Translated by Clarke
Niseko Sightseeing Guide: Access, Area Information and Souvenirs
Written by kazuma takahashi
Niseko in Hokkaido is one of the best places in the country to enjoy fluffy powder snow for skiing and snowboarding. This article gives information on getting to Niseko from the airport to Niseko Grand Hirafu Ski Resort and more.
Great Snowboarding and Skiing! All About Niseko
The town of Niseko is located in the south of Hokkaido in a basin. With its excellent snow, people from all over Japan and the rest of the world come to enjoy cutting up the slopes on skis and snowboards. This article will tell you all about Niseko as well as give information on the ski resort, Niseko Mt. Resort Grand Hirafu.
With trekking, canoeing, rafting, and horseback riding available in the summertime, this outdoor resort is a great getaway all year round.
There are a number of hot springs in the Niseko region as well, so rest your weary self in the warm waters of the hot springs after a day in the great outdoors!
Getting to Niseko from the Airport
By Train from New Chitose Airport and Sapporo
New Chitose Airport sees the most international traffic of all the airports in Hokkaido and is located close to Sapporo. Here, we'll tell you how you can get to Niseko from New Chitose Airport.
The route from the airport is: New Chitose -> Sapporo -> Otaru -> Niseko (3 hours).
You can take a JR express train from New Chitose Airport to Otaru which takes about 1 hour 15 minutes.
From Otaru to Niseko, taking the JR Hakodate Main Line takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes, but be careful as these trains run only once an hour. If you have a lot of luggage or want to take a private vehicle to your destination in Niseko, we recommend renting a shuttle.
Direct Bus to Hotel
A later section of this article will explain about hotels that offer direct shuttle buses from New Chitose Airport, which include The Green Leaf and Hilton Niseko Village.
However, typically only one bus will run every 1 to 2 hours, so be sure to check thistime table to find the best one for your arrival time.
Getting Around in Niseko
During the winter season, there is almost no public transportation running, so if you need to get around Niseko, you'll need to take a taxi. For information on using taxis in Japan, please check out our article: how to take a taxi in Japan.
During the summer between June and the end of July, Saturdays and Sundays in September to mid-October, and every day in August, you can take the Niseko Bus from Niseko station to Niseko Annupuri.
However, only two buses run during the day, the first at 10:30 am and the second at 1:10 pm, so be careful!
Skiing! The Tall Mountain of Niseko, Niseko Annupuri
If winter sports are your game, then by all means go visit Niseko Annupuri.
Niseko Annupuri, an active volcano at 1300 m elevation, is the tallest mountain in the Niseko mountain range.
Of course, many people come for the amazing powder snow and beautiful view, but there are also a number of hot springs located around the mountain.
Niseko Mountain Resort: Grand Hirafu Ski Resort
Out of all the ski resorts in Niseko, the Grand Hirafu Ski Resort is the most popular.
With plenty of courses for total novices, beginners, intermediate and advanced skiers, you can also enjoy long runs down the mountain.
With Mount Yotei, known as the Mount Fuji of Hokkaido sitting right in front of you, we're sure that as soon as you catch a glimpse of the gorgeous view it'll take your breath away.
Climate and Peak Season
Between November and March, highs reach around 7 to -2℃, with lows ranging from -1 to -10℃.
The coldest months of the year are January and February.
If it's excellent powder you're after, then January and February are the best times to visit, but if it's the view that brings you to Niseko, then come between the end of February and early April for the clearest weather of the year.
Grand Hirafu Ski Resort has two resort hotels, The Green Leaf and the Hilton Niseko Village.
The Green Leaf
A hotel that strives to maintain an artistic atmosphere, this is a stylish and comfortable hotel located near the slopes.
It's also popular in terms of cost performance, and has a hot spring located in the hotel for those of you who wish to rejuvenate and relax.
Hilton Niseko Village
Boasting a caring, courteous staff and renowned cuisine, this hotel is another excellent choice. The Hilton also has a hot spring attached as well as a 24 hour fitness center.
More Than Just Skiing! Delicious Dairy Products at Niseko Milk Kobo
Located at the foot of Niseko Annupuri is a farm known as the Niseko Milk Kobo.
The prime offering here is the ice cream made using freshly squeezed milk. Other offerings include profiteroles, cheese cake, and pudding, each more delicious than the last.
Other than sweets, you can also find Tonbodama (Japanese beads used for accessories) in craft workshops, wooden stores offering a wide range of different crafts, and various other souvenirs.
Restaurants offer buffets and meal sets using locally grown produce for 1550 yen.
Wash Away You Cares at a Hot Spring! Kiranoyu
In front of Niseko station, you can find a hot spring offering baths at 500 yen for adults, 250 yen for children. With rotemburo (open air bath), jacuzzis, and saunas, there's something for everyone here. There's even a bakery nearby for a snack after your bath!
Niseko Souvenirs! RAM Kobo: Tetsu
At RAM Kobo Tetsu, located by the train station, craftsmen make cute, tiny animals and other Japanese goods from metal.
Ostrich Eggs!? Michinoeki: Niseko View Plaza
Selling fresh local produce, tomato juice and locally produced sparkling wine, as well the slightly idiosyncratic souvenir of ostrich sausages and ostrich eggs (1 for 2000 yen), check out this co-op for shopping!
With winter sports, hot springs, fine cuisine, and handicrafts, Niseko has something for everyone!