The Luxe Nomad’s Guide to Niseko, Japan 2022

Travel to Niseko, Japan in style with The Luxe Nomad’s 2022 guide!

By now, you’ve probably heard lots about Niseko. Not only is it famous worldwide for its powder snow (did someone say #japow?), it’s also Hokkaido’s largest ski resort, and there are lots of other attractions for non-skiers!

An unforgettable destination especially in the winter, Niseko charms families, groups of friends, adrenaline junkies, foodies, and even those looking for some peace and quiet. Whatever’s on your itinerary, The Luxe Nomad’s Niseko, Japan guide has you covered.





How to Get to Niseko

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By plane. The nearest major airport is New Chitose Airport, approximately 100km away from Niseko.  Flying in is the most convenient option, both in cost and time. It only takes 2 hours if you’re flying in from Tokyo, plus there’s also an international terminal for foreign visitors who’d rather fly directly.

From the airport, you can take a bus straight to Niseko (about 2-2.5 hours). Alternatively, you can also take a train headed to Otaru, make a transfer at Kutchan, and then from the Kutchan Station, hail a cab for a 10-minute drive to Hirafu, Niseko (total of about 3 hours).

By train.  Japan’s famous bullet train is another option that will take you to Niseko. From Toyko, take the JR Tohoku/Hokkaido Shinkansen to Hakodate (about 4 hours), then transfer to the regional train to Kutchan (around 3.5 hours). A 10-minute taxi ride from Kutchan Station will get you to Hirafu, Niseko.

By private car. Private transfers are also convenient and readily available. Message The Luxe Nomad’s Concierge Team to make arrangements for a private driver to pick you up at New Chitose Airport or Sapporo and bring you straight to your accommodations. The drive takes about 2 hours.

READ MORE: How to Get to Niseko By Plane, Train, or Sea

Niseko Ski Areas


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Niseko has four ski resorts on the Niseko Annupuri Mountain, collectively known as “Niseko United.” There are 50.8km slopes available for skiing and snowboarding and a total of 32 lifts servicing different parts of the mountain. In the winter, guests can slide their way to any of the four resorts with an All-Mountain Pass.

Here’s what you can expect at Niseko United:


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  1. Annupuri – Located at the west end of the mountain, Annupuri’s draw is its large skiing areas and famous powder bowls. Compared to its neighbors, the resort has more of a laidback vibe with an undeniable old-school charm. Close by, there are also onsen baths and saunas for a relaxing time off the slopes.

BEST TIME TO GO: Late November to early May
LIFTS: 1 gondola, 5 chairlifts
TRAILS: 3 green, 6 red, 4 black

READ MORE: 10 Things to Know When Planning Your First Ski Trip

  1. Niseko Village – At the base of the mountain is Niseko Village, known for its varied terrain for all sorts of skiers. Gentle slopes welcome beginners (along with English-speaking instructors) while longer, steeper runs call out to the pros. This area is well-suited for families, with lots of child-friendly snow activities and convenient ski-in, ski-out accommodations.

BEST TIME TO GO: Early December to early April
LIFTS: 2 gondolas, 6 chairlifts
TRAILS: 12 green, 7 red, 8 black

READ MORE: Family-friendly Activities in Niseko (aside from skiing!)

  1. Grand Hirafu – Arguably the heart of Niseko United, Grand Hirafu is the biggest of the four, with a long list of options for skiing, shopping, dining, and nightlife. Bright and bustling even until late, the slopes remain well-lit well into the evening, adding night skiing to the many list of things to try (a must if you’re there between mid-December to mid-March!).

BEST TIME TO GO: Late November to Early May
LIFTS: 1 gondola, 11 chairlifts
TRAILS: 8 green, 6 red, 8 black

READ MORE: Everything You Need to Know About Night Skiing

  1. Hanazono – On the easternmost side of the mountain is Hanazono. Wide, open bowls, terrain parks, and tree runs make it easy for skiers of all skillsets and ages to get comfortable, while a covered magic carpet and group lessons are in place just for the little ones. Off-mountain, you can get busy with activities like snowmobiling, snowshoeing, tubing, and cat skiing.

BEST TIME TO GO: Early December to early April
LIFTS: 3 chairlifts
TRAILS: 2 green, 5 red, 1 black

READ MORE: 7 Things to Do in Niseko If You’re Not Skiing

Niseko’s Dining Scene

Here are some of our favorites when in Niseko:

1. Ebisutei – A cozy izakaya that serves a variety of Japanese meals, from oden (a fish cake stew popular in the winter), Hokkaido-style fried chicken, fresh sashimi, grilled fish, salad, and more!

Photo by Sushi Kato

2. Sushi Kato – For authentic and delicately-prepared sushi, drop by this high-end restaurant for an impressive lunch or dinner.

3. Black Wood Grill – Niseko’s live wood-fire grill offers a mouthwatering selection of local meats and premium cuts too good to pass up (we highly recommend pork and wagyu!)

Photo by Pexels (SL Wong)

4. Izakaya Rin – This popular izakaya is considered a must-try when in Lower Hirafu, known for their authentic Japanese dishes that go perfectly with hot sake. Make sure to book a table in advance, as they’re often fully booked especially in the winter!


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5. Green Farm Cafe – Tuck into a comfortable dinner at this farm-to-fork café deli roaster. Their hearty dishes are made using only the best of Hokkaido’s organic produce.


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6. Temporada – Craving for tapas and wine? Try it with a twist, and taste the perfect fusion of Spanish modern tapas dining and fresh Japanese ingredients.


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7. Kamimura – This Michelin-star French fusion restaurant offers diners a one-of-a-kind dining experience with its genre-agnostic cuisine.

Where to Stay in Niseko

It’s no secret that we absolutely love heading out to Niseko! With stays like these, we’d go back in a heartbeat:

1. The Maples Niseko – Hear what it’s like to stay in this fabulous ski-in, ski-out condominium hotel from The Luxe Nomad’s Head of Concierge. The review walks us through all the essentials, from the room configuration, what’s nearby, and what orders to try at the restaurant!

2. Intuition Niseko – This brand new, luxurious condominium hotel was launched exclusively for the 2022 winter season! Be one of the first to experience the ski-son at this stay, surrounded by a picturesque birch forest that’s only minutes away from the ski lift as well as plenty of dining and shopping options.

3. Skye Niseko – Read more about what to expect at this chic ski-in, ski-out resort that’s perfect for winter travellers with a taste for all things luxe.

READ MORE: 7 Niseko Stays that Families will Love

Check out The Luxe Nomad’s full portfolio of Niseko stays here!

How about some #japow?

Featured photo by Unsplash (Asmut Dante)

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