Niseko Ski Holidays

Japan Holidays

Expert Opinion Our Expert
Andrea Selig

"Amazing views of Mt Yotei from here when it stops snowing! Good off-piste and nice trees. I preferred staying in Niseko Village, but Hirafu is where the action is."

Resort Info

  • Resort Scorecard
  • Beginners: 6/10
  • Intermediates: 8/10
  • Advanced: 9/10
  • Families: 5/10
  • Nightlife: 8/10
  • Village Charm: 5/10
  • Affordability: 6/10
  • Non Ski Activities: 3/10
  • Sustainability: N/A

Season: December - April

Nearest Airport: Chitose

Transfer Time: 2½ hours

Transport: Transfer

Elevation: 1,200 ft

Vertical Drop: 920 ft

Ski Area: 644 ski acres

Ski Lifts: 50

Runs: 61

Grade: 30% advanced
43% intermediates
27% beginners

Why Niseko?

Four interlinked ski areas (Hirafu, Niseko Village, Annupuri and Hanazono) combine to create Niseko, Japan’s largest and best known resort which also boasts an average of 14m of snowfall per season. Although each of these areas are individually owned, the lift pass will cover skiing across all four resorts and there is also a complimentary shuttle bus connecting them. Each base offers a different taste of Niseko – whether you want to be in the centre of the action, ski-in ski-out or experience the best onsens (hot springs).

The Skiing

Niseko has unquestionably become Japan’s premier ski resort but the skiing conditions and quality will always remain the biggest attraction. There is a wide choice of groomed runs for every level of skier and rider looking for a cruisey time. The night skiing runs until 9pm every night watching the sun set over Mt Yotei, Hokkaido’s version of Mt Fuji, is a pretty incredible experience.

For powder-skiing, it doesn’t really get much better than Niseko. The quality and quantity of snow is unparalleled. We highly recommend making the most of the conditions and booking an instructor or guide to show you where to find the best pockets of snow. The powder skiing within the resort boundaries is exceptional with plenty of tree skiing and the top lifts give access to huge un-groomed bowls. The famous Niseko gates provide access to further terrain but care must be taken when entering these areas. You will need to have the correct avalanche equipment and taking a guide is advised.

Off the Slopes

Eating and drinking is a big part of any ski holiday and this is certainly something to be enjoyed in Niseko with a huge selection of restaurants and bars, most of which are concentrated in Hirafu.

One of the best ways to relax off the slopes is to visit one of the many onsen, of which there are plenty in Hirafu or located within the hotels. This is a quintessential experience of skiing in Japan, and leaves you feeling extremely relaxed. No need to be shy, as all onsen are split into men’s and women’s baths.

Both Niseko Village and Hanazono offer snowmobiling tours and Niseko Village has further activities such as cross country skiing, snow-shoeing and snow rafting.

Accommodation

Hirafu is the main base area with the largest selection of accommodation (primarily self-catering apartments), restaurants and shops centred around the Hirafu Junction. If you want to be located central to the action and nightlife, Hirafu is the place to stay.

Niseko Village is approximately a 15 minute drive from Hirafu and is home to the Green Leaf Hotel and Hilton – both beautiful ski-in ski-out hotels with in-house hot springs, restaurants and bars to entertain in the evenings.

Annupuri and Hanazono are the quietest areas furthest from Hirafu. Hanazono has a brilliant North American style base lodge worth checking out with ski school, rentals, a cafeteria and bar.

More skiing?

There are a number of smaller local resorts that can be reached for day trips organised locally – worth considering if you are looking for some serious back-country skiing. Alternatively why not combine Niseko with our other Hokkaido ski resorts, Rusutsu and Furano, on the Hokkaido Safari. This is a fantastic opportunity to experience the best that this island has to offer and we can build itineraries to suit your particular requirements.

Hokkaido Safari Combine Niseko with Rusutsu and Furano plus Japan's iconic cities in the Hokkaido Safari.

Ultimate Japan Safari Combine the best of Japan's resorts and cities in the Ultimate Japan Safari