Niseko, Japan

Niseko is a small, yet Japan’s top ski resort town located in Abuta District, Shiribeshi, Hokkaidō. Because of its northern location, the weather steams which come from the Siberia pick up a sudden surge of moisture from the Sea of Japan and slam into the peaks of Niseko, producing the best volumes of lightest and driest powder in the world.

Niseke Japan

Niseko is divided into three regions, Hirafu, Annapuri and Higashiyama. These regions differ in terrain and the quality of snow they receive.


Hirafu is considered the best place for powder, knee deep snow in Niseko (some people go ahead and compare the lace with entire Japan). After a good blizzard or snow fall, people just rush to ride the elevator for the first run at the snowy slope. The terrains offer a number of different courses, with varying tree density and gradient for skiers from beginner to advance. It is also a great place for snowboard lovers with big half-pipe, one-make and table-top jumps along with natural quarter pipes and hits everywhere.

Because of the high quality of snow, Hirafu hosts a number of snow sports event and is the major tourist attraction in Niseko.

  • Max elevation: 1200 meters
  • Min. elevation: 300 meters
  • Number of courses: 34
  • Longest run: 5600 meters
  • Min/Max Temperature: -2/-5
  • Min/Max snow depth (cm): 180/330


Unlike the Hirafu region, Annupuri offers less challenging courses and is suitable for novice and intermediate skiers and boarders (definitely where I fall). The quality of snow at Annupuri is almost similar to Hirafu but if you are a snow freak, you will find more quantity in Hirafu than in Annupuri. The night life of Annupuri is quite dull because there isn’t much to do. Unlike Hirafu which is as lively at night as it is at day time. Some terrain and snow facts regarding Annupuri are:

  • Max. elevation: 1156 meters
  • Min. elevation: 400 meters
  • Number of courses: 13
  • Longest run: 3500metres
  • Beginner: 30%   Intermediate: 50%   Advanced: 20%
  • Snow-boarding: Table top
  • Min/Max temp: -3/-7
  • Min/Max snow depth (cm): 165/ 248


Even the pros agree – “Powder doesn’t get any better than this”. Right until the end of the day the snow at Higashiyama is in great quality. With the longest 4.5km exciting mogul run, and a great snow park for boarders, this is an excellent all-round resort. Although Higashiyama provides good snow and best place for front valley skiing, it is a less popular region of the Niseko (there seems to be no reason why). So if you are able to find good place for your self, be assured that no one will disturb you. Some facts for this place are:

  • Max. elevation: 1170 meters
  • Min. elevation: 280 meters
  • Number of courses: 12
  • Longest run: 4500 meters
  • Beginner: 30%   Intermediate: 40%   Advanced: 30%
  • Snow boarding: Table top; One make Wave
  • in/Max temp:  -2/-5
  • Min/Max snow depth (cm): 380/400

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