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Niseko Area, Hokkaido, Japan Map
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Fast Facts

Distance & Driving times from major cities
To Niseko From Sapporo
110 km 2 hours
To Niseko From Otaru
60 km 1 1/2 hours
To Niseko From New Chitose Airport
110 km 2 hours
Closest Capital City:
Sapporo
Closest Airport:
Chitose
Activities:Skiing, snow boarding, mountain biking, golf, horse riding, hiking
 
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Niseko Area Tourism Information
 

About Niseko Area

The area of Niseko is located in Central Hokkaido. The area includes several resorts, towns, ski fields, onsens and national parks. The most popular destination in the Niseko area is Hirafu, commonly known as Niseko-Hirafu.

Hirafu falls under the governance of Kutchan and further down the road from the ski area and resort of Hirafu is the actual town of Niseko.

On a clear day, the views in Niseko are fantastic, including the beauty of Mt Yotei all the way to the Sea of Japan.

The resort of Hirafu is only a short 10 minute bus ride to the nearby town of Kutchan which provides more shopping opportunities as well as traditional Japanese restaurants and Karaoke bars.

Niseko in winter

The Niseko ski area is known for some of the best off-piste powder skiing in the world. Niseko can receive up to 16 metres of snow in a season. The snow arrives from storms crossing the Siberian Desert across the Sea of Japan. The water content of the snow is usually less than 10% creating extremely light powder snow.

The terrain at Niseko includes wide open, well groomed cruising runs, glades, terrain parks and open bowls starting on the peak of Mt Annupuri.

There are several ski areas in the Niseko Area and a multi resort lift passes can be purchased.

Grand Hirafu
The Grand Hirafu ski area consists of several chairlifts, a 4 person gondola and rope tows. Several of the chairlifts have protective weather hoods to make your journey up the mountain more bearable on those frequently snowy days. The lifts are open daily from 8.30am to 8.30pm. Niseko has one of the largest night skiing areas in the world, so if you haven't had your fill of powder snow during the day you keep going into the night. For the powder snow enthusiast you can hike to the top of Mt Annupuri. Approximately 1000 steps depending who's steps you count takes you to the summit. On a clear day the view is breathtaking, all the way to the beaches along the Sea of Japan.

After you recover from the climb the ski or board down is awesome through open bowls of powder and onwards through some of the best glade runs.

A free shuttle bus service runs throughout the entire resort to transport guests to and from the lifts. Several of the pensions also operate shuttle buses for their guests.

Higashiyama
Higashiyama is located between Annupuri and Hirafu. Higashiyama offers some of the steepest runs in the Niseko area, combined with light powder snow, and some of the most spectacular views of Mt Yotei.

A visit (or several) to one of the local Onsens is a must during any skiing or snowboarding holiday. The hot therapeutic waters help ease away the day's aches and pains. The Onsens are natural thermal springs that originate from deep within the volcanic earth. The steaming hot water is piped into large outdoor and indoor bathing pools. There are Onsen’s throughout the villages at the base of the ski slopes in the Niseko area.

Niseko in summer

The Niseko area offers a wide range of activities during the warmer months. There are several excellent golf courses with first class facilities. Or try Park Golf which has been developed in Hokkaido. Players hit a large golf ball with a club which resembles a Number 1 Wood. The object of the game is to put the ball into a larger hole with the minimum number of strokes.

For the adventure enthusiasts try white water rafting, hang gliding or mountain biking through spectacular forests or on technical downhill courses. Niseko also provides some fantastic locations for fly fishing which is very popular amongst the locals.

Summer is the perfect time to visit one of the local farms/ranches to go horse riding or just enjoy the country side.

A visit to one of the many Onsen’s in the area is a great way to relax. The Onsens are natural thermal springs that originate from deep within the volcanic earth. The steaming hot water is piped into large outdoor and indoor bathing pools.

Food and wine

Niseko area offers a wide selection of bars and restaurants including small pubs, traditional Yakitori & Sushi restaurants, ramen noodle shops and curry houses. The prices vary depending on the style of the restaurant but it is quite possible to find some very good value meals at the smaller restaurants.

Local produce features high on the menus at most of the restaurants especially local seafood and it is not always raw - the Mackerel and the squid are both very popular.

Accommodation

The Niseko Area is surrounded by several small towns including Niseko and the resort village of Hirafu and Higashiyama.

Accommodation types include pensions (guesthouses), self-contained apartments (condominiums) and Hotels.

Getting there

Car
To Niseko Annupuri From Sapporo; Take Route 230 via Nakayama pass and Kimobetsu town. Distance approx. 105 km.

To Niseko Higashiyama From Sapporo; Take Route 230 via Nakayama pass and Kimobetsu town. Distance approx. 97 km.

To Niseko Hirafu From Sapporo; Take Route 230 via Nakayama pass to Kimobetsu town. Then turn right at the crossing of Route 276 toward Kutchan. When you reach Route 5, turn left. Distance approx. 92 km.

Train
JR line; Sapporo – Kutchan – Niseko
Approximately 1 ¾ hrs to Kutchan and another 15 minutes to Niseko. Disembark at Kutchan for Hirafu and take the bus from Kutchan station to Hirafu resort.

Bus
Chuo Bus, Niseko Bus and Donan Bus operate between New Chitose Airport – Sapporo and the following destinations in the Niseko ski area:

Hirafu
Higashiyama
Annupuri
Niseko

The trip takes approximately 2 ½ hours.

More information

More info
http://www.niseko.ne.jp/en/index.htm

Useful Links To Shops, Services and other things in Niseko Area

Harro's Snow Sports Providng a wide range of ski, snowboard & back country equipment rentals in Hirafu, Niseko.
 

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