Niseko is comprised of three main ski fields, Niseko Grand Hirafu, Niseko Higashiyama and Niseko Annupuri. Niseko Grand Hirafu is divided into two sub areas, the Hirafu area, and the Hanazono area. The peak of Mt. Niseko An'nupuri, provides access to the three main ski fields, and with the all mountain pass, enables use of all 28 lifts.
- 1 Location
- 2 Pros
- 3 Cons
- 4 Contacts
- 5 Planning
- 6 Resort Facilities
- 7 Ride Guide
- 8 Other
- 9 Resources
Just over 100km from Sapporo on the South Western end of Hokkaido.
Very reliable powder,often deep. Large mountain with an all resort ticket. A peak to climb. Extensive off groomed terrain. Extensive trees. Official relaxed attitude to off piste skiing. Good lift system except for the upper mountain. Town well situated to the field. Very caucasian friendly.
Some flat and long lower run sections. Quaint upper lift single chairs. Increasingly popular.
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Most people fly into Chitose Airport, and it's easiest to catch a bus direct to Niseko. If you are going to Sapporo first(one hour from Chitose Airport), then it's easiest to take the train.
JAPANiCAN Major Japanese travel agent with 12 accommodation options in Niseko both on and off mountain, starting at ¥6,100 per night. http://www.japanican.com/hotels/List.aspx?anl=niseko&so=c
THE NISEKO COMPANY  Offering Niseko's best luxury self contained accommodation options, The Niseko Company's high level of professional friendly service ensures a memorable visit to Niseko. Contact us and we will work with you to arrange everything you need to enjoy the powder in winter and the beautiful surrounds in Summer.
THE SETSUMON by Niseko Alpine Developments (NISADE) Ultimate central location: walk to ski lifts, Japanese thermal baths (Onsens), the village nightlife and restaurants. Architecturally designed under Niseko's premier blue chip property developer.
There are a number of different ski schools on the hill, from the research I have done we will be using NISS, they have the Milo Club (TicTac) program. Our oldest (6) is familiar with this so we think it's a better option. Also the NISS ski school has longer days so you can register them earlier than the other schools without having to pay additional rates for early drop off (8:30ish).
We are using Hirafu Kids for our 2year old and will try to source a nanny to split the time. Hirafu Kids looks great and is on a shuttle stop so easy access. Also the rates look okay (if the Aus $$ gets better), You can book direct with them or through Hokkaido Tracks.
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EN in-house fine dining. Why go to the restaurant when they come to your house. The chefs cook a fantastic dinner in your holiday home. This food catering company also does delivery to all Niseko locations.
Bars & Entertainment
Out of Bounds
Great back country area accessed by walking from the top chairlift up to the summit then skiing/boarding off the back. The walk to the top can be quite tiring and cold (depending on weather) but it is well worth it. Once you reach the top you can shelter in the summit hut before skiing over the back. Great relatively untracked snow with some open bowls followed by tree skiing. It is recommended you take avalanche gear and better still go with an experienced guide. Not all tracks lead back to Niseko so you need to know where you are going.
Parks & Pipes
Situated in southwestern Hokkaido, Niseko is only around 35km from the Sea of Japan. The Niseko range is well aligned to take the full brunt of the northwesterly airstream that is predominant throughout the winter months. This airstream coming out of Siberia is cold and dry but picks up moisture as it passes over the relatively mild Sea of Japan. That moisture helps produce some of the most consistent and heaviest snowfalls found in Hokkaido. Close to the base of the mountain Kutchan at only 174m above sea level average 12.4m of snow each winter. Although there are no accurate records of snowfall up on the mountain itself, they likely average well in excess of 14m (46ft)per season, making Niseko snowfalls some of the highest recorded at any ski resort in the world. In Kutchan snow falls on average around 24 days a month during winter and up at the ski resort it's not unusual to have some snow recorded nearly every day of the month. Average temperatures are below freezing right to sea level throughout the winter months and on the upper mountain (around 1000m) temperatures rarely get much above -10 c.
Niseko was largely unknown outside of Japan before the 1990's. John Morrell started touring various areas around Hokkaido from the mid 80's and started sending small groups to Niseko from the early 90's. In those days you would rarely see any foreigners apart from a Swede by the name of Pär. Very few japanese would ski offpiste at all.
In the mid 90's Dale and Glenn Goulding first skied the area and saw the potential for consistent powder skiing. They started tours for small groups staying initially in pensions but as their client base grew the accomodation choices diversified. Numbers increased quite quickly and other operators soon jumped on board.
In the early 2000's developers seeing the ever reliable snow conditions in contrast to some sketchy Australian seasons bought up the Hanazono area and started building apartment style accomodation for the mainstream Australian market. English language signage became prominant as well as Aussie style bars and restaurants, so it became very much a mainstream Australian destination.
It has more recently also become a major destination for Asian neighbours, particularly Chinese.
- Official Niseko website
- www.sweetwasabi.org Niseko tourist information
- www.powder.tv video ski reports