Skiing at Hakuba or Niseko??
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Nov 8, 2012 8:02 AM Last Post By: JapanSkiier
Jun 8, 2010 8:57 PM
I'm planning to go snowboarding in Japan in Janurary in 2011 and was wondering what's a better place to go, Hakuba or Niseko?
I've heard great things about both but better conditions in Niseko however its harder to get to from Tokyo.
I've snowboarded many times before in Australia and New Zealand and heard Japan is the best. I'm planning to go with my gf and a few friends. We are all Australian aged in our early/mid 20's.
Any recommended tips for accommodation, transport, bars, ski hire etc would be handy
Jun 8, 2010 10:59 PM
Jun 9, 2010 1:00 AM
2I'm a Japanese and i did mountain climbing and skiing in Japan and mountain skiing in the Alps in Europe, but it's many years ago and now travellings only, and i know well about "Hakuba" as it was my training piste for hard mountain skiing..
And at that times, sometimes i experinced it had been "raining" in Hakuba in the end of February or the biginning of March, but recently it may become "in the end of January, February, of course in March" ---because of global warming predictions all over the world and warmer than before, so you rarely can expect powder snow in Hakuba even in January but you can expect "raining" and "sharvet snow" for it.
To the contrary, in Niseko, snow is perfectly and amazingly "powder snow" in full season and nature in Hokkaido is great so i definitely recommend you to go to Niseko=Hokkaido even if it's far from Tokyo, and there exists one more reason, probably you know, that now many Australian skiers are visiting Niseko for their skiing by chartered direct flights from Australia to Hokkaido without going to Tokyo.
Really many Australian visit Niseko now though the population of Japanese skiiers are continuosly dicleasing every year whole in Japan.(They are probably playing with computer games in their rooms?-- i don't know though i'm a Japanese)
Jun 9, 2010 5:44 AM
Jun 9, 2010 7:09 AM
4Niseko - absolutely the best and amazing atmosphere etc as well!!
Look into flights from Tokyo to Sapporo with ANA airlines, or cheaper airlines are Skymark http://www.skymark.jp/en/ and Airdo http://www.airdo.jp/ap/index.html (website is Japanese only)...
Bus from Sapporo airport to Niseko Hirafu takes about 3 hours and costs around 3000 yen each.. if you can read Japanese book here http://www.j-bus.co.jp/web/index.html, otherwise try googling the Chuo or Dounan Bus companies who both run buses ever hour between the airport and Niseko resorts...
Accommodation - this place is fantastic!! http://holidayniseko.com/asuka-new.html stayed there twice and would go back everytime!! The owners are Aussies/Kiwis and they really looked after us!!! Send them an email for the best price!!
If you do go to Niseko, be sure to have a meal and a beer or several in the Irish pub on the main street - it's fantastic!!!
Jun 9, 2010 8:05 AM
5I havent been to Hakuba so cannot compare, but have been to Niseko 3 times and am going again next year. Simply the best snow I have ever seen in my life (and I have skiied the big resorts in Canada and Europe). Nightlife in Niseko is great too and it is very easy to navigate for non Japanese speakers. The snow japan forums mentioned above are your best bet for recommendations.
Jun 9, 2010 7:02 PM
6Whoa people. I can't believe people dis a place without knowing anything about it. Hakuba is a world famous ski resort, it hosted the '98 winter olympics. This comment on rain was most probably from two seasons ago, when all resorts in Japan had a poor year including Niseko. Don't believe me check out these two videos at the bottom here.
There are 11 resorts, 5 main main ones, that will keep you more than entertained over the weeks holiday in Hakuba. Hakuba differs from Niseko in that Niseko's runs come off one mountain area, where as Hakuba is spread along a valley. With Niseko the upside is that you can get more direct skiing across the mountain and although it might get an extra meter of snow over Hakuba, 11m vs 12m annually, Niseko has more of a problem off white out days through cloud cover. Niseko is also not as steep as Hakuba and has shorter and less diverse runs.
Niseko has tree skiing, as so to does Hakuba (some people think it doesn't, again check out the vids)
Niseko is on the North Island, so will take longer to get there. Travel time to Hakuba once you land in Japan is around 4 to 5 hrs. It tends to be double that when traveling to Niseko, if you travel direct from Australia.
Niseko is a newer town, dominated by Australian based tour operators and hotel owners, Hakuba is an old ski resort so has more Japanese culture/ heritage, but with a range of good international and some western run hotels.
Both places are great to go skiing or boarding. You just need to work out what you want from the holiday. Check out snowjapan.com as this gives you a great range of information and can really help you decide. You might want to look at other places like Nisawa Onsen, also very good.
Hope that gives you more of a balanced opinion on the two places.
Oct 11, 2010 8:47 AM
7Hakuba has 13 resorts and endless back country! It is good for a lifetime or two! 10 to 14 meters of annual snowfall and the beauty of the alps can't be beat.
Nov 8, 2012 8:02 AM
8If you don't want to see the sun, its Niseko. If you want the chance of a bluebird day hit up Hakuba. If you want deep pow in the trees enjoy Niseko, if you want Alpine skiing, don't go to Japan... not even Hakuba. Big mountain, or great steeps are few and far between in Japan. Don't kid yourself about Hakuba's 'alpine' its there but it is not on the level of Europe or North America. Just enjoy enjoy the deep stuff if you heading to Japan... Niseko.
Or have a look at a few other options? Why not get a cultural experience too and head to a completely different resort. Here's a quick guide: Where to ski in Japan
(0 star Hotel)
From US$44.60 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$134.33 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$101.20 per night