You’ve probably heard so much about Niseko and its Grade-A #Japow that you’re itching to get there this winter. The only question is, how do you get out to Niseko? Well, we’ve got you covered. Read on to find out about your options for getting out to the fresh stuff.
New Chitose Airport, just outside of Sapporo, is the nearest major airport to the slopes of Niseko.
The international airport sees arrivals from various destinations like Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Hawaii.
International carriers flying to New Chitose Airport include Cathay Pacific Airways, Hong Kong Airlines, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Air China, All Nippon Airways, China Eastern Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Japan Airlines, Thai Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines.
Domestic carriers coming from destinations like Tokyo (both Haneda and Narita airports), Osaka, Kansai, and Kobe include Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airlines and Hokkaido Air System.
Flights from Narita Airport take about two-hours, so those needing to connect won’t have much further to fly once arriving in Tokyo.
Once you’ve landed
From New Chitose Airport, the best way to get into to Niseko is by private transfer, car rental or bus. You can also get to Niseko from the airport by train (more on that below).
Sky Express, Yohtei Taxi, Mark One and Long Prime provide private door-to-door transfers, while you can catch a bus with Hokkaido Resort Liner, NGS Big Runs and White Liner Ski Bus. For car rentals, we recommend Nippon-Rent-A-Car.
Nippon-Rent-A-Car is offering guests of The Luxe Nomad 15-25% off when booking before 31 October and travelling between 23 November 2019 and 30 April 2020.
Niseko is approximately 100 kilometres from the airport, and the drive takes about 2-2.5 hours.
From New Chitose Airport
If you’ve flown into New Chitose Airport, but have decided you’d rather avoid the roads of Hokkaido, you can go via train to Niseko. To do this, catch the train from the airport headed in the direction of Otaru, a historic coastal town north of the ski fields. From Otaru, you need to transfer to Kutchan. At the station in Kutchan, hail a taxi for a quick ten-minute drive into Hirafu.
Going this route, the total travel time from the airport is about 3 hours. We typically don’t recommend this option if travelling with lots of luggage or children.
If you’re looking to experience Japan’s famous bullet train, which travels up to 320 kilometres per hour, you can head from Tokyo to Hakodate. From Hakodate, transfer to the regional train to Kutchan. The bullet train takes four hours, and the local train from Hakodate takes about 3.5 hours.
Good news is that the Shinkansen is currently being expanded to operate directly from Tokyo to Sapporo. The bad news is that these more direct bullet trains are not expected to run until 2031.
If the high seas are calling your name (and if you have a lot of time), there are regular ferry services with companies like MOL Ferry, Taiheiyo Ferry, and Kawasaki Kinkai Kisen that connect Hokkaido with the rest of the Japanese islands. Taking the ferry, look to sail to Hokkaido’s port city of Tomakomai. From Tomakomai, you can either hire a car or take two buses – the first to Sapporo and then to Niseko. The buses will take approximately 3.5 hours in total.