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Niseko: The guide to the area

How do I get to Niseko?

 

For those planning a trip to Niseko, one of the most commonly asked questions would be on how to get from the airport to Hirafu, Niseko Village or Annupuri. There are a myriad of choices available to get there; Taxi, Local Bus, Train, Rental Car, or private transfer by Skybus.

 

Taxi

 

Taking a Taxi would cost about ¥30,000, and really should only be used in desperate measures. There are much cheaper alternatives available, but in times of emergencies can be a suitable mode of transport.

 

Local Bus

 

Local bus is by far the cheapest method of transport to and from the airport and Niseko. The different companies are Whiteliner, Donan, Hokkaido Resort Liner and Chuo buses. Some of these buses will bring you to Rusutsu resort as well, for the same price.

 

Local Bus Companies

Phone Number

Whiteliner Buses

+81 (0)112 42 2040

Donan Buses

+81 (0)123 46 5701

Hokkaido Resort Liner

+81 (0)112 19 4411

Chuo Buses

+81 (0)112 31 0500

 

Do give them a call to confirm your reservations and details!

These buses leave about every 30 minutes from the airport, and would cost you roughly ~¥2,500 yen one way, and ¥4,000 yen two ways. The trip itself will take you about 3 hours, with a pitstop about halfway in the journey. So don’t worry about toilet breaks!

 

Train

 

The train trip itself should take about 3-4 hours, depending on conditions. The trip will also involve taking about a 15 minute taxi at the end, which may complicate some things.

 

However, the train ride itself is very scenic, bringing you through the countryside of Hokkaido. It passes by towns by the sea, which makes for an amazing sight in the afternoon. All in all, the train ride is a cool contribution to your holiday experience.

 

To take the train from the airport, the train terminal is in the basement levels of the airport. You have to take a train to Otaru first, as there is no direct train from Chitose airport to Kutchan, which is the closest stop to Niseko.

 

Once at Otaru, there will be a connecting train that will not require a purchased ticket to board. Instead, upon boarding the train, you will have to take a ticket from a machine at the entrance. Do not forget to take a ticket! The whole train journey should cost about ~¥3,000 one way, or ~¥5,000 both ways.

 

Admittedly, taking the train will be a little pricey, and also a little longer as opposed to taking the bus. However, it does have really good scenery along the way, and opens your eyes to the island of Hokkaido!

 

Rental Car

 

A popular option amongst the veteran crowd, renting a car does provide a lot of freedom to prospective snowboarders, especially those who are intending to cook their own meals, as this lets them to drive over to supermarkets and such to buy groceries.

Renting a car for 24 hours costs ~¥7,000 yen.

However, if you aren’t confident enough to drive in the snow, it is heavily recommended you chose other modes of transport.

 

Private Transfer

 

This mainly refers to Japanese taxi services like Skybus, that provide door to door pickups and transfers to and from the airport. The taxi even comes equipped with WiFi and DVD players, and will pick you up from, well, wherever really. However, at a hefty price of ¥30,000, is not really recommended unless you really have money to burn.

Well, I hope this article helps prospective people visiting Niseko find their way here safe and sound!

And hopefully cheaply.