Niseko Ski Resort Japan

Hirafu Niseko Japan
The famous Niseko snow
Niseko Hirafu offers night skiing every night of the week
The Hanazono Niseko base area has developed substantially in recent times
There are many Japanese Onsens (hot-springs/bathhouses) around Niseko
You can buy virtually any ski / snowboard gear in Niseko
There are several cat skiing options around the Niseko area
Niseko has some quirky bars like Bar Gya AKA the fridge door bar
The international food vans in Niseko Hirafu provide a cheap eats option
The new day restaurant facility at Hanazono base area
Niseko has great facilities for kids & beginners
There are several different companies offering lessons in Niseko
You will find virtually every type of cuisine in Niseko; including Japanese!
You will find Japan's only heli skiing operation in the Niseko area
Niseko Village is another substantial and growing base area with its own night skiing area
Niseko Village (next to the Hilton) has some great restaurants & retail stores
Niseko is one of the most family friendly (for foreigners) ski resorts in Japan
Niseko Hirafu has a vibrant nightlife all accessible by foot
Snowmobiling is just one of many activities on offer in Niseko
Niseko is the destination in Japan for those that want to party and ski/ride!

Niseko Ski Resort Japan

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Niseko4 out of 5 based on 55 reviews
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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 sometimes it seems to constantly snow, and the deep, deep powder is way too enticing. Niseko the snow factory is one big powder playground!

Pros and Cons of Niseko

  • What sets Niseko apart from other Japanese ski resorts is the fabulous powder that falls in abundance (15-18 metres per season on average).
  • The Niseko Ski Resort is a large ski area and off-piste and sidecountry riding is permitted, so there’s plenty of terrain variety.
  • Niseko Japan 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 in Hirafu, the range of activities on offer, good shopping, the many restaurants, and a very colourful nightlife.
  • It is one of only a handful of Japanese ski resorts that offer a range of accommodation options, including hotels, apartments, houses and backpackers. 
  • There are various Niseko cat skiing options as well as a Niseko heli skiing outfit.
  • Niseko Japan is definitely no longer a hidden gem. The ski area is often very crowded (especially over Xmas, during January and Chinese New Year) 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 usually never far away.
  • The lift infrastructure is rather average for a “world class” ski resort, which is surprising considering the number of lift tickets they sell.
  • Proportionally there isn’t that much ski-in ski-out accommodation. 
  • Niseko accommodation is very expensive, although most of it is of very high quality. Relative to most other Japanese ski resorts, also expect to pay much more for lift tickets, food, ski school and other services.
Pro or Con Depending on Your Perspective
  • There’s is still a little bit of Japanese culture apparent, but the Hirafu Village in particular is very international. This comes with advantages such as the abundance of apartment accommodation and the amount of English that is spoken (including ski school and in 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 is on the Ikon Pass and the Mountain Collective Pass, providing a limited number of days of included riding. This has made the already busy Niseko even busier.

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 Ski Resort is suited to skiers and boarders of all ability levels. There are a large variety of groomed runs that are ideal for 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 thankfully Niseko is equipped with various gondolas and hooded chairs.

Niseko is the largest ski resort in Japan (along with Shiga Kogen) 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 via the sidecountry, 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 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 listings

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 that close 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 Japan ski resorts. 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, Hanazono or Moiwa.

Niseko Ski Tours - Day Trips

When 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!

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 international tourists. 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 contributed to it being not as cheap or unique as other Japanese ski resorts. It has become somewhat Australianised, Chinese-ised and westernised, but there is still a small amount of Japanese culture and food to make it a culturally interesting ski holiday destination.
Tours In/Near Niseko

Safari (Road Trip) Tours

Hokkaido Storm Chaser
7 Days | 6 Nights | 6 Ski Areas
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Chase the storms and access the deepest and best quality snow conditions on the day in the Otaru area and Central Hokkaido's world famous deep dry powder. Share
Price p/p Base/invoice currency is in yen not including 8% consumption tax for 2021 season.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 2,914
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 Early bird special: 10% off listed prices until Aug 31
Southwest Solutions
7 Nights | 4 Guided Ski Days
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
This CUSTOMISABLE guided tour for your group can be based in or around the NISEKO area and is designed to CHASE THE BEST POWDER each day at NISEKO, RUSUTSU, KIRORO & MOIWA. The tour finishes with a couple of days chasing powder around Sapporo (TEINE & KOKUSAI).
Price p/p From price based on twin/triple-share based on group of 5 or 6 with 1 guide (per person).
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 1,777
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Hokkaido Unplugged
9 Nights | 8 Days Guiding
Ability: Advanced to Expert
So you have had a taste of Japan powder and you are now ready to get away from the crowds and find the best of Hokkaido. This tour visits some epic Hokkaido backcountry areas.This is a touring focused trip where you will be skinning for all guided days & likely to include some secret road side touring.
Price p/p From price based on twin/double-share option for 2019-20 season for group tour.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 2,999
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See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Niseko here

Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours

Niseko Freeride Tour
8 Days | 7 Nights | 6 Days Riding
Ability: Intermediate to Advanced
This snowboarding tour takes in what many would argue are the best ski areas in Japan with a choice of up to 11 ski areas in the Niseko region. Home base is a nice hotel in Niseko so you have access to Niseko's vibrant nightlife. Have a guide to take you to the best powder stashes at each location.
Price p/p From price based on twin/double-share option.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 1,800
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Niseko Guided Day Tours
For PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY of up to 6 guests
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).
Price p/p From price based on a PER PERSON rate for PRIVATE group of 6 in peak season. Full price is 78,000 yen for group.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 122
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Otaru & Niseko Powder Chaser
7 Nights | 6 Days Chasing Powder
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
If you are on a budget but still want to ride all of the best spots around Niseko & Otaru then this package/tour is for you! Join as a solo traveller or small group or book the entire 7 spots!
Price p/p Price based on a bed in a shared room.
Base/invoice currency is Japanese Yen
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 1,692
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See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Niseko here

Ski & Snowboard Camp Tours

Niseko Beginners Camps
3 Nights, 4-Days | Niseko Japan
Ability: Beginner
Whether you are an absolute first-time skier or snowboarder or a beginner looking to improve your skills this is a great value all inclusive package. Experience Japan, meet new friends and learn to ski or snowboard at the same time!
Price p/p From price based on 3-Night/4-day camp; per person.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 865
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Ultimate Early Season Camps
8 nights | 7 days | Cat Skiing, Avi Training
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Beat the high season rates and crowds and get Japow earlier than the punters. Based in Niseko, you'll visit 4 ski resorts for lift accessed sidecountry, enjoy a day of cat skiing at Chisenupuri, receive 2 days of avalanche awareness training & get an intro to backcountry touring.
Price p/p From price based on twin/double-share, 9-day package for 2018-19 season.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 1,965
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See all Ski & Snowboard Camp tours that visit Niseko here

Backcountry Skiing Tours

BDT Lift Assisted Backcountry Tours
Niseko Area | PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY | Min 2 Days
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Join Black Diamond Tours for 1 day 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, Teine & Kokusai. Primarily lift accessed so minimal hiking.
Price p/p From price based on 1 day tour per person - 5 people in private group (lift tickets not included).
Base/invoice currency is in JPY ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 141
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Backcountry Touring Day Trips
Niseko & Surrounding Areas | Private Groups Only
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 - 7 is also possible with a tail guide).
Price p/p From price based on PER PERSON for a PRIVATE GROUP of 5 guests.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 141
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BDT Guided BC Day Tours
Niseko Area | Shiribetsu & Yotei | Min 2 Days
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Join Black Diamond Tours on an epic day (or days) of guided backcountry skiing or riding near Niseko. Ideal for private groups (or waiting list for group tours). Areas include Niseko backcountry areas, Shiribetsu, lower Mt Yotei or Yotei summit (weather pending).
Price p/p From price based on 1 day of guided backcountry skiing/riding per person (5 guests in your group e.g. 75,000 yen total).
Base/invoice currency is in JPY ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 141
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See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Niseko here

Heli Skiing Tours

Shiribetsu-Dake Day Heliskiing
Includes Niseko pickup & lunch
Ability: Advanced to Expert
At last, a Niseko heli skiing operation! Make this one of the best days of your life skiing Hokkaido's deep dry powder on a dormant volcano (adjacent to Rusutsu and not far from Niseko).
Price p/p From price based on 6-run heli ski day 2019-20 rates.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 1,504
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See all Heli Skiing tours that visit Niseko here

Cat Skiing Tours

Iwanai Cat Skiing Day Package
8 - 10 Runs (Approx 4,600m vertical/day)
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Iwanai Cat Skiing serves up powder runs of 325-650m of vertical bliss, with 8 to 10 runs for the day. Located near Niseko, the Iwanai Resort snowcat skiing terrain scores masses of snowfall. Ideal for strong intermediate & advanced riders.
Price p/p Price is per person per day for shoulder season
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese Yen
Displayed price may vary slightly due to exchange rate fluctuations. Price includes 8% sales tax
USD 658
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Shimamaki Snowcat Packages
Stay in Traditional Japanese Inn Inc All Meals
Ability: Advanced 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.
Price p/p Display price is based on 2 days + 2 nights per person for 2020 season (regular season)
Base/invoice currency is Japanese Yen
*Display price may vary slightly due to exchange rate fluctuations
USD 1,650
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Chisenupuri Cat Skiing
Single Day, Pick Up & Return Niseko
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Advanced
Unguided cat skiing near Niseko is at the former ski resort of Chisenupuri. You have the freedom to explore and it is ideal for apprentice powder hounds or advanced riders heading to Niseko. Chisenupuri cat skiing is a lust-do! Finish the cat ski day with a soak in an amazing onsen.
Price p/p Price is per person per day
Base/invoice currency is Japanese Yen
*display price may vary slightly due to exchange rate fluctuations
USD 517
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See all Cat Skiing tours that visit Niseko here