Niseko is one of the most sought after ski resorts in the world at the moment and word is spreading fast about the powder here.
If you’re like me and you’re from Europe, you may not be familiar with this powder haven located on the North Island of Japan because we are lucky enough to have mountains like the Swiss and French alps on our doorstep. But should you be an avid lover of winter sports and should you be seeking a new, exciting location to shred through… I highly recommend that you consider Niseko Japan as your next adventure.
Most, when you mention Niseko, will comment on the number of Australian and Chinese tourists that fill the streets of this winter wonderland. Why? Niseko is the one of the best and closest resorts for both countries with direct flights going out of Australia to Sapporo daily.
Niseko is one of the ski destinations for me that stands out far above the rest, mainly because of the ridiculous amount of fresh snow that falls daily but also because ‘getting cosy with ramen and your friends’ after a day on the slopes is one of the most soul warming feelings out there.
One thing pretty much guaranteed in Niseko Japan is powder. So if you’re looking for a snow heavy spot filled with good food, epic off-piste adventure and minimal but elegant apres ski activity – Niseko is for you. What are you waiting for?
The closest airport to Niseko is Sapporo International Airport which is accessible from London on a direct flight to Tokyo and a short connecting internal flight (1.5 hours) up to the North Island.
I flew with British Airways to Tokyo and connected up to Sapporo with Peach Airline.
Check flights on SkyScanner here.
From Sapporo airport, Niseko is around 90km in distance and should you drive, it’s a 1hr 45- 2hr30 drive, depending on the snow and road conditions of course. If you’re considering the best way to get to the resort, you have a few options:
This is what we did from Nikku car hire.
As with most ski resorts, prices aren’t cheap. Niseko isn’t much different and should you be heading out for lots of group dinners, sake toasting and adventures, spending can very easily add up.
Ways to save money:
I’ve visited and adventured through Niseko on two separate occasions now. The first time I stayed at The Landmark Hotel and the second time, just recently, I was lucky enough to stay at my friends house right in the centre of Grand Hirafu.
One thing to note about Niseko is that it’s a small resort. The demand is high and the supply of accommodation is low in comparison. This means, particularly at peak times (Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year) prices can soar very high and often accommodation will be completely full.
Top tip: Book as soon as you can!
During our stay in Niseko, we were invited to stay at the brand new Andaru Collection resort – 6 stunning, two storey villas in the snow. It was the most magical experience jsut outside of the madness of Niseko Hirafu. Should you be looking for a unique and once in a lifetime experience here in Niseko – this is your spot.
Book here, see photos to the right.
Okay down to business. First up you’re going to need your gear.
See my guide to packing for a skiing trip here.
Bringing your gear with you will save the cost of hiring it once you’re there. If you need to rent gear, skiwear or make any purchases, the main place to go (and where I went) is the Australian born chain – Rhythm. They have two locations in Niseko.
Top tip: They have Allpress coffee in Rhythm. If you know, you know. Worth a visit alone.
Niseko United consists of the 4 main ski resorts in Niseko on top of Mt An’nupuri (1,308m) (you can buy an all mountain pass to cover these). These include: Niseko Hanazono Ski Resort, Niseko Grand Hirafu Ski Resort, Niseko Village Ski Resort and Niseko Annupuri Ski Resort.
Niseko Grand Hirafu is the main resort (largest) of the four and is where I spent most of my time.
For beginners, Annupuri Ski Resort is known to be the most groomed and kindest in gradient to get your skills locked down in.
Note: Restaurants in Niseko are small and hold very small capacity. Most places have a waiting ticket system. Expect to wait!
The slopes are open until 8pm! Take advantage.
This is one of the only unisex hot springs in Hokkaido. Cost: 90o yen per person for a beautiful indoor and outdoor hot springs experience.
What were your favourite spots? I’d love to know!?
Love as always and happy adventuring,
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