Season start/end: 12/01/2017 - 05/06/2018 (estimated)

Welcome to Niseko

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!

The good

  • 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

The bad

  • 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
Niseko vs
NisekoAkakura Kanko
beginner38 %40 %
intermediate32 %30 %
advanced30 %30 %
total runs81 10
ski area--
summit elevation3,937 ft 4,921 ft
total lifts31 7
child lift ticketFree ¥3,000 JPY ($28 USD)
adult lift ticket¥7,400 JPY ($70 USD) ¥4,300 JPY ($41 USD)

How to get to Niseko?



New Chitose Airport



Niseko (2-3 hours)

Things to know

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

Best tips

Find freshies Map find

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 Ditch crowd

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 Non ski

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 Family

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.

Where to stay

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
Find lodges around here

Apres ski

Casual Casual
  • Bar Gyu+
  • Will Bill's
Dance the night away Dance the night away
  • Edge Bar


Ski rental Ski rental
Lessons Lessons
Childcare Childcare
Banking Banking
Supermarket Supermarket
Health Health


How well the resort caters for beginner skiers / boarders


How well the resort caters for intermediate skiers / boarders?


How well the resort caters for advanced skiers / boarders


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


Quality of the off-piste terrain


Overall value for money of the resort

Value for money

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


Quantity and quality of the snow


How uncrowded is the resort


Après ski and dining options


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


How family friendly is this resort?

Family Friendliness
BFBrian F.
expert snowboarder

4.9 / 5

Dec 15, 2017
Niseko is great. Any traveler outside of Japan that wants to experience world renown powder, but is afraid of the language barrier...Niskeo is the place to go. You can ride unlimited powder all day with day-after-day freshies and still have great-ski apres-ski lifestyle from... More
VPVince P.
expert skier

4.5 / 5

Dec 14, 2017
What an amazing trip it was I love going to new countries and skiing Japan is amazing to travel to and sk.i the snow is fantastic & the towns are amazing and so is the food and culture can't wait to go back and ski... More
PBPaul B.
expert snowboarder

4.5 / 5

Dec 14, 2017
Amazing powder and a great place to spend a season. You'll meet plenty of other westerners but the area retains its Japanese roots. Highly recommend for amazing snowboarding and skiing... More
SGShannay G.
advanced snowboarder

4.9 / 5

Dec 13, 2017
Great place to ski with multiple resorts on the mountain, all easily accessible ! Caters for a large range of skiing ability from absolute beginners to those well experienced. The access from on piste to off piste is easy and helps progression for those not so confident.... More
RCRobert C.
advanced snowboarder

4.5 / 5

Dec 12, 2017
Heaven on earth! Had such an amazing time in the fresh pow. Accommodation was great with the friendliest people to make it an amazing holiday destination. Can't wait to head back,a must for any snow fanatic... More
OJOscar J.
advanced skier

4.2 / 5

Dec 12, 2017
A great start to the season with plenty of snow. The choice between the four resorts is great they all offer different advantages such as the great beginner slopes in AnNapuri or the night skiing at Hirafu. It is very easy to access each resort while on the slopes which is great.... More
FFFabio F.
advanced snowboarder

4.2 / 5

Dec 12, 2017
GReat place! If you love to live eat breathe powder you are in the right place. Beautiful and fun for any level of experience skier and snowboard . Back country is just a blast!... More
MGMichael G.
advanced snowboarder

5 / 5

Dec 12, 2017
Niseko is epic if your up for some partying and some neck deep pow, bring your snorkel because you’ll have the time of your life! I love that place and it will always have a special spot in my heart! Best time of my life!... More
OWOwen W.
intermediate snowboarder

4.7 / 5

Dec 12, 2017
I spent 3 weeks boarding in Niseko. Just a short rail ride from Sapporo, this resort is one of the most lively and beautiful ski resorts in the world. There's plenty to do here with 4 interconnected snow areas and amazing food scene and nightlife. I am currently planning... More
AKAaron K.
expert skier

4.2 / 5

Dec 11, 2017
I skied the best snow of my life at Niseko. It snowed for the 3 days I was there and it was the true "JaPow" experience. The terrain was the best I skied in Japan making those 3 days some of the best I've had on skis!... More
Jack Lee
SnowPak Local Insider
Jack Lee
Want to be an insider? Get in touch with us!
Open 12/01/2017
Close 05/06/2018*
* Estimated based on previous years.
Best month to go Late December to mid-February

Lift tickets

Child Free
Senior ¥5,600 JPY ($53 USD)
Adult ¥7,400 JPY ($70 USD)

Trails levels


Trail maps


4.5 / 5

based on 57 reviews
Leave a review for Niseko


853 ft
3,937 ft
Vertical drop
3,084 ft


Total runs
Terrain Parks


Gondola & Trams
High Speed Quads
Double Chairs
Single Chairs
Surface Lift
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