Niseko is perhaps the most sought-after ski destination in Asia and quite deservedly so. The Niseko ski season spans about five months from late November to early May and thanks to Niseko’s unique weather conditions offers some of the best powder snow you’ll find anywhere on the planet. Want to know when’s the best time to visit Niseko? Read on…
Ski Season Opens: Late November – Early December
The Niseko ski season usually starts up around the last weeks of November though some years there’s not enough snow to get things up and running before December first. If you’re looking for a bargain, this is a great time to visit Niseko as a lot of the accommodation options are still offered at off-season prices. You can also get discounts on lift passes and ski lessons. You’ll also avoid the crowds which are bound to descend during the peak dates in December. That being said, snow conditions can be unpredictable this early in the season and some of the seasonal facilities might not be open yet.
Early Season: Early December – December 20
If you want more reliable snow conditions but still want to avoid the crowds, early to mid-December is a great time to visit Niseko. By December, there’s usually plenty of snow but both the restaurants and ski lifts remain devoid of crowds. Starting in mid-December, you’ll also have full use of the ski resort facilities, including night skiing and the ski shuttle service. Overall, the first half of December is an ideal time to enjoy the Niseko ski season without having to cough up the peak season rates.
High Season: December 20 – Mid February
By December 20th, Niseko ski season is in full swing. Christmas, New Year, Australian school holidays and Chinese New Year (between 21 January – 20 February, following the lunar calendar) draw in the crowds and due to high demand, this is the most expensive time to visit Niseko. A lot of the accommodation and ski lessons books out months in advance so if you’re looking to spend the holiday season in this powder haven, it’s important to book early. The snow conditions are beautiful, Hirafu village has a great lively atmosphere about it and the night skiing is at its best but of course, you’ll have to share the slopes and restaurants with countless others. Head to Niseko during the peak season if you don’t mind the crowds and paying top dollar for accommodation.
Shoulder Season: Mid-February – Early April
After the crowds have dispersed, things start to wind down in Niseko. The period between Mid-February to Early April is a great time to travel to Niseko as the snow conditions remain ideal but both the slopes and restaurants are far less crowded. You can also score some amazing deals as a lot of the chalets, apartments and hotels reduce their rates. February is a great time to enjoy Niseko’s famous powder at its finest, while March begins to see some warmer days which can affect snow quality at times.
Ski Season Ends: Early April – Early May
Niseko ski season finally draws to a close between April and May. If you’re after a bargain, April is the perfect time to visit as rates are at their lowest but the weather remains perfect for skiing and snowboarding. You’ll get plenty of perfect bluebird days and you get to enjoy the rare feeling of having the slopes all to yourself. You also won’t have to fight over tables at the local restaurants! If you time your trip right, you can even combine your powder getaway with Japan’s famed cherry blossom season which spans roughly from late March to early May.