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
Superb!

5 / 5

Dec 12, 2017
MGMichael G.
advanced snowboarder
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
Superb!

4.7 / 5

Dec 12, 2017
OWOwen W.
intermediate snowboarder
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 another trip as this was the ski trip of a lifetime and there's plenty... More
Fabulous!

4.2 / 5

Dec 11, 2017
AKAaron K.
expert skier
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
Very Good!

4.1 / 5

Dec 11, 2017
KKKristofer K.
expert skier
DEEP POWDER. Great tree skiing. Not a ton of technical terrain, but well worth a visit. Facilities differ between the area but most are very nice! Would go there every winter if I could!... More
Superb!

4.9 / 5

Dec 11, 2017
ATAndy T.
intermediate snowboarder
Niseko is my home away from home, growing and changing each year to become a world class resort. Perfect for all skill levels, great dining options and accommodation for all budgets.... More
Superb!

5 / 5

Dec 11, 2017
BWBrian W.
expert skier
Niseko is an experience than all serious riders should have. The mountain is home to 4 resorts with equally varying and awesome terrain. Great runs for all levels, and the side-country/back country hikes are pretty incredible. The mountain has quite a bit of elevation gain, and is pretty exposed to the elements so you will likely encounter some... More
Superb!

4.9 / 5

Dec 10, 2017
ASAdam S.
intermediate snowboarder
Niseko was absolutely amazing. Great powder well maintain fields and all staff were amazing! I seen heaps of little kids loving the tracks and learning to snowboard and ski! So can only mean there instructors are great at there job! All in all would defiantly come back here!!... More
Very Good!

4.2 / 5

Dec 10, 2017
NCNic C.
advanced skier
Niseko is the Whistler equivalent for Japan. 4 Interconnected resorts on the same ticket that provides a great variety of terrain. However, expect the crowds in the peak season! That said, there are always some fantastic stashes for those who work a little to find them. The foreign invaision is well underway in Niseko, so if its a genuine... More
Very Good!

4.2 / 5

Dec 10, 2017
BGBryce G.
advanced skier
Skiing in Japan is an amazing cultural experience due to the delicious food, hot springs and Japanese friendliness. Definitely a ‘go to’ place for not only the skiing but the food and cultural experience... More
Very Good!

3.9 / 5

Dec 10, 2017
DSDavid S.
advanced snowboarder
Great snow and lots of it. Many powder days, love the food, love the outdoor onsens. The mountain is actually four separate resorts, spread out thus will take a few days to ski/board the whole mountain. Demo a board w Gentemstick.... More
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