Skiing & Snowboarding in Niseko
By Anthony Joh
Japan is a country known for its rich culture and historic travel locations, but it is also rapidly growing as a top ski and snowboard destination. One of the most beautiful and exciting locations in Japan is the mountain ski resorts of Niseko, which offers travelers the chance to experience some of the finest powder snow in the world.
Niseko’s ski resorts are all located on Niseko-Annupuri Mountain Range and they have plenty of long, wide runs suitable for skiers of all levels. A lack of snow is never an issue in Niseko and they are known to get over 16 meters (52 feet) of snow every year!
The three major resorts are Grand Hirafu, which is the largest, Niseko Village, and Annupuri. There are numerous lodging options available throughout the area and their proximity to local shops, restaurants and bars makes them ideal for all travelers.
Less-adventurous visitors can also take advantage of some of the luxurious indoor relaxation options in Niseko. There are natural hot springs (onsen), therapeutic massages and sauna and other activities suitable for both children and adults.
Hokkaido is also known for it’s amazing food, especially the high quality seafood caught in the cold waters surrounding the island. One of the most popular dishes is ishikari-nabe, a hot salmon and vegatable stew that is perfect after a day spent on the slopes.
Niseko is easily accessed from Sapporo. There are multiple companies that operate buses between Sapporo’s city center and Niseko. The trip takes about 2-3 hours and the buses stop at the three major ski resorts in town. All trains between Sapporo, Kutchan and Niseko are fully covered by the Japan Rail pass, Hokkaido Rail Pass and Hokkaido Free Pass.
With its amazing mountain scenery, Niseko offers the visitors the chance to experience world class skiing and snowboarding along with traditional Japanese hospitality.