The best Winter Spot in Hokkaido
If you want the best Japanese snow, we suggest you visit Niseko in Hokkaido.
Niseko is a small town in Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s 47 prefectures. Niseko is the most famous ski resort in Japan and is comprised of four resorts. Niseko’s natural settings offer great opportunities for a variety of outdoor sports, including skiing, mountain climbing, rafting, golfing, horseback riding or hot-air ballooning. Town has an estimated population of 4,670 people, but more than 200,000 tourists visited the area during the winter season in 2009.
Niseko was the world’s second snowiest resort in December 2007 with an annual average snowfall of 595 inches (15.1 meters). Niseko resorts have plenty of long, wide runs in addition to backcountry skiing. The three main resorts are:
Niseko Grand Hirafu
Grand Hirafu is the largest of the 4 resorts and has amazing views of Mt Yotei. The first ski lift was installed in 1961 with many more added since then. The lower part of the resort offers varied terrain and dynamic courses. The middle part offers a gentle run through birch forest tracks. From 1,000 meters and above, beyond the tree line, you can enjoy wide-open runs free of obstacles. The base of the resort has many restaurants, condos, shops and other services.
Niseko Village Ski Resort
Wonderful off-piste powder skiing offers a huge variety of options for the most adventurous of skiers. The middle part of the resort especially has a wealth of terrain changes, whilst the top part of the resort opens up with wide-open runs and a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean on clear days.
Niseko Annupuri International Ski Area
Niseko Annupuri offers long, gentle and wide-open runs for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities. Enjoy relaxed runs overlooking the beautiful silver birch forests. Located on the southern side of the mountain, Niseko Annupuri enjoys soft warm afternoons and amazing views of the Niseko Mountain Range. The well-designed base area features natural hot spring baths locally known as onsen.
Niseko Hanazono Resort
Hanazono has it all including powder, piste, pipe and parks. It offers lessons for beginners and exciting tree runs for experts.
Hot springs of different qualities gush out in many parts of the Niseko. From the downtown area to some “off-the-beaten-tracks” places deep in the mountains, hot springs allow visitors to enjoy a relaxing time while admiring the views of the surrounding area.
More Winter Activities:
Cross-Country Ski Course:
This season the Niseko Village created a 1km (0.6 mile) and a 2kms (1.2 mile) Cross-Country Ski Course beside the Hilton Niseko Village. Cross-Country Ski rentals and guide are also available. Cross-Country Ski Course, opening hours: 9:30 am to 16:00 pm.
Experienced guides will train you before taking you on an exhilarating tour of the forest trails surrounding Niseko Village. Operating hours: From 9:30 AM to 15:30 PM. To participate guests must be able to reach all controls comfortably. It costs between 6,000 and 10,000 yen (depending on the machine) per hour per person.
Guided Snowshoe Tours:
Snowshoeing is a good way to experience the beauty of nature in the surroundings of Niseko Village while looking out for local wildlife and the traces they leave in the pure white snow. A minimum of 2 people is required per tour. Reservation required by 18:00 PM the previous day.
Hop on a Snow Raft and enjoy the ride as a professional driver pulls you along a virtual, white river of snow. Rides are available until March 31, 2012; between 9:30 AM to 15:30 PM, departing every 10 minutes.
Let your Japan travel expert know that you want to add skiing in Niseko to your tour.
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The tours featured throughout our website are intended to give you ideas for what's possible when you travel with us. Treat them simply as inspiration, because your trip will be created individually by one of our specialists to match your tastes and budget.
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Our team of Japan experts have all lived in Japan for years and know its the hidden treasures. Our team is here to answer all your questions and to build your tour just the way you want it.
Jeff was born in a south suburb of Chicago named South Holland and lived in Japan for 14 years. He now lives in Commerce Township, Michigan with his wife Yoshimi, son Shota, and daughter Mina. He enjoys playing with his kids, volunteering with his daughter’s marching band, cycling and training and teaching Aikido.
Michiyo was born in Noboribetsu, Hokkaido Prefecture though currently lives in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture. Her main passions in life is traveling all around the world and enjoying their cultures.
Izumi has spent most of her life in the Kansai region, except for the 10 years that she enjoyed in the UK. Living abroad has made her appreciate her own culture and local beauty even more. She currently lives in Osaka with her family, including two cats and two dogs.
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