Niseko

Closed
Jack Taylor
SnowPak Local Insider
Jack Taylor
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.

FLY TO

New Chitose Airport

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 ($66 USD) ¥4,300 JPY ($38 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
Fabulous!4.3 / 5Dec 17, 2017
YJYestyn J.
expert skier
Niseko is a world class resort. I've been lucky enough to ski all over the world and I've never seen snow of such consistency and calibre. If it's deep powder, soft pillows and tight trees you long for - Niseko is essential.... More
Good!3.9 / 5Dec 17, 2017
LVLukas V.
expert skier
Niseko is one of the best places in the world to ski deep deep powder! The treeskiing ist just simply amazing and the niseko bowls are on a whole different level.... More
Fabulous!4.4 / 5Dec 16, 2017
EDElliot D.
expert snowboarder
Niseko is a powder paradise, although the runs are shorter than North American trails, snow quality more than makes up for it! The ski culture is different from your usual apres and glitz and glamour but this is a positive as this scene is pretentious takes away from the true allure of the mountains.... More
Superb!4.9 / 5Dec 15, 2017
BFBrian F.
expert snowboarder
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 ramen to onsen. Niseko is your ticket... More
Fabulous!4.5 / 5Dec 14, 2017
VPVince P.
expert skier
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
Fabulous!4.5 / 5Dec 14, 2017
PBPaul B.
expert snowboarder
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
Superb!4.9 / 5Dec 13, 2017
SGShannay G.
advanced snowboarder
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
Fabulous!4.5 / 5Dec 12, 2017
RCRobert C.
advanced snowboarder
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
Fabulous!4.2 / 5Dec 12, 2017
OJOscar J.
advanced skier
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
Fabulous!4.2 / 5Dec 12, 2017
FFFabio F.
advanced snowboarder
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

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