Powder Capital of Japan
Niseko is in the southwest of Hokkaido – Japan’s rural, northernmost island and its largest prefecture. It’s about two or three hours by bus, car or train, southwest of Sapporo, the capital.
Hirafu? Kutchan? Annupuri? Niseko Village?
So you know you’re going to Niseko… but you’re wondering why your hotel is in Hirafu, when the postal address is Kutchan?
Niseko is the name given to the four independently owned ski resorts on the southeast face of Mt Annupuri, collectively known as the Niseko United. The most well known and visited of these resorts is Grand Hirafu, commonly known as Hirafu. The resort itself is great, but unless you know your secret spots, the powder quickly disappears from the traffic it experiences during the day.
That’s the beauty of Niseko – there are four resorts you can ski between with ease, with slopes and terrain to suit all levels of experience.
If you’re looking up at the mountain from Hirafu, the off-piste powder haven of Hanazono is over a few hills and gullies to your right. To the left, across a massive avalanche-prone bowl, is the up market and slower-paced Niseko Village, formerly known as Higashiyama. And to it’s left, bookending the Niseko United is Annupuri, famous for it’s back bowls and tendency to hide secret stashes of some of the best powder Niseko has to offer.