Niseko is the most popular ski resort in Japan. The town has a reputation for being very friendly to foreigners. Many of the restaurants’ menus are written in English, and you’re likely to hear a lot of English speakers when you visit. Below is an overview of some of Niseko’s highlights.
- Grand Hirafu – Grand Hirafu has more than a dozen lifts making it the largest resort in Niseko. At the base of the resort, you’ll find Hirafu Town which features numerous hotels and restaurants. The town is very tourist friendly. Many of the restaurants feature default menus in English.
- Niseko Village – Niseko Village was formerly known as Higashiyama. It features two hotels, shops, and restaurants. At the Wakka spa, visitors can relax and recover after a long day of skiing or snowboarding. Guests who stay at the Kasara Niseko Village Townhouse or the Green Leaf Niseko Village get unlimited access to the area’s naturally heated waters or onsen.
- Annupuri – Annupuri’s trails are typically less crowded than the other two resorts. There aren’t many dining options at the base of Annupuri. However, you will find a resort hotel.
- Moiwa – West of Annupuri, you’ll find Moiwa. This smaller resort is a great choice for beginners. While the Niseko All Mountain Pass will get you access to the above resorts, it doesn’t cover Moiwa.
Dining and Drinks
- Asperges Hanazono – Asperges Hanazono’s head chef, Hiroshi Nakamichi, studied in France and received three Michelin stars for his restaurant Moliere. The menu features French-inspired cuisine and local ingredients.
- The Barn – At The Barn, you’ll find great wagyu beef and an extensive wine list. The building itself resembles a barn—hence the name.
- The Alpinist – The Alpinist is one of Niseko’s newest restaurants. Located in the heart of Hirafu, the restaurant’s menu features modern takes on Alpine classics.
- Bar Gyu – Bar Gyu is also known as the Fridge Door Bar. The bar has a reputation for being hard to find, but it’s definitely worth seeking out. Inside you’ll find a cozy atmosphere and a drink menu with a heavy emphasis on Japanese whiskey.
- AYA Niseko – AYA Niseko opened in December 2016. The word aya refers to the traditional Japanese weaving method which inspired the architecture of the building. Amenities include a spa, yoga room, and concierge service.
- Vale Niseko – The Vale delivers the snow right to your doorstep with its ski-in, ski-out experience. When staying at the Vale, guests can enjoy the onsite onsen, the heated pool, and the Vale Bar & Grill.