Niseko

Closed
Jack Taylor
SnowPak Local Insider
Jack Taylor
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
4.3

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 4 m!

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.

FLY TO

New Chitose Airport

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 1,189 m 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 elevation1,200m 1,500m
total lifts31 7
child lift ticketFree ¥3,000 JPY ($37 AUD)
adult lift ticket¥7,400 JPY ($91 AUD) ¥4,300 JPY ($53 AUD)
uncrowded
snow
back country
value for money
average total snowfall1,056cm -

Niseko Reviews

Fabulous 4.4 / 5
based on 70 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
Fabulous!4.4 / 5Jun 07, 2018
Shin Y. Shin Y.
intermediate skier
Absolutely sick. I have never seen that kind of powder anywhere in the world that it's was almost scary since I'm not the best skier... but mostly fun. There's only a couple weeks or so of "bad" snow during the season but that being said, the bad snow is still better snow than most resorts in the world.... More
Very Good!4.2 / 5May 27, 2018
Noriko T. Noriko T.
advanced snowboarder
The snow quality was great and this resort was very friendly for people from other countries. There were a lot of sign in english and staff. And the resort was very wide and have variety of caurses. So, all level's skier and snowboarder can enjoy, I think.... More
Very Good!4.2 / 5May 23, 2018
Nicole R. Nicole R.
intermediate skier
Niseko was amazing! The snow is normally quite good compared to back in Aus however when you get fresh powder that is worth everything :) It could cater for all ranges of skiiers with basic beginner runs to off piste through trees for advanced skiiers. We booked a bus directly from the airport which dropped us at our front door, a great start. I... More
Fabulous!4.5 / 5May 13, 2018
Andrew C. Andrew C.
advanced skier
This was the best quality snow I've skied on. The 4 resort areas provide great lift and ski run options although traversing between them all may be dependent on weather, lift availability and visibilty. The ticket prices are very reasonable compared with Australia and North America (so this leaves more to spend in Apres ski!). Apres ski in Hirafu... More
Fabulous!4.5 / 5May 09, 2018
Andres S. Andres S.
advanced snowboarder
great snow and fun mountain runs are short but great off piste tree skiing and easily access to lap able side country with 4 resorts covering the mountain there is something for everybody... More
Fabulous!4.3 / 5May 08, 2018
Patrick B. Patrick B.
intermediate snowboarder
Niseko is the mecca of the snowsports world with a tsunami of powder covering a picturesque Japanese village that could only exist in your imagination. If there is one place on Earth not to be missed it is here!... More
Good!3.8 / 5May 05, 2018
Hugo T. Hugo T.
expert skier
Niseko offer the most amazing snow on the planet. The resorts have old infrastructure and Annoying speakers. Other than that the slope layout is good and the backcountry is world class Some things should improve but it is on its way!... More
Very Good!3.9 / 5May 02, 2018
Adrian L. Adrian L.
expert snowboarder
Annupuri is not worth going to in late january or early february. It snows too much. The snow gets too deep to ski or snowboard through unless you have wide skis or wide snowboards. They allow people to go off the groomed runs and get covered in snow. Worse still people from Niseko cannot traverse over to Annupuri when its snowing heavily. Things... More
Superb!4.6 / 5May 01, 2018
Mat C. Mat C.
advanced snowboarder
The most epic powder I've ever experienced. The resort is awesome and the access to backcountry allows for some extra special turns of untouched powder goodness. The nightlife has plenty of restaurants and bars after a big day on the slopes with many onsens around to relax in the afternoon. Some of the best night skiing ever when it's been... More
Fabulous!4.3 / 5May 01, 2018
Chris R. Chris R.
intermediate snowboarder
The powder quality and consistent falls made the trip. Heaps of backcountry and great tree runs to keep things interesting for the more advanced skiers. On the expensive side though.... More

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