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
DGDiren G.
intermediate snowboarder

4.2 / 5

Dec 03, 2017
Excellent Snow. Fair bit of travel to get to. Makes it difficult for short trips. Excellent for long trips. Easy to get around town. It's small but had enough going on. Take the train out to Yoichi if you get a chance. Stunning town, excellent seafood.... More
DWDaniel W.
advanced skier
Very Good!

3.9 / 5

Dec 03, 2017
Niseko is full of friendly people who love to party and show guests a good time. But most importantly the skiing is unreal and the power is out of this world! ... More
DWDaniel W.
advanced skier
Very Good!

3.9 / 5

Dec 03, 2017
Niseko is full of friendly people who love to party and show guests a good time. But most importantly the skiing is unreal and the power is out of this world! ... More
JSJeremiah S.
advanced skier

4.5 / 5

Dec 02, 2017
Niseko is famous, and for good reason. The backcountry skiing at Niseko is great! The facilities are very good, though some lifts are definitely showing their age. The on piste skiing itself is fantastic as well, though not as good as in Furano. The big downside for Niseko is... More
DBDoug B.
expert skier

4.9 / 5

Dec 01, 2017
Awesome skiing experience, great resort, great snow, friendly people, beautiful location, great food. Had an amazing time in Niseko some of the nicest snow I've ever skied. Absolutely fell in love with japan!... More
ILInsoo L.
intermediate skier

4.5 / 5

Nov 30, 2017
Niseko is a solid resort. The quality of the snow, as well as the consistency of generous dumps of snow make it well worth a visit. It can get crowded at times, however it is easy to jump between the different subsections of the resort to escape the crowds. The main drawback is... More
PPPhat P.

5 / 5

Oct 10, 2017
So much beautiful powder. 4 mountains to explore. Efficient automatic lift lines. Covered lift chairs. Great food on the slopes. Friendly staff. Hot spring to relax. Its not a ski trip, its a lifetime experience!
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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