Much beloved by the Japanese, Rusutsu Resort is a hidden gem of Hokkaido.
Set amidst the spectacular beauty of Northern Japan at the foot of the majestic Mt. Yotei, Niseko is arguably Japan's most popular ski resort.
Beloved by ski and snowboard enthusiasts, nature lovers and vacationers around the world, the Niseko area has rapidly grown to become one of the most popular ski resorts in Japan. With its powdery snow, breathtaking scenery and unique cultural experience, it's no wonder why people from all over the world flock to Niseko every winter season.
Niseko United is made up of the four best ski resorts in the area: Annupuri, Niseko Village, Grand Hirafu, and Hanazono. All four resorts can be accessed via the same lift pass, giving unlimited access to the legendary ski slopes of Mt. Annupuri. Another nearby Resort, Niseko Moiwa, is not part of Niseko United, but is pretty amazing, too. Niseko is close enough to Rusutsu for a day trip.
Grand Hirafu, the largest of the four communities, is the most popular winter destination in Niseko. The ski resort offers plenty of variety for beginners right the way through to some of the best, powdery tree runs that Niseko has to offer. However skiing and snowboarding is just the beginning as visitors can also snowshoe, snowmobile, and snowbike through the frosty wonderland.
Hirafu Village and the nearby Hanazono and Annupuri ski areas are scattered with accommodation options to suit all vacationers. Ski in and ski out properties like The Maples Niseko, boutique chalets such as Jade Rabbit and more budget-friendly options like Always Niseko are among some of the choices available in the area.
You'll also find plenty of options for après ski in Grand Hirafu, as the nightlife is well known to be vibrant and friendly. There are plenty of restaurants, food vans, onsens and bars to complete the entire holiday experience.
While Niseko is world-famous for its snow, its summer splendor is just as marvelous. From mountain biking to berry-picking, hot air ballooning to golfing, summer in Niseko is just as action-packed as the winter. Nestled amongst rolling acres of farmland, scenic hiking trails and crystal-clear lakes, it is hard to match the Niseko area for year-round allure.
Niseko is the perfect base to explore nearby attractions such as Lake Toya, Lake Shikotsu, Mt Yotei, Otaru, Rusutsu Theme Park and the epic coastal Shakotan Peninsular.
Not only is Niseko great for beginners - it is also fantastic for other levels - all the way to the experts and pros amongst us.
Check out our guides to beginner, intermediate, advance and expert skiing before you travel.
Niseko is readily accessible to travelers from inside and outside Japan. The nearest international airport is New Chitose International Airport in Sapporo. While most travelers arrive by plane, the nearest bullet train station is Shin-Hakodate Hokuto Station in Hakodate. From these access points, travelers can drive, take a private car, a reservations-only public bus, or train to the Niseko resort area.
By car, the trip from Sapporo or Hakodate takes about 2 hours. In winter, the trip may take up to 4 hours. The train takes about 3 hours.
Our Guest Services Team is delighted to assist guests in booking private transfers or seats on the public bus. However, we are unable to assist in booking seats on the train.
For guests who want to avoid the icy roads, are traveling in a group, with extra luggage, or who just need a little extra space, NISADE’s trusted private transfer providers can provide a seamless pick-up from the airport all the way to your accommodation.
From sedan taxis to luxury limousines, a range of vehicles, customization options, and schedules are available to suit any party.
- Price: from 30,000JPY
- Travel Time: 2hrs door to door
- Grocery stops
- English-speaking airport meet & greet
- Snack & beverage service
- Child and infant seats available depending on vehicle
Several reliable bus services run between New Chitose International Airport and the Niseko resort area. Buses are generally scheduled around major international or connecting flights, and there are multiple runs daily. All Niseko-bound buses deliver guests to the Hirafu Welcome Center where a NISADE representative will be waiting to take you to your accommodation.
Please note that all buses are reservation-only, and that bus timetables are usually issued in late September. A limited number of highway buses are available in the summer.
- Price: from 4,100JPY per adult
- Travel Time: 2.5hrs door to door
- Notes: Rest stop half-way. No child seats available
New Chitose International Airport has a train station on the ground floor of the airport complex with a multi-lingual help desk and ticket machines in English and Japanese. The train is also easily accessible from the Sapporo and Hakodate areas, and the JR Hokkaido Rail Pass can be used on nearly all trains.
From Sapporo, guests may need to transfer trains at Otaru Station. All guests must travel to Kutchan Station and take a taxi to the Niseko resort area. Hirafu Station, while technically closer to the resort, is remote and unmanned, and no pick-ups can be arranged.
Taxis are available outside the front entrance of Kutchan Station, with the main office directly across the road.
Hirafu is a small resort town, so the main shopping, dining, and nightlife precincts are within easy strolling distance of nearly all of NISADE’s properties! For guests who will travel to neighboring towns or to restaurants outside of central Hirafu, we recommend taking a taxi or a local bus.
Please note that taxi quantities are limited, and large parties are recommended to book in advance. Please inquire with Front Desk for assistance in booking a taxi.
Local Taxi Companies:
- Hachiriki Taxi: +81 (0) 136-21-2508
- Sprint Taxi: +81 (0) 136-55-5400 (or online here)
- Niseko International Transport: +81 (0) 136-22-1171
- Niseko Hire: +81 (0) 136-44-2635
- NGS Taxi: +81 (0) 136-55-7007
For guests who would like to travel between resort areas between resort areas or go to town to purchase some groceries in Kutchan, there are a number of buses in the Niseko resort area. We recommend consulting with Front Desk for the latest timetable and bus stop information.
Niseko United Shuttle
Resort-run service that connects all four Niseko area resorts and Kutchan. Service is free for guests with an All Mountain Lift Pass.
- Price: from 300JPY per person
- Timetable: Niseko United Shuttle Bus Timetable
Grand Hirafu Village Shuttle
A free service that runs every 15 minutes through Hirafu Village.
- Price: free of charge
- Timetable: Grand Hirafu Shuttle Bus Timetable
Hanazono Shuttle Bus
A free service that runs every 30 minutes from stops around Hirafu Village to Hanazono Resort.
- Price: free of charge
- Timetable: Hanazono Shuttle Bus Timetable
Always Niseko Shuttle Bus
A free shuttle service for Always Niseko guests circulating every 30 minutes between Always Niseko, the Hirafu Welcome Centre, and the Grand Hirafu ski lifts.
Timetable: This service is available in winter, view 2020/21 timetable here. Details to be updated closer to the winter season.
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