The Niseko ski area is located in the southwest of Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island famous for its natural beauty, hot springs and prodigious snow fall. With some of Japan’s best winter and summer sports it is a popular destination for Australian and Asian holidaymakers and second home buyers. There are direct flights to Sapporo from Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, Seoul, Sydney and other major cities. The Hokkaido Shinkansen (Bullet Train) opened in March 2016 connecting the island with the rest of Japan. It is scheduled to extend to Sapporo with a stop in Niseko. The area is thus enjoying a growth spurt with investment in hotels (new Ritz Carlton and Park Hyatt) and a bid for the 2026 winter Olympics. Japanese architects are renowned for their modernist flair and use of space and light. Prepare to be pleasantly surprised by the new developments coming onto the market.
The Niseko Ski Resort consists of five areas, Hanazono, Hirafu, Niseko Village, Annupuri (all connected to the Niseko Unlimited Pass) and Moiwa. These sit around the base of Mount Annupuri, where all the skiing/boarding is to be found, and overlook the famous Mount Yotei (1898 metres), also known as Hokkaido’s Mount Fuji due to its resemblance to Japan’s highest mountain. Hirafu is the most developed area with bars, restaurants and a number of new international hotel openings. Annupuri is quieter, with a more residential feel, yet has plenty of restaurant options and hot springs (onsen) as well as being conveniently located at the base of the ski lift. The resort caters for fun in every season. In Winter the 15 metres of deep powder snow and tree runs make it a mecca for skiers and boarders from all over the world. In summer the lakes, rivers, hot springs and mountains provide a playground for adventurous holidaymakers as well as those keen to avoid the heat and humidity of Asia’s cities.
Altitude 280m – 1200m
South and North East facing
Multiple summer and winter activities
Large selection of bars, restaurants, shops, hot springs
2 hours from Sapporo Chitose International airport
Cold Siberian air crosses the Sea of Japan where it absorbs moisture and forms perfect snow crystals before dropping onto the mountains of Hokkaido. Niseko’s four main ski areas (Moiwa is on a separate pass) offer 55kms of ski runs and 33 lifts, mostly gondolas or covered chair lifts, all linked by a free shuttle service. The runs are 30% beginner, 40% intermediate, 30% expert and some are floodlit until 9pm providing the world’s largest night skiing area, an experience which should not be missed. Niseko is different from most Japanese resorts in so far as off-piste and back-country skiing/riding is permitted, opening up a vast terrain for intrepid “powder hounds” and tree-skiing aficionados.
The area has numerous attractions in summer. Whether it be hiking in the mountains, cycling on the new mountain bike trails, playing golf on the two pristine courses, tennis, rafting, tree-trekking or horse riding, the area has it all. Niseko is home to Japan’s longest zip wire, at 1.4kms length. There are water sports at nearby Lake Toya, a volcanic caldera lake famous for its clear water. After all that activity treat yourself to some of Japan’s finest ice creams at Milk Kobo in Hirafu, a famous and popular local dairy farm.