Best known for its deep powder snow, Niseko is home to one of the top 10 ski resorts in the world. Serious skiers can take to the slopes for a variety of scenic runs, while summer visitors and those coming for the après-ski can admire one of the most stunning parts of Hokkaido.
Things to do
Niseko is a winter sports destination like no other. Four of the six ski areas are interconnected and can be skied with a single pass. There are 38 gondolas and lifts connecting more than 60 ski runs, and if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, there is also a large number of off-piste routes not marked on the ski maps.
Powder hounds will adore the landscapes found at Strawberry Fields. This scenic route winds its way through an array of widely spaced trees in Niseko Hanazono. Here you’ll find the freshest snow before midday, and if you hire an off-piste guide, then they’ll take you straight to the finest spots.
Want to learn to freestyle? Niseko’s three terrain parks are all at Hanazono, too. Show off your moves with a proper half-pipe, jibs and magic carpet serviced jump. Shredders can practise on the bag jump, which has saved plenty of bones from breaking.
If you’re coming to Niseko in the summer months, fret not, as there is still plenty to see and do. Sea kayaking and whitewater rafting will please adrenalin junkies, and there are also opportunities for golf, horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking. When night falls, you can choose from the area’s eclectic mixture of bars, and at holidays and weekends Niseko’s nightlife carries on into the early hours.
Hokkaido is an island, so to get to Niseko you’ll need to fly into New Chitose Airport. The road transfer to Niseko takes two and a half hours, and it’s a strikingly beautiful ride. When in Niseko, most places of interest are within walking distance, but the slippery footpaths in winter make the complimentary shuttle buses more ideal for a more comfortable journey. Taxi services are available but can be in shortage during ski season.