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

Find accommodations around here

Niseko Village (Walk)

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

Find accommodations around here

Annapuri (Walk)

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

Find accommodations around here

Hanazono (Walk)

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

Find accommodations around here

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
Superb!4.6 / 5Dec 05, 2017
YKYuka K.
intermediate snowboarder
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
Fabulous!4.3 / 5Dec 04, 2017
SKStephen K.
advanced snowboarder
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 consistency of the snow keeps bringing me back. Also, it's an easy base... More
Very Good!4.1 / 5Dec 04, 2017
MBMichael B.
advanced skier
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 authentic. Perhaps just the number of Aussies makes you forget you're in... More
Superb!5 / 5Dec 04, 2017
BWBen W.
advanced snowboarder
Mint little town. Stayed last year at the bottom of town. Everything is walking distance. Night life is fun as. Snow is deep as. Experience was dope as. Great place to teach friends how to snowboard.... More
Superb!4.5 / 5Dec 04, 2017
SWScott W.
advanced snowboarder
After 20yrs of an endless winter including USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Japan! Niseko has everything you need for a great Ski/Snow Board holiday, from some of the best powder snow in the world, to great lodges, and great Food and the Japanese restaurants. And with Sapporo close by makes for a great skiing holiday.... More
Superb!4.7 / 5Dec 04, 2017
RORonald O.
intermediate snowboarder
Highly recommend, great mountain! Great town, loads of runs so won't get bored doing same few runs over and over. Got a transfer direct from Sapporo Airport to the door where we were staying for very reasonable price. Take me back!... More
Fabulous!4.5 / 5Dec 04, 2017
DTDaniel T.
intermediate snowboarder
Lives up to the name and notoriety, great for lovers powder. Very impressive off-pitse backcountry options and well maintained slopes. Accommodation isn't overpriced and the culture is great. Absolutely loved it. Check out Bigfoot Lodge for a drink, it's wicked.... More
Superb!4.6 / 5Dec 04, 2017
JRJames R.
expert snowboarder
A great resort for your first Japan trip, spending over 3 weeks at the resort I never ran out of things to do! Friendly locals, great accomodation options and even better skiing both on and off piste. Not the steepest but powder for days!... More
Fabulous!4.3 / 5Dec 04, 2017
WAWill A.
intermediate snowboarder
Incredible place with some of the best snow I've ever experienced. Everyone was extremely friendly and I have wanted to return ever since. The dining throughout the resort was absolutely incredible.... More
Very Good!4.2 / 5Dec 03, 2017
JBJack B.
advanced snowboarder
The accessibility to surrounding mountains and quantity of terrain makes niseko a special resort for all ability levels. There's unlimited hiking and even the in bounds riding is incredible due to consistent snowfall... More

Other ski resorts in Japan

Akakura Kanko
40% 30% 30%
Akakura Onsen
50% 30% 20%
Appi Kogen
30% 40% 30%
Asahidake Ropeway
20% 50% 30%
Cortina
40% 30% 30%
Furano
40% 40% 20%
Gala Yuzawa
35% 45% 20%
Hakkoda
20% 60% 20%
Hakuba 47 & Goryu
30% 40% 30%
Happo One
30% 50% 20%
Ikenotaira Onsen
35% 45% 20%
Iwatake
30% 50% 20%
Kagura
35% 35% 30%
Kiroro
31% 34% 35%
Madarao Kogen
35% 40% 25%
Moiwa
30% 40% 30%
Myoko Suginohara
40% 40% 20%
Naeba
30% 40% 30%
Niseko
38% 32% 30%
Nozawa Onsen
40% 30% 30%
Rusutsu
30% 40% 30%
Sahoro
35% 45% 20%
Sapporo Kokusai
30% 50% 20%
Sapporo Teine
35% 40% 25%
Seki Onsen
20% 50% 30%
Shiga Kogen
45% 40% 15%
Tomamu
30% 40% 30%
Tsugaike
50% 30% 20%
Yamagata Zao Onsen
40% 40% 20%