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

4.4

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 68 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!

4.8 / 5

Dec 03, 2017
JGJake G.
advanced snowboarder
Niseko is a snowboarders heaven! Amazing powder, tree runs, parks and back country. Almost every day we were on the slopes from as soon as the lifts open till dark and even got out for a night board under the lights too. Niseko has an incredible amount of awesome restaurants, bars and pubs too. If you’re thinking of going to japan for a... More
Fabulous!

4.2 / 5

Dec 03, 2017
DGDiren G.
intermediate snowboarder
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
Very Good!

3.9 / 5

Dec 03, 2017
DWDaniel W.
advanced skier
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
Very Good!

3.9 / 5

Dec 03, 2017
DWDaniel W.
advanced skier
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
Fabulous!

4.5 / 5

Dec 02, 2017
JSJeremiah S.
advanced skier
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 that the hotels there are very expensive, with few reasonably priced... More
Superb!

4.9 / 5

Dec 01, 2017
DBDoug B.
expert skier
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
Superb!

4.5 / 5

Nov 30, 2017
ILInsoo L.
intermediate skier
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 that transportation to the resort takes quite a while, and also the... More
Superb!

5 / 5

Oct 10, 2017
PPPhat P.
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!
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