Inside Niseko: Introducing Japan's number 1 ski resort

10 Apr, 2017 by Investors In Property
The island of Hokkaido has a well-deserved and globally recognised reputation for its powder snow conditions. Between December and the end of February snow falls are constant, so it is no wonder that the island boasts numerous ski resorts. Of all of them, none have captured the imagination of mountain-goers more than Niseko.

But what do we really know about Niseko? Here, we get into the nitty gritty. 

ONE MOUNTAIN, FOUR RESORTS:

The Niseko United ski area, officially Japan’s number one ski resort, is comprised of 4 interlinked ski areas – Grand Hirafu, Hanazono, Niseko Village and An’nupuri – each nestled at the base of a different section of skiing beneath Mt. Niseko An’nupuri.

Hirafu Village is the main hub, with easy access to the other resorts by shuttle bus and via mountain access. Hirafu Village is also by far and away the most developed of the 4 resorts with respect to the on-mountain infrastructure. There are English-speaking rental shops, ski schools and guides, as well as a wealth of food and nightlife choices.

That said there are numerous other towns, hamlets and developments in the surrounding area which offer a peaceful and idyllic alternative to the hustle and bustle of the Hirafu Village resort for those seeking to soak up the beautiful scenery.

In particular, you can enjoy ski-in, ski-out luxury at the Hilton in Niseko village, with breath-taking views from nigh on every room and its own private onsen. 


back country skier in Niseko
Backcountry skier in Niseko

OFF-PISTE PARADISE:

There are only about 55km of pistes in Niseko, but the large sections of off-piste skiing have always been the main event here. Everything you’ve heard about Niseko’s powder is true, so you can expect to be skiing waist-deep, feather-light snow on a daily basis within the resort areas and out in the backcountry.

What’s more, you will be able to enjoy some of Japan’s world famous tree-skiing first hand, with the well-spaced trees affording you the chance to enjoy skiing in a truly natural environment. Adding to the sense of nature and tranquillity are the incredible views over Mt. Yotei, known as the Fuji of Hokkaido, which rises majestically in front of you as look out from the Niseko ski area.

Don’t let the allure of the off-piste blind you to what the main runs have to offer though, because  Niseko has one last trick up its sleeve; Night-Skiing. The Niseko United ski area operates one of the largest, and most popular, night-skiing operations on the planet with lifts open until 8.30pm every night of the week from mid-December through to late March.

Not only does this allow visitors to take a long ski day but under the floodlights the atmosphere of the slopes is completely changed, and expert riders can find new and more-challenging descents in the most familiar trails.

Overall though it is worth noting that Niseko United is a truly family friendly resort, with terrain fairly evenly split between beginner, intermediate and advanced with a variety of lifts.


Hirafu main street
Hirafu Village

AWAY FROM THE SLOPES:

With a wide range of food and drink options and the prevalence of hot-spring baths, it’s not just the unique off-piste and night-skiing that gives Niseko its distinct atmosphere.

After a day exploring the mountain what could be more inviting than a trip to a traditional onsen bath? Each with a unique mineral blend designed to relax and repair your body; the soothing spring water and relaxing setting are a perfect prescription for post-slope weariness and a great alternative to the sights and sounds of a more Alpine après-ski. 

That’s not to say that Niseko’s resorts can’t offer you a lively atmosphere in which to blow off steam. Bars, cafes and restaurants are plentiful in Hirafu Village, spanning the full spectrum from beers, burgers and darts through to gourmet cuisine and fine cocktails, so there will be something for everyone.

Food-wise, thanks to Hokkaido’s superb local produce and proximity to the coast, Niseko can offer up the very best in authentic Japanese cuisine from yakitori (grilled meat skewers) and okonomiyaki (pancakes) through to sushi, ramen noodles and traditional onigiri rice balls. But don’t worry, for the less adventurous, or for those yearning for some home comforts, there is a wide range of European and fusion foods on hand. 


Harmony House
Niseko property

SKI PROPERTY:

Converted? Want to be a part of the Niseko revolution?

Well, if so you're in luck because this resort is developing fast and there's a wide range of properties available for international buyers that are, overall, exceptionally well-priced.

In Hirafu Village itself you can find apartments and “chalets” ranging from affordable to complete luxury and from Alpine to traditional Japanese style. The Haven 501 Penthouse is a great example of a luxurious new-build apartment set at the heart of Niseko’s most vibrant resort and, like most properties in this area, it has incredible rental potential.

On the other hand, if you were more interested in a ski retreat there is, in a private location away from the bustle of the main resort, a wide variety of standalone ski houses and chalets in the Niseko area. Harmony House is a great example, exuding a minimalist Japanese style in a secluded location not far from the Niseko Village lifts.

And there is much more where this came from, so whether you are seeking a ski in, ski out apartment in the heart of this Asian skiing utopia or you just want to hear more about the world’s fastest growing ski resort, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for more details.
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