From price based on 1 day package per person.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 319
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Advanced
The cat skiing near Niseko is at the former ski resort of Chisenupuri and is ideal for those learning to ski or snowboard in powder. For any apprentice powder hound heading to Niseko, Chisenupuri cat skiing is a lust-do! Finish the cat ski day with a soak in an amazing onsen.
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Niseko Cat Skiing DETAILS
NISEKO CAT SKIING
Single day, guided inc lunch
From price based on per person with a minimum of 4 persons to operate. Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
Price p/p
USD 491
Ability: Advanced to Expert
A day of awesome guided cat skiing near Niseko in backcountry terrain with some steep lines, technical trees, and pillows and mushrooms. The snowcat skiing is ideal for those craving bottomless untracked powder runs.
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See all Cat Skiing tours that visit Niseko here