Niseko Ski Resort Japan

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Hirafu Niseko Japan
Hirafu Niseko Japan
Mt Yotei in the background
Mt Yotei in the background
Views of Mt Yotei over Niseko United
Views of Mt Yotei over Niseko United
Powder Skiing Niseko
Powder Skiing Niseko
Hirafu is the main nucleus of Niseko Japan
Hirafu is the main nucleus of Niseko Japan
Niseko Ski Resort Japan
Niseko Ski Resort Japan
Niseko skiing in the sidecountry
Niseko skiing in the sidecountry
The Niseko restaurant choice is vast
The Niseko restaurant choice is vast
Niseko Village is one of four Niseko ski areas
Niseko Village is one of four Niseko ski areas
Niseko snow is often divine
Niseko snow is often divine
Niseko onsen: Goshiki Onsen is delightfully rustic
Niseko onsen: Goshiki Onsen is delightfully rustic
Hirafu has lots of food trucks
Hirafu has lots of food trucks
Ski Niseko Japan
Ski Niseko Japan
Niseko Ski Resort has various backcountry gates
Niseko Ski Resort has various backcountry gates
Fresh tracks are still possible despite increasing visitors
Fresh tracks are still possible despite increasing visitors
The Niseko restaurants & bars are a highlight
The Niseko restaurants & bars are a highlight
Heli skiing is possible nearby
Heli skiing is possible nearby
There are various Niseko cat skiing outfits
There are various Niseko cat skiing outfits
Niseko snow - it
Niseko snow - it's world famous!
Niseko is renowned for the night skiing
Niseko is renowned for the night skiing

Niseko Ski Resort Japan

Niseko Japan

Niseko ski resort in Hokkaido is 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 sometimes it seems to constantly snow, and the deep, deep powder is way too enticing. Niseko the snow factory is one big powder playground!

Pros and Cons of Niseko

Pros
  • What sets Niseko apart from many 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.
  • Niseko 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.
  • Hirafu has a great village vibe including good shopping, many restaurants, and a vibrant nightlife.
  • It is one of only a handful of Japanese ski resorts that offer a range of accommodation options, including hotels, apartments, houses and backpackers. 
  • There are various Niseko cat skiing options as well as a Niseko heli skiing outfit.
Cons
  • Niseko Japan is often very crowded (especially over Xmas, during January and Lunar New Year) 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.
  • Niseko accommodation is very expensive, although most lodging 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.
  • The ancient and exposed top lifts often go on wind-hold which closes the inter-connections between the ski areas.
Pro or Con Depending on Your Perspective
  • There is still a little bit of Japanese culture apparent, although it's mostly very international. This comes with advantages such as the abundance of apartment accommodation and the amount of English that is spoken.
  • 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 is on the Ikon Pass which has made the already busy Niseko even busier.

Niseko Ski Resort Terrain

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.

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 beginners and intermediates. Niseko has great off-piste skiing and the slackcountry and backcountry options are also very impressive, and unlike many Japanese ski resorts, it has a 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 also well known for its night skiing, particularly in Hirafu when it’s dumping with snow and the tree skiing is epic.

See the Niseko skiing and snowboarding page for more information on the terrain, lifts and snow.

Where is Niseko?

Niseko is located in Hokkaido, the north island of Japan. It is 100km southwest of Sapporo and the New-Chitose International Airport. Niseko is situated near Mt Yōtei 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, backpackers, and lots of self-contained apartments and houses. Some of the properties are ski-in ski-out, but many in Hirafu 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 with the accommodation provider using our Niseko accommodation listings

There is accommodation in the villages of An’nupuri, Niseko Village, Hanazono, and Niseko Hirafu, plus Moiwa and Kutchan. Our Niseko accommodation page outlines the pros and cons of each of the villages and a map.

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 folks hanging about late at night, but you can choose to join in the fun or avoid them. And if you really want some peace and quiet, stay in An’nupuri, Hanazono or Moiwa.

Niseko Ski Tours - Day Trips

When 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 (aka Ezofuji, because Hokkaido was previously called Ezo and the mountain looks like Fuji). 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 English, and restaurants have English menus.

The international popularity of Niseko has contributed 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 destination.
Tours In/Near Niseko

Safari (Road Trip) Tours

Hokkaido Storm Chaser
GUIDED STORM CHASING SAFARI
7 Days | 6 Nights | 6 Ski Areas
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.
Price p/p Displayed price may cary slightly due to exchange rates fluctuations
Base/invoice currency is JPY
Price includes 13% tax.
Base/invoice currency is JPY
Price includes 13% tax.
USD 2,765
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Hokkaido Fix
NISEKO, CENTRAL HOKKAIDO & SAPPORO
8 to 10 Days
Ability: Advanced to Expert
This CUSTOMISABLE guided backcountry tour starts in NISEKO & then heads to CENTRAL HOKKAIDO in pursuit of some of the deepest & driest snow on the planet. The tour finishes with a day chasing powder around Sapporo (TEINE & KOKUSAI).
Price p/p From price based on twin/triple-share based on group of 5 (per person) for 8 day trip for 2023-24 season.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 2,171
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Hokkaido Unplugged
GUIDED BACKCOUNTRY ADVENTURE
9 Nights | 8 Days Guiding
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 Hokkaido backcountry areas.This is a touring focused trip where you will be skinning for all guided days & likely to include some secret road side touring.
Price p/p From price based on twin/double-share option for 2023-24 season for group tour.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 2,765
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See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Niseko here

Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours

Otaru & Niseko Powder Chaser
HOSTED POWDER CHASING TOUR
7 Nights | 6 Days Chasing Powder
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
If you are on a budget but still want to ride all of the best spots around Niseko & Otaru then this package/tour is for you! Join as a solo traveller or small group or book the entire 5 spots!
Price p/p Price is per person based on a group of 2-5.
Base currency is Japanese Yen/invoice currency is AUD
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 1,980
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Niseko Guiding
GUIDING IN/FROM NISEKO or OTARU
For PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY of up to 6 guests
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
If you are in Niseko or Otaru with a group, a day or multiple days of guiding at Niseko or nearby ski areas will make sure you get to the powder stashes (off-piste, sidecountry or backcountry). PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY of up to 6 guests (i.e. you cannot join a group).
Price p/p From price based on a PER PERSON rate per day for PRIVATE group of 6 in peak season. Full price is 110,000 yen for group in peak season.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 121
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BDT Lift Assisted Backcountry Tours
LIFT ASSISTED BACKOUNTRY TOURS
Niseko Area | PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Join Black Diamond Tours for a day or more 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.
Price p/p From price based on 1 day tour per person - 5 people in private group (lift tickets not included) for 23/24 season inclusive of tax.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 145
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See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Niseko here

Single-Base, Single-Ski-Area Tours

Guided Photography Tours
GUIDED PHOTOGRAPHIC TOURS
Half & Full Day Package | Private Groups Only
Ability: Beginner to Expert
Experience Niseko’s world-famous powder snow with your guide and professional photographer. Incredible snow… the best zones… epic shots!! Private groups only of up to 5 in a group. Suited to all abilities.
Price p/p Form price based on half-day package per person in a private group of 5
base/invoice currency is JPY
Displayed price might vary slightly from actual due to exchange rate fluctuations
USD 112
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See all Single-Base, Single-Ski-Area tours that visit Niseko here

Backcountry Skiing Tours

Niseko Zen Guided Day Tours
GUIDED DAY TOURS IN / AROUND NISEKO AREA
For PRIVATE GROUPS only
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Niseko Zen offers a variety of PRIVATE GROUP (max 4 per group for touring or 5 per group for lift access backcountry) tours in and around the Niseko area and Rusutsu. The tours range from in-bounds resort powder hunting to full blown backcountry touring.
Price p/p From price based on private group of 4 people on a full-day "Lift-Accessed" backcountry tour of Niseko in 23/24 season.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 173
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Backcountry Touring Day Trips
GUIDED BACKCOUNTRY DAY TOURS
Niseko & Surrounding Areas | Private Groups Only
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 - 7 is also possible with a tail guide).
Price p/p From price based on PER PERSON for a PRIVATE GROUP of 5 guests in shoulder season.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 117
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BDT Guided BC Day Tours
PRIVATE GUIDED BACKCOUNTRY TOURS
Niseko Area | Shiribetsu & Yotei
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Join Black Diamond Tours on an epic day (or days) of guided backcountry skiing or riding near Niseko. Ideal for private groups. Areas include Niseko backcountry areas, Shiribetsu, lower Mt Yotei or Yotei summit (weather pending).
Price p/p From price based on 1 day of guided backcountry skiing/riding per person (5 guests in your group e.g. 110,000 yen total).
Base/invoice currency is in JPY ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 145
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See all Backcountry Skiing tours that visit Niseko here

Heli Skiing Tours

Shiribetsu-Dake Day Heliskiing
DAY HELI SKIING RUSUTSU - 6 RUN PACKAGE
Includes Niseko pickup & lunch
Ability: Advanced to Expert
A heli skiing operation near Rusutsu & Niseko. Make this one of the best days of your life skiing Hokkaido's deep dry powder on a dormant volcano (adjacent to Rusutsu and not far from Niseko).
Price p/p From price based on 6-run heli ski day 2023 rates.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 1,214
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See all Heli Skiing tours that visit Niseko here

Cat Skiing Tours

Iwanai Cat Skiing Day Package
MIXED GROUP DAY CAT SKIING
7 - 9 Runs
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Iwanai Cat Skiing serves up powder runs of 450-680m of vertical bliss, with 6 to 9 runs for the day. Located near Niseko, the Iwanai Resort snowcat skiing terrain scores masses of snowfall. Ideal for advanced riders with powder experience for group tours or strong intermediates for private snowcat.
Price p/p Price is per person per day
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese Yen
Displayed price may vary slightly due to exchange rate fluctuations. Price includes 8% sales tax
USD 858
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Chisenupuri Cat Skiing
UNGUIDED CAT SKIING NEAR NISEKO
Single Day, Pick Up & Return Niseko
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Advanced
Unguided cat skiing near Niseko is at the former ski resort of Chisenupuri. You have the freedom to explore and it is ideal for apprentice powder hounds or advanced riders heading to Niseko. Chisenupuri cat skiing is a lust-do! Finish the cat ski day with a soak in an amazing onsen.
Price p/p Price is per person per day inclusive of tax
Base/invoice currency is Japanese Yen
*display price may vary slightly due to exchange rate fluctuations
USD 561
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Shimamaki Snowcat Packages
GUIDED CAT SKIING ADVENTURE (2, 3 or 4 days)
Stay in Traditional Japanese Inn Inc All Meals
Ability: Advanced 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.
Price p/p Display price is based on 2 days + 2 nights per person for for group trip for 2024 season (regular season)
Base/invoice currency is Japanese Yen
*Display price may vary slightly due to exchange rate fluctuations
USD 1,650
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See all Cat Skiing tours that visit Niseko here
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