So for all of you who are in the same position I was in, I want to shed a little light on the ease of travelling to and around Niseko and what to expect here.
Initially to get to Niseko you need to book your flight to the closest airport, which is Chitose, Sapporro on the north island of Hokkaido.
My front yard at the YHA Karimpani Hostel
Once you arrive you are going to want to know how to get to the mountain and most importantly your accommodation. So you have 3 choices here, the first one is to catch a buss. This is the cheapest and easiest option so I would suggest doing this. However, first you need to book and reserve yourself a seat on the buss. You can either use White Liner or Hokkaido resort liner, both are practically the same.
Once you have done that, you want to notify your accommodation that you have booked the buss and arrange for them to pick you up from one of the stops along the buss route because depending on where you are staying it may not run directly to your accommodation. Now, that is the most confusing stuff out of the way.
Walking to the Niseko train station
When you arrive you can get a lift ticket from any office at the base of the mountain. If you buy an all mountain pass (allowing you to ride all 4 parts of the mountain, Annaprui, Niseko, Hirafu and Hanazono) this will also allow you to ride the shuttle buss for free. The shuttle buss is what will help you get around the mountain to wherever you need to go. It will take you from Annapuri (the eastern part) to Hirafu (the western part), whilst stopping at other buss stops in between and vice versa. Also, if you don’t have a pass you can still ride the buss for a small fee.
Lodgings can be quite expensive and if you decide to go over during the peak times, between mid-January to mid-February be sure to book early. You can check out all the lodging places at www.skijapan.com but the best place to stay if you are on a budget is at the YHA Fujiyama hostel, where the owners are such a genuinely nice family.
Around town you will find a few snowboard and ski shops but they are expensive so bring all your gear if you can. Niseko has a world class dining scene and some of the more popular restaurants tend to get booked out early. So booking in advance even before you come is a smart idea if you are interested in fine dining. You can check out all the restaurants here to suit any budget. There is a Seicomart (convenient store) right by the main intersection in Hirafu and there is an ATM in town where you can also retrieve cash.
Sunset at Mt. Yotei in Niseko
If you are planning to travel anywhere in Japan I suggest using a VISA card as they are more accepted for withdrawing money as a lot of places will only accept cash. To learn more about travel cards check out my post ‘are you getting ripped off when you travel’.
If you want to know the snow forecast use this link and for the snow report use this link. If you would like any more information about Niseko please feel free to ask in the comment box below. Or if you have been and wish to share your experience or advice please feel free to do so too.
P.S the snow here is world class, check out a video of it here