Japan's Number One Ski Resort Iona Mackay, Ski Specialist

"If you are looking for the ultimate powder experience – look no further. The off-piste and tree skiing is phenomenal, even if you’ve never tried powder before – this is a great place to learn! Hirafu is quite westernised with lots of bars and restaurants. Try a typical Hokkaido Hot Pot stew at the lovely ABUCHA restaurant!"

Niseko Ski Holidays

Japan’s outstanding success as a ski destination can be summed up in one simple word – snow. Japan is certainly a vibrant and culturally diverse country with iconic scenery, but for skiers looking for amazing powder snow conditions, then quality and indeed quantity of snow is its main draw. You really have to ski it to believe it!

We only sell one resort in Japan - Niseko - on the northern island of Hokkaido. It’s easy to get to with daily flights from the UK to Sapporo, via Tokyo, and offers tremendous value for money when you factor in the guaranteed mega-snow. There are not many resorts world-wide where you have such a high probability of hitting premium powder conditions in January and February. Niseko boasts an average of over 50 feet of the white stuff every winter, dumped down from massive Siberian low-pressure systems. Skiing waist-deep powder here is not a ski movie myth; it’s a way of life!

Skiing in Niseko

This vast ski mountain has three different ‘resorts’ - Niseko Hirafu, Niseko Village and Annapuri - and with 50 feet of snow annually this is powder heaven! Niseko is a ‘ski-what-you-can-see’ resort, with superb terrain to suit all standards and lots of off-piste. It’s renowned for the quality and quantity of its powder snow, with a peak season that stretches from December into late February and can persist into early March. The resort is dominated by the photo-genic Mount Youtei, an extinct volcano, and the area is rich in hot springs with several beautiful, natural Onsen to visit.

Niseko Hirafu offers a fantastic ski resort experience with funky bars, shops and restaurants offering both traditional Japanese and western-style options to suit every palate. Niseko Village offers great ski-in/ski-out lodging and a developing upmarket village, retail and après-ski scene. In our opinion, Niseko is Japan’s finest resort and the most suited to international skiers. Its great variety of western-style slopeside accommodation rivals the best in North America, and it also offers a dining and après-ski scene big enough, and diverse enough, to satisfy all tastes and budgets. As there’s a big Australian influence in Niseko, English is widely spoken, however a few words of Japanese, such as "Konnichiwa" (hello) and "Arigato gozaimasu" (thank you) will always be well received.

Getting to Niseko

Ski Independence offer a choice of airlines flying from London into Tokyo and then on to Sapporo. From Sapporo we include a door-to-door private transfer including a meet & greet at Sapporo airport. Journey time up to Niseko is approximately a 2½ hours. We provide complete flexibility to choose the day of departure, holiday duration, choice of airline and cabin type. We have the freedom to build you the perfect holiday itinerary around the best flight options that suit you, and not around a product we’re committed to sell. We can also offer a unique train journey from Tokyo to Niseko for the more adventurous of you – ask us for details!

Important information
Season Early Dec–Early April
Ski Area 2,191 acres
Annual Snowfall 50ft
Number of Lifts 29
Ski Range 984–4292 ft
Blue Runs 30%
Red Runs 42%
Black Runs 28%
Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May
Off-season Off-season Off-season Off-season Off-season Off-season On-season On-season On-season On-season On-season Off-season
Distance from airports
Sapporo 2hrs30mins