Frequently Asked Questions
FREQUENTLY ASK QUESTIONS
Where is Niseko?
Niseko is located in Hokkaido the northern island of Japan. It's approximately 110km from New Chitose Airport and 95km's from Sapporo city. Niseko is close to the volcano Mt Yotei and Kutchan town.
How to get to Niseko?
Either a flight to New Chitose Airport (CTS) or a Shinkansen (Bullet Train) to Hakodate from the main island, then you can take a variety of transport options including trains and buses or private transfers to get to Niseko. Our staff can suggest the best option for you, or see more on our blog about getting to Niseko Ski Lodge.
What is the nearest train station?
Although it would seem like Hirafu or Niseko stations are the best option, it's actually just a local station that isn't very handy unless you live in the area. We all recommend going to Kutchan station (and we use this ourselves) to get to and from Chitose Airport, Otaru or Hakodate. Kutchan is a larger station with bus services outside and taxi's waiting after each train arrival which means you won't end up stuck in the middle of nowhere.
Where can I buy groceries in Niseko?
There are some options in Hirafu including Lawson and Seicomart convenience stores and Sapporo Drug Store but most groceries are bought out in Kutchan town the three large supermarkets out there are Lucky, MaxValue and Coop. Ask us about the grocery packs we can organise for our guests to make your stay a little easier.
Where can I use an Onsen?
In Hirafu, you can pay for entry at the Alpen Hotel and Hirafutei in the upper village, and you can also use the Vale hotel's onsen near the Hirafu intersection (not during Christmas/NY and Chinese New Year). Then in Niseko Village, the Hilton offers a walk-in option for outside guests, and if you take the bus to Annupuri you can explore the Grand hotel (mixed-sex outdoor onsen), Kanronomori (you can even book a private onsen here) and many more open to guests.
Where can I withdraw cash from a credit or debit card?
Hirafu: There are ATM's in Hirafu with bank withdrawal for international cards, the 7-eleven bank is the most popular as it accepts all cards, but the Lawson and Seicomart convenience stores work for some cards as well. Find a 7-eleven ATM inside the entrance to Green Farm Cafe/Hyatt House in Hirafu. There is also an international ATM inside the AYA hotel and inside the 188 building on Hirafu Zaka.
Niseko Village: There is an international ATM inside the Hilton Hotel, you can ski to it from the Niseko Village resort or take the Niseko United bus to get there.
Niseko Ski Lodge
What is the difference between Hirafu and Niseko Village locations?
Hirafu is the busiest part of the Niseko area, with the largest number of hotels, apartments, lodges, and restaurants located here. It is 7km's from the Kutchan railway station and the location of the Grand Hirafu section of Niseko United resort.
Niseko Village is quieter and surrounded by a smaller amount of hotels, apartments, lodges, and restaurants. There is easy access to the Niseko United shuttle bus to access Annupuri resort (10min bus) and Grand Hirafu resort (10min bus) easily. Niseko Village is the base of the Niseko Village section of Niseko United resort and experienced skiers and snowboarders can ski over to Hirafu in about 15 minutes from base to base (25 minutes for slower skiers).
What amenities are provided at the Ski Lodges?
We know it's hard to carry everything when you travel, so we provide shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and hand soap. We also provide towels for each guest to use during your stay. In the kitchen, we provide basic items such as soy sauce, oil, salt, and pepper. There is also free tea and coffee for you anytime you would like it in the kitchen area, and of course all dishware and cutlery and cooking utensils are provided in the shared kitchen.
Niseko Ski Lodge Check-in/Check-Out times?
Check-in is from 3pm-10pm, and check out is 7am-10am.
Can I check-in early or check out late?
In winter this is rarely possible and cannot be booked in advance. With a new guest arriving the day you leave our cleaning staff need to start cleaning from 10 am to have the rooms ready for the next guest. In late spring, summer and autumn this is possible subject to availability of rooms.
How do I check-in?
Our staff do not live at the lodge, so we ask that you tell us what time you are arriving so we can have someone meet you there (as close as you can to your arrival is better than not knowing at all). If you are arriving quite late we will email you with more information so you can self-check-in.
Is there ski and board storage facilities at Niseko Ski Lodges?
Yes, we have facilities within the lodges for you to store your skis and snowboards while you are off the mountain. They are located on the ground floor of both Hirafu and Niseko Village lodges.
Is parking available?
Hirafu: Yes we have space outside for 4 cars to park, it is best if you can tell us in advance that you are driving in winter.
Niseko Village: Yes we have car parking outside for up to 6 cards, please tell us in advance if you are driving in winter.
We have a few additional car spaces to help out during busy periods, it is always best to let us know you will be driving.
Is breakfast included in my booking?
Yes, at both Hirafu and Niseko Village we provide a continental breakfast that includes cereals, bread, eggs, spreads, butter, milk, and tea/coffee. It is self-service so you can wake up and prepare it when you wish. Feel free to use the frypan or saucepan to prepare the eggs how you like.
Rooms, chalets and apartments
Can I add an extra person?
Yes, in many cases we can add extra guests to a booking, the cost is ¥3000 per person, per night to add additional guests. It is important to note that our rooms have a maximum occupancy that we will not go over regardless of how old the person is, this is for safety reasons and legal reasons. Please contact our team at to find out if we can add guests to your booking.
Do the rooms have private bathrooms?
Hirafu: No all rooms share the same bathrooms, we have two large bathrooms downstairs that have lockable areas for you to change, shower and dry off. Your clothing is also has a space to stay dry while you shower.
Niseko Village: Only two rooms have an ensuite, to book them you will see that it has an ensuite in the name. The remaining rooms use shared bathrooms which are on the ground floor.
Lodge Banff: Each bedroom has either an ensuite bathroom or a private bathroom for your room.
Trailside Apartments & Chalet, Yotei Townhouses: Yes these apartments/chalets all have private bathrooms.
The Dene, Casa Kabayama: The private houses all have at least 1 bathroom and the entire property is private.
What are the loft rooms like?
In our Hirafu lodge, we have rooms with a loft. This space is a small space that you climb a ladder to access and it gives you a feeling of having a separate room, almost. It's a great way for more friends or family members to stay together and most of the loft spaces have specific bedding that cannot be changed. We love them, they are a fun hideaway and a great spot to get a good night sleep.
How big are the lodges?
Hirafu: This lodge is 6 bedrooms and has a dining room and a living room to relax in. The lodge is a smaller lodge with a community feel inside.
Niseko Village: This lodge is 10 bedrooms and is a large lodge with big common areas making it a spacious place to be. The rooms while not huge are bigger than your standard Japanese lodge and make it a very comfortable experience.
Skiing and Snowboarding in Niseko
What is the local ski resort?
Niseko United: Niseko Annupuri is the mountain the Niseko United resort is on and the resort covers almost the entire mountain. Niseko United is made up of four resorts (Hanazono, Hirafu, Niseko Village, and Annupuri) that allow easy access from most places around the base. The top of the mountain is 1308m and with an All Mountain Lift Pass, you can access all 4 resorts.
How can we get to the ski lifts?
Hirafu: We are located within a 7-10 minute walk from the Hirafu Gondola and the Family Quad lift. There are also free shuttles at the bottom of our street (150m away) to access Niseko Grand Hirafu and Niseko Hanazono resorts so it's not far to easily get to the lifts.
Niseko Village: We are located within 10 minutes of the base of Niseko Village, the easiest access is to follow signs for the Green Leaf Hotel. There is also a bus which you can use to get to both Grand Hirafu and Annupuri mountain bases, and also to get taken up to Niseko Village resort as well to save you the walk, it is free with a Niseko United All Mountain pass (and you scan your lift pass on the way off the bus) or it is paid if you don't have the All Mountain lift pass.
What hours are the lifts open?
Hanazono: Hanazono is open from 8.30am-4.20pm (sometimes early season closes just before dark).
Hirafu: Hirafu is open from 8.30am-4.30pm (Night skiing 4.30pm-20.30pm every day mid-Dec to mid-march).
Niseko Village: Niseko Village is open from 8.30am-4.30pm (Night skiing 4.30pm-8pm mid-Dec to mid-march).
Annupuri: Annupuri opens at 8.30am - 4.30pm (Night skiing 4.30pm-8.30pm mid-Dec to mid-march).
Night skiing is amazing fun in Niseko, Hirafu has the largest amount of terrain open. The Niseko United shuttle will take you to and from the resort until the end of the night skiing so you can easily move around the mountain to try out different resorts no matter where you are staying. You cannot ski over the top between resorts at nighttime.
Is it possible to visit other resorts from Niseko?
Yes, there are many amazing resorts nearby including Moiwa(20 mins away), Rusutsu (45mins away) and Kiroro (55mins away). We offer day trips to some of these resorts for a day out so please enquire about a visit to these places - they are a highlight of any Niseko trip!
Moiwa: There is also a shuttle bus from Hirafu Intersection out to Moiwa, they usually run two in the morning to get out there and two in the afternoon to return to Hirafu.
Rusutsu: There is a bus and lift ticket combination that you can purchase and it departs from the Hirafu Welcome Centre. You should pre-purchase the ticket or chat with us about coming out to Rusutsu with us!
What can I rent for skiing and snowboarding in Niseko?
You can rent basic items such as skis, boots and poles or snowboards and boots or packages including ski jackets and pants and even goggles and gloves depending on what you need to get on the slopes. Our lodges are run by a highly experienced mountain guide so we also have access to backcountry packs for those going on guided day trips. Chat with us about what you need to rent and our team will give you the right options for you. Some companies can even come to the lodge to fit your ski gear - no trip to a shop required.
Are there any restaurants around Niseko Village?
Yes, there are 10+ restaurants in the area, including The Mexican Mule, Prativo (Lunch buffet + dinner restaurant), Mandriano (Pizza/Italian), Milk Kobo (a famous dairy farm that is one of the famous spots to try sweet treats), Sanroku (sandwich bar), Upashi Seta (Izakaya style), Goshiki restaurant (Green Leaf hotel) and House of Machines (great food, great coffee and often a great place to drink in the evening after an epic day on the mountain.
There are also many restaurants up in the Hilton area including steak restaurants, burger restaurants, The Crab Shack, an all you can eat sushi restaurant and a pub.
Some restaurants further away will offer free pick up and drop off if you have a booking at their restaurants (Kobito).
How do we get to Niseko Village?
In winter the easiest way would be an airport to Niseko shuttle bus that drops off at the Hilton Hotel (our staff will meet you there and take you to the lodge if you tell us in advance of your arrival time). You could also take the train to Kutchan station and hire a car from Toyota which is located a short walk from the station then drive to the lodge. Of course, you could take private transfers too if you don't mind spending a little bit more.
In Summer: The best way to get to the area is by car the roads are clear and it's easy to move around the area if you have a set of wheels.
Are there affordable restaurants near the lodge?
Although Hirafu is getting known for its food and more luxury restaurants are opening up there are still plenty of affordable places to eat. Some places near the lodge include Niseko Ramen (on our street), Tsubara Tsubara Soup Curry (7mins walk away), Jojo's cafe (bottom of our street in the NAC building), Moon Bar (centre of Hirafu near the intersection), Bombay Sizzlers (keep an eye on their lunch specials), Green Farm cafe (great for breakfast and lunch), Ebisutei (lower Hirafu Japanese Izakaya) and Raku Izakaya in upper Hirafu.
What is the nearest train station?
Although it would seem like Hirafu station is the best option, it's actually just a local station that isn't very handy unless you live in the area. We all recommend going to Kutchan station (and we use this ourselves) to get to and from Chitose Airport, Otaru or Hakodate. Kutchan is a larger station with bus services outside and taxi's waiting after each train arrival which means you won't end up stuck in the middle of nowhere.