How To Get There
There are various options to travel to Niseko Japan. The Niseko travel information and booking options include buses and private transfers to/from the Sapporo New Chitose Airport to Niseko
, transport to/from Sapporo City to Niseko
(including a Sapporo to Niseko bus), and trains
to Niseko. Other Niseko transport information includes getting around Niseko
, ski resorts nearby
, and flight
tips and bookings.
Where is Niseko?
is located in Hokkaido Japan, the powder capital of the world! There is a town called Niseko but the term “Niseko” is often used to refer to “Niseko United”, the four interconnected ski areas that have villages of corresponding names at their base: An’nupuri; Niseko Village (formerly Higashiyama); Hirafu; and Hanazono.
Niseko Resort is about 100 km southwest of Sapporo
city and Sapporo New-Chitose airport, about a 2.5 hour drive away.
Hirafu is the largest of the Niseko villages, located about 8km from the town of Kutchan. Hanazono is about 9km from Kutchan. The town of Niseko is closer to Higashiyama (Niseko Village) and Annupuri, about 7-8km away from both ski villages. You can look at our Niseko map
to get a feel for the location of the different villages.
Flights to Sapporo Chitose Airport
The New Chitose Airport (Sapporo) is the best gateway airport for Niseko. You can use one of our flight search engines
to compare different airlines and routes to find a flight that suits you. Also see our travel to Hokkaido
page for advice on flights to the New Chitose Airport (Sapporo) and getting to Hokkaido.
If you don't want to stay overnight in one of the Chitose Airport hotels
or use a private transfer service to Niseko, ensure arrival times into CTS are not later than 8:30pm and departure times are not before noon.
Sapporo Chitose Airport to Niseko Bus & Transfer Services
Bus transfer is the most convenient and economical way to get from Sapporo Airport to Niseko. The bus takes about 2.5-3 hours depending on road conditions and your drop off point.
Hokkaido Resort Liner
provides the cheapest options for Sapporo to Niseko bus transport with drop off points in Hirafu, Annupuri or Niseko Village. From the bus drop-off points you may be able to walk to your accommodation, some accommodations provide a free pick-up service, or you can get a taxi or shuttle bus. Note that bookings can only be made from early October onwards
and need to made at least 9 days prior to travel
Or another option for a scheduled bus service between Sapporo Airport and Niseko is Niseko Airport Shuttle
, which provides about 9 services daily. Niseko pick-up and drop-off points are Hirafu Welcome Centre, Niseko Village (Higashiyama), Moiwa, and Kutchan train station. Bookings can only be made at least 5 days prior to travel
Or the ultimate in convenience is a private transfer service
or limousine transfer
where you choose what time you want to travel, and you get dropped right at the door of your Niseko accommodation.
Sapporo City to Niseko Bus Transfers
Hokkaido Resort Liner
also provides bus service from about 20 Sapporo hotels to Niseko. If you want to stay at one of the hotels where the bus stops, see our Sapporo hotels
page. Bookings need to be made at least 9 days prior to travel.
If you are wanting a private door-to-door service, Sky Niseko
can arrange a chartered transfer for 1 to 40 people.
Train to Niseko Train from Sapporo to Niseko
Although a little complex, it’s possible to catch trains to Niseko from the airport or Sapporo City. From New Chitose airport a rapid train takes about 35 minutes to Sapporo. A train from Sapporo to Otaru takes from 32 to 50 minutes, and then a train to Kutchan takes between 1 hour and 1:20 hours. Niseko station is a further 15-20 minutes on from Kutchan. For train timetables and fares check out Hyperdia
Kutchan is the best train station for those staying in Hirafu or Hanazono, whilst Niseko station is closer for those staying in Niseko Village (Higashiyama) or Annupuri. From either of the stations you’ll need to catch a bus or a taxi to your accommodation, or some lodgings provide a pick up service. A taxi between Kutchan station and Hirafu costs about ¥2,500 and takes about 15 minutes.
Trains from Honshu to Niseko
A tunnel runs between Honshu (the main island of Japan) and Hokkaido, and trains between Shin-Aomori and Kutchan take about 3:40 hours (it’s about 3 hours from Tokyo to Shin-Aomori). See Hyperdia
for train timetables and fares.
Driving to Niseko
Another option for getting to Niseko is to rent a car
at the New Chitose Airport or in Sapporo. This provides the flexibility to do day trips to other ski resorts near Niseko
or to do some sightseeing (e.g. to Otaru or Lake Toya) on down days.
You can rent a car
with an English GPS (or least partially in English), you plug in the phone number of where you want to go, and the GPS shows you how to get there. It’s also reasonably easy to self navigate because many of the road signs are in English and they also include a highway number. You don’t need to put chains on, because the rental cars have snow tyres.
The telephone number for Hirafu Niseko for GPS navigation is 0136-22-0109.
Please note that it is mandatory that you have an international drivers license to rent and drive a vehicle in Japan. If you turn up without one, the rental company will not rent you a vehicle.
Getting Around Niseko
Niseko is really well geared up for tourists so there are very well established shuttle bus systems to get around and between the different villages. A tourist map in English that outlines the various shuttle bus routes and timetables is readily available throughout Niseko.
Be aware that the top of the four Niseko ski areas are very close together, but the villages at the base of each area fan apart so there is some distance between them. Road distances from Hirafu Niseko (the main village):
- Hanazono is 10km to the north (10-15 mins)
- Niseko Village (Higashiyama) is 9km southwest (10-20 minute drive from Hirafu)
- An’nupuri is 12km southwest (20-30 mins)
- Town of Kutchan is 8km northeast
- Town of Niseko is 10km south
Niseko United Shuttle
The Niseko United shuttle buses link the bases of Hirafu, Hanazono, Niseko Village, and An’nupuri. This bus is free if you have a Niseko United lift ticket. Otherwise it costs about 200-500 yen depending on the distance travelled. The Niseko United shuttle doesn’t operate after about 9:30pm.
Hilton Niseko Village Bus
This is a handy shuttle bus for those staying in Niseko Village. The free hotel bus goes from about 9am to the wee hours of the morning and travels between the Hilton, a few locations within Niseko Village, the Hirafu Crossing, Hirafu Welcome Center, and Kutchan Station. Timetables are available at the Hilton or Niseko Village accommodations.
Grand Hirafu Shuttle Bus
The Hirafu village bus has a few different routes and offers a very frequent service. The bus operates from 8:30am - 9:00pm and is useful for getting around the Hirafu village and Hanazono.
Niseko Town Shuttle
This shuttle only runs about four times a day between JR Niseko Station, Niseko Village, the Higashiyama area (Niseko Village) and the Annupuri Konbu area.
You might want to venture to the nearby town of Kutchan for a change of scenery or for groceries, ski shops, or restaurants. There are various different buses that go to Kutchan including the Night Go bus. See the tourist maps for more information. Similarly there are various buses that travel around to some of the onsens including those in the Annupuri and Konbu Onsen area.
Some of the upscale Niseko hotels offer shuttle services around Niseko.
Taxis are readily available, particularly in Hirafu, and can be hailed on major streets. Many taxis have roof racks but they may have difficulty fitting in large ski or board bags. Prices are reasonable but more expensive than many other parts of Japan. As an example a taxi from Hirafu to Niseko Village costs approximately ¥2,500.
Other Ski Resorts Nearby
Moiwa (aka Niseko Moiwa) is is 12km southwest of Hirafu Niseko and 2.5km west of Annupuri Niseko. Moiwa is well known for its off-piste and steep side-country runs, and there’s a much better chance of scoring freshies than at Niseko. Moiwa is interconnected with Niseko United via the slopes (when the backcountry gates are open), or you can catch a free bus from Hirafu to Moiwa. You can head there on a guided day tour with WhiteRoom Tours.
Rusutsu is 28km southwest of Hirafu which is about a half hour drive by car. Rusutsu is bliss for powder hounds and another good opportunity to get away from the Niseko crowds. A guided tour can help you get the most out of Rusutsu and BDTs often go to Rusutsu on the PowderHunter trips or you can head there with WhiteRoom Tours.
Kiroro is 51km northeast of Hirafu, about an hour away by car or 100 minutes by bus. Otherwise Kiroro is sometimes included on the guided Powder Hunter day tours or head there on a guided day tour. Or Sky Station provide private transfers between Niseko and Kiroro (click on the drop down items).
Other nearby ski resorts that may be visited on the PowderHunter trips include Sapporo Teine and Sapporo Kokusai, or head there on a guided day trip with WhiteRoom Tours.
Getting to Furano
Furano is about 4 hours away from Niseko so it’s not ideal for a day trip, but it’s popular to combine multi-day stays at Niseko and Furano on a Japan ski holiday.
Hokkaido Resort Liner provides a daily service to / from Furano via Rusutsu. Click here for Furano/Niseko schedules and bookings (bookable from October onwards).