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

Niseko

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

Niseko is one of our Top 10 Japan Travel Destinations for 2020. Add these spots to your Japan bucket list for the ultimate travel itinerary.

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. Located on the northern island of Hokkaido, the region experiences more than 15m of annual average snowfall, blanketing 48 km of ski runs in heavenly powder snow.

The spectacular backdrop of Mount Yotei—Hokkaido’s own Mount Fuji—turns every pre-run selfie into a postcard.

The ski season in Niseko can last up to six months, providing ample opportunity for snow shredding.

Niseko ski resort in Hokkaido Japan

Gnarly.

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.

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 terrain. 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).

Moiwa ski area chairlifts.

Niseko has countless ski areas.

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.

Warm me up, baby

Take a dip in this piping hot outdoor bath at Hinanoyado Chitose.
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 many hotels and guesthouses speak English, so no worries about language barriers.

One thing that makes skiing in Japan special is the onsen (hot spring bath) culture. Sinking into a warm natural bath after a hard day on the mountains is a quintessential Japanese winter experience.

Niseko in other seasons

Moss phlox in Niseko Sapporo Japan

Colorful moss phlox blooms in Niseko from late May to mid-June.

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. In spring, from late May to mid-June, bright pink moss phlox covers the Mishima Shibazakura Garden.

The carpet of blooming flowers before Mount Yotei is free to the public, attracting flocks of Instagrammers trying to snap the perfect shot. A 15-minute stroll from Kutchan Station will take you there.

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Trivia

Take a dip in this piping hot outdoor bath at Hinanoyado Chitose.

Warm me up, baby

Winter and hot springs go together like miso and soup. Find out where to warm your bones with our list of Winter Hot Spring Destinations in Japan.

More

How To Get There

Address

Niseko, Abuta District, Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan

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
  • 8.7/10
  • 1.5 km
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Niseko Nikuyadoya
  • Tomikawa 176-4 Abuta-Gun Niseko-Cho, Hokkaido 048-1554
  • 9.8/10
  • 2.0 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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Petit Cottage Route 66 Niseko
  • Soga 247-7 Abuta-Gun Niseko-Cho, Hokkaido 048-1522
  • 9.4/10
  • 2.8 km
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