NISEKO

G'Day Japan! / Destinations / NISEKO

√  Vast quantities of Japan’s best powder
√  World-class facilities
√  Loads of after-ski entertainment

What is it that makes the snow holiday experience at Niseko so addictive? Is it the free and easy off-piste policy? The nightlife? The parks, schools and variety of snow activities to choose from? The diverse spread of riders who visit the resort as families, mates, couples and solo shows that it’s all of this, and more.

Abundant in fresh local seafood and vegetables, Niseko also boasts beautiful historic sites such as the 4,000 year-old stone circle near its Higashiyama ski area. And tucked away nearby in the stunning Niseko-Shakotan-Otaru Kaigan Quasi-National Park area is Konbu Onsen, a secluded hot spring enclave.

As an international ski destination, Niseko remained buried beneath the powder until the early 2000s. When Australian property developers caught wind of its enormous potential as a resort, with reliable champagne powder dumps averaging 14 metres a season (2017), and a low-lying altitude within easy reach of facilities at the base and international airports, they made a move. For Australian riders, the added perk was no jet lag, and according to the local town of Kutchan, over 7,500 visited the area in 2005 – a massive increase on the just over 200 who visited in 2001.

The powder that brought them in comes with cold winds all the way from Russia, and is served in bulk from December to April. Ever light and fluffy, riders describe it as an icy cloud, giving them a feeling of weightlessness; its low moisture content, of less than 10% during the peak season, is what produces this incredible effect.

Niseko is made up of four resorts: Niseko Mt.Resort Grand HIRAFU, Annupuri, Niseko Village and Hanazono, which have teamed up to form Niseko United, offering visitors streamlined access to some 2,000 acres of terrain for all levels. It is connected to an extensive network, and with an All Mountain Pass, riders enjoy complete freedom to experience it all.

What makes a day in Niseko for many is the fantastic range of restaurants and bars to wind down at, between the quieter Annupuri and Niseko Village side of the resort, and the more lively Hirafu area. Book ahead during the season, because with everything from fresh local sushi to Mexican on the menu, dining out is popular and very reasonably priced. After dinner, Hirafu is a happening go-to with its wide range of places to drink, including wine bars and izakayas – and with no curfews at many of the local lodges and other accommodation, there’s plenty of time to relax and enjoy them.

How long does the journey take from?
New Chitose Airport: 2 hrs 45 min
Sapporo: 2.5-3 hrs

Further Information
http://nisekotourism.com
All Mountain Pass
http://www.niseko.ne.jp/en/lift

Snow Resorts

Niseko Mt.Resort Grand HIRAFU

Japan is all about comfort, convenience and winter season thrills, and if thinking Japan’s powder snow is thinking Niseko, then thinking Niseko is thinking Mt.Resort Grand HIRAFU.

Niseko Mt.Resort Grand HIRAFU is the largest of the four ski resorts in Niseko, where skiers and boarders harness both Mother Nature and technology to enjoy some of the world’s best powder in maximum comfort. Both Niseko Gondola and Mountain Centre are readily accessible, while the very latest in winter technology ensures the best quality powder snow possible. Beyond that, visitors can enjoy a gorgeous townscape which features hotels, condos, hot springs and restaurants to suit all tastes.

The very modern resort is home to wide ski trails, parks and tree runs, with new and convenient facilities keeping skiers content and comfortable both on the slopes and after hours. As you’d expect, all rental and lesson needs are readily available too.

Kind to both beginners and seasoned carvers, the multitude of trails, lifts and gondolas cater for absolutely everyone. Better yet, while the resort holds its place in the earlier days of skiing history in Japan, it proudly takes its place at the forefront of modernity with each new winter season.

Niseko Mt.Resort Grand HIRAFU
Yamada 204, Kutchan, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido
Phone: +81-136-22-0109
Open: 8:30am-8:30pm / 6:30pm-8:30pm (Limited time only)
http://www.grand-hirafu.jp/winter/en

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Snow Gear

Good Sports Ski/Snowboard Rental

Good Sports not only makes your airport to holiday destination travel easy, but they make the whole travelling process easy, by taking off the worry of organising and carrying your ski or snowboarding equipment.

Good Sports stocks a fantastic range of the latest and the best ski and snowboarding equipment, graded in three levels to suit your interest and needs. The standard model is perfect for beginners, plus it is the most reasonable range. For those advanced and those who want to try out the latest the deluxe or the high grade equipment is for you. You can go online to their website to check out the available equipment, and when you book ahead online you can get an early bird discount too!

What’s more is that Good Sports will also deliver your equipment directly to your accommodation. Delivery is available in the Niseko area including Hirafu, Annunpuri, Moiwa, Konbu Onsen, Rusutsu, Furano, Sapporo, Tomamu, Sahoro, Kiroro and Yubari. Plus, you can just leave your gear at your accommodation on departure and Good Sports will organise pick up for you. This complete rental service will certainly make your trip an easy, smooth one.

Good Sports Niseko Shop
70-1 Yamada, Kutchan, Hokkaido
Phone: +81-136-23-4560
Open: 8:30am–5:00pm (8:30am–7:00pm during night season)
http://goodsports.co.jp/white_eng

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Transport

Good Sports Niseko Ski Bus ‘White Liner’

The White-liner shuttle bus service by Good Sports operates between New Chitose Airport and the Sapporo city area as well as Niseko. The direct service to Niseko only takes 150 minutes from the airport to Niseko-Hirafu area including rest stops. The ticket prices are super affordable at 4,000 yen for adults and 2,000 yen for children per way.

Booking is super easy, either by the English-speaking phone line which operates between 10am and 4pm or on their website. There are fantastic discounts available for online bookings, there’s even early bird discounts so be sure to book ahead!

The check-in counter at New Chitose Airport and Hirafu Welcome Center in Niseko are staffed with friendly, English speaking staff. They will happily assist you with anything – even in the case of flight delays. The shuttle services for the upcoming season will begin on the 1st of December and will run until the 31st of March.

If you have any questions before you book, feel free to give them a call and they will help you plan your airport to accommodation journey.

Good Sports White Liner Ski Shuttle
Phone: +81-11-624-8822
Open: 10:00am-4:00pm
https://www.goodsports.co.jp/white_eng/ski-bus

Good Sports Private Bus Charter

For families and group travellers, the private bus chartering service by Good Sports is the perfect way to travel to your chosen ski resort – not only in Niseko but in other areas such as Rusutsu, Kiroro, Furano, Tomamu and Sahoro as well. The service is not limited to transfers to ski resorts but they can also take you to Hokkaido’s many tourist attractions.

Hiring a charter bus means you get to travel on your own terms and your own schedule, so comfortable and smooth travel is possible when travelling with a group of people. The charter service is not limited to large groups but to even solo travellers! From passenger vans, mini buses to full sized buses with a 40 person capacity – they offer a great variety of vehicles to suit the size of your group and luggage.

The reservation process is done online or by phone, and it starts with a quote. There’s an online form you can fill out that is available 24 hours but availability is limited so be sure to book ahead. There are discounts available for those that book return trips.

Good Sports Private Bus Charter
Phone: +81-11-624-8822
Open: 10:00am-4:00pm
https://www.goodsports.co.jp/bus-charter_eng

Hokkaido Resort Liner

Hokkaido Resort Liner is the biggest ski bus operator in Hokkaido, comfortably transporting over 300,000 guests every winter. Travelers have the luxury of syncing their bus and flight networks, so that transport is convenient, and the network passes a range of hotels within Sapporo City, so guests can get to where they need to be.

 

This is the most convenient of networks as it links to every popular location and even resorts. There is a daily commute available for access to and from Sapporo and New Chitose Airport (domestic & international) and passes major towns such as Furano, Niseko, Rusutsu, Kiroro, Tomamu, Teine and Kokusai.

 

The network is also famous for offering day trips to Asahiyama Zoo, Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival, and Otaru with buses running every day. Hokkaido Resort Liner also offers ‘around’ trips, taking passengers to neighbouring towns in Sapporo. Guests are given English, Chinese, Korean Multilingual audio guidance so you can enjoy your ride while learning about the townscape of Hokkaido in the comfort of their language.

Start planning your trip as bookings for the 2019-2020 schedule will commence in September!

 

Hokkaido Resort Liner
Phone: +81-11-200-0506
http://www.access-n.jp/resortliner_eng/winter
Booking open mid September!

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Food and Drink

AN Dining Cafe & Bar

With perfectly balanced culinary and aesthetic acclaim, An Dining has enticed both local and international attention since it’s opening.

Customers are met on the first floor of the hotel ‘Ki Niseko’ and greeted by an expansive view of Hokkaido’s solitary giant Mount Yotei. The restaurant’s location is an example of designer Koichi Ishiguro’s architectural synergy with the alpine landscapes of Grand Hirafu and is conveniently located next to the Niseko-Hirafu high-speed Gondola for those looking for a quick stop café or a luxurious fine-dining experience.

An Dining is a traditional Japanese restaurant at heart however features a contemporary flare, gaining it’s reputation as a must whilst visiting Niseko.

AN Dining Cafe & Bar
Next to Grand Hirafu Gondola, 1F Hotel Ki Niseko, 183-43 Aza-Yamada, Kutchan, Hokkaido
Phone: +81-136-22-5151
Email: eat@andining.com
Open:
Breakfast 7:00am-10:00am
Lunch 11:30am-3:00pm (L.O. 2:30pm)
Dinner winter 5:30pm-10:00pm (L.O. 9:30pm) / summer 5:30pm-9:30pm (L.O. 9:00pm)
Cafe & Bar winter 7:00am-midnight / summer 7:00am-9:30pm (L.O. 9:00pm)
http://www.andining.com

Sapporo Ramen Daishin

Founded in 1985, Sapporo Ramen Daishin celebrated their 30th anniversary in 2016, and has since opened in Kutchan! This restaurant has a lovely rustic interior like a cosy mountain cabin. Since its founding, the business has been passed on through the generations, recipes taught, adapted and beautifully crafted.

The food is prepared fresh on-site, and guests can enjoy authentic Japanese meals like Misobara Pork Noodles, Cheese Tantan Noodles and Spicy Miso Ramen. There is a meal here for everyone to love, so take a seat, enjoy your meal and admire the marvellous view overlooking Mount Yōtei.

Sapporo Ramen Daishin
1-11 Minami10 Nishi1, Kutchan, Hokkaido
Phone: +81-136-55-8818
Open: 11:00am-8:00pm / Closed Tue
http://sapporo-daishin.jp

NISEKO-CHO AND KONBU ONSEN

Hot spring heaven around the corner from Niseko

NISEKO still has a few secrets up its sleeve, and one of these is Niseko-cho, or the Niseko town district. Set within the forests and rivers of the lush Niseko-Shakotan-Otaru Kaigan Quasi-National Park, it is naturally abundant, and a popular spot for fresh local meat, seafood and dairy products.
The graceful cone of Mount Ytei, Niseko’s answer to Mount Fuji, also reminds the visitor that this is a region sculpted by volcanic activity, which blesses it with 15 hot springs. Known collectively as Niseko Onsenky, the hot springs around Niseko town feature some inspiring views of the natural setting, including Mount Yotei itself, and also provide luxurious spa treatments and massage – difficult to resist after playing hard in the powder.
A household name among them is Konbu Onsen, a hot spring retreat with a history of more than 100 years in Niseko town. The richest source of natural hot spring water in the area, it is especially renowned for its revitalising effect on skin. Konbu Onsen is also immersed within a thickly wooded landscape, which when blanketed by snow in winter, is a serene beginning, interlude or ending to any day in the area.
The hot springs of Niseko Onsenky, including Konbu Onsen, can be enjoyed easily with a Yu-meguri Onsen Pass, which is available from local Roadside Stations and local hot springs. The pass includes four visits to any of the participating hot
springs in the area to go hot spring hopping.
Accommodation around Konbu Onsen and Niseko town also conveniently provides guests with modern amenities, such as free Wi-Fi, which add a finishing touch to this refreshing retreat and day-trip destination for winter visitors to Niseko.

How long does the journey take from?
Sapporo: 2.5-3 hours
Hirafu Welcome Center: 30 min

Further Information
www.nisekotourism.com
Yu-meguri Onsen Pass
www.nisekotourism.com/news/entry/niseko-yumeguri-pass

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