Niseko Travel Guide - By public transport

Niseko by public transport

Niseko is one of the most popular and celebrated ski resort areas of Japan. Located to the west of Sapporo city on the slopes of Mt Niseko Annupuri with stunning views of nearby Mt Yotei, it's often superb dry powder snow conditions are popular with skiers and snowboarders from around the world.

Niseko certainly has a different feel from many other Japanese ski resorts, if not only because of the higher percentage of visitors from around the world and subsequent catering to their needs. There's a good choice of places to eat and a bustling nightlife to enjoy as well in the main areas.

But surely the snow is the main attraction...

Niseko area by train
Niseko area by bus
Getting to resorts from the station
Niseko United shuttle bus
Town map
Getting from Niseko to nearby regions
Region map
Additional Niseko resources on SnowJapan
Niseko by car
Go to our guide for getting to the Niseko area by car

What is 'Niseko'?

  Niseko is the name of a town.
Kutchan is the name of a town.
The resorts in the region known as 'Niseko' are located in Kutchan and Niseko towns.
Niseko Town
Kutchan Town
  Niseko Station is the name of a small train station on the local line.
Kutchan Station, however, is the main station used in the area to take people to the ski and snowboard resorts.
Niseko Station
Kutchan Station
  Niseko United is the collective name of the four interconnected main resorts on the mountain (below) Niseko United ニセコユナイテッド
  The ski resorts include the word Niseko in their name
Note: There is no ski resort that is called just 'Niseko'
Niseko Hanazono Resort
Niseko Grand Hirafu
Niseko Village
Niseko Annupuri


Getting to the Niseko area by train

  Local trains:  

  Hakodate Honsen 函館本線
  Kutchan Station 倶知安駅
  Niseko Station ニセコ駅
Kutchan Station on the Hakodate Honsen is the main and most convenient station used by people travelling to the Niseko area for the ski and snowboard resorts. Many people actually prefer to use direct bus services to Niseko from Sapporo and New Chitose Airport - see bus information below.

From Sapporo Station

Train services operate between Sapporo Station and Kutchan Station, with many requiring a transfer at Otaru Station on the way. This journey is around 93km. With good connections this can be done in as little as around 100 minutes - but sometimes waiting for connections at Otaru can be fairly lengthy and greatly increase that time.

From   To Train line
Sapporo Station > Otaru Station Hakodate Honsen
Otaru Station > Kutchan Station Hakodate Honsen

Niseko Liner - Niseko Ski Express

During the winter season, there is a limited express 'Niseko Ski Express' service a few times a day which goes directly from Sapporo Station to Kutchan Station using the Hakodate Honsen lines. This service takes around two hours. The Niseko Ski Express train stops at Niseko Station, Kutchan Station, Otaru Station, Otaru Chikko Station, Teine Station and Sapporo Station.

From New Chitose Airport Station

This journey is around 140km and usually takes around 2.5-3 hours.

From   To Train line
New Chitose Airport Station > Otaru Station JR Rapid Airport
Otaru Station > Kutchan Station Hakodate Honsen

From Hakodate

This journey is around 193km and usually takes around 3 hours.

From   To Train line
Hakodate > Oshamambe Station Hakodate Honsen
Oshamambe Station > Kutchan Station Hakodate Honsen

Getting to the Niseko area by bus

During the main winter months - usually from December until March - a number of private bus companies offer direct services to Niseko from Sapporo City and also from New Chitose Airport. These regular and convenient services are probably the most popular way to get to Niseko.

From Sapporo

The bus services from Sapporo City have various pick-up points around the city including the main Sapporo Station. These buses go direct to Niseko and stop at the three main ski and snowboard resorts (Niseko Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village and Niseko Annupuri).

The journey from Sapporo to Niseko usually takes around 3-4 hours depending on your start point and costs about 3,500 yen.

From New Chitose Airport

Similarly, various bus companies also offer direct services to Niseko from New Chitose Airport. The route taken by these buses is via Lake Shikotsu and also close by the Rusutsu resort, and offering drop-offs there.

The journey from Shin Chitose Airport to Niseko takes around 3 hours and costs about 3,500 yen.

From Rusutsu

There are a number of buses scheduled between Rusutsu and Niseko each day during the winter season.

This journey usually takes around 40 minutes and costs around 1,000 yen.

Hotels and other accommodations in Niseko will be able to provide more information on these services and perhaps recommend the best options.


Getting to ski and snowboard resorts from the station

Snow resort name
(alpabetical order)
Distance from Kutchan Station Niseko United Shuttle information below
  From Kutchan Station
about 1.5km Short taxi ride - or walk! - from Kutchan Station
Niseko Annupuri Kokusai
about 18km 10 minutes by taxi from Niseko Station
Niseko Hanazono Resort
about 6km 15 minutes by taxi from Kutchan Station
Niseko Moiwa Ski Resort
about 18km 10 minutes by taxi from Niseko Station
Niseko Mountain Resort Grand Hirafu
about 8km 15 minutes by taxi from Kutchan Station
Niseko Village Ski Resort
about 15km 10 minutes by taxi from Niseko Station
20 minutes by taxi from Kutchan Station


Getting around the resorts - Niseko United Shuttle

The Niseko United Shuttle bus service operates from the opening day of the season until late in the season. It is free to use for anyone who has an Niseko All-Mountain Hourly Pass or a Day Pass lift ticket. People without those tickets can also board the bus at a small charge. The bus connects Kutchan Station and Niseko Station with the Hirafu Welcome Center and the other main ski resorts on the mountain with many drop off points on the route. There are four main routes:

A Line: Hirafu Welcome Center (Kutchan Station at some times) to Hotel Niseko Ikoi-no Mura
B Line: Hotel Niseko Ikoi-no Mura to Hirafu Welcome Center
C Line: Hirafu Welcome Center to Konbu Onsen via Niseko Station
D Line: Hotel Niseko Ikoi-no Mura to Kutchan Station
E Line: Kutchan Station to Niseko Village

There is also a Hanazono Shuttle that goes from the Hirafu Welcome Center to the Hanazono resort area.

See also:

>> Hakodate Honsen train line
>> Sasson Expressway
>> Hokkaido Expressway
>> Doto Expressway
>> On the above map click on the resort names and train line for more details

Hakodate Honsen
Hakodate Honsen exits from Hakodate Station to Kutchan Station and beyond
>> Full Hakodate Honsen details
Station name Station name in Japanese Distance from Hakodate Distance from Sapporo Connecting
Hakodate 函館駅 >> 286.3km Hakodate City Tram
Esashi line
Oshamambe 長万部駅 112.3km 174.0km Muroran Honsen
Niseko ニセコ駅 179.6km 106.7km  
Hirafu 比羅夫駅 186.6km 99.7km  
Kutchan 倶知安駅 193.3km 93.0km  
Sapporo 札幌駅 286.3km >> Chitose-sen
Sassho line
Takikawa 滝川駅 369.8km 83.5km Nemuro Honsen
Asahikawa 旭川駅 423.1km 136.8km Furano-sen
Soya Honsen

Getting from Niseko to nearby snow resort regions

Region Approximate travel time General directions
Niseko to Rusutsu
about 40 minutes By bus:
There is no train line from the Niseko area in the direction of Rusutsu - use bus services to get to Rusutsu.
Niseko to Kiroro
about 50 minutes By bus:
There is no train line from the Niseko area in the direction of Kiroro - use bus services.
Niseko to Furano
215-300 minutes By train:
Hakodate Honsen from Kutchan Station to Sapporo Station
Hakodate Honsen from Sapporo Station to Takikawa Station
Nemuro Honsen from Takikawa Station to Furano Station
>> SnowJapan Furano Travel Guide - By car : By train


Additional Niseko resources on SnowJapan

For detailed information on how to get to Niseko by car, please go to this section.

Daily reports Exclusive daily snow and weather reports from Niseko (Niseko Now)
Ski and snowboard resorts List of ski and snowboard resorts in the Niseko area
Resort Spotlights Niseko HANAZONO Resort
Kiroro Snow World
Accommodation Accommodation Spotlights - Niseko area
Online booking for accommodation in Niseko
Ski lessons Lessons in English
Services Services

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