Skiing in Niseko

Nature
The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
8
Culture
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
4
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
9
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
4
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
6
unique
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
8
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
72 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
continent
Asia
country
Japan
Length of time
Around a week
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 1,500
Time of year visited
March
Primary Tags
Click on any of the tags to see all travel experiences with the same tag
RANKING
How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
98th/334 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Top 30% SUMMARY RATING: Superb

Summary

Niseko has a strong shout for being the world’s best skiing destination. Yes, yes, I know the North American sites have vast slopes and every other room has a hot tub; the Alps are wonderful for their apres and interconnected communities; and I get that Queenstown has bungee jumping, but there are 3 killer reasons for why Niseko has to take the crown:

  1. It is the undisputed King of Powder, with 15m / 50ft of wonderful light powdery stuff on AVERAGE each year
  2. Its Japan.  This means that everything works perfectly, people are 10/10 polite (no fighting over chair lifts), you finish your ski with an Onsen and the food . . . even the most basic of meals demands a quality zat wud mek even ze french jelos!
  3. The views.  Think less endless mountain chains, and more looking at the perfect conical volcano of Yotei-zan, aka Hokkaido’s Mount Fuji
It can be expensive, especially around the holidays, but a must experience if you’re a skier

highlights

1. The powder! 15m / 50ft dumped on average each year

2. The amazing views from the slopes, including the iconic Yotei-zan volcano that can be seen from most runs

#3 The food!

#4 Some of the quirky bars, especially ones like Bar Gyu with its famous fridge door entrance

#5 That it is Japan - every works and is just done perfectly. Especially the Onsens after a long day of skiing

Travel Tips

  • The hotel prices seemed on the high side.  We got 2 AirBnBs right by the Hirafu Gondola, which worked out well as it was a great location.  Came to around USD800 per person (there were 7 of us), which included accommodation for 6 nights, plus cleaning and a 4 day ski pass
  • There are heaps of great restaurants, but I’d particularly recommend Abucha 2 (Izakaya) and Ezo Seafoods
  • There’s also plenty of bars ranging from the just-get-lashed-style of Wild Bill’s to the super cool Bar Gyu with its fridge door entrance
  • Avoid Chinese New Year, sounds a shit show
  • Consider staying for a little longer in Hokkaido.  We headed over to Toya National Park to stay by the volcanic lake in one of the Ryokans.  Worth a trip to see a different side of Hokkaido and Japan and see Staying in a Ryokan by Lake Toya-ko for more ideas and tips

Experiences nearby

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Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone