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Cost of skiing in Japan

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Apolgies in advance if this has been answered elsewhere - I've tried my utmost to search for this information using the search bar but can't seem to find any definitive answers.

A group of friends and I are eyeing up a potential trip to Japan and were wondering how much this is likely to cost so that we can start budgeting.

I can work out easily enough the flight costs, but actual on-the-ground costs like ski hire, guiding, accomodation, spending money, transport, etc. I've found difficult to work out. As our plan is quite far away I don't know specifically where we might be going, but could somebody who has been give me a ballpark figure of how much 10 days in Japan might cost us?

Much appreciated!!


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Tue 11-02-20 16:55; edited 4 times in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Can't give you any answers i'm afraid, but suggest posting in this thread specifically about Japan.

https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=149327&highlight=
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@skiing_snerrick, I started by going to Powder Hounds and looking at what organised tours were available for my type of skiing (powder) https://www.powderhounds.com/Japan.aspx

That will give you a good baseline for costs. A fully DIY trip will of course be cheaper, but a lot more hassle and you’ll probably miss the best spots
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I'm going to Niseko next week so I can fill in a few gaps.

7 day lift pass £320
Group powder guiding £110 per day
7 nights basic accommodation £650 each
Transfer Sapporo to Niseko £30 each way

I'm taking my own kit so don't know rental costs.

You're looking at around £2,000 each with a flight then there's spending money and food to add on.

Hope this helps.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
If you are tight fisted like me, staying in a town in Hokkaido somewhere outside of Niseko and hiring a car will bring the price down a lot, and you can drive to the best ski area on the day. Compare hotel prices in Otaru with Niseko hotels and you'll see what I mean. Also, look at 4 and 5 hour daily lift passes - they are way cheaper than a full area Niseko pass and 4 or 5 hours is usually enough to get the goods before everything is tracked to bits. A lot of ski areas offer 4 hour pass plus lunch and onsen deals which are usually great value - we got something like this at Asari and Sapporo Kokusai. Eating and drinking (outside of Niseko) didn't feel more expensive than Italian prices, but I can't remember actual numbers.

Niseko is awesome and the terrain is great for a middling skier like me, but it's vastly more expensive than places a few miles up the road, so not ideal on a budget. I also enjoyed being in an authentic Japanese City, rather than a purpose built resort.

I can't speak for the rest of Japan.


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Tue 11-02-20 15:41; edited 1 time in total
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We’re in Niseko right now and the only fly in the ointment once you’ve worked out all the fixed costs is the price of meals if you’re going out........
Next door to us is an all-you-can eat shabu shabu place, one of the cheapest in Niseko and it’s £50 a head...
On average it seems around 4000 yen per head (around £28 ) is considered cheap.
If you can find a local Ramen noodle restaurant you can eat your fill for 1500 yen with beer Very Happy
Prices in Niseko have apparently rocketed over the last 2 years since the US Ikon pass included it in the resorts and also a massive influx of Chinese money
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@KenX, have you been in Hanazono yet? How is it since they built that monstrous hotel at the base? Both times I visited it was awesome for a few hours on a powder morning, but I can't see how it could possibly cope with the extra traffic from that beast.

The ostentatious wealth was a bit mad too, and was noticeably different from 2 years previous - I saw a man berating the owner of Yukoro onsen because he couldn't make his taxi come any quicker to take him to one of the super expensive hotels. I was also stunned at the queue in Rhythm ski shop - it's well stocked but eye wateringly expensive and it was queued out the door with people buying armfuls of top of the range gear. Never seen anything like it.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@element, what did you pay for your hotel in otaru? I couldn’t find much under €60, gotta hostel in Niseko (called Absolute, 60m from nearest piste in Grand Hirafu) for the same money. Perfect location. I did bus day trips to Rusutsu and Kirroro (each for the same price as a day ticket in Niseko including pass and bus)


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Wed 12-02-20 14:44; edited 1 time in total
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It very much depends on where you go. As mentioned the big resorts that attract international visitors are expensive.
Generally speaking I would say (in my experience) it’s about the same cost to go on a ski holiday to Japan, Europe, Canada or US if you’re trying to do things sensibly.
That’s leaving from Australia anyway.
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6 years ago ( quite while now I think about it) I found Niseko to be pretty reasonable. Prices were similar to eating in London and lift passes were about £35 a day. Accommodation was the most expensive, I think about 45 or £50 pernight in a 4 bed shared room ( with mates), with breakfast in a lodge. The exchange rate was also very good then... Now it is rubbish.
Sounds like it has become a lot more expensive , a victim of its own success. Might be worth doing some of the other resorts to escape the pompous crowd.... sadly
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4 years ago we did 2 weeks in Hokkaido £2700 each all in. The lot. Everything. We turned up with 3 nights accommodation and booked on the fly depending on conditions. There were three of us so triple rooms helped save a bit. We had a hire car and we (well, I, given the Rabbit and admin neglected to get IDPs rolling eyes ) drove a lot so that includes a fair bit of fuel. The hotels were generally very reasonable; even in the centre of Sapporo. The only exception, as KenX points out, was Niseko. Here it was £70/night and that was before the Ikon Pass...
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
My budget was £2500-£3000 per person for two of us, it finally came in somewhere between £2500-£2600. That was budget end but not really scrimping, we generally packed lunch and only ate out a couple of times. 1500 yen should get decent enough food on the mountain though, at least it did in Teine, Kokusai and Rusutsu, didn't check anywhere else.

Trip report here if you want an idea of what we got for the money https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=151212

Lift passes averaged out at about £37 (9 skiing days). Car hire was £800 for a decent car. Fuel/tolls etc. was just under £100 for the 10 days we were on Hokkaido. £700 each for flights, £25 for data SIM cards, £1200 on accommodation (including 3 nights in Tokyo) and the rest spent on food, beer, and general other stuff.

Have no clue about ski hire as took my own stuff, but suspect you'll find something if you google. All my accommodation was through Booking.com as that was simplest and reasonable price, plus free cancellation up to 24 hours before on a lot of places.
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@SnoodlesMcFlude, knock off the flight costs and car and that's pretty much £100 per day which is what skiing in Europe ends up costing post travel minimum

HB cheap hotel €60+
Lift pass €40+
Lunch and drinks €20+
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
As @KenX, says Niseko is on a par with 3 Valley prices, maybe more.

Two years ago we did not really notice but this year prices are very high.

We ate at the fabulous spa restaurant 4th floor Saporro airport and that was probably 50% cheaper than Niseko and that says something when an airport is cheaper than a resort etc

Out of resort / town options sound good but if you're on a group holiday is that a good option when going out in the evening to bars etc is all part of the holiday craic.

So sort of depends what your here for, chasing untracked or want a more normal resort based holiday?

Remember Aussie's Chinese and Singaporeans have far greater disposable income so to them it's not expensive?
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@rogg, just found my old notes - we were on honeymoon, so weren't going down the hostel route this time, but were trying to keep costs down. We paid £110 per person night at 'Always Niseko' and £65 per person per night at 'Grand Park Otaru'. Always was really good, but the room was small and it was a 15 or 20 minute walk slightly uphill to the lifts/Hirafu. The Grand Park was beautiful and the room was twice the size. Its on top of a massive shopping mall with lots of restaurants. We also spent 2 nights in the 'Neuschloss' in Otaru - the room was immaculate and we had our own private open air onsen which was literally on the cliff edge overlooking the sea and the snowy rocks. We got a deal with really classy multiple course dinner included and it was £150 per person per night. Amazing value for what it was. I looked at similar rooms in Niseko and they would've cost more than our whole trip! We were there over Xmas and New Year which put the costs of accommodation up a lot - NY is a big Japanese holiday.

Our car was a budget option winter deal from Nippon Rent a Car - it was a 4x4 Honda Fit (Jazz) with snow tires and ski racks. Perfect for two of us and handled every imaginable winter condition with ease. Cost us £575

I worked out £350 each for 11 days ski passes, taking advantage of 4 and 5 hour passes, Niseko local area passes, and smaller ski areas with lower prices (and fewer people). It was never a hindrance to the skiing and we never felt like we needed the full Niseko area pass, having bought it the previous time we visited.

We also spent 2 nights in Citadines in Shinjuku which was £55 pppn.

So all in per person, about £600 flights from Dublin, £1250 accom, £290 car, £350 passes = £2490, plus whatever we spent on food, drink and fuel (at similar prices to home, outside of Niseko). Bearing in mind we went at the most expensive time for hotels, and we wanted decent accommodation.

But like Weathercam says, if you want a resort based trip close to bars etc, then you can't go wrong in Niseko Hirafu, but you'll have to pay for it!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@skiing_snerrick, I've just looked back through emails from last years trip. A guide for 5 of us in Rusutsu was £485 in total. I believe this included Avi kit, but we already had our own.

Day to day spending, I felt it was actually cheaper than the big European resorts. We had lunch on the mountain each day (usually ramen and a beer) and it seemed cheap (around 1500yen). We ate out most nights, but only went to more formal restaurants a couple of times, generally sticking to the more simple places. I got through about £100 a day, so in line with @SnoodlesMcFlude. I can't really help with the other costs as we booked through a Tour Op, but all in all it came to about £3800 (we paid for a basic flight upgrade and decent accommodation)
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
If you do not go to Niseko cost are cheaper than in the Alps but have to add flight.
But you can find cheap accommodation in the Niseko area as well, just have to look.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Niseko Moiwa (small satellite next to Annupuri) accom in “Lodge 835” capsule type of place. Circa 45 eur/night incl breakfast.
Car hire (19 days) toyota yaris type, winter tyres 4x4, 480 eur.
Accom in Otaru Green hotel (basic but central) 65 eur/night.
Food 10-15 eur for lunch in Rusutsu/Moiwa. Dinner twice as much.
Onsen entey 4-8 eur.
Skipass 30-50 a day depending where.
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I stayed in Stoked Backpackers in Niseko in 2018 and was reasonable, less than £40 a night including breakfast. We had a kitchen in the hostel so you could cook to keep the costs down.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@skiing_snerrick, looking at your OP, we're out with http://www.sherpasride.com/ they cater for groups of all demographics, from very very wealthy dudes that can afford the best hotels to groups staying in their lodge.

All costs are inc of lifts, local-guides, transport and transfers etc

They do various packages such as the Hokkaido road trip where they take you to different resorts and halfway through the week transfer to Furano from Niseko.

Last few days, after a big breakfast we've managed to ski (touring) most of the day and have ended up having ramen (miso noodles) around 16:00 in and that with a beer or two is only 1500 JY a head.

Last evening we did have dinner in Kutchan where there are loads of restaurants at far better pricing than Niseko resort.

If we really wanted to be budget-conscious next time around, then flights, rent a car, stay in Kutchan and DIY guiding/touring so no lifts as touring.

In fact just came across this site https://hokkaidowilds.org/ excellent number or routes
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Consider also the other ski areas in Japan. Myoko gets tons of snow, easy to get to from Tokyo and quieter/cheaper than Niseko. Hakuba gaining in popularity but also doable on a budget. I paid 6500 yen a night at Hakuba House, in Happo One, including cooked breakfast, shuttle pick ups etc and the boss there took me out into the backcountry into routes I wouldn’t have scored in a guided group. Better terrain than Niseko, mixing proper high alpine with great tree skiing, albeit snow not as light. Hakkoda also looked really interesting but trickier to get to. See if you can combine some different locations to see the real variety on offer in Japan.
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