Niseko is the representative resort of Japan. It is known worldwide, especially as a sacred place for winter sports. In Niseko, you can enjoy skiing from late November to early May. There is a beautiful mountain very similar to Mt. Fuji in Niseko. It is “Mt.Yotei” seen in the above picture. There is another mountain so as to face this mountain across the river. It is “Niseko Annupuri” seen in the picture below. On the slope of Niseko Annupuri, four large ski resorts were developed. These ski resorts are attracting domestic and foreign skiers and snowboarders with amazing snow quality. In addition, Niseko has wonderful hot springs. On this page, I would like to introduce you what you should do in Niseko. On this page, I will tell you about Niseko in spring, summer, autumn as well as Niseko in winter. In Niseko the winter is very long, and spring, summer, autumn goes as if to run fast. However, you can enjoy a lot of activities in these seasons. I will introduce Niseko’s spring, summer, autumn in the second half of this article.
Table of Contents
- Outline of Niseko
- Access : from New Chitose Airport to Niseko
- The reason why Niseko is loved 1 : Snow quality is wonderful!
- The reason why Niseko is loved 2 : The scenery is wonderful!
- The reason why Niseko is loved 3 : The hot springs are wonderful!
- The reason why Niseko is loved 4 : You can communicate in English!
- Enjoy the 4 ski resorts in Niseko!
- Best Things to do in spring, summer, autumn
- Enjoy a variety of activities in the wilderness of Hokkaido!
- Spring skiing
- Flower viewing
- Horse riding
- Field Athletic
- Farm experience
- 3 best spots to enjoy autumn leaves in Niseko!
Outline of Niseko
Niseko is located about 100 kilometers west of Sapporo. It is approximately 150 minutes by bus from Sapporo to Niseko. From New Chitose Airport to Niseko it is about 160 minutes by bus. You can go to Niseko by train, but there are few trains going straight.
In general, called “Niseko” is a sightseeing area centered on Niseko town and Kutchan Town. This area has Mt. Yotei (altitude 1898 m) which is very similar to Mt. Fuji as mentioned earlier. There is Niseko Annupuri (altitude 1308 m) on the other side across the beautiful Shiribetsu river. “nupuri” means “mountain” in the language of the Ainu race who is the indigenous people of Hokkaido. On the slopes of Niseko Annupuri, there are four big ski resorts. From any ski resort, you can enjoy the beautiful view of Mt. Yotei on a sunny day.
Access : from New Chitose Airport to Niseko
When you go to Niseko, you better go to New Chitose Airport by plane. From New Chitose Airport to Niseko, it takes about 2 hours 30 to 3 hours 30 minutes by bus. It takes time to reach distant ski resorts such as Niseko Annupuri. For directions from New Chitose Airport to Niseko, please refer to my article below.
The reason why Niseko is loved 1 : Snow quality is wonderful!
Niseko is now proud of the worldwide popularity. Because there are so many people from foreign countries, people become unaware of whether they are really in Japan.
The biggest reason for popularity is in the snow quality. In Niseko, you can enjoy skiing and snowboarding in a wonderful snow like powder.
Powder snow is not unusual if you go to a place with a very high altitude from the world viewpoint. But in Niseko, even at the foot, you can enjoy powder snow!
In addition, we have a lot of snow in Niseko. The clouds coming from the Sea of Japan bring snow to Niseko first. Since Niseko has a lot of snow, it can be said that you can enjoy powder snow all the time compared to other ski resorts. This is the reason why Niseko is popular with skiers and snowboarders around the world.
The reason why Niseko is loved 2 : The scenery is wonderful!
From Niseko ski resorts, you can see Mt. Yotei on a sunny day. Mt. Yotei is not a high mountain at all, but it is a beautiful mountain very similar to Mount Fuji. You can enjoy the magnificent mountain scenery without going to Mount Fuji.
Various courses are prepared in Niseko ski resorts. You can slide through beautiful trees and see Mt. Yotei when you leave the forest. Please do try this experience by all means.
The reason why Niseko is loved 3 : The hot springs are wonderful!
Actually, both Mt. Yotei and Niseko Annupuri are active volcanoes. For this reason, the Niseko area is also famous for hot springs. There are many hotels with hot spring facilities in Niseko. In addition, there are many hot spring facilities that anyone can drop in. This is one reason why Niseko is adding repeaters.
Niseko’s hot springs are rich in source types. You can enjoy various types of hot springs such as white muddy hot water, brown hot water, transparent water. You can see Mt. Yotei from the open air bath. In winter, you can enjoy beautiful snow scene from open air bath.
The luxury hotels and condominiums may have hot springs on the balcony of the guest rooms. If you stay in such a room, you will be able to refresh your mind with a view of Mt. Yotei from your own hot spring.
The reason why Niseko is loved 4 : You can communicate in English!
In Niseko, You can survive even if you can not speak Japanese. You can communicate in English generally.
Every year, there are so many foreigners in Niseko. For this reason, there are many staff who can speak English in hotels, restaurants, pubs, ski resorts, etc. Even some of the staff can not speak Japanese well.
Signs are of course accompanied by English notation. In a hotel, a Japanese tourist got bitter smile “I can not communicate in Japanese! ”
Enjoy the 4 ski resorts in Niseko!
NISEKO Mt.RESORT Grand HIRAFU
NISEKO Mt.RESORT Grand HIRAFU is the largest ski resort in Niseko. Number of lift, number of courses, hotels at the foot, number of pensions is the most in Niseko. At the foot there are many pubs, cafes and bars, so you can enjoy after-snow skiing well. However, it gets crowded due to its popularity.
If you want to play in the largest and most popular ski resort in Niseko, it would be nice to base this NISEKO Mt.RESORT Grand HIRAFU. However, all of Niseko’s ski resorts are big enough. After having enjoyed at NISEKO Mt.RESORT Grand HIRAFU, by all means, please also go to other ski resorts and enjoy the difference.
■Top elevation ／1,200 m
■Base elevation ／260 m
■Longest run ／5,300 m
■Total area ／325 ha
■Maximum slope ／40 degrees
■Lift／12 (Including 1 gondola)
Niseko Village is directly connected to two resort hotels “The Green Leaf” and “Hilton Niseko Village”. It is very easy if you stay at these hotels. It is a ski area where the atmosphere of the resort is well directed. You can enjoy, for example, a course that slides through the virgin forest. There are also courses that do not pressure snow on purpose. In the morning when the snow fell, you can glide in powder snow for more than 2000 meters. Overall the slope is relatively tough, so this ski resort is also highly popular for advanced players.
■Top elevation ／1,170 m
■Base elevation ／280 m
■Longest run ／5,000 m
■Total area ／ 90 ha
■Maximum slope ／32 degrees
Niseko Annupuri International Ski Area
This ski resort is popular among families. It looks steep when looking up from the front, but the detour course is being maintained, so even a beginner can glide fun easily. Lift is a bit older compared to Grand Hirafu etc. There are few people gliding compared to Grand Hirafu, so you will be able to glide relatively calmly.
■Top elevation ／1,156 m
■Base elevation ／400 m
■Longest run ／4,000 m
■Total area ／84 ha
■Maximum slope ／34 degrees
Niseko HANAZONO Ski Resort
This ski resort is located on the nortest side of Niseko. It is next to the biggest Niseko Grand Hirafu Ski Resort.
Niseko HANAZONO Ski Resort is the most snowing in Niseko. There are popularity among skiers and snowboarders seeking powder snow. There are many courses that even beginners can enjoy.
■Top elevation ／1,308 m
■Base elevation ／308 m
■Longest run ／ 3,300 m
■Skiable area／56 ha
■Maximum slope ／30 degrees
These four ski resorts are connected at the summit.
Shuttle buses run between the four ski resorts. If you have a common lift ticket for all the resorts, you can use the buses for free.
Best Things to do in spring, summer, autumn
Enjoy a variety of activities in the wilderness of Hokkaido!
What kind of things can you enjoy in Niseko in spring, summer, autumn?
From here, I will explain about Niseko’s spring, summer, autumn.
In Niseko these periods you can enjoy a variety of outdoor sports as below.
From spring to autumn, you can enjoy driving as well. In autumn, you can see the autumn leaves. In addition, you can experience Japanese hot springs throughout the year including winter.
Well then, I will introduce it in more detail.
In Niseko, the temperature in the day begins to rise from around March. However, the temperature in the morning and evening is still low. The snow keeps falling. For this reason, you can enjoy full-scale skiing until April.
Ski resorts are open until early May. If it is sunny, you can enjoy skiing with short sleeves.
In Niseko, cherry blossoms begin to bloom at the end of April to the beginning of May. Cherry blossoms looking back at Mt. Yotei are exceptional.
In addition, in Niseko, you can appreciate stunning moss sliver from the end of May to the middle of June. A man named Mishima living in Kutchan chooses to open the garden at home free of charge. Red, white and pink flowers bloom on the flowerbed of 4000 square meters. In the above picture, this garden is filmed.
In Niseko there is a beautiful river called “Shiribetsu River”. You can experience rafting here. What I would like to recommend specifically is spring rafting.
When spring comes, Annupuri’s snow melts and the river’s water increases. The fallen river in spring is rich in water volume and flowing fast. You can enjoy thrilling rafting while enjoying the snowy mountains and the fresh green around.
In addition to rafting you can also experience canoeing and kayaking. There are several companies in Niseko that are engaged in these tours. Niseko Village with Hilton Hotel etc. will introduce you to these experiences tours.
Hiking while enjoying Niseko’s fresh green and flowers is popular.
You can also take a walk in the mountains by taking a gondola in ski resorts. At Niseko Annupuri International Ski Resort, gondola is operated as below in the summer. If you use gondola, you can go to the seventh stop of Annupuri. It’s about 1000 meters above sea level. From here, you can see not only the mountains of Niseko such as Mt. Yotei, but also Lake Toya far away. “Summer gondola” is also operated at Niseko Mountain Resort Grand Hirafu. The details are as follows.
■ Place / Niseko Annupuri Ski Area
■ Business Period / Mid July – Mid October
■ Business Hours / 9: 00-16: 30
■ Price / round trip: Adult 1240 yen, elementary school student 620 yen, infant free
■ Place / NISEKO Grand HIRAFU
■ Business Period / Mid July – Late September
■ Business Hours / 9:00-16:00 (August 10 to August 15 = 8: 30-18:00)
■ Price / round trip: Adult 1100 yen, Child 550 yen, infant free
In Niseko it is crowded with people enjoying mountain climbing from spring to summer. For beginners, there is a course aiming at the summit of Niseko Annupuri. The journey to climb takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes. For those who have experienced mountain climbing, there is a course aiming at the summit of Mt. Yotei. The journey time is about 5 hours
Mt. Yotei is also known as a power spot. At this mountain, alpine plants bloom in summer and about 130 species of wild birds live.
Cycling activities are easy for beginners to experience. Niseko has many shops of bicycle rental.
You can experience activities called “mountain bike downhill” at “NISEKO Grand HIRAFU”. It is an activity that goes down the mountain using the ski slope. Beginners of mountain biking can start with a gradual course. For someone who does not have physical strength, some shops can rent mountain bikes with electric assist.
You can fish at Niseko’s Shiribetsu River. There are lots of guided tours from May to October, so if you arrive in Niseko, ask the front desk of the hotel. Even beginners can participate. Of course you can borrow fishing equipment as well. On the Shiribetsu River, you can catch Iwana, Yamame, Rainbow trout and so on.
Niseko is a popular area as a place to experience horseback riding. You can ride a temperament – friendly horse and trek wide meadow. You can also experience in the family. Let’s enjoy it in a relaxed and cowboy mood.
You can experience horseback riding in the following place.
■ Address / Satomi 238-5, Niseko Town
☎0136-44-3788 (For reservations and inquiries 090-9756-5608)
■ Period / From late April to late October
■ Course / Basic course (above junior high school student, 90 minutes), course for experienced people (90 minutes), course for experienced people (180 minutes). Basic course is held twice a day. Start at 10 o’clock and 13 o’clock
■ Price / Basic course is 10000 yen without tax for one person
There are several athletic fields in Niseko. Among them, “NAC ADVENTURE PARK” at the foot of the Grand Hirafu ski resort is big. The official site is below.
Niseko Village also has a field athletic called “Pure”. It is easy to experience with family.
In Niseko, the season of golf begins in mid-May. Niseko is famous not only for the ski resorts but also for the wonderful golf courses. Playing while watching Yotei mountain is full of refreshing feeling.
Among the several golf courses, the following two golf courses are particularly popular.
This 7,003 yards championship course is the most popular and beautiful course in the Niseko area. The unspoiled nature is well utilized in this course. It is characterized by a stream of spring water and a natural white birch forest.
NISEKO VILLAGE GOLF COURSE
Niseko Village Golf Course is adjacent to Niseko Village in Hilton. You can see Mt. Yotei from the course of 6,845 yards. After the hall out, let’s heal your body at the hot spring.
If you ride “balloon”, you can enjoy Niseko’s wilderness from about 30 m above the ground. Air enters the balloon and it slowly rises. The sound of the burner is tremendously powerful. Since the entrance of the basket is in the form of a door, even a small child can ride.
OAC Niseko Balloon
■ Place / Niseko Annupuri Ski Area
■ Period / From the beginning of June until the end of September
■ Time / 6: 30-7: 30, 16: 30-17: 30
■ Price / Adult 2,700 yen (junior high school student or above), Child (4 years old to 12 years old), Young Child (1-3 years old), Family Pack 8,100 (2 adults, 2 children)
There are many ranches in Niseko. Among them, there are places where tourists are accepted.
“Niseko Takahashi Dairy Farm” has “Milk Studio” where you can eat sweets using freshly squeezed milk. You can taste handmade ice cream. There is restaurant, too and tou can enjoy delicious vegetables from near Niseko near lunch buffet.
Besides this, there is a rare farm. The 2nd Arijima Farm is widely popular as “Niseko Otrich Farm”. Many ostriches are grazing here. You can feed the ostriches. There is a sweet shop that uses ostrich eggs in this farm.
Niseko Takahashi Dairy Farm
■ Address / Soga 888-1, Niseko Town
■ Milk studio / 9: 30-18: 00 (until 17:30 in winter)
Niseko Otrich Farm
■ Address / Toyosato 239-2. Niseko Town
The ostriches are grazing outside except winter.
The number of people enjoying these activities in summer is increasing. In Niseko, condominiums and apartments for long-term stay are increasing. I would like you also to enjoy various activities in Niseko in the summer.
In Niseko, the temperature may be 30 degrees Celsius for several days in the summer. However, the average of the highest temperatures is around 25 degrees throughout the summer. It will not be a sweaty heat. There are times when you feel chilly in the morning and evening, you need attention to the difference in temperature.
3 best spots to enjoy autumn leaves in Niseko!
From late September to mid-October every year Niseko is surrounded by beautiful autumn leaves. You can enjoy the landscape of autumnal leaves with a very large scale. You can see the autumn leaves everywhere in Niseko. However, I would like to introduce three best spots among them.
There are plenty of marshs in Niseko and every marsh reflects beautiful autumn leaves on the surface of the water. Especially famous is Shinsen-numa Marsh. This marsh is located 760 meters above sea level. In autumn, the surrounding trees turn red and yellow. A tree road is maintained from the parking lot to the marsh. It takes about 20 minutes to marsh. Why do not you enjoy walking?
Address: Maeda, Kyowa, Iwanai District, Hokkaido Map
Niseko Panorama Line
If you go from Niseko to the above Shinsen-numa Marsh, I recommend that you drive through this “Niseko Panorama Line” (official name is line 66). In the above YouTube video, it was filmed to drive the Niseko panoramic line in autumn. This road crosses the Chisenupuri Pass (832 m above sea level) on the way. The curve continues, it is hard to drive, but the spectacular autumnal leaves of the Niseko Commonwealth spread to the eyes. If it is sunny, you can see the majestic view of Mt. Yotei in the middle of the drive.
Thirdly, the autumn tint spot I recommend to you is Niseko Annupuri (altitude 1308 m). Late September, autumn leaves start gradually in this mountain. By walking over the mountains, you can see the beautiful autumnal leaves of Mt. Yotei and the surrounding mountains. At Niseko Annupuri International Ski Area, gondola is operated for tourists seeing autumn leaves. About gondola, I introduced above. If you go to Niseko in the fall, please enjoy the views of the autumn leaves from Niseko Annupuri.
Thank you for reading to the end.
Now, let’s plan to make your vacation in Japan the best experience ever!