Strap on your skis for hours of snow-based fun and lots of fresh mountain air at Niseko. This popular winter destination features four fabulous resorts that are situated at the base of a mountain and meet at its summit. Away from the slopes, venture into the surrounding forests to spot the local wildlife then head to a bar to socialize with a cosmopolitan crowd.
One of the most challenging aspects of a trip to Niseko is knowing where to begin. However, the resort that takes its name from the area is a good bet. Head to Niseko Village, a vast winter playground in the shadow of the breathtaking Mount Niseko Annupuri. There are groomed runs for all abilities and lots of off-piste action in the surrounding wilderness. When you’ve put your ski boots away for the day, soothe your muscles in a hot spring.
The village is one of four resorts situated at the base of the mountain that all meet at its summit. A few minutes to the west of Niseko Village is Annupurri. Spend a morning on the slopes, then go horseback riding or snowshoe trekking through the woods. Spot indigenous wildlife, including Hokkaido foxes.
If you are into snowboarding and freestyle skiing, visit the expansive terrain park at Hanazono. Other activities at this resort include snowmobile tours, sledging, snow tubing and backcountry hiking.
On the east face of the mountain is Grand Hirafu, the largest of the four resorts. There are runs for all abilities and a snow park for children. Night skiing is very popular here. Make sure you leave a little bit of energy to participate in the après-ski in the bars and restaurants.
Niseko is on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. Fly into New Chitose Airport, which is about a 2-hour drive away. If you don’t want to drive, take the train or bus from the airport.
Thrill to the mountain runs, gorgeous scenery and the social scene of this prime skiing location.