Niseko

Closed
Niseko
Jack Lee
SnowPak Local Insider
Jack Lee

Pros

  • Endless dry and light japow to enjoy
  • Large ski area connecting four different resorts and diverse terrain to suit everyone
  • Backcountry gate means its easy to access off-piste terrain
  • Incredible night skiing available
  • Great for first timers to Japan: easily accessible, fantastic shopping, vibrant nightlife, and English is widely spoken

Cons

  • It's pretty popular so freshies gets tracked out quickly
  • Expensive place to ski compared to other Japanese resorts
  • Crowds can be an issue, especially during the holidays
  • Not the most authentic Japanese ski experience with flocks of westerners visiting

Overall

4.3

Japow! Welcome to one of the snowiest ski resorts on the planet and the most popular powder haven in the Land of the Rising Sun. If you absolutely, positively, have to get up to your eyeballs in the white stuff, there are few others places that give you better odds than Niseko. Japan’s premier winter wonderland has quite rightly earned a reputation as an essential destination for any self-respecting powder hound, with an average annual snowfall of over 80 days and record snow depths of more than 13 ft!

17/18 Historical Snowfall

Best month to go

Late December to mid-February

The first lifts turn on as early as the end of November and the last one doesn’t shut off until the beginning of May, but Niseko’s peak season sits firmly between late December to mid-February. If you’re here then, expect three or four powder days a week! There is a slight downside to all that snow, namely being that visibility can be particularly poor, but we’re happy with the compromise. If you’d prefer a few bluebird days then visiting at the start of March is a good call and a good time to pickup a great deal. If there is any time to avoid going to Niseko, it’s around Christmas and Chinese New Year, prices are hiked up and the slopes get packed.
Airplane

FLY TO

New Chitose Airport

Car

DRIVE / SHUTTLE TO

Niseko (2-3 hours)

Hirafu (Walk)

  • Majority of hotels, dining and nightlife
  • Wide range of lodging
  • Great for groups

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Niseko Village (Walk)

  • Easy to get around compact ski village
  • Has the best ski facilities for kids in Niseko
  • Great for families

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Annapuri (Walk)

  • Quiet and peaceful ski village
  • Limited dining and nightlife
  • Less accommodation options

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Hanazono (Walk)

  • Limited accommodation options
  • Quiet place to stay
  • Limited dining and nightlife

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For beginners

Niseko has many options available for beginners. For the most beginner-friendly slopes test out Paradise and Family at Annupuri where the terrain is wide, gentle and the longest for beginners in Niseko.

More beginners tips

For intermediates

Intermediates will be spoilt for choice at Niseko. Namara in Niseko Village is wide, straight and long run, great for perfecting turns and switching edges on your board. Another top pick of ours would have to be Youtei Sunset in Hanazono, a 3,900 ft slope that is nice and high and away from the crowds found on the main runs on Hirafu.

More intermediates tips

For experts

The off-piste experience is what Niseko is known for, with almost all runs accompanied by amazing sidecountry. The Strawberry Fields in Hanazono is our pick of the lot with perfectly spaced trees and the perfect gradient!The backcountry off Gate 9 is also unreal. Think face shots, deep untouched powder, tree runs, and stunning scenery. Just watch out for the waterfall!

More experts tips

Find freshies

You'll find plenty of great pow anywhere outside of the boundaries but some of the best can be found off Gate 8 and beyond!

Ditch the crowds

The Hirafu ski area is the most busiest, so head up high and get yourself on Youtei Sunset, a long slope that hardly ever sees the masses. Otherwise, opt for the quieter slopes of Annupuri. 

Non skiers

Niseko has tons of activities and attractions to keep non-skiers happy. They can go snow rafting and tubing, soak in the many onsens (hot springs) or visit the Snow Festival during February.

Families

Niseko is a magical wonderland with things to do for the whole family including tubing, restaraunts and the Sapporo Snow Festival which is held every February. The resort also has plently of childcare and baby sitting services if you want some time for yourself.

Niseko vs
NisekoAkakura Kanko
beginner38 %40 %
intermediate32 %30 %
advanced30 %30 %
expert--
total runs81 10
ski area--
summit elevation3,937ft 4,921ft
total lifts31 7
child lift ticketFree ¥3,000 JPY ($27 USD)
adult lift ticket¥7,400 JPY ($67 USD) ¥4,300 JPY ($39 USD)
uncrowded
snow
back country
value for money
average total snowfall416″ -

Niseko Reviews

Fabulous

4.4 / 5

based on 70 reviews

How well the resort caters for beginner skiers / boarders

Beginners

How well the resort caters for intermediate skiers / boarders?

Intermediates

How well the resort caters for advanced skiers / boarders

Advanced

How accessible and convenient it is to get to this resort from a major destination

Accessibility

Quality of the off-piste terrain

Side/Backcountry

Overall value for money of the resort

Value for money

Quality of lifts, lift speed and lift layout in the resort

Lifts

Quantity and quality of the snow

Snow

How uncrowded is the resort

Uncrowded

Après ski and dining options

Town

Services and facilities e.g. child care, tubing, health care, equipment hire

Facilities

How family friendly is this resort?

Family Friendliness
Have your say on Niseko
Fabulous!

4.5 / 5

May 01, 2018
Gaz G. Gaz G.
advanced snowboarder
Niseko is amazing and you should believe all the hype. It's not crazy steep or super technical but the snow is amazing and the Nightlife is great. The downsides are It's quite expensive in town and can be crowded.... More
Very Good!

4 / 5

Apr 30, 2018
Bryan T. Bryan T.
advanced skier
Niseko is a great town with plenty of snow. Not to pricey too with a great party town. Favourite run is strawberry fields for those who like some powder through the trees... More
Superb!

4.6 / 5

Apr 30, 2018
Andrew A. Andrew A.
expert skier
Amazing snow, very deep light powder, fantastic variety of off piste for all abilities Towns lack character and charm Good access to mountain amazing access to backcountry Lack of good budget accommodation, all accommodation bis pricey... More
Superb!

4.9 / 5

Dec 29, 2017
JDJessie D.
intermediate snowboarder
I have never experienced such amazingly dry powery snow before in my life! You could literally walk down the street in your jeans get covered in snow, dust it off and still be dry. It is unbelievable. The people working on the mountain are so lovely and helpful. The hotels are incredible and most ski in ski out if not only a short walk to a lift.... More
Fabulous!

4.5 / 5

Dec 29, 2017
JSJessi S.
advanced snowboarder
Niseko is one of the best ski resorts Japan has to offer. I have friends who have visited the resort and said Niseko is perfect for families or single riders. Being in Japan, Niseko is a world class resort.... More
Superb!

4.9 / 5

Dec 25, 2017
RSRoss S.
advanced snowboarder
Wicked place hands down. The locals are friendly and there are plenty of options to choose for food. Now the best part is the snow!!!! 25 cm's a night!! Or 10 inches for our north american friends. Be prepared for POW. There are plenty of runs all different skill levels be prepared for morning fresh tracks as its heaven. Pick from four different... More
Very Good!

4.1 / 5

Dec 23, 2017
ABAlex B.
advanced snowboarder
Amazing Resort to go to. The amount of Powder Snow is unparalleled and something I have never experienced anywhere else (Mainly been Snowboarding in Chamonix, France and different Resorts in Switzerland). Niseko is separated into different resorts. Annupuri is an area more suited for Beginners/Intermediate Riders. Niseko Village is more of an... More
Fabulous!

4.4 / 5

Dec 23, 2017
KRKen R.
advanced skier
We were based in Annapuri, the far left village when looking at the Niseko trail map. The snow conditions had us giggling like a child on a xmas morn. The terrain was more than ample to keep us amused for 8 days. If you wanted a change, just track left over the mountain and visa versa and drop down into the next village over. Our accomadation was... More
Fabulous!

4.4 / 5

Dec 18, 2017
JPJon P.
advanced snowboarder
Staying in Hirafu gave us excellent access to all ski areas at Niseko. A short walk to the beginner lift quickly got us to a detachable chair lift to ride the more challenging terrain and explore the powder stashes around the mountain. The Nightlife includes an abundance of bars and restaurants although the area's popularity makes these a bit... More
Average!

2.8 / 5

Dec 17, 2017
DEDean E.
expert skier
So much snowfall that poor visibility is the norm. Snow quality feels brilliant, just can't see it. In those odd moments when the sun comes through it is truly spectacular. Services and facilities are generally poor and spread out over tens of kilometres, having a car would minimise this problem. Accom is adsurdly expensive for minimal quality,... More
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