Niseko is a Ski Resort Area in Hokkaido that gets over 15 metres of snow annually and is growing in popularity year after year. Many visitors from around the world come to Niseko to fulfill their dream of skiing Niseko’s famous powder. At the end of the day, it’s important to pick the right type of accommodation to suit you. These are some of the questions you should think about when planning your accommodation in Niseko.
Niseko is made up of 4 different Ski Resorts (Annupuri, Niseko Village, Grand Hirafu and Hanazono) that are linked together on the same mountain and give you the opportunity to purchase a lift ticket that covers all of the resorts on the same day. There is also a smaller resort called Moiwa which is next to Annupuri but on a separate mountain and, therefore, a separate lift pass.
When choosing your accommodation you need to think about which Resort you want to be closest to and how you will be getting to the resort. Annupuri and Grand Hirafu have the most accommodation to choose from whereas Niseko Village has only two hotels (Hilton and the Green Leaf) around its base but both are ski in/ski out. Hanazono at this stage has no accommodation at its base but has plans for at least one big hotel to be built there in the future.
If you want more Restaurant and Bar choices then Grand Hirafu has the largest variety, Annupuri also has quite a few options too. Depending on where you are staying you should also check to see if the free shuttles that take you to the resorts stop nearby or if your accommodation has their own shuttle bus. Otherwise you might find yourself walking or in need of a rental car.
Niseko is becoming increasingly popular and this is reflected in the price of accommodation around the resorts. During peak season in Niseko (mid-December to February) you could be paying double what it may cost during the off peak (early December and March) so you need to look at how much you want to spend on your accommodation and if the time you want to come is going to allow it. Budget options can start from as low as 3,000 yen per night in a dorm room to over 100,000 yen per night for condos and apartments. During peak season, many accommodations have a minimum amount of nights you can stay which is important to keep in mind if you only want to spend a few days in Niseko.
Niseko, like many places in Japan, has a wide range of different accommodations available in both Western and Japanese Styles. If you are looking for budget accommodations then you should look at the many different hostels and pensions or lodges available. A pension is a Japanese-style lodge or guesthouse and, like hostels, usually have a basic room to stay in with shared bath facilities and a common area for you to interact with other guests. Many also offer a free breakfast to get you started for the day. They also tend to have a cozier atmosphere to make you feel at home.
If you are looking for more self-contained accommodations that are a good option for a larger group then you should look into staying in a condo or apartment which usually come with at least a kitchenette so you have the ability to cook some of your own meals if you choose to. For a more traditional Japanese stay, you can choose a ryokan which are Japanese inns that often have rooms with a traditional tatami floors and futon bedding. Hotels are also an option for guests who want a bigger room than a pension but don’t need the self-contained amenities of a condo. Some ryokans and hotels also have their own onsens which is the perfect thing to end your day on the slopes with.
Once you’ve considered these three things, utilize the many accommodation review sites that are out there and find out what other people have experienced. Often, reviews can give you insights into places to stay that you won’t get from the websites trying to sell you their accommodations.
No matter where you choose to stay, though, enjoy the beauty of Japan and the amazing snow that makes Niseko such a great and unique place for a ski holiday.