Frequently Asked Questions

Niseko

 

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.  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?

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 Properties

 

What is the difference between Hirafu and Niseko Village locations?

Niseko Ski Lodge - 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 Ski Lodge - Higashiyama 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.  Higashiyama 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, 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 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 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 cards, 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 ann 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 those options.

Rooms, chalets and apartments

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 guestservices@nisekoskilodge.com to find out if we can add guests to your booking and our team will give you the price if required.

Do the rooms have private bathrooms?

Niseko Ski Lodge - Hirafu:  6 bedrooms with 2 large bathrooms for your group.  When you book this lodge all facilities are private for your group alone.

 

Niseko Ski Lodge - Higashiyama:  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.

Banff Chalet:  6 bedrooms each with a private bathroom perfect for large groups.

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.

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.

Niseko Village

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.  

Hirafu

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.