Transport to Niseko

Sapporo Chitose Airport to Niseko

Most travellers come to Niseko via Chitose airport (aka Sapporo airport) and then get a coach from Chitose to Niseko. It's generally a good idea to book seats in advance, but it's also possible for you to book them on arrival.

OPTION 1: Book Your Transfers In Advance

Advantages

  • Have access to scheduled coach transfers departing the airport as late as 9:30 p.m. and private transfers (more expensive) departing at any time.
  • Avoid the risk of arriving to find there are no available seats.

Cost

  • 2,300 Yen per person one way for scheduled coach transfers.
  • From 6,000 Yen per person one way for private transfers.
  • Book transfers online. Note transfers need to be booked a week or so in advance of travel. (This means you're guaranteed to get seats.)

Sapporo Chitose Airport to Niseko (Departs - Arrives)

Scheduled Coach 2013/2014 Timetable:

09:30  -  12:10
10:30  -  13:10
11:30  -  14:10
12:30  -  15:20
13:50  -  16:40
15:00  -  17:50
16:30  -  19:20
18:00  -  20:40
19:30  -  22:00
21:30  -  00:00

For domestic flights, an hour is required between flight arrival and coach departure. So you should plan to arrive on a flight by 8:30 p.m. (Allow an additional 30 minutes for international flights.)

Niseko to Sapporo Airport (Departs - Arrives)

Scheduled Coach 2013/2014 Timetable:

08:00 - 10:50 (domestic) 10:55 (international)
09:10 - 12:00 (domestic) 12:05 (international)
10:40 - 13:30 (domestic) 13:35 (international)
12:10 - 15:00 (domestic) 15:05 (international)
13:40 - 16:30 (domestic) 16:35 (international)
14:40 - 17:30 (domestic) 17:35 (international)
15:40 - 18:30 (domestic) 18:35 (international)
16:40 - 19:30 (domestic) 19:35 (international)

An hour is required between the arrival of a transfer and the departure of a domestic flight. It the case of international flights, we recommend 2.5 hours.

OPTION 2: Book Seats Upon Arrival At Sapporo Airport

Chuo and Donan coach services operate between Chitose airport and Niseko. Tickets can be purchased from bus counters at the airport.

Advantages

  • You might be able to hop on to a bus sooner if the timing is right. (Booking in advance means adding a bit of safety time in case your flight is delayed.)
  • It can be a little cheaper when booking return transfers.

IMPORTANT NOTE: these buses only run until mid afternoon (~14:30 airport departure) so are only suitable for morning or early afternoon arrival.

Cost

  • 2,300 Yen per person one way
  • 3,850 Yen per person return

Sapporo City to Niseko

Sapporo Station serves both rail and coach to Niseko. The price is roughly the same at about 2,000 Yen one way. Best option is to go by coach, as rail is slower and usually often requires a change at Otaru city on the way to Kutchan station. (For those coming to Niseko by train, "Kutchan" is the closest station to the ski resort. We can pick you up from Kutchan station.)

Advance booking of scheduled coach and private transfers is possible (book online here). Note transfers need to be booked a week or so in advance of travel.

Tokyo to Niseko (via Sapporo)

Flying is the most popular way to get from Tokyo to Sapporo. Usually the cheapest option is to get a domestic flight at the same time you get an international flight (if applicable). Otherwise, some good deals can be found with JAL, ANA, AIRDO.

Fast train is another popular option. From Tokyo, take the "Shinkansen" (bullet train) to Aomori. From Aomori, take the JR "Super Shiratori" train to Hakodate. From Hakodate, take the "Super Hokuto" to Oshyamambe. Then a local train from Oshyamambe to Kutchan. Takes 12 hours and costs about 25,000 Yen.

Local trains are possible instead of the faster ones above, but expect to make more changes and to take at least 24 hours in non-stop transit. Travel by local train costs about 15,000 Yen one-way. Food might cost you a bit extra but "eki-ben" (train station lunch boxes) are great! A good way to see some country.

Here is an example of local trains between Toyko and Sapporo (note train times may change):

Ueno (Tokyo) 05:47                  
Utsunomiya 07:27 07:37                
Kuroiso   08:27 08:44              
Koriyama     10:00 10:08            
Fukushima       10:54 11:00          
Sendai         12:11 12:40        
Ichinoseki           14:23 14:57      
Hiraizumi             15:05      
Morioka             16:26 17:06    
Hachinohe               18:58 19:13  
Aomori                 20:45 22:45
Sapporo                   06:07

Train & Ferry from Tokyo is another option, and can be cheaper than by train alone. Ferries can take both passengers, and passengers plus their car. Prices start from about 6,500 Yen per person one way, and the trip (ferry only) takes about 20 hours. Ferries are like mini cruise ships with cinema, bar and game centre to keep you occupied.

Catch a train to Ooarai in Ibaraki prefecture (from Tokyo this takes about 3 hours and costs about 4,000 Yen) then a ferry from Ooarai to Tomakomai in Hokkaido.

From Tomakomai there is one bus to Niseko each day that leaves at 8am (and one bus from Niseko to Tomakomai that leaves at 3:50pm). It's also possible to catch a train to Kutchan station via Sapporo. We'll pick you up from Kutchan.

Also worth checking the MOL Ferry website.

Shizenkan Lodge and Backpacker
Niseko Hirafu Ski Resort, Hokkaido Japan