1 .What is the best payment mode in Japan?
It is definitely by cash. Ski rental and ski goods stores accept credit cards, and lift tickets can be purchased by credit card as well, but most bars and restaurants in the Niseko Ski resort do NOT accept credit cards or travelers cheques, or may charge an extra service fee.
You can exchange your money in Hirafu, but you will get better rates at the airport. There is an international ATM that accepts VISA cards. The main post office in Kutchan accepts most international cards. Here at Niseko Holiday, we accept most major credits cards as well.
2 .What are my restaurant options in Hirafu?
With over 40 restaurants in Hirafu village and around 200 places to dine at in the Niseko Resort Area there is no shortage of options. From traditional Japanese to Western style and from fine dining to burger and chips, something to suit all tastes can be found. Every winter the Niseko Promotion Board publishes a free wine and dine guide for the Niseko Resort Area. The average price for dining is around 2000-3000yen per person.
3 .Do the restaurants offer vegetarian meals?
Most restaurants have vegetarian option in their menus. However, as it is not common in Japan, bacon and fish stock may appear in some “vegetarian” dishes. It is always advisable to check with the service staff before ordering. Often the chef can leave out the meat or fish from some dishes if requested.
4 .Do I leave a tip?
No, tipping is not customary in Japan and you should not leave a tip at your restaurant table as the waiting staff will probably think you forgot your change and chase after you to return it.
5 .Where can I go shopping?
There are 2 convenience stores in Hirafu, where you can buy your basic necessities. For a wider range of items, you can head to Kutchan town (8km away from here), where there are 3 supermarkets, and you can find almost anything you need. There are buses running to and from Kutchan, or you can go by taxi, which costs about 2000yen from Hirafu.
6 .Is day care service available in Niseko?
Yes, there is. Niseko babysitters provide day care and babysitting services for children aged 6 months and up. They have English-speaking babysitters who are available from morning, until late at night, or any time in between.
7 .Can I use my mobile phone in Japan?
If you have a triband or quadband phone, it might work in Japan. It is recommended that you check with your service provider to see if your cell phone will work here. If it doesn’t work, rental phones are widely available in Japan, including Niseko, for about 300yen per day. You can also use public telephones, which are readily available throughout Japan.
8 .Can I get around in Niseko even if I can’t speak Japanese?
Yes, you can. Most of the signs are in English, and most of the people have a basic knowledge of English as well. Of course, there might be situations where English is not understood at all, so a dictionary or phrasebook could be quite useful.
9 .What happens if I get injured in Niseko?
The health care system in Japan is very much comparable to that of western standards. The Kutchan hospital is well equipped, and some of its highly-trained staff may be able to speak English. There are also volunteer interpreters available. However, treatment costs in Japan are quite high, and if you have an accident and require evacuation, you will be expected to cover the rescue costs as well. Be sure to have proper insurance.
10.Etiquette and Law
– In convenience stores, it is often considered impolite to consume your food/drink in there whether you have already paid or not.
– When entering someone’s home, do not forget to take off your shoes.
– Skiing on the streets is forbidden at all times
– Drug offences are severely punished in Japan
1 .Which international airlines fly directly to Sapporo Chitose (CTS)?
– All Nippon Airways (excludes Australia and New Zealand)
– Cathay Pacific Airways
– Continental Micronesia
– EVA Air (Taiwan)
– Japan Airlines
– Korean Air
– Air China
2 .How do I get to Sapporo Chitose airport from other airports in Japan?
The two major Japanese airlines ANA and JAL have a limited number of daily flights to Sapporo from Tokyo Narita (NRT), as well as from Osaka Kansai (KIX). The route from Tokyo Haneda (HND) to Chitose is the busiest domestic air route in Japan. Both ANA and JAL operate this route, as well as discount carriers Skymark and AirDO.
3 .What are the best travel options for late flight arrivals / early departures?
If your plane arrives after 8:40 p.m. Skybus operates a late bus departing at 22:30. Other choices are private transfer (Skybus has a private transfer option to the airport), car rental or to stay in Sapporo city or Chitose city for the night. If your plane departs before 11:45 a.m. it is possible to catch a train to the airport. The earliest train departs at Kutchan station at 5:22 a.m. and arrives at the airport around 8:30 a.m. (You will have to take a taxi from the Niseko Resort Area to Kutchan Station). Staying a night in Sapporo city or Chitose city and taking the train to the airport in the morning is also an option. The fastest and least expensive way to get from downtown Sapporo city to Chitose airport is by train. The cost is 1,040yen for adults. The earliest train departing Sapporo station to Chitose airport is at 6:00 a.m., arriving at the airport ay 6:48 a.m. This will leave you enough time to check in comfortably for domestic flights departing as early as 7:30 a.m.
4 .What are my car rental options?
If you have a recognized valid international driver’s license then there are a large number of car rental firms at the airport to choose from. Toyota rent-a-car and Nippon rent-a-car have online booking services, available in English. More information about driving in Japan can be found here. You won’t need a car to reach any of the lifts once you’re in Niseko, however. All the lifts are very close and connect at the top of the mountain.
5 .How do I get to Niseko by train?
There are a number of train routes to Hokkaido from all over Japan.Visit The Hyperdia Website and enter your departure point, but make sure you specify Kutchan as your destination. The system will give you a price and the time it takes to get to Kutchan. This service can also be used for air travel around Japan. To get to Kutchan from Sapporo, take a train on the JR Hakodate Line to Kutchan station. From New Chitose Airport, the fare is about 2,500 yen and takes 2 hours 20 minutes. From Sapporo City, it is about 1,800 yen and takes 1 hour 45 minutes. You’ll probably need to change trains at Otaru. Full timetable details can be found on the websites below: JR Hokkaido website, JR Timetable The Niseko Ski Express train service running from Chitose airport to Niseko allows you to reach Kutchan / Niseko without having to change trains. Very convenient. During the winter months from late December until late March, there are two trains every day.
6 .How do I get to Niseko by bus?
During the months of December to early April, direct buses from Sapporo and New Chitose airport run several times per day to ski resorts in the Niseko area. For bus tickets, please go to the domestic travel agent counter on the 1st floor Of New Chitose Airport.
Nearest Bus Stop in Hirafu : at # 1 parking lot. To book this bus, please contact us or call the number below. Contact:Tel. 011-200-5528. Booking required 7 days prior to your arrival date.
Nearest Bus Stop in Hirafu:at # 1 parking lot To book this bus, please contact us or call the number below. You can also visit their website and reserve seats online. Contact: Tel. 011-219-4411. Booking required 7 days prior to your arrival date.
Nearest Bus Stop in Hirafu: at # 1 parking lot To book this bus, please go to the domestic flight tour desk on 1st floor of airport. Contact: Donan bus sapporo office Tel. 011-865-5515. Fax 011-865-5515 Booking required.
Nearest Bus Stop in Hirafu: at # 1 parking lot Tobook this bus, please go to the domestic flight tour desk on 1st floor of airport. Contact: Donan bus sapporo office Tel. 011-865-5515. Fax 011-865-5515 Booking required.
Contact: Tel. 080-3266-5685. Booking required. Nearest Bus Stop in Hirafu : Directly in front of our lodge. To book this bus, please call the above number or send an email to [email protected]
1 .Which areas does the Niseko United All Mountain Pass allow me to ski in?
The Niseko United All Mountain Pass can be used at Niseko Annupuri, Niseko Village, Niseko Grand Hirafu and Hanazono. If you wish to ski in Niseko Moiwa, you will need to purchase a separate lift pass. For more information and lift ticket prices please visit the Niseko United website.
2 .What pass would you recommend me to buy?
If you’re an intermediate to advanced skier and are here for more than a few days we recommend an all-mountain pass. If you’re a beginner to low intermediate or only here to ski one or two days and want to keep costs down then a Hirafu should be enough, as Hirafu passes do comprise of approximately 60% of the Niseko resort. If you intend on skiing in Niseko on a budget, then consider the Hirafu 28day pass. Almost half the price of the All-mountain pass for the same number of days.
3 .What pass would you recommend to a first-time skier?
A Hirafu 5 or 8 hour pass or a 12 Point Ticket would be your best choice. For Point Ticket holders, each gondola ride is 4 points, each high-speed lift is 2 points and the other lifts are 1 point each.
4 .Do day lift passes have to be used on consecutive days?
All lift tickets from 2 days to 7 days must be used on consecutive days. 8 day to 14 day lift tickets allow for two rest days, meaning an 8 in 10 day lift ticket is valid for 10 days from the date of purchase and you can ski any 8 out of those 10 days. In the same way, 15 to 21 day lift tickets allow for three rest days.
5 .What are my lift pass options if I stay for 2 weeks?
You may want to consider a 12 in 14 day pass. The pass is valid for 14 days and you can ski any 12 of those 14 days, giving you two rest days. Another option is to purchase a Niseko United 50 hour pass which offers a lot more flexibility and is cheaper than the 14 day pass.
6 .How do hourly passes work?
If you purchase the 50 hour All Mountain Niseko United Pass, it is activated when you pass through the electronic lift gates. One hour is initially deducted from your pass. You can use any lift for the next 60 minutes. Once 60 minutes have expired, the next time you go through the lift gates another hour will be deducted from your pass. If you are already on the lifts when the first hour expires, that is no problem. The next hour starts the next time you pass through the gates. Therefore, it is possible to get well over 50 hours’ use from the pass, especially if you plan to hike to the peak or go through the backcountry gates. The electronic gates display how much time is left on your pass. A 5 hour pass is valid for 5 hours after you go through the ticket gate on the date of purchase. This also applies to the 8 hour pass. They are only valid for the day you activate them, even if you don’t ski the full 5-8 hours.
7 .Is there a discount for children/students/senior citizens?
Children under the age of 7 can ski for free (you will still need to pay the 1,000yen card deposit). School children aged 7-15 and guests aged 60 or over can ski at a discounted rate. Visit the Niseko United website for further details.
8 .How does the card deposit work?
Lift passes in the Niseko Ski Resort require a 1,000 yen deposit on top of the ticket price. The deposit is refunded when you insert the lift pass into a refund machine, which can be found next to the ticket booths. The size of a credit card, place the pass on the left hand side of your body for the electronic gates to register. There will be no refunds for damaged cards. Similiarly, the deposit will be lost should you misplace your pass.
9 .Will my pass be confiscated if I get caught out of bounds?
Yes. Certain areas are permanently out of bounds due to high avalanche risk, and some back country gates are closed when there are unstable snow conditions or poor weather. Your pass will immediately be confiscated if you are caught in these areas. This is to ensure the skiers’ safety at all times. Avalanche and backcountry conditions are updated daily in English here.
10.Does the Niseko Day Pass include night skiing?
Yes, it is included. Night skiing ends at 9pm.
If you have other FAQ in mind, please don’t hesitate to contact us.