Where To Stay In Hokkaido: Niseko & Other Ski Resorts
Boasting some of Japan’s best ski resorts including the always popular Niseko, Hokkaido offers lots of reasons to visit and a huge range of accommodation options. On this page you will find the following information:
Lying to the north of Japan’s main island of Honshu, Hokkaido is a destination unto itself; part of Japan but very much distinct in its character, traditions and climate. Most famously for international visitors, the ski resorts of Hokkaido enjoy Japan’s longest season and deepest powder. Ask anyone who’s been, Hokkaido offers some of the best powder skiing and snowboarding in the world, with an enticing mix of resorts to choose from including Niseko United, Rusutsu, Kiroro, Furano and Tomamu. You’ll find information about what to expect when it comes to accommodation at each resort below, along with some additional informational for visitors planning to stay nearby New Chitose Airport, Sapporo or Otaru.
1 / BEST PLACES TO STAY IN & AROUND THE SKI RESORTS
Hokkaido is home to a large number of ski resorts, offering some of the world’s best and deepest powder. That’s no exaggeration, the snow really is fantastic. Among the resorts of Hokkaido, five resorts stand-out:
Each resort offers world-class skiing and snowboarding with the combined resorts of Niseko, offering the most accommodation and best setup for international visitors. Rusutsu and Tomamu also feature high-end accommodation while Kiroro and Furano offer large hotels targeted at the Japanese market. Let’s start with the most popular of the Hokkaido resorts:
Operating under the banner of ‘Niseko United’, Hokkaido’s largest and most popular resort is in fact four connected resorts covered by an all-mountain pass. Accommodation is available in and around each of the four resorts with Niseko Grand Hirafu and Niseko Village having the greatest range of options:
Niseko Tokyu Grand Hirafu Area
Boasting the most accommodation, dining and nightlife of any area in Niseko, Hirafu Village has something for everyone. The upper village offers a variety of luxury ski in/out hotels and self-contained accommodation. The lower village offers just as many options including townhouse and condos, and all within easy walk of the Family Chairlift connecting it directly to the ski fields. Hirafu also boasts the greatest concentration of restaurants, including Michelin-starred restaurants, along with bars, pubs and nightclubs. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Niseko: Grand Hirafu Area’ hotel page.
Niseko Village Area
Located between Grand Hirafu and Annupuri, Niseko Village offers the second most accommodation options and connects to the ski fields of the same name. Much like Hirafu, in this area you’ll find multiple ski in/out hotels including large hotels with lots of family-friendly facilities and services, along self-contained accommodation. International hotels including Hilton and Ritz Carlton are located in this area with some decent dining options spread through the village including fantastic local fare. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Niseko: Village Ski Resort Area’ hotel page.
Niseko Annupuri Area
Annupuri is less developed than Hirafu and Niseko Village and as a result, less crowded. In this area you’ll find a variety of ski lodges, chalets and hotels with prices typically being cheaper than Hirafu and Niseko Village. Annupuri boasts the most ‘onsen’ (natural hot springs) of any area in Niseko, while also providing easy access to the Annupuri ski fields, the base of which is well-suited to beginners. There’s a decent number of restaurants in the area while overall, Annupuri has retained more of its ‘Japanese-ness’ than the more popular areas of Niseko. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Niseko: Annupuri Area’ hotel page.
Niseko Hanazono Area
Niseko Hanazono connects to Grand Hirafu and is another area less developed than Hirafu and Niseko Village but with the notable presence of the large Park Hyatt. Featuring eleven restaurants, multiple lounges, bars and hot springs, the Park Hyatt is the most notable accommodation in this area of Niseko. Away from the Hyatt, you’ll find a small number of guesthouses, ski lodges and restaurants. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Niseko: Hanazono Area’ hotel page.
RUSUTSU SKI RESORT
Rusutsu Ski Resort is the largest stand-alone resort in Hokkaido. Less-crowded than Niseko, Rusutsu also caters to the high-end market with large hotels including Rusutsu Resort Hotel, The Vale Rusutsu and Westin Rusutsu resort offering luxury accommodation and good services for families. All three of these hotels are conveniently located in close proximity to the ski fields with most of the resorts nightlife and dining limited to the admittedly excellent restaurants and bars inside the hotels. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Rusutsu Ski Resort Area’ hotel page.
KIRORO SKI RESORT
Kiroro Ski Resort is notably less-developed than Niseko and Rusutsu, but still offers some excellent large hotels including The Sheraton Hokkaido Kiroro Resort, The Kiroro Tribute Hotel and Yu Kiroro. Much like Rusutsu, most of Kiroro’s nightlife and dining is located within these hotels. Away from these hotels Kiroro doesn’t offer much other accommodation or nightlife, meaning that while the resort feels less developed than Niseko, you are more restricted to large hotels creating a resort-type atmosphere that will appeal to some while not appealing to others. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Kiroro Ski Resort Area’ hotel page.
FURANO SKI RESORT
Highly-rated Furano Ski Resort is operated by the Prince Hotels group, with the featuring two large Prince Hotels. Both Prince Hotels offers a huge number of rooms, multiple restaurants, shops and in-house services including rental, ski schools and day-care. The hotels are targeted at the domestic market and cater well to families. In addition to the hotels, you will find a good number of smaller lodges and guesthouses dotted nearby the ski fields and Furano village lying 20-miuntes walk away from the Kitanomine zone of the resort. It’s important to note that Furano village is actually at its busiest outside of winter when the area attracts thousands of visitors to its famous flower fields. As a result, there’s a good amount of accommodation and dining in the village however in winter, most people choose to stay closer to the ski fields. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Furano Ski Resort Area’ hotel page.
HOSHINO RESORTS TOMAMU
Hoshino Resorts Tomamu is another resort operated by a hotel group targeting the high-end market. While the resort itself is very good and receives excellent snow, Tomamu is very much designed for the market wanting a full ‘resort’ experience with everything revolving around two twin tower hotels – RISONARE Hotel and The Tower hotel. Both hotels offer high-end, spacious Western-style rooms, multiple restaurants, ski in/out convenience and full concierge services. In addition, nearby Club Med Tomamu takes the resort experience one step further. There are a couple of small, independent operators in the area but in reality, Tomamu is best-suited to visitors wanting the resort experience. If that’s not for you, perhaps best to head to Furano and visit Tomamu as a day-trip. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Tomamu Ski Resort Area’ hotel page.
2 / OTHER AREAS TO STAY IN HOKKAIDO
Away from the resorts, Hokkaido offers just as many reasons to visit in spring, summer and autumn. Known for its pristine natural landscapes including some of Japan’s most beautiful national parks, along with arguably Japan’s best seafood, you could argue that there’s more reasons to visit Hokkaido outside of winter! Regardless of the season in which you’re traveling, most international visitors will enter and/or depart the island at New Chitose Airport with cities of Sapporo, Hakodate and Otaru being hugely popular destinations. Of course, there’s good accommodation options in each, starting with:
NEW CHITOSE AIRPORT
As one of Japan’s major international airports, New Chitose Airport has a decent range of accommodation including a hotel in the airport. Portom International Hokkaido and Air Terminal Hotel are located inside the airport terminal offering Western-style rooms and an excellent range of facilities and services, while outside of the airport, you’ll find a concentration of business hotels around Chitose Station. Hotels in this area are notably cheaper than Portom International Hokkaido with some offering shuttle services to and from the airport. For accommodation listings, see our ‘New Chitose Airport Area’ hotel page.
As Japan’s fifth largest city, it’s no surprise that you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing your accommodation in Sapporo. You’ll find everything from large, high-end hotels, to business hotels and budget accommodation dotted throughout the city but with the largest concentrations around Sapporo Station and Susukino Station areas. Staying around Sapporo Station is convenient in terms of transport into and out of the city while the Susukino Station area – to the south of Sapporo Station – is known for its nightlife. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Sapporo Station Area’ hotel page.
Tucked-away in the southern end of Hokkaido, Hakodate is a city celebrated for its mercantile history. It was the first international trade port in Japan, a heritage which is reflected in the European and other Western-style historic buildings merchant offices, churches and distinctive 19th century fort. Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station is also the northern terminus of the Hokkaido Shinkansen line, making it a convenient area to find accommodation and visit Hakodate using local trains – taking around 15-minutes to make that journey. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Hakodate Area’ hotel page.
Located around 30-minutes to the northwest of Sapporo, Otaru is a small harbor city famous for its well-preserved canal district. Similar to Hakodate, much of Otaru’s 19th century history as a major trade and fishing port can be seen today, as the city embraces that heritage with creative adaptation and use of its historic buildings. Otaru is acts as the terminus for ferries running to and from Japan’s largest island, Honshu. So for anyone choosing to venture to Hokkaido by sea, you’ll certainly be passing through this pleasant little city. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Otaru Area’ hotel page.
3 / HOKKAIDO SKI RESORTS: THE STATS & FACTS
Blessed with the longest seasons in Japan and huge annual snowfall, the ski resorts of Hokkaido rank among the best in Asia and enjoy some of the best powder in the world. The combined resorts of Niseko United are the largest and most popular ski fields in Hokkaido, while nearby Rusutsu and Kiroro attract plenty of fans in their own right. Rounding things-out, Furano and Tomamu lie further inland and receive slightly less snow but that bit of extra distance from the coast only means the powder is even drier, with some people claiming these resorts enjoy the best powder in the world. Our ‘Hokkaido Ski Resorts’ page has you covered for everything you need to know about each – a great place to start when planning your next winter adventure in Hokkaido.
4 / HOW TO GET TO THE RESORTS
Our ‘How to Get to the Hokkaido Ski Resorts’ page has everything you need to know about how to get to the resort or resorts of your choice, including bus, train and rental car information from New Chitose Airport, Asahikawa Airport and Sapporo.
5 / JAPAN SKI RESORTS: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
Did you know that the resorts of Hokkaido are just some of the hundreds spread throughout Japan? Needless to say, when you choose Nagano for your winter getaway you are spoiled for choice! Our ‘Japan Ski Resorts’ page has everything you need to know to start planning your ski and snowboard adventure including: LATEST NEWS & DEALS, THE BEST RESORTS IN NAGANO & JAPAN, FAQs and of course OUR SKI PACKAGES, ACCOMMODATION, TRANSPORT & TOURS.