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
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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
LTLeonard T.
intermediate snowboarder
Very Good!

4.2 / 5

Dec 08, 2017
Niseko is a grand place, 3 hours by bus to Chitose airport but still buzzing with life. Snowfall can be a little variable but when it dumps it is some of the best snow in the world. Huge mountain with slopes for every grade, great food and accommodation, and some amazing sights... More
CJCharles J.
advanced snowboarder

4.5 / 5

Dec 07, 2017
Come here to experience some back home fun with a twist of Asia to and to the mix! Many Bars from which to slip and slide from as the snow seems to fall all night long cover everyone's tracks who went out that night!... More
RWRob W.
advanced snowboarder

4.4 / 5

Dec 07, 2017
Unbelievable, best boarding of my life! I'll definitely be going back as soon as I get the chance and can't wait to take my boys aged 11 and 13. Such amazing powder and the hospitality of our Japanese hosts was the best I've experienced world wide.... More
NMNolan M.
advanced skier

4.7 / 5

Dec 07, 2017
You couldn't ask for a better introduction to snow in Japan than Niseko. Whether you stay in Niseko itsself or in nearby Hirafu, the snow is awesome, the food is great, the people are friendly and there is always a party.... More
PBPaul B.
advanced snowboarder

4.7 / 5

Dec 06, 2017
An absolutely unbelievable amount of snow up to your eyeballs and an incredible atmosphere of the loveliest place of the planet left me feeling like it was all a dream.... More
CTConor T.
advanced snowboarder
Very Good!

4.1 / 5

Dec 05, 2017
A very international resort with probably the best snow I've found in Japan. Can be busy in peak season, and don't expect much of a Japanese cultural experience. But lots of great bars to socialise with people from all over. Did I mention the snow was amazing?... More
DBDarren B.
intermediate snowboarder

5 / 5

Dec 05, 2017
Unbelievable but Beleivable !! Incredible chance to Experience One of Japan’s Best Resorts. From Snow Quality to the inviting Culture,make this your go to destination you won’t be disappointed on any level.... More
YKYuka K.
intermediate snowboarder

4.6 / 5

Dec 05, 2017
No need to mention about the best powder snow. Not only that, but also touching good warm local people, getting quality vegitable at market, feeling beautiful nature in the woods, cozy nights in your lodge, can't be better!!... More
SKStephen K.
advanced snowboarder

4.3 / 5

Dec 04, 2017
I’ve been going to Niseko on and off the last 10 Years. Since I’ve started going there it’s been heavily westernised (I guess the fault of people like me) which has led to it losing a bit of its charm. Whilst the terrain isn’t particularly challenging, the quantity, quality and... More
MBMichael B.
advanced skier
Very Good!

4.1 / 5

Dec 04, 2017
Unbeatable skiing and fresh powder. If you are going purely for the snow then I would definitely recommend Niseko. For me though, apres ski and culture are of equal importance and I was a bit disappointed here. For sure there is plenty of action, but it just doesn't feel... 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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