FAQs | Japan Ski Experience
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Frequently Asked Questions on Niseko Ski Resort

Is there a medical clinic in Niseko?

There are a number of medical clinics and hospitals in the Niseko area, most of which are located in Kutchan-Town, about 20 minutes outside of Niseko.  

Within Niseko Hirafu is the Niseko International Clinic, which has both English and Japanese-speaking doctors who can service International guests.  The clinic is ideal for non-emergencies such as X-rays, ultrasound, minor sports injuries, as well as General practice.

There is a large hospital in Kutchan Town called Kutchan Kosei Byoin (Kutchan General Hospital).  Many staff members can speak English, and they do have translators on staff.

What is the caliber of rental equipment in Niseko? Should I bring my own?

You can find the latest models and top brands of ski and snowboard equipment to rent during your Niseko ski holiday at Rhythm Japan, who have a number of shops in the Niseko area and who offer everything from fat powder skis to backcountry gear to skis perfect for groomed runs. They also have premium boot-specialists to ensure you've got the perfect fit.  Therefore, unless you really do prefer to bring your own boots or gear, you'll have plenty to choose from Rhythm.  You can add ski or snowboard equipment to your Niseko booking easily at the same rate as purchasing in-resort, and have them waiting for you at the shop upon arrival, with free pick up service (advance notice required).  Get in touch with us to add equipment to your Niseko booking.

Where can I buy groceries in Niseko?

For those wishing to stock up on some food suppliers in their Niseko self-contained accommodation, there are a few options in Hirafu Village.  If you'd like to purchase things like breakfast items, snacks, drinks, ready-made food, bread, cheese, milk and other basic items, then you can purchase most of these things in one of the small convenience stores located in Hirafu Village, such as Lawson, 7-Eleven, Seicomart and Sapporo Drug.  If you are looking to purchase food for cooking proper meals, then you are better off going to one of the 3 large supermarkets in Kutchan such as MaxValu, Co-Op, and Lucky Supermarket.  Kutchan is located approximately 8km from Hirafu Village and can be easily accessed by bus, night bus or taxi.  Check out our Niseko Supermarket Guide for more detailed information.

How long is the bullet train from Tokyo to Sapporo?

There are a number of different options and routes to get you from Tokyo to Sapporo city by train.  Overall, we generally recommend avoiding this method of transit.  This is because if you combine the travel time and the cost, you're going to find that flying from Tokyo to Sapporo New Chitose Airport is a better option, as it is not only much quicker, but also often less expensive.  That said, for those that are dying to experience the Japan bullet train or Shinkansen on their Japan ski holiday, then you can choose to travel by train.  The most direct way is to take the HAYABUSA bullet train from Tokyo station to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto station near the Southern tip of Hokkaido (approximately 4 hours), followed by the LIMITED EXPRESS HOKUTO 13 train to Sapporo city (about 3.5 hrs). 

For those wanting to travel from Tokyo to Niseko by train, after getting to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto, you'll need to make your way to KUTCHAN station, and there are 1-2 transfers required.  The journey from Hakodate to Kutchan takes 2.5-3.5 hrs.

For exact schedules and fares you can refer to hyperdia.com/en/.  For more information about getting to Niseko, please see our GETTING TO NISEKO page.



What time is the last bus from Sapporo New Chitose Airport to Niseko?

The last bus departs Sapporo New Chitose Airport at 21:30.  As there are minimum connection times required between a flight arrival and a bus departure, if you are planning to travel to Niseko by coach, you should arrange your flight to arrive no later than 20:00 (international arrivals) and 20:45 (domestic arrivals).  

The minimum connection times are at least:

  • 45 minutes after a domestic flight arrival
  • 90 minutes after an international flight arrival

Please note that not all departures will be operating and coaches need to be booked at least 14 days in advance through Japan Ski Experience.  Coach service usually commences from early December and operates until end of March.  Exact schedules can vary from season to season.

What time is the first bus from Niseko to New Chitose Airport? How early can I get there?

The first bus from Niseko departs at 07:30 and arrives at Sapporo New Chitose Airport Domestic Terminal at 10:30 and at the International Terminal at 10:40.   Please note that there are minimum connection times required in order to confirm your bus transfer from Niseko to the airport.

The minimum connection times are usually:

  • 60 minutes prior to a domestic flight departure
  • 120 minutes prior to an international flight departure

As such, we strongly recommend arranging your International flight to depart no earlier 12:40, and Domestic flights to depart no earlier than 11:30. 

How do I get around Niseko resort? How often do the shuttle busses run?

The Niseko area is very well connected with a series of shuttle busses that operate frequently throughout the winter ski season.  The Niseko United Shuttle bus, which connects Niseko Grand Hirafu, Niseko Annupuri, and Niseko Village ski resorts, operates every 15-20 minutes throughout the season.  The Niseko United Shuttle bus is free for Niseko All Mountain lift pass holders.

The Hirafu Village Grand Shuttle bus, which runs throughout Hirafu and taking people to and from their accommodation and the lifts, operates approximately every 15 minutes from when the lifts open until the last lifts in the evening.  The shuttle offers free service and bus stops are plentiful, making almost all accommodations in Hirafu easily accessible to the lifts.

Other Niseko area shuttle busses include the free Hanazono Shuttle which connects Niseko Grand Hirafu and Niseko Hanazono resorts, as well as the Kutchan-Hirafu bus enabling guests to visit the shops and restaurants of Kutchan town.

Should I make restaurant reservations before I get to Niseko?

Niseko restaurants tend to become very busy during the peak season and dinner reservations are recommended.  Most restaurants now have the option to book online, and almost all will have English-speaking staff available to assist you over the phone.

Check out our Niseko Restaurant guide for our top restaurant recommendations.

Should I pre-book Niseko resort services?

We recommend that all resort services (Niseko United All Mountain lift pass, ski and snowboard equipment, group and private lessons, guiding) be booked in advance of arrival, as there are a number of benefits to having everything ready to go.  

Airport transfers must be booked at least 10 days prior to arrival in order to ensure a guaranteed seat, as the buses fill up (peak season) or may not operate if there are not a certain number of seats filled in advance (low season).  

Group and private lessons tend to book out early, and a lot of the time if lessons are not booked in advance then it might not be possible to book them upon arrival.  Lift passes when booked in advance will be hand-delivered to your accommodation at no additional charge saving you the time of having to arrange it the next morning.  Ski and snowboard equipment will be set aside and waiting for you so that you don't need to do it all the morning you hit the slopes. 

For more information about Niseko guest services, please cick on the SERVICES tab on our Niseko Resort page.  If you would like to add Niseko resort services to your Japan Ski Experience booking, please visit your Manage My Booking page or get in touch with us at: nisekoguestservices@japanskiexperience.com.

Can I get around Niseko without a car?

Renting a vehicle is not a requirement in Niseko resort, where the 4 ski resorts (Annupuri, Hanzono, Niseko Village, and Grand Hirafu) are very well connected by the Niseko United shuttle system.  Furthermore, the majority of Niseko accommodations are located in Hirafu, at the base of Grand Hirafu Resort.  Hirafu is a very walkable and compact town, so lift access (as well as access to shops and restaurants) is very convenient.  The Hirafu shuttle bus system also easily connects the Lower, Middle, and Upper Hirafu Village areas, and most accommodations are located less than a few minutes' walk to the nearest shuttle stop.

For those who do prefer to hire a vehicle and who may want to explore the local area, you can do so at Sapporo New Chitose Airport or in Hirafu (Peak and/or Toyota).  Vehicles need to be equipped with snow tires and it is recommended that they also be 4WD.

Are there any ATMs or Cash Machines in Niseko I can use to withdraw money?

In Niseko Hirafu there are a few places where you can withdraw cash. There is a ATM with English instructions in the Chatrium Niseko building (previously Shiki Hyatt House) on the main road in Hirafu. There is also an ATM located in the Lawson, Seicomart, and Seven Eleven convenient stores as well as the Satudora Niseko Hirafu store located in the bottom of the Hirafu 188 Apartments building. If you can get to Kutchan you can also withdraw cash from ATMs located in the Post Offices and other convenience stores.

If you will be arriving in Niseko in the evening, we recommend that you withdraw cash at Sapporo New Chitose Airport prior to departing since some cash machines have specific service hours and may be closed upon arrival.


What is the check-in procedure?

All accommodations in Niseko resort have slightly different check-in procedures, depending on whether it is a hotel, apartment, or chalet, as well as the specific vendor managing the accommodation.

The majority of Niseko accommodations have a check-in time of 15:00 and a check out time of 10:00 but all will offer a place to store luggage before and after these allotted times. We generally advise our guests that if they are flexible, to arrange their arrival time and departure times to align with check-in/check-out times for their own comfort and convenience.

Exact check-in details pertaining to your specific accommodation are included in your Essential Travel Vouchers which are emailed through to our guests 14 days prior to travel. This information will explain everything you need to do upon arrival at New Chitose Airport.

How do I get to Niseko?

Niseko Ski Resort is located on the northern island of Hokkaido. Guests will need to fly first to Sapporo New Chitose Airport and then transfer from there to Niseko. For complete details and step-by-step instructions, please check out our Getting to Niseko guide.

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