Sapporo Kokusai

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Sapporo Kokusai
Sapporo Kokusai
Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort
Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort
Groomed Run Skiing Sapporo Kokusai
Groomed Run Skiing Sapporo Kokusai
Sapporo Ski Resort - Sapporo Kokusai
Sapporo Ski Resort - Sapporo Kokusai
Sapporo Kokusai Terrain Park
Sapporo Kokusai Terrain Park
Sapporo Skiing Kokusai
Sapporo Skiing Kokusai
Ski Japan Powder - Sapporo Kokusai
Ski Japan Powder - Sapporo Kokusai
Sapporo Kokusai
Sapporo Kokusai
One of Two Gondolas
One of Two Gondolas
Family Friendly Japan Ski Resort
Family Friendly Japan Ski Resort
Sapporo Kokusai: Hokkaido Ski Resort
Sapporo Kokusai: Hokkaido Ski Resort
Sapporo Kokusai
Sapporo Kokusai
Sapporo Ski Resort - Fast Lifts
Sapporo Ski Resort - Fast Lifts
Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort Japan
Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort Japan
Sapporo Skiing Kokusai
Sapporo Skiing Kokusai
Hokkaido Skiing, Sapporo Kokusai
Hokkaido Skiing, Sapporo Kokusai
Sapporo Kokusai
Sapporo Kokusai
Sapporo Kokusai Sidecountry
Sapporo Kokusai Sidecountry
Sapporo Kokusai Base Facilities
Sapporo Kokusai Base Facilities
Sapporo Kokusai
Sapporo Kokusai

Sapporo Kokusai

Readers Ratings

Sapporo Kokusai

Sapporo Kokusai3.5/56
Sapporo Kokusai3.5 out of 5 based on 6 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    100%

Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort

At the Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort in Hokkaido Japan, it frequently pukes with snow. It snows more than at the famed Niseko, but Sapporo Kokusai doesn’t boast about its finest asset, nor measure it. Conversely Kiroro Resort which is right next door over markets its snowfall and claims an annual snowfall of 21 metres. Even in the absence of an official statistic, it’s known that Sapporo Kokusai is incredibly snowy.

Sapporo Kokusai is a non-destination resort (ie there is no lodging at the base) and you can day trip there from Sapporo, Otaru, Niseko or Rusutsu, or stay in the nearby village of Jozankei Onsen.

Despite “kokusai” translating to “international”, the ski resort is relatively unknown to international skiers and snowboarders, yet it’s not off the beaten track because it is incredibly popular with the locals from Sapporo and Otaru. The runs are often congested, but if you get away from the trails and the terrain park, intrepid powder hounds can usually sniff out plenty of powder.

Pros and Cons of Sapporo Kokusai

Pros 
  • Sapporo Kokusai is blessed with loads of snow. It’s one of the snowiest ski resorts in Japan and it has good elevation for a Hokkaido ski resort.
  • It has some good off-piste terrain, including some areas with plenty of pitch if you can read the terrain well.
  • The easily accessed backcountry offers divine turns.
  • Lift passes are reasonably priced.
  • The lifts and gondola cope better with strong winds than nearby Kiroro, where the gondola sometimes goes on wind hold.
  • Relative to other Sapporo ski areas, the terrain park is good for beginners to intermediates.
Cons
  • Unless you’re a complete beginner, you’ll get bored very quickly if you want to stay on-piste at the Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort.
  • Due to its proximity to Sapporo, the ski resort can get ridiculously busy, particularly on the weekends. The courses, equipment rental shop, and cafeteria can be jam packed. Thankfully in the off-piste and backcountry areas it is quieter.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • It sometimes gets smashed quickly with lift-access powder hunters, but if you work just a little for it, you should be riding fresh powder lines all day.

Sapporo Kokusai Ski and Snowboard Terrain

If you looked at the trail map, you wouldn’t think it was worth visiting the Sapporo Kokusai ski resort. On paper, Sapporo Kokusai is tiny with 4 lifts (a gondola, 2 quad chairs, and double chair), only 7 courses, and 470 metres of vertical (630 – 1,100m), so it’s not surprising that it feels busy when lots of locals cram onto the limited piste terrain.

Snow plough turners have a couple of trails that converge into one wide run. Intermediates might also experience déjà vu because there are only a few red runs. Sapporo Kokusai has only one black run, and if it weren’t for the moguls down the side of the run, it would be more aptly rated as an intermediate course because it’s so mellow.

Whilst the piste area is small, the off-piste areas feel unexpectedly large. There are lots of powder stashes in amongst the trees and various gullies to explore, and there is also a band of R-rated cliffs that most punters will want to avoid. It is officially prohibited to ski or board off-piste, but it is not policed so you won’t find any patrollers chasing you with a whistle.

Beyond the resort boundaries are some amazing backcountry options. There is minimal powder fossicking required to hit some great fall line skiing and boarding, although there are some zones where it’s easy to get gullied out. The terrain that is a fraction further afield may also require some route-finding nouse, so you may want to do a guided tour with experts at sniffing out the powder. The flat pinball track back to the resort that meanders around a creek is not well loved by some snowboarders.

Where is Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort?

Sapporo Kokusai is located on the western fringe of the city of Sapporo in Hokkaido:
  • Just east of Kiroro, but 40km away by road
  • 47km west of downtown Sapporo (about an hour drive depending on traffic)
  • 19km from Jozankei Onsen, a hot spring resort town - 25 minute drive
  • 23km southwest of Otaru (30 minute drive)
  • 68km northeast of Rusutsu (1:15 hour drive)
  • 82km northeast of Hirafu in Niseko (1.30 hour drive)
There are buses from Jozankei and downtown Sapporo to the ski area, but the bus can take as long as 1:40 hours from Sapporo and you won’t get there for first lifts.

Sapporo Kokusai Accommodation

Sapporo Kokusai doesn’t have a village at the base. The nearest accommodation is at Jozankei Onsen and one of the advantages of staying there is that you’re less likely to get caught up in Sapporo traffic. The other pro is that you can enjoy a lovely ryokan or onsen resort stay with fantastic food and hot spring experiences. You can search for a Jozankei hotel here.

The Jozankei Daiichi Hotel Suizantei is one of the stops for the Sapporo Kokusai bus route. We’ve stayed there for a special Japanese experience and really enjoyed the tatami rooms, onsen options, and the cuisine. There is also a bus stop near Hana Momiji in Jozankei Onsen.

Alternatively you could stay in an Asarigawa Onsen hotel, which is 10km away from the ski resort.

If you have a car, another option is to stay in the town of Otaru (24km away). The Otaru accommodation options tend to provide very good value for money.

Or stay in Sapporo and enjoy the buzz of this large Japanese city. There is an abundance of Sapporo hotels to choose from, but if you don’t have a car you may wish to stay at one of the hotels on the bus route to Sapporo Kokusai: Or stay at the OMO3 Sapporo Susukino. They run their own shuttle bus to Sapporo Kokusai. 

Facilities

Sapporo Kokusai has a menagerie of options when it comes to on-mountain eateries including Family Restaurant Rabbit, Cafeteria Squirrel, and Ramen Shop Owl. The main cafeteria at the base next to the gondola is huge and soulless and reasonable for an inexpensive feed, or you can get a really cheap feed at the convenience store. The little cute café at the top of the gondola has simple fare.

Ski or snowboard rental is available at Sapporo Kokusai, although it’s more expensive than what you’d find at Sapporo ski shops and the queues to get gear can be really long. They hire out large sized boots (up to 32cm – US size 14 mens) and skis up to 177cm in length.

Ski school mostly only caters to Japanese speaking guests, however you can generally reserve an English speaking instructor for a private lesson.

Other facilities include lockers, a convenience store, and a shop that sells ski and snowboard accessories and Kokusai souvenirs.

Family Activities

The base area has a snow play area serviced by a magic carpet where the kids can go sledding (or sledging as they like to call it in Japan!). The kids play area also has snow rafting rides and snowboards with handles so that the little ones can learn to go snowboarding.
Tours That May Include Kokusai

Safari (Road Trip) Tours

Hokkaido Storm Chaser
GUIDED STORM CHASING SAFARI
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.
Price p/p Displayed price may cary slightly due to exchange rates fluctuations
Base/invoice currency is JPY
Price includes 13% tax.
Base/invoice currency is JPY
Price includes 13% tax.
USD 2,765
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Hokkaido Backcountry Powder Quest
GUIDED BACKCOUNTRY TOUR
7 Nights | 8 Days
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Jump on the Hokkaido Backcountry Powder Quest tour & experience the magical powder wonderland Hokkaido is famous for along with its rich culture & incredible cuisine. Join as a solo, couple or small group; max 6 guests per tour & guaranteed departures.
Price p/p Price per person, based on 2024 group tour
USD 4,299
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Hokkaido Safari
GUIDED POWDER PROGRESSION ROAD TRIP
12 Days | Up to 11 Days Guided Skiing/Riding
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Explore multiple Hokkaido ski areas on this amazing powder progression adventure for advanced to expert skiers & boarders. Locations include the Otaru/Sapporo & Furano ski areas. Groups of up to 4 guests are guided by 1 guide. From price is based on twin share in deluxe western-style room.
Price p/p From price based on double-share room staying at La Vista Furano Hotel & Dormy Inn Premium Otaru; 4 on tour for 2024 season.
Base/invoice currency is in USD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 4,335
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See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Sapporo Kokusai here

Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours

Otaru & Niseko Powder Chaser
HOSTED POWDER CHASING TOUR
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 5 spots!
Price p/p Price is per person based on a group of 2-5.
Base currency is Japanese Yen/invoice currency is AUD
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 1,980
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Niseko Guiding
GUIDING IN/FROM NISEKO or OTARU
For PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY of up to 6 guests
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
If you are in Niseko or Otaru with a group, a day or multiple days of guiding at Niseko or nearby ski areas will make sure you get to the powder stashes (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 per day for PRIVATE group of 6 in peak season. Full price is 110,000 yen for group in peak season.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 121
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BDT Lift Assisted Backcountry Tours
LIFT ASSISTED BACKOUNTRY TOURS
Niseko Area | PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Join Black Diamond Tours for a day or more 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) for 23/24 season inclusive of tax.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 145
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See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Sapporo Kokusai here

Backcountry Skiing Tours

Backcountry Touring Day Trips
GUIDED BACKCOUNTRY DAY TOURS
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 in shoulder season.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 117
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Hidden Hokkaido
INTRO TO POWDER/PROGRESSION
9 Days | 8 Nights
Ability: Advanced
Ideal for advanced skiers & riders as an intro to powder or powder progression. Head to the best of the Hokkaido ski resorts from the bases of Niseko & Furano & get guided to the best lift-accessed powder stashes.
Price p/p
USD 3,696
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High Earnings
BACKCOUNTRY POWDER CHASING
8 Nights | 7 Guided Days
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!
Price p/p From price based on twin/triple-share 2023-24 season.
Price per person for a group of 5 with 1 guide for 9 day package. Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 2,435
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See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Sapporo Kokusai here
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