Initially, Finnair was to launch direct flights from Helsinki to the new Chitose Airport from July this year, when Hokkaido will once again become a much more accessible destination for those arriving from Europe and Finland. However, due to the continuing challenges of the global pandemic, the plan has unfortunately been postponed for the time being. New updates will be distributed as they become available. We look forward to your coming visit and that you will be able to experience the wonderful winter of Hokkaido.
The new Chitose Airport, located 50 km south of Sapporo, is the largest airport in Hokkaido, serving the metropolitan area of Sapporo. From here, the Niseko Mountain Mecca is just 2 hours away.
Driven down from Siberia, the Tundra showers collide over Hokkaido Island Prefecture and collect moisture as they fly across the Sea of Japan – creating a scene in one of the most spectacular snowy lands on the planet.
Four separate resorts, collectively known as Niseko United, surround Mt Annupur – a 1,308-meter-high peak. Four ski areas: Niseko Annupuri International, Niseko Village, Niseko Grand Hirafu and Niseko Hanazono are highly regarded and are loved by skiers and snowboarders from all over the world for their excellent snow conditions. They are still popular ski resorts among tourists and Japanese.
While each resort is separate, they are all connected to the nearby summit by a network of chair lifts and gondolas, and the Niseko United All Mountain Pass – an all-inclusive cable car pass – is valid at all resorts. Passport holders can also travel for a free shuttle bus between the ski resorts and the city of Kutchan.
Located on the west side of Niseko United Ski Resort, Annupuri is popular in the winter for its rich terrain, long running runs and four hinterland gates, offering skiers and snowboarders a unique deep powder experience and a great off-piste skiing experience. .
During the summer, the entire Annupuri region is full of nature, hiking trails, outdoor activities and scenic attractions. There are also several hot springs in the area – most of which use all-natural water with added earth minerals.
“This is a mountain of people” Yasuhiro MaruyamaA spokesman for Niseko Annupuri Resort explains and emphasizes that because the resort is locally owned and operated, the price point has been kept within reach of most tourists.
The slopes at the bottom are conducive to learning for beginners and families, while the top offers access to the best of the area. More than 1.3 kilometers high, Annupuri Mountain spreads in all directions, offering daily descents on various lines and from different angles. Real-time avalanche reports, topographic and route maps, and the resort’s managed gates make Niseko – quite possibly – the most enjoyable hinterland destination in Japan.
The village of Niseko
Niseko Village, a hybrid resort that seamlessly combines luxury and family travel, is one of United’s four resorts. The Green Leaf and Ritz-Carlton offer direct access to the slopes from the ski service, which also has a lift ticket machine. In addition, the Hilton Hotel and Hinode Hills Hotel eliminate the need for transportation and equipment loading by providing access to the slopes. Extensive beginner and night skiing areas make the resort suitable for all ages and levels. The hinterland gate opens up a varying slope angle and distance between trees, appealing to entry-level off-points as well as an experienced shredder. The slopes are also avalanche controlled.
Adjacent to Grand Hirafu is the largest and oldest of Niseko United’s resorts. Hirafu has the steepest terrain and the most varied route options, balancing the comfort of the hillside and reflecting its historical origins. The basic village is lively and its streets are lined with shops, restaurants and bars. Niseko Sanroku Jingisukan serves a “jingisukan” – a delicacy of Hokkaido – where you can smell every dripping lamb when served on a hot plate. Around the corner, Toshiro’s Bar offers a selection of Niseko-distilled gins and whiskeys that don’t spare production value when making sophisticated cocktails and soups. Tour and tasting at Niseko Winery, best combined with a visit to Takahashi Farm. A charming and personal farm in the middle of Niseko showcases the region’s agricultural talent and business skills.
With a base station at the Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono, a 10-passenger gondola lift and a new six-seater heated leather chair lift, the Niseko Hanazono Resort is the epitome of a luxurious snow destination. Consistent in quality and service, the HANAZONO Tube Park and Snow Playground are just steps away from the hotel entrance, while the in-house ski school and guided activities ensure that guests ’expectations are exceeded. The lower slopes are suitable for the lower levels, but the middle mountain offers a great opportunity to learn and utilize your skiing skills with few trees and interesting features. Ylämäki offers opportunities in remote areas, and its northern part favors the lightest and driest snow conditions in Niseko United. Mt. Weisshorn is dedicated to the cat ski mountain north of the resort for those looking for a semi-mechanized adventure in the hinterland.
With a full English-speaking staff, the Park Hyatt Hotel is impeccable and offers a variety of dining options and designer shops. The boxes have been selected for all ages and interests, making Hanazon an unparalleled luxury skiing experience in Japan.
Rusutsu holiday resort
With three different styles of accommodation, including The West and Three Mountains, Rusutsu Resort is about half an hour away from the resorts of Niseko United in its own realm. Strange, quaint and full of character, the range of slopes is wide, while the adjacent Shiribetsu peak has the steepest (and possibly deepest) back lines in the area. A helicopter ride to the top is available with Hokkaido Backcountry Club. Lunch at the igloo is a great way to change gears, and the fairground-themed hotel captures the attention of every passer-by.
No visit to Japan is complete without slipping into a hot spring (like Goshiki Onsen in Niseko), and the picturesque, heritage Jozankei village has such high geothermal activity that the ecological Grand Blissen Hotel gets the most out of it. Opposite the boiling, atmospheric public walks in the city center, the hotel is modern and well-equipped, with an excellent restaurant.
With so many hot spots and ski resorts in the area – including the family-friendly Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort – you don’t have to settle for one destination, especially given the easy access to a variety of points of interest. Maybe then it should just be “Hokkaido United”.
Niseko United has won the title of Best Ski Resort in Japan several times. The World Ski Awards award the prize every year.
How to get there
From New Chitose Airport, you can reach Niseko United’s resorts by train, bus or car.
Another option is Chuo buses that run directly to Niseko Annupur, Niseko Village and Niseko Hirafu from Sapporo Station Bus Station and the new Chitose Airport.
You can also drive there; The drive from Sapporo city center to Niseko takes about 2 hours.
For more information, visit:
Paid cooperation with:
Hokkaido Regional Transport Agency
Hokkaido Ski Promotion Council
Source: The Nordic Page