6 Reasons to Visit Niseko
Issue 26 / 17 December 2019

6 Reasons to Visit Niseko

Made up of four areas (Annupuri, Niseko Village, Hirafu & Hanazono), Niseko is one of the most popular ski resorts in Japan.

Alicia Bryan

1. Top-quality snow

Renowned for its quality, quantity and consistency, the snow in Niseko makes for exceptional skiing, averaging 15 to 18 metres per season. From big powder bowls to exhilarating tree runs, why not book a guide to show you the best skiing and riding experiences Niseko has to offer?

With incredible views of Mt. Yotei and Mt. Fuji, this ski destination is open from November to May and is the dream resort for any powder hound.

2. Terrain from beginner to backcountry

Niseko is one of the largest ski resorts in Japan, with long runs, incredible backcountry and above treeline terrain. For the beginners and intermediates of the group, the Annupuri ski area has the best-groomed runs and low gradient slopes, while experienced skiers will have the time of their lives as they explore the deep powder of Hanazono’s backcountry and the black runs of Niseko village. For further excitement, Hanazono also has three terrain parks with a pipe and jumps for all levels.

3. Skiing on an active stratovolcano

At 1898m, Mt. Yotei is the highest mountain in the region with the longest verticle ski run in Hokkaido. The ultimate backcountry challenge for skiers, helicopters are unable to reach the summit, so a five to eight-hour guided hike is the only way to reach the top.

Experience the surreal moment of skiing inside the crater of a stratovolcano before commencing your descent through some of the freshest powder you will have ever experienced.

4. Japanese food & après ski

Niseko resort has an incredible variety of food with over 100 bars and restaurants to choose from. Soba dishes and the mouthwatering fresh seafood of grilled scallops and boiled crab is just some of the cuisine Niseko has to offer. The traditional Japanese experience of an Izakaya gastropub also provides a delightful shared dining experience of fresh sushi.

Ready to unwind after a hard day’s skiing? Renowned for its vibrant nightlife, Hirafu is the centre of Niseko with an abundance of bars and pubs providing live music and DJs. Popular venues include Wild Bill’s and Yoko Oh-No's.

"This idyllic ski hub in Japan also has a reputation for its gastronomic scene."
South China Morning Post
"This idyllic ski hub in Japan also has a reputation for its gastronomic scene."
South China Morning Post

5. Night skiing

For many European resorts, night skiing is usually only possible on certain dates of the winter season. Hirafu, however, has offered night skiing for over 50 years with floodlit slopes open every night! Lights cut through the evening fog and shadows are cast on the bumps of the ski terrain so visibility is often clearer than during the day; you can even ski in the backcountry with lights reaching off-piste terrain.

Night skiing sees fewer skiers on the piste so avoid the crowds during the day and admire the twinkling lights of the village as the fresh snow falls around you.

6. Onsens

If you are looking to really submerge yourself into Japanese culture, a visit to one of Niseko’s Onsens is the perfect way to relax and rejuvenate after a hard day’s skiing. These naturally occurring volcanic hot water springs have many health benefits with minerals beautifying the skin and aiding high blood pressure and joint pain. A place of tranquillity and tradition, bathing suits are not permitted and visitors must wash thoroughly before entering the bathing facility.

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