How to Get to Niseko

Located conveniently in the southwest corner of Hokkaido, Niseko is situated 50 kilometers south-west of Japan’s fifth-largest city, Sapporo, and 80 kilometers west of Hokkaido’s international airport, New Chitose Airport. There are extensive bus, train, and road links to the area. Ferries also from Honshu operate to Otaru, Tomakomai, and Hakodate which is just 40 minutes ferry ride from Aomori.

Typically, the best way to get to Niseko is to fly to New Chitose Airport, then take a coach directly to “Hirafu Welcome Center”. Most accommodation providers will meet visitors at Hirafu Welcome Center and provide transportation to the accommodations.

Flights

2hrs from Tokyo

The closest major airport to Niseko is New Chitose Airport. Flights run daily from almost every major airport in Japan. New Chitose Airport also has an international terminal, so visitors can fly directly making international travel easy.

Trains

2.5hrs from Sapporo

Multiple services run each day from New Chitose Airport and Sapporo. Most services terminate at Kutchan station, which is the easiest place to catch a taxi or local bus to the resorts. Additionally, some services also go to Niseko station, which has fewer transport services.

Drive

2hrs from Sapporo

Driving to Niseko is quick and convenient – especially since getting around Niseko is made much easier with your own car. There are two routes from Sapporo to Niseko – going by highway or using the Nakayamatoge route through the mountains.

Bus

2.5hrs from New Chitose Airport

The most popular way to get to Niseko is to fly to New Chitose Airport and then get a bus/coach to Niseko. Buses run regularly throughout winter, as well as fairly frequently during summer. In winter it is recommended to book bus transport in advance.

Flights

The nearest airport to Niseko is Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport, which receives flights from all over Japan and some international destinations as well.

New Chitose Airport is Hokkaido’s main transport hub and the gateway to Hokkaido for both domestic and international travelers. It is the nearest airport to Niseko and has direct travel links for easy access, and a “Black Cat” luggage service for transporting luggage and equipment within Japan which is useful for those arriving by train or traveling to and from other parts of Japan.

Airports in Hokkaido

Trains

There are two main train stations in Niseko – Kutchan Station and Niseko Station. Kutchan JR Station is the usual station and has the most frequent rail services and connecting bus and taxi services.

  • It takes about 2 hours and 20 minutes to get to Kutchan JR station from Sapporo JR station, and the fare costs around ¥2,100.
  • Traveling to Kutchan from New Chitose Airport via Otaru takes approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes at a fare of around ¥3,400.

Please be sure to get off at Kutchan Station where most accommodation providers will arrange a pick up for you. Alternatively, you can take a taxi from the station to your accommodation. Public buses also operate from Kutchan Station.

JR Trains to Kutchan Station

Route Journey Time
Otaru → JR Kutchan Station approx 1 hr 10 mins
Sapporo → JR Kutchan Station approx. 2 hrs
New Chitose Airport → JR Kutchan Station approx. 2 hrs 45 mins
Hakodate → JR Kutchan Station approx. 3 – 4 hrs
Tokyo → Kutchan (taking Shinkansen to Hakodate) approx. 7 – 8 hrs

You can find more information on the Hokkaido Shinkansen here.

Road

Bus Transportation: New Chitose Airport ↔ Niseko & Sapporo ↔ Niseko

Car Rental

There are a number of car rental services located at New Chitose Airport: Nippon Rent-A-Car, Toyota Rent-A-CarPEAK Niseko car rental, Time Car Rental, National Car Rental,  Nissan Rent-A-Car, Budget Rent a Car.

Car rental services in the Niseko area: PEAK Niseko car rentalNippon Rent-A-Car, Toyota Rent-A-CarNiseko Auto, and Ezo Rent A Car Niseko.

Car Journey Time

From Distance Journey Time Route
New Chitose Airport → Niseko 110km 2hrs 15mins Route 276 via the Bifue Pass
Sapporo → Niseko 100km 2hrs Route 230 via the Nakayama Pass
Otaru → Niseko 70km 1hr 15mins Route 5
Hakodate → Niseko 180km 3hrs Route 5

Arriving in Niseko

Once you’ve arrived in Niseko, you may need local transport. If you took a bus, you will likely arrive at Hirafu welcome center. Most accommodation providers can pick you up, so make sure to check with your provider.

There are many local transport services which can help you to get around Niseko, so you can explore everything there is on offer.