Niseko Access: Getting from Hokkaido’s New Chitose Airport to Japan's Premier Ski Resorts!

Niseko Access: Getting from Hokkaido’s New Chitose Airport to Japan's Premier Ski Resorts!

Niseko is located right in the center of Hokkaido. A huge number of people come to Niseko from near and far for ‘Japow’ - its incredible powdered snow. As Niseko is roughly 110 km from New Chitose Airport, there are a lot of visitors who worry about access, and exactly how to get there. From New Chitose Airport to Niseko, buses, car rentals, trains, or even taxis can be used. Let's take a look at each option and consider the pros and cons.

■ Resort bus: The most popular option

A resort bus is regularly used by people who want to bring as much luggage as possible while keeping costs down. During the season, the buses operate daily going from the New Chitose Airport to the Niseko Hirafu Welcome Center (Hirafu Daiichi Parking Lot). There are three companies to choose from--Hokkaido Chuo Bus, White Liner, and Resort Liner--so check the timetables and be sure to make a reservation.

■ Rental car: Easily get around the vast Niseko area

There are several slopes, hot springs, restaurants, and many places of interest that are scattered around Niseko. It is convenient to have a rental to get around this vast area at your own pace, and they make it easier to drop by classic sightseeing areas such as Sapporo and Otaru as well. There are several car rental companies near New Chitose Airport, so be sure to make a reservation to get off to a smooth start. Note that you’ll want to be extra careful when driving the snowy roads.

■ Trains: Great to relax and enjoy the scenery

There is no need for a car as you can take a train to Niseko. It takes three and a half hours longer than by car, but you can spend the time relaxing with the exceptionally beautiful view of the scenery flowing past the window. Since there are only a few number of trains, be sure to confirm the timetables in advance. If the itinerary is light, it may be a good idea to travel through areas like Sapporo and Otaru as well.

■ SkyExpress: Perfect for those who want to enjoy a fast and private trip

Given the distance from New Chitose Airport to Niseko, there are those who wish to cut down on travel time. The public atmosphere of trains and buses may also cause some anxiety. When traveling by taxi, these worries are eliminated.

text: Natsuko Saito

At the jumbo taxi company SkyExpress, based in Niseko, it is possible to rent everything from an SUV to a microbus which can carry up to 35 people. They provide their services according to requests such as number of people and hours of use. There are many other taxi companies preparing a shuttle plan to the ski resort, so be sure to compare options.