Niseko Village is the Japanese resort that every skier has on their bucket list - and this is why

Head to Hokkaido for unrivalled snow and an extraordinary experience

Niseko Village, Japan
(Image credit: The Green Leaf Niseko)

As the temperature begins to dip in the northern hemisphere, there is one thing on the minds of slope lovers and snow-chasers: ski season. From Verbier’s tumbling trails to Courchevel’s endless runs, Europe has been a popular and convenient choice among those with a fondness for winter sports.

But further afield lies a ski resort that offers the kind of snow quality - and longevity - that surpasses even the most esteemed hotspots on the continent.   

Niseko Village - a hub of world-famous pistes, luxury hotels and remarkable restaurants on the Japanese island of Hokkaido - is a jewel often missed by British skiers. And while travelling to the ‘Aspen of Asia’ may take a little longer, once you’ve experienced all it has to offer you won’t think twice about making it your go-to snow stop. 

Why Go

The Great Leaf Niseko

(Image credit: The Great Leaf Niseko)

With over 2,000 acres of perfect powder, Niseko United is located two hours away from Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport and joins four resorts: Hanazono, for the thrill-seekers; Grand Hirafu, where you’ll find a bustling nightlife; Annupuri, the quietest segment; and Niseko Village, home to ski-in ski-out hotels. With an average of more than 15 metres of snow each season, there’s a very good reason why it has become an increasingly popular winter destination. 

Boasting a variety of runs for beginners and experienced skiers, 5* hotels to unwind in luxury and dishes that you will dream about until you return, Niseko Village is a fantastic base for those who want to dip their toes in the Japanese ski scene. 

The Vibe

Whether you’ve had Niseko Village on your winter sports wishlist for as long as you can remember or you’ve never wedged your foot into a ski boot before, it's a phenomenal place to practise your technique or learn from scratch. You’re just as likely to see six year olds zipping down the runs on a snowboard as you are an adult braving the slopes for the very first time, and as a result it’s a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.

World-class hotels like Ritz-Carlton and Hilton have coveted spots here which nurtures a feeling of luxury and exclusivity, and the beautiful Kasara townhouses are nearby for those who prefer a rental over a room. 

There are two gondolas and six chair lifts to get you to your preferred starting point, and a total of 27 trails - 12 green, 7 red and 8 black. 

Where To Stay

The Green Leaf Niseko

(Image credit: The Green Leaf Niseko)

For unadulterated splendour, check in to the Higashiyama Niseko Village, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve. Enveloped in sprawling natural landscapes and boasting epic views of Mount Yōtei, it is the epitome of understated elegance and the spa treatments are transformative. 

But if slope access is your main priority, The Green Leaf offers cosy and convenient rooms that will get you out and up in no time. Ski-in ski-out access is a key draw to this laid back hotel, and guests are so close to the action that drawing back your bedroom curtain will feel like you’re glimpsing straight into a high-octane Narnia. 

The Great Leaf Niseko

(Image credit: The Great Leaf Niseko)

Rooms are simple but well equipped and Deluxe Twins consist of a king bed, TV, sofa, desk and compact bathroom. Usual extras such as a kettle, tea, hairdryer and slippers are included, plus you’ll find Onsen towels and yukata for your Japanese spa experience (more on that later).

When it’s time to peel off the ski goggles, sip on a cocktail at Tomioka White - the lounge bar boasting low lighting and cowhide sofas that will make you feel you’ve been transported to the 70s - before heading up to Goshiki, The Green Leaf’s Japanese fusion buffet restaurant. Make time to pop in at lunch and devour a steamy bowl of ramen. Delicious.

Where To Eat

The Green Leaf Niseko

(Image credit: The Green Leaf Niseko)

Head to Hilton Niseko Village and enjoy the mouthwatering selection at Ren. Choose from dishes served in the hotel’s neighbouring restaurants - the Japanese menu from Sisam, the Sushi served at Rera and Teppanyaki at Pirka - and enjoy a range of tasty plates in one place. 

Opt for the theatrical Shabu-shabu comprising of sliced meat, vegetables and dipping sauces which is delivered with an individual stove enabling you to create your own tasty Japanese hotpot. The quality is top tier, and the experience is enjoyable. For more casual dining and drinks at the Hilton, Ezo is the après-ski spot to have on your radar.   

Sushi Nagi at Higashiyama Niseko Village, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve is not to be missed. An engaging culinary journey, watch as your chef prepares carefully selected dishes across the counter and relax in this beautifully intimate setting.  

Venture out of Niseko Village and into Hirafu and you’ll find Temporada, a vibrant restaurant plating up traditional tapas with a Japanese twist. Order the buttery charred Wagyu Chuck Steak - it’s a juicy, glistening treat - and the Hokkaido scallops with cauliflower puree and rucola. They are heavenly.  

And if that’s not enough, sushi and tempura can be found in abundance at Yang Shu Ten. Styled as an authentic Japanese kitchen with room for just 50 diners, it’s a wonderfully welcoming restaurant at the foot of Mount Yotei. You’ll be thinking of the delicate and delicious sashimi for months afterwards.

More To Do

The Great Leaf Niseko

(Image credit: The Great Leaf Niseko)

Niseko Village doesn’t just cater to the skiers and snowboarders. Aside from the alpine adrenaline rush, carve out time for some important rest and relaxation. And what better way than to enjoy a traditional Onsen? 

The steaming hot springs and outdoor baths are an unmissable experience for any traveller new to the practice of Japanese bathing. There are a number of steps you must take before you can dip into the water, but once you do you’ll find a sense of peace and calm that you’ll want to hold on to. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself going back multiple times a day. 

At The Green Leaf you can also book a Shiatsu Dry Massage and a 10-Step Hydration Facial at the Juhyo Spa to rejuvenate after a long day of skiing, and if you’re experiencing any niggles take a look at the sports treatments available. 

If you must indulge in more snow-based activities, you can book everything from snowshoeing to snowmobiles to make the most of the delightfully fresh powder. 

How To Book

Ski Safari offers seven nights in The Green Leaf Niseko Village in a Deluxe Room on a B&B basis from £2,365 per person. Price includes return transfers and return flights with Japan Airlines. Rate is based on departures from the UK between 7 January to 2 February. 

To book visit

Jadie Troy-Pryde
News Editor

Jadie Troy-Pryde is News Editor, covering celebrity and entertainment, royal, lifestyle and viral news. Before joining the team in 2018 as the Lifestyle and Social Media Editor, she worked at a number of women’s fashion and lifestyle titles including Grazia, Women’s Health and Stylist, and now heads the Marie Claire UK news desk.