How to get to Niseko
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New Chitose Airport
Niseko is two to three hours drive from Hokkaido’s international airport, New Chitose Airport, just outside Sapporo. It is an international airport but not all airlines fly direct to Chitose. Most international visitors will have to catch a domestic flight from Tokyo via the international airport Narita or domestic airport Haneda.
New Chitose Airport
Phone +81 (0)123 23 0111
Ground transport into Niseko from New Chitose Airport
On arrival at Chitose international airport, visitors not on a full travel package have a few options to complete this last leg of their journey to Niseko and back. Although the trip is only 110kms, due to icy roads and no direct train route, it takes two to three hours.
The bus is the cheapest form of transport from the airport in winter. Buses depart about every 30 minutes from the airport to dropoff points in the three major resorts in Niseko – Hirafu, Niseko Village and Annupuri. They take about three hours, and most include a rest stop halfway and some drop-off at Rusutsu.
One way will cost about ¥2500, or ¥4,000 for a round trip.
There are four different bus companies doing the route. Whiteliner, Donan, Chuo and Hokkaido Resort Liner. They all cost roughly the same and take the same amount of time to get to Niseko. Whiteliner runs the latest with their last service about 9pm.
Bus company contacts (operators may not speak English):
Whiteliner Buses 011-242-2040
Chuo Buses 011-231-0500
Donan buses 0123-46-5701
Hokkaido Resort Liner 011-219-4411 www.access-n.jp/winter/english/
Private door to door transfer
Skybus offers a door to door transfer service from the airport to Niseko or Sapporo. Wi-Fi and DVD systems included in each vehicle.
Skybus has the largest and youngest fleet of vehicles in the area. Niseko to Airport/Sapporo from ¥29000 per vehicle. Skybus also offers a variety of day tours throughout the area to compliment your holiday.
Go to www.skybus.co.jp or call 080-3266-5685.
In winter most Niseko visitors catch a bus or airport shuttle as it will whisk you directly to your resort of choice.
However the train is more scenic, passing by the ocean and deep through the snow-bound countryside. For those who don’t mind taking a bit more time and effort, the train may add to your Niseko experience.
There is no direct train from Chitose to Kutchan (the closest major station to Niseko) so you need to change at Otaru (if you do your research it is possible to change at Sapporo to catch one of the few trains that run direct from Sapporo to Kutchan – but you’re better off changing at Otaru).
Once you get to Kutchan you will still need to make the last leg to Niseko – a 15 minute taxi ride, which will cost about ¥3000. The whole trip should take 3-4 hours.
The train terminal is on the basement level of the airport. One way to Kutchan is about ¥3000, or about ¥5000 return.
For more information and the latest up to date timetables and fares, go to the Hokkaido Railways homepage: http://www2.jrhokkaido.co.jp/global/index.html
Station contact numbers (operators may not speak English)
Airport +81 (0)123-45-7011
Sapporo +81 (0)11-222-7111
Otaru +81 (0)134-22-0771
Kutchan station +81 (0)136-22-1310
Niseko station +81 (0)135-44-2104
If you are comfortable driving in the snow, renting can be convenient as it allows you to take a trip to Kutchan to stock up the fridge before returning the car. One way hire from Chitose to Hirafu is about ¥7,000 for six - 24 hours. Nippon Rentacar, Mazda and Orix have offices in the Niseko area. If you want a car only in Niseko, you can contact Black Diamond Lodge in Higashiyama.
Niseko car rental companies
Black Diamond Lodge
Mazda Rent a Car
New Chitose Airport branch +81 (0)123 45 8756
Niseko branch +81 (0) 0136 44 1188
Hilton Niseko Village branch +81 (0)136 44 1111
Nippon Rent a Car
New Chitose Airport branch +81 (0)123 26 0919
Niseko branch +81 (0)136 43 2929
Orix Rent a Car
New Chitose Airport branch +81 (0)123 22 0543
Izumikyo (Hirafu) branch +81 (0)134 25 0543
Niseko/Kutchan Branch +81 (0)136 55 5501
A standard taxi from Chitose to Hirafu will cost about ¥30,000, but you may not fit all your gear in it. Prai Taxi charges ¥20,000 for a small taxi (3-4 people) or ¥33,000 for a jumbo (8-10 people). Call 011 207 5166 or www.prai.co.jp.
Overnight stopover in Chitose
If your flight gets in to Chitose late you may be able to catch a Skybus transfer straight in to Niseko, otherwise you may have to stay overnight in Chitose. There are cheap airport hotels in Chitose that can be booked on the internet. Google “chitose hotels”.