Niseko3.5 out of 5 based on 23 reviews
  • Recommend
    87%
  • Would Revisit
    78%
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Niseko Japan: Some of the Best Powder in the World
Niseko Japan: Some of the Best Powder in the World
Niseko Ski Resort - Family Friendly
Niseko Ski Resort - Family Friendly
There are many natural hot springs (onsens) in Niseko
There are many natural hot springs (onsens) in Niseko
Ski Japan Niseko - Mt Yotei in the Background
Ski Japan Niseko - Mt Yotei in the Background
Niseko Nightlife: a Good Selection of Bars
Niseko Nightlife: a Good Selection of Bars
The Niseko Ice Bar covered in lots of snow!
The Niseko Ice Bar covered in lots of snow!
Niseko Restaurants: a Good Variety of Dining Options
Niseko Restaurants: a Good Variety of Dining Options
The Vale Niseko: Luxury Ski-in Ski-out Hotel
The Vale Niseko: Luxury Ski-in Ski-out Hotel
Various Budget Niseko Accommodation Options
Various Budget Niseko Accommodation Options
And did we mention the Niseko snow!
And did we mention the Niseko snow!
Niseko Activities: Plenty of Tours and Things to Do
Niseko Activities: Plenty of Tours and Things to Do
Niseko skiing at night is probably the best in the world!
Niseko skiing at night is probably the best in the world!
And you can ski Niseko powder 12 hours a day!
And you can ski Niseko powder 12 hours a day!
There are a good number of Niseko ski shops & snowboard stores
There are a good number of Niseko ski shops & snowboard stores
Sidecountry Tour With Black Diamond Tours
Sidecountry Tour With Black Diamond Tours
Besides the actual ski resort there are nearby opportunities for powder hounds
Besides the actual ski resort there are nearby opportunities for powder hounds
Niseko cat skiing is an awesome way to get fresh tracks
Niseko cat skiing is an awesome way to get fresh tracks
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. You can ride in comfort even on nasty weather days.

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 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 here (if you just need to book transport) or you can organise a shuttle as part of a Niseko ski package.

Niseko Accommodation

There is a huge range of Niseko accommodation options including traditional Japanese pensions, hotels, lodges, and lots of apartments. 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 Niseko accommodation, check availability, and make a booking enquiry directly with the accommodation provider using the search box above.

Of if you're looking for more than just accommodation, you can build your own package (accommodation plus options of transfers, lift passes, equipment rentals and lessons) by clicking hereNB If you are looking to stay in Niseko between Xmas and early January, there is negligible accommodation left as part of a Niseko ski package. Your best bet would be to use the search box above where you look at rates and availability.

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.

Niseko 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 Activities

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 Niseko side-country tour, or earn your turns at one of the many backcountry areas 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 cat skiing is another option. And now there’s even Niseko heli skiing!

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 at Niseko 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 accommodations and restaurants, signage around the resort is in both English and Japanese, and most restaurants have English menus.

The international popularity of Niseko has lead to it being not as cheap or unique as other Japanese ski resorts. Niseko has become somewhat Australianised and westernised, but there is still enough Japanese culture and food to make Niseko 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).
  • Niseko is a large resort 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 and kids’ group ski lessons are available from English speaking staff.
  • Other huge advantages of Niseko include the great village vibe, the range of activities on offer, good shopping, the many restaurants, and a very colourful nightlife.
  • Niseko 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 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! 

Tours That Include Niseko

Hosted & Guided Off-Piste Ski & Snowboard Safaris



Hokkaido Volcanoes Backcountry Tours
Niseko Ski Package
Niseko Road Trip
Japan Ski Tour

Guided Ski & Snowboard Progression Tours Click here for tour details