Frequently Asked Questions
Niseko Ski Lodge
Can I add an extra person?
Yes, in many cases we can add extra guests to a booking, the cost varies for each property. 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 email@example.com to find out if we can add guests to your booking and our team will give you the price if required.
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.
Higashiyama is quieter and surrounded by a smaller amount of hotels, apartments, lodges, and restaurants. Getting to other parts of Niseko is easy by car or the Niseko United shuttle bus which is approximately 10 minutes to Hirafu or Annupuri. Higashiyama is the base of the Niseko Village Ski Resort, intermediate+ skiers and snowboarders can ski over to Hirafu in about 15-30 minutes from base to base (depending on ski ability).
What amenities are provided at the Ski Lodges, apartments, chalets and luxury houses?
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 their stay. In the kitchen, we provide basic items such as soy sauce, oil, salt, and pepper, and all dishware and cutlery and cooking utensils are available for use in the kitchens. Tea and coffee are available for you to enjoy in any of our properties with kitchens.
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 the availability of rooms, please ask us and we will confirm on your check-in day.
How do I check in?
In summer our team will arrange a key pick up for you at our head office, and during winter we will meet you with the key for check-in often when we are picking you up from your airport bus. In the instance, you are arriving very late our team might arrange a self-check-in for you.
Are there ski and board storage facilities at Niseko Ski Lodge properties?
Yes, we have facilities within our properties for you to store your skis and snowboards while you are off the mountain. Our team will point them out during check-in.
Is parking available?
Niseko Ski Lodge - 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 Ski Lodge - Higashiyama: Yes we have car parking outside for up to 6 cars, please tell us in advance if you are driving in winter.
Chalet Banff: Yes we have parking for 6+ cars at the lodge, please tell us in advance how many car spaces you will need.
Trailside Apartments: Yes each apartment has 1 parking space, it is possible to have one additional space if you contact us in advance and one is available.
Trailside Chalet: Yes we have space for 2 cars outside the chalet, and it can be possible to arrange for more if required, please contact us in advance if you need more.
The Dene: Yes we can arrange car parking for 1-4 cars easily, and if required could find additional parking spaces. We can also arrange a private driver for you during your stay at an extra cost if required.
Yotei Townhouses: Yes each townhouse has 1 car parking space out the front, but if you need more please contact us and we will see what we can do.
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?
We offer bookings both with and without breakfast, so it is best to double-check your booking. Our team can arrange breakfast for you during your stay at an additional price if you didn't pre-book it. If you would like a breakfast grocery delivery or a chef to prepare breakfast for your group just get in touch and we can send you the pricing for these services.
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 depending on what time you arrive and how much you want to spend. If you want to take the cheapest option to reach Niseko we recommend arriving at the airport before 7 pm so that you have options for bus transfers. Otherwise, you'll have to wait overnight to travel by bus the following day or consider other options for transport.
What is the nearest train station?
Kutchan station is the best option if you are staying in the Hirafu area, or you need to get a taxi to get to your accommodation. Kutchan Station is the areas largest one with taxis and some buses to help you get to your next destination. If you are staying in Higashiyama or Niseko Village areas you might consider using Niseko station and ensuring you prebook a pickup and have data to message us when you arrive at the station. Niseko station is much smaller and has a bus service that you must prebook for your arrival time, or you can pre-book a paid transfer with our team. Locals use Kutchan station to get to and from Chitose Aiport, Sapporo city and Otaru. Never go to Hirafu station, as there are no taxi's, no buses, and you will be stuck with a 45minute hike uphill through the snow to reach Hirafu village.
Where can I buy groceries in Niseko?
The best options in Hirafu include Lawson and Seicomart (convenience stores), and Sapporo Drug Store. Regular grocery stores are located in Kutchan town, they are called Lucky, MaxValue and Coop. Ask us about grocery delivery to make your stay a little easier, and we will have groceries delivered to your lodge, chalet or apartment.
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 in the area.
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/Chatrium hotel 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.
Skiing and Snowboarding
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.
Is it possible to visit other resorts from Niseko?
Yes, there are many amazing resorts nearby including Moiwa (20 mins from Hirafu), Rusutsu (45mins drive) and Kiroro (55mins drive). We offer day trips to some of these resorts, please enquire about a visit to these places. 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. Taxi's can also be called, or take the Niseko United shuttle bus to the Annupuri entrance stop, and walk 10-15minutes along a road with a footpath to get into Moiwa. Advanced skiers and snowboarders can ski through the backcountry over to Moiwa, if you don't know the region and the snowpack we recommend hiring a backcountry guide for this.
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! The drive takes 45 minutes if you have a car with you, and it's a great day trip from Niseko.
How can we get to the ski lifts?
Many of the ski resorts are in walking distance from our properties, and take between 5-10 minutes to walk to the bottom lift or gondola. The Niseko United shuttle bus drives around the base of the mountain and stops at all 4 ski resorts long the way, and a few stops in between each village. Those with an All Mountain Lift Pass can use the Niseko United Shuttle for free on the days you are using the lift pass. Hanazono also runs an additional shuttle from Hirafu and Izumikyo to and from Hanazono resort.
For strong intermediate to advanced skiers and snowboarders, you can start at any ski resort and make your way up and over to another easily as long as the top lifts are open. Ask our team if you are not sure which route to take.
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, so plan to take the shuttle back to your accommodation after a night ski.
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. Take a look at our beginners guide to skiing in Niseko for some helpful information to help you prepare for your ski days.
Niseko Village & Higashiyama
Where is Higashiyama in Niseko?
Higashiyama means east mountain, and is the village located at the eastern base of the Niseko United Ski Resort. The Niseko Village Ski Resort is part of Higashiyama and it's normal to hear either name when referring to the same area. In Higashiyama you'll find some restaurants, accommodation, Niseko Village Ski Resort and Golf Course. You'll also find the famous Milk Kobo dairy farm and cafe, and other attractions.
Are there any restaurants around Niseko Village?
Yes, there are many restaurants in the area, just not as many as Hirafu has. But don't let that stop you staying in the area, because you can easily get around to Hirafu by bus for dinner in 10 minutes. Try Higashiyama restaurants like our Higashiyama BBQ restaurant at the lodge, Prativo (lunch buffet + now open for dinner), Mandriano (Pizza/Italian), Milk Kobo (a very famous dairy farm that sells sweet treats including the choux creme, cheese tart and ice cream). We also love Upashi Seta (Izakaya style), Goshiki restaurant (Green Leaf hotel), Sanroku (sandwich bar) and the Mexican Mule (Mexican and margaritas).
There are some more upscale restaurants the the Hilton resort area including The Crab Shack, a burger restaurant and sushi restaurant inside the Hilton, and a handful more.
There are restaurants that will include a free shuttle to and from their eatery if you make a booking. Try restaurants like Kobito Izakaya, Lucky Fingers (will do free pick up for 4 guests or more), and there are many more offering similar services.
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 offer transport options from the Hilton Hotel). 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, for groups sometimes the private transfers are cheaper than the shared shuttle buses.
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. There are limited buses scheduled for summer, and you'll find it difficult to get around between villages, restaurants and onsens. So we do recommend travelling by car during summer.
Niseko Village and Higashiyama Transport
There is a new local bus service called the Nikoto bus that is operating in the Niseko Town region, this includes transport from Niseko Station to your accommodation, or from your accommodation to the ski resort. It needs to be prebooked, and if the bus is already busy for the time you request you will need to find an alternative option. Take a look at the Nikoto shuttle bus website to make a plan for your trip. This bus cannot be used to get to Hirafu, Hanazono or Kutchan, as these areas are not part of the Niseko town area.
In winter there is often another shuttle bus that travels from Niseko Station - Hilton - Annupuri - Konbu Onsen - Moiwa - Niseko Station. It is the Niseko Area Circuit Bus and it operates during winter each year, we will update our guests with this information when it is available for the winter ahead.
Affordable places to eat in Hirafu.?
Although Hirafu is getting known for its food and more luxury restaurants are opening up there are still plenty of affordable places to eat. Tsubara Tsubara Soup Curry (7mins walk away), Jojo's cafe (bottom of our street in the NAC building), Moon Bar (centre of Hirafu), 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. There are many amazing restaurants for everyone in Hirafu, so take a walk around and find the right one for you.
What is the nearest train station?
Kutchan 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. If you want to hike from Hirafu station to Hirafu in winter it would take about 45+ minutes in summer, and perhaps closer to an hour and a half in winter to get up the hill from the station.