Located on Hokkaido in the north of Japan lies Japan's leading ski resort Niseko. The most well-known of all Japan's ski resorts, Niseko is made up of four ski areas - Annupuri, Niseko Village, Hirafu and Hanazono which are all interlinked and covered on one ski pass. The best time to ski here is between late December and March.
Niseko is blessed with incredible snowfall which is largely due to its location on the west of Hokkaido, directly in the path of the winds blowing down from Siberia, with the Japan sea and the Pacific Ocean on either side. This means that when the snow falls, it's dry and deep, which is why so many people flock to this part of Japan for the ultimate powder experience.
The skiing is based on one mountain with four different resort bases - the largest of which is Hirafu village which has the widest choice of hotels, restaurants, bars and shops. English is widely spoken here and there is a lively, buzzing atmopshere in town. There is something for everyone here but the key thing you need to know is that the lift system is decidedly antiquated compared to other world class resorts in Europe and North America. Night skiing here is a big part of the action with a large number of runs open to 9pm. But it’s really the backcountry that most people come here to experience which is accessed by a series of gates from the peak of the mountain. You’ll be greeted by vast expanse of the most exquisite snow inviting you to let rip and go for it, cruising your way through the deep stuff, letting your fat skis take you on the ride of a lifetime.
Getting to Niseko is straightforward - the nearest airport is Sapporo New Chitose, with skiers often flying in from Tokyo or directly from Hong Kong. Niseko is around 2 hours drive from New Chitose airport.