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Region
Hokkaido
Island
Hokkaido
Largest City
Sapporo
Population
5,682,950

Niseko

World-class powder at Japan's most famous ski resort.

Niseko has gained international recognition over the last decade as one of the best winter resorts in the world, attracting large crowds of skiers and snowboarders throughout its long ski season, which can last up to six months. Located on the northern island of Hokkaido, the region experiences more than 15m of annual average snowfall, blanketing 48 km of ski runs in a perfect light powder snow. The spectacular backdrop of Mount Yotei – Hokkaido’s own Mount Fuji  – turns every pre-run selfie into a postcard, one for showing off later among the city’s buzzing dining and nightlife scene.

The spectacular backdrop of Mount Yotei turns every pre-run selfie into a postcard, one for showing off later among the city’s buzzing dining and nightlife scene.

Four interconnected resorts meet at the top of Mount Niseko Annupuri and you can easily ski between them via groomed runs, or off-piste and back-country through the glades. There are 38 lifts in total, covering the whole way around the mountain, and they can all be accessed with the Niseko All Mountain Pass (around 6,900 yen). Alternatively you can buy passes for each separate area. Discounts start to become available later on during the season in March and April, when the crowds start to disappear and accommodation is cheaper to find.

Leading the way for Japanese apres-ski culture, Niseko has plenty of local and international restaurants, bars, clubs and karaoke to suit a majority Aussie clientele. Convenience stores stock foreign goods, and hotels and guesthouses speak English. One thing that makes skiing, and winter, in Japan special is the culture of onsen (hot spring baths). After a hard day on the mountain it’s all about sinking into a giant natural bath with your friends.

Niseko is also making efforts to become a year-round tourist destination, offering up outdoor activities like hiking and rafting, as well as more genteel options such as golf during the summer.

How To Get There

By train

To reach Niseko, the best stations are Hirafu and Kutchan stations, not JR Niseko which is small and far from the main resort. Direct trains run from Sapporo, or may require a transfer at Otaru, and there are shuttle buses to the slopes which become much more frequent during the winter.

By bus

During the ski season, the quality of the region’s bus travel is ramped up with direct routes from Sapporo and New Chitose Airport transporting tourists straight to the resort. Packages including bus and lift passes are plentiful.

By car

Rental cars are available but you’ll have to be a fairly confident driver to navigate Niseko’s winding roads, especially during the winter.

Where To Stay

Niseko Shirokuma Cottage
  • Satomi 86 Abuta-Gun Niseko-Cho, Hokkaido 048-1551
  • 8.8/10
  • 1.5 km
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Hotel Resort Inn Niseko
  • Satomi 151-2 Abuta-Gun Niseko-Cho, Hokkaido 048-1551
  • 9.5/10
  • 2.2 km
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Resort House Niseko First
  • Satomi 151-2 Abuta-Gun Niseko-Cho, Hokkaido 048-1551
  • 7.9/10
  • 2.2 km
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Niseko OAC Lodge
  • Soga 859-5 Abuta-Gun Niseko-Cho, Hokkaido 048-1522
  • 8.7/10
  • 3.3 km
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