Niseko4 out of 5 based on 46 reviews
  • Recommend
    87%
  • Would Revisit
    78%

Hirafu is the heartbeat of Niseko
Hirafu is the heartbeat of Niseko
The famous Niseko snow
The famous Niseko snow
Views of Mt Yotei
Views of Mt Yotei
Niseko Japan is very family friendly
Niseko Japan is very family friendly
Niseko Hirafu
Niseko Hirafu
Looking up to the Grand Hirafu Niseko Ski Resort
Looking up to the Grand Hirafu Niseko Ski Resort
One of many beautiful Niseko onsen
One of many beautiful Niseko onsen
The Niseko nightlife is rather vibrant
The Niseko nightlife is rather vibrant
Niseko Japan
Niseko Japan
There are lots of Niseko restaurants
There are lots of Niseko restaurants
The Niseko dining options are rather amazing
The Niseko dining options are rather amazing
The Hirafu village is a huge pro for Niseko Japan
The Hirafu village is a huge pro for Niseko Japan
Niseko Hokkaido
Niseko Hokkaido
The Niseko shopping is the best of the Japan ski resorts
The Niseko shopping is the best of the Japan ski resorts
There are lots of Niseko bars
There are lots of Niseko bars
Looking towards Mt Yotei
Looking towards Mt Yotei
Niseko heli skiing is a lust do activity!
Niseko heli skiing is a lust do activity!
Niseko snowmobiling
Niseko snowmobiling
Niseko Village is a modern resort style village
Niseko Village is a modern resort style village

Niseko

Niseko Japan

Niseko ski resort in Hokkaido is probably the most famous Japan resort amongst international skiers and boarders. For those that love powder, Niseko Japan is the number one pick for a ski holiday because it seems to constantly snow, and the deep, deep powder is way too enticing. Niseko the snow factory is one big powder playground!

Summary of the Pros and Cons of Niseko

Pros
  • What sets Niseko apart from other Japanese ski resorts is the fabulous powder that falls in abundance (15-18 metres per season on average).
  • The Niseko Ski Resort is a large ski area and off-piste and sidecountry riding is permitted, so there’s plenty of terrain variety.
  • Niseko Japan makes a great base to explore nearby ski resorts and backcountry areas.
  • Another unique aspect of Niseko is that it caters very well to English speaking families with young children. Child care, in-accommodation babysitting, and kids’ group ski lessons are available from English speaking staff.
  • Other huge advantages include the great village vibe, the range of activities on offer, good shopping, the many restaurants, and a very colourful nightlife.
  • It is one of only a few Japanese ski resorts that offer a range of accommodation options, including hotels, apartments, houses and backpackers. 
  • There are various Niseko cat skiing options.
Cons
  • Niseko Japan is definitely no longer a hidden gem. The ski area is often very crowded (especially over Xmas and during January) and freshies in-bounds don’t last for long, but with the snow factory frequently pumping out more snow, another powder day (or powder hour!) is usually never far away.
  • The lift infrastructure is rather average for a “world class” ski resort, which is surprising considering the number of lift tickets they sell.
  • Proportionally there isn’t that much ski-in ski-out accommodation. 
Pro or Con Depending on Your Perspective
  • There’s is still a little bit of Japanese culture apparent, but the Hirafu Village in particular is very international. This comes with advantages such as the abundance of apartment accommodation and the amount of English that is spoken (including ski school and in the ski rental shops), but there's very little Japanese style accommodation.
  • During the peak of winter don’t expect too many fine weather days. Of course all that wonderful powder doesn’t fall from blue skies! 
  • Niseko accommodation is very expensive, although most of it is of very high quality. Relative to most other Japanese ski resorts, also expect to pay much more for lift tickets, food, ski school and other services.

Niseko Ski Resort Terrain

The Niseko ski resort gets the Powderhounds' award for the best ski terrain in Japan. Niseko also gets other "best skiing in Japan" awards for best powder, best off-piste terrain, best slackcountry (easily accessible backcountry), and best overall resort in Japan. The Powderhounds obviously think that Niseko has a lot going for it!

Niseko Ski Resort is suited to skiers and boarders of all ability levels. There are a large variety of groomed runs that are ideal for families, beginners and intermediates. For powder hounds Niseko has great off-piste skiing. The slackcountry and backcountry options are also very impressive, and thankfully both off-piste and out of bounds riding is permitted. Another element that sets Niseko apart from many other Japanese ski resorts is the combination of both alpine and tree skiing.

Fair weather skiers who want to get a tan are the only ones that might not like Niseko. Niseko rarely sees the sunshine and has plenty of cold weather in the peak of winter, but powder hounds don’t mind because it’s the bad weather that brings all that fabulous powder. And thankfully Niseko is equipped with various gondolas and hooded chairs.

Niseko is the largest ski resort in Japan (along with Shiga Kogen) and is made up of four interconnected areas: An’nupuri; Niseko Village (formerly Higashiyama); Hirafu; and Hanazono. The ski resort of Moiwa is also interconnected via the sidecountry, but a separate lift ticket is required for this resort.

Where is Niseko?

Niseko is located in Hokkaido Japan, 100km southwest of Sapporo and the New-Chitose International Airport. Niseko is situated near Mt Yōtei (the "Mt. Fuji of Hokkaido") in a perfect spot to capture all the snow.

A shuttle bus or a door-to-door transfer is the best way to get to Niseko from either Sapporo or the airport. See the Niseko travel page for more information or you can book your Niseko airport shuttle transport here.

Niseko Accommodation

There is a huge range of Niseko accommodation including hotels, pensions, lodges, and lots of self-contained apartments and houses. Some of the properties are ski-in ski-out, but many require a short walk or a shuttle bus to get to the ski area. You can search for lodging, check availability, filter by location and other requirements, and make a booking enquiry directly with the accommodation provider using our Niseko accommodation listingsNB You can book transfers and other components of your holiday (e.g. equipment rentals and lessons) on Powderhounds.com from October onwards.

There is accommodation in the villages of An’nupuri, Niseko Village, Hanazono, and Niseko Hirafu. The four ski areas are interconnected by the lifts and slopes towards the top of the mountain, but the base areas are not that close to each other. Consequently the first choice regarding accommodation needs to be which village to stay in. See our Niseko accommodation page for information on the different villages, a Niseko map, and for accommodation bookings.


Restaurants & Nightlife

Niseko has the best nightlife and choice of restaurants of all the Japan ski resorts. There are Niseko restaurants across all areas but most of the dining opportunities are in Hirafu. Hirafu is also the nucleus of the vibrant nightlife that Niseko is so famous for. There might be a few rowdy Aussies (and Chinese) hanging about late at night, but you can choose to either join in the fun or avoid them. And if you really want some peace and quiet, stay in An’nupuri, Niseko Village or Hanazono.

Niseko Ski Tours - Day Trips

If all the fresh tracks have disappeared in-bounds, there are lots of other Niseko ski activities to score a powder fix. You can head to a nearby ski resort, take a side-country tour, or earn your turns with a backcountry tour near Niseko. If you’ve got superhuman fitness and a fine day, you can even climb Mt Yotei. Or if you prefer to save your energy for riding down the hill, Niseko heli skiing or Niseko cat skiing are other options!

Culture and Language

If you’re a little nervous about travelling in a foreign land, then Niseko is the place to go because it caters really well to international tourists. Communication is much easier for English speaking travellers than at any other ski resort in Japan. English is spoken by most of the staff at the accommodation and restaurants, signage around the resort is in both English and Japanese, and restaurants have English menus.

The international popularity of Niseko has lead to it being not as cheap or unique as other Japanese ski resorts. It has become somewhat Australianised, Chinese-ised and westernised, but there is still a small amount of Japanese culture and food to make it a culturally interesting ski holiday destination.

Niseko Ski Tours

Safari (Road Trip) Tours
Hokkaido Storm Chaser DETAILS
GUIDED STORM CHASING SAFARI
7 Days | 6 Nights | 6 Ski Areas

Base/invoice currency is in yen not including 8% consumption tax.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,610 USD 2,610
Book before Aug 31st to receive 40,000 yen discount off the advertised price
Book before Aug 31st to get a 13.8% discount
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Chase the storms and access the deepest and best quality snow conditions on the day in the Otaru area and Central Hokkaido's world famous deep dry powder.
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Hokkaido Explorer Tour DETAILS
FULLY GUIDED & HOSTED TOUR
12 Nights - 10 Ski Areas - 10 Days Skiing/Riding
From price based on twin/double-share option per person for group tour for 2018-19 season.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 3,643 USD 3,643
Pay by 31 Aug forearly bird special
Get 2% discount if you pay before Aug 31
Ability: Expert
Based in Niseko Hirafu then Furano then Otaru, chase the best conditions and snowfall at 7 of Hokkaido's best ski areas and lesser known ski areas including Niseko, Rusutsu, Moiwa, Furano, Asahidake, Kamui Links, Mt Racey and Tomamu.
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Hokkaido Unplugged DETAILS
GUIDED BACKCOUNTRY ADVENTURE
10 Days | 9 Nights | 7 Ski Areas
From price based on twin/double-share option for 2017-18 season.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 3,231
Ability: Advanced to Expert
So you have had a taste of Japan powder and you are now ready to get away from the crowds and find the best of Hokkaido. This tour visits some epic sidecountry and backcountry areas in Hokkaido.
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See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Niseko here
Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours
Niseko Freeride Tour DETAILS
POWDER ADVENTURE
8 Days | 7 Nights | 6 Days Riding
From price based on twin/double-share option.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 1,570
To be eligible for this special price you must book & pay the required deposit by the last day of the promotion...no exceptions
Ability: Intermediate to Advanced
This snowboarding tour takes in what many would argue are the best ski areas in Japan with a choice of up to 11 ski areas in the Niseko region. Home base is a nice hotel in Niseko so you have access to Niseko's vibrant nightlife. Have a guide to take you to the best powder stashes at each location.
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Niseko Guided Day Tours DETAILS
GUIDED DAY TRIPS IN/FROM NISEKO
For PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY of up to 6 guests
From price based on a PER PERSON rate for Niseko guided day tour for 2018-19 season (private groups only of 6 guests) in shoulder season.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
From 60,000 yen for a group. *Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 105
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
If you are in Niseko with a group, you can't go past a guided ski or snowboard day tour in Niseko or at one of the nearby ski areas (off-piste, sidecountry or backcountry). PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY of up to 6 guests (i.e. you cannot join a group).
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BDT Lift Assisted Backcountry Tours DETAILS
LIFT ASSISTED BACKOUNTRY TOURS
Niseko Area | PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY | Min 2 Days
From price based on 1 day tour per person - 5 people in private group (lift tickets not included).
Base/invoice currency is in JPY ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 135
Deposit must be paid by the end of the promotional period to qualify for discounts
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Join Black Diamond Tours for 1 day of guided powder hunting in Niseko or one of the nearby resort or backcountry areas with your own PRIVATE GROUP. Areas include Niseko backbowls, Rusutsu, Kiroro, Teine & Kokusai. Primarily lift accessed so minimal hiking.
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See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Niseko here
Ski & Snowboard Camp Tours
Ultimate Early Season Camps DETAILS
EARLY SEASON TOUR
8 nights | 7 days | Cat Skiing, Avi Training
From price based on twin/double-share, 9-day package for 2018-19 season.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 1,881
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Beat the high season rates and crowds and get Japow earlier than the punters. Based in Niseko, you'll visit 4 ski resorts for lift accessed sidecountry, enjoy a day of cat skiing at Chisenupuri, receive 2 days of avalanche awareness training & get an intro to backcountry touring.
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See all Ski & Snowboard Camp tours that visit Niseko here
Backcountry Skiing Tours
Guided Tours DETAILS
GUIDED BACK/SIDE-COUNTRY DAY TOURS
Private & Mixed Group
price is per person per day (min 3 guests required for tour to operate)
base/invoice currency is in Japanese Yen
Prices include tax.
Price p/p
USD 180
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Niseko Black Snowsports offer lift-access backcountry & sidecountry guiding services for advanced to expert mixed & private groups around Niseko/Moiwa, Rusutsu & Kiroro. Book for your own private group tour or join a group.
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Niseko Xtreme Guided Day Tours DETAILS
GUIDED DAY TOURS IN / AROUND NISEKO AREA
For PRIVATE GROUPS only
From price based on private group of 6 people on a half-day Hidden Secrets In-Bound Resort Tour of Niseko.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 52
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Niseko Xtreme offers a variety of PRIVATE GROUP (max 6 per group) tours in and around the Niseko area. The tours range from in-bounds resort powder hunting to full blown backcountry touring. Destinations include Niseko, Rusutsu, Kiroro, Teine, Kokusai, Mt Yotei & more.
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Backcountry Touring Day Trips DETAILS
GUIDED BACKCOUNTRY DAY TOURS
Niseko & Surrounding Areas | Private Groups Only
From price based on per person rate for a private group of 5 guests.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 124
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Ideal if you are staying in NISEKO and are looking for a guided BACKCOUNTRY day in or around Niseko. These day tours are specifically for those who are happy to earn their turns and are for private groups of 1 - 5 guests (but 6+ is also doable).
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See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Niseko here
Heli Skiing Tours
Shiribetsu-Dake Day Heliskiing DETAILS
DAY HELI SKIING RUSUTSU - 6 RUN PACKAGE
Includes Niseko pickup & lunch
From price based on 6-run heli ski day 2018-19 early bird rates.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 1,440
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
At last, a Niseko heli skiing operation! Make this one of the best days of your life skiing Hokkaido's deep dry powder on a dormant volcano (next door to Rusutsu and not far from Niseko).
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See all Heli Skiing tours that visit Niseko here
Cat Skiing Tours
Shimamaki Snowcat Packages DETAILS
GUIDED CAT SKIING ADVENTURE (2 or 4 days)
Stay in a Traditional Japanese Inn Inc All Meals
Display price is based on 2 days + 2 nights per person for 2019 season (regular season)
Base/invoice currency is Japanese Yen
*Display price may vary slightly due to exchange rate fluctuations
Price p/p
USD 1,436
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
This is the best Japan cat skiing! Departing from Niseko, the trip offers incredible snowcat accessed powder skiing & boarding, staying in a traditional coastal Japanese inn. Ride deep untracked powder all day, feast on Japanese cuisine and soak in the hotel's onsen in the evening.
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Iwanai Cat Skiing Day Package DETAILS
MIXED GROUP DAY CAT SKIING
8 - 10 Runs (Approx 4,600m vertical/day)
Price is per person per day for high season
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese Yen
Displayed price may vary slightly due to exchange rate fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 585 USD 585
Deposit must be paid prior to promotion end date to qualify for any discounts offered.
Book by Oct 31 & get a whopping 18.75% discount off the full rate. Discounted price displayed.
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Iwanai Cat Skiing serves up powder runs of 325-650 metres of vertical bliss, with 8 to 10 runs for the day. Located near Niseko, the Iwanai Resort snowcat skiing terrain scores masses of snowfall. Ideal for strong intermediate & advanced riders.
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Niseko Cat Skiing Day Tours DETAILS
NISEKO DAY CAT SKIING
Single Day Guided, Inc. Lunch
From price is per person (min 4 persons required to operate)
Base/invoice currency is Japanese yen in taxes
*display price may vary slightly with fluctuations in currency
Price p/p
USD 504
Ability: Advanced to Expert
A day of awesome guided cat skiing near Niseko in backcountry terrain with some steep lines, technical trees, and pillows and mushrooms. The snowcat skiing is ideal for those craving bottomless untracked powder runs.
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See all Cat Skiing tours that visit Niseko here