So your flights are booked and you’re all set for your powder getaway in Niseko. But after you land at the nearest airport, you still have to figure out how to get to the slopes at Hirafu Village! The ski resort is located some 110 kilometres from New Chitose Airport but don’t worry – getting there is surprisingly easy. When you book your stay through Ministry of Chalets, our team can help organise transfers between the airport and Hirafu Welcome Centre. Here is our step-by-step guide for getting from Chitose Airport to Niseko by bus.
Landing at New Chitose Airport
New Chitose Airport is well-organised – this is Japan after all – and it took our team just 20 minutes to get through customs and immigration. Though arriving is mostly smooth sailing, it’s good to facture in how long it’ll take to collect your luggage and find the bus counter. You should have at least one hour between when your plane lands and when your bus is scheduled to depart.
It’s also important to consider possible flight delays as most bus companies have strict refund policies (read – they don’t offer refunds). This means that if you do miss your pre-booked bus, the company will try to book you on the next available bus from the airport to Niseko but if seats are not available, they won’t refund your ticket.
Locating the Bus Counter
Most people getting off the plane will be looking for the bus counters so finding them won’t be a problem. When you exit the terminal, there are signs directing you to the counters. Check the name of your bus company from the documents received when making the booking and head for the corresponding counter.
Again, this being Japan, things are well-organised – and punctual! You should be at the bus counter at least 10 minutes before the bus departs. After the staff at the counter has registered you, you’ll need to wait for the rest of the passengers. The whole group will be escorted to the bus together – no need to wait outside in the cold.
And We’re Off!
The bus ride from the airport to Niseko takes around 2.5 – 3 hours. This is a scenic ride through snow-covered woodlands. When you hit the half-way mark, you have a 20-minute break to pick up some snacks and of course, use the toilet.
Choosing the Right Stop
Before hopping off the bus, make sure you know you know which stop to get off at! Your accommodation can advise the closest bus stop. If you’re staying in Hirafu, you’ll most likely be getting off at the Welcome Centre bus terminal. If you’re staying in areas like Niseko Village or the Hilton Resort, you should get off at the Niseko Village stop.
Getting to Your Accommodation
So you’ve made it to the bus stop – now you need to get to your accommodation. Since dragging your luggage through the snow is zero fun, organising a car to bring you to your accommodation is a must. If you’ve booked through an agency, there might be a driver to collect you at the Welcome Centre – always make sure you check if transfers are included beforehand. If transfers are not included in your booking, there is a taxi office right next to the Welcomes Centre. A normal taxi will cost around ¥10 ($10) depending on the distance.
Still confused how to get from New Chitose Airport to Hirafu? Leave it to us! Bookings made through Ministry of Chalets include a complimentary concierge service – our team can organise transfers and other extras to make your stay perfect.