New Years Eve in Japow

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We’re fast approaching the New Year and it’s looking festive all around Japan’s great resorts. It’s not all DJ’s and shandies at your favourite bar, though (although there’re plenty of those!) If you’d like to experience your local resort’s annual celebrations then look no further than our New Years Eve in Japow guide below. Enjoy the first snow of 2018 with a fresh head this year!


20:30 – 23:00 Free night skiing!

23:45 Torch light skiing begins on the Grand Hirafu slopes. Watch from the village as hundreds of participants illuminate the slopes on their descent, followed by a stunning fireworks display.

Midnight – 02:00 “Hatsumoude” – the first Shinto shrine visit of the new year. Visit Yamada Shrine and join the locals in this traditional practice of praying for happiness in the coming year along with free sake and on-site food stalls


19:45 ~ Enjoy complimentary hot drinks at the West Mt. before a torchlight parade and fireworks display

23:00 ~ Head to the Cricket Bar for drinks, Bingo and NYE countdown


22:45 – 00:15 Traditional New Year’s soba noodles (Toshikoshi), sake, raffles, and countdown fireworks display at the Tribute Portfolio Hotel

23:00~ Live DJ and sake barrel opening ceremony at Ice Star Bar


16:00 – 18:00 Toshikoshi soba & Japanese sake service at the Tower Hotel lounge

19:00 – 21:00 Welcome Party and mini concert with free drink at Risonare Hotel

20:00 – 22:00 Free Toshikoshi soba

24:00 Fireworks display at Ice Village 


20:00~ Live concert by a Japanese artist in the Chapel of the New Furano Prince Hotel

22:00~ Traditional food stalls, games, music and demonstrations at the base of Furano ski area along with NYE countdown and fireworks display


13:30~ ‘Mochi’ Rice Cake Making

17:30 & 19:30 Restaurant Concert at Sahoro Garden. Bookings necessary.

22:00 – 23:00 Free Toshikoshi Soba

23:30 – 00:30 Countdown Party


22:00~ Free Night skiing at Happo One Ski Resort, Nakiyama Slope. Hot calpis & sake barrel opening ceremony, costume contests, prizes and fireworks.  Complimentary rice wine and Nagano apple for the first 500 people


23:30 Night skiing extended until 23:30. Complimentary mulled wine and sake while enjoying fireworks display


22:00 – 23:30 Torch light skiing at Mt Yakebi No.3 high-Speed lift. Pre-booking required. (English OK).


Niseko United Trail Map & Bus Schedule 2017-18

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With winter fast approaching it’s time to get organised!

Niseko United has just released the trail maps, bus schedules and resort opening dates.

The Niseko United resorts are scheduled to open on the following dates:

  • Niseko Grand Hirafu: 23 November 2017
  • Niseko Annupuri: 25 November 2017
  • Niseko Village: 1 December 2017
  • Niseko Hanazono: 2 December 2017

Niseko United Trail Map 2017-18

Niseko United Trail Map 2017-18

Niseko United Bus Schedule 2017-18

Niseko Annupuri Trail Map 2017-18

Niseko Hirafu Village Map 2017-18

Niseko Upgrades Lifts

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Niseko Tokyu, owner / operator of the Niseko Grand Hirafu Resort, has announced they’ll be upgrading the Ace Family Pair lift for the 2017/18 season to a new, longer quad lift. Read the original announcement (Japanese Only). Due to be completed in December, 2017 (UPDATE 24/11/2017: both the Ace Family Quad Lift in Grand Hirafu, and the Dream Quad #1 in Annupuri are scheduled for completion by December 1) the lift will be longer by almost 250m with the new top station drop-off moving further up towards top of the Sen no Ki Course (Thousand Trees Course). As a special feature for beginners, the lift is capable of slowing down to less than 1m/sec to help new skiers and boarders as they learn to get on and off the lift. This is intended to reduce congestion on the main beginner course as well as provide a new access route to the King Quad, the .Base restaurant and the parking lot.

Whilst it was not mentioned in the press release it seems that the base station will likely also be moving a little further up from its current position in order to make more space available for ski schools instructing at the base. We won’t be sure of the new location until the construction gets further along though.

Niseko Ski Resort Course Map Update 2017

More People, Faster

The new high-speed lift will move along at a steady 5m/sec – up from the previous 1.8m/sec – and will transport guests in as few as 3 minutes from the base to upper station. At maximum capacity the lift is expected to at least double its carrying capacity from 1,200 people per hour to 2,400.

Niseko Ace Family Quad Lift Rendering 2017

Countdown to Completion

Construction is already underway with the old Ace Family lift base station knocked down last week and works are scheduled to continue from July 18th. No specific date for completion has been set as yet but we’d imagine they’ll be aiming to complete it by early-to-mid-December when the Ace Family usually opens and the snow gets deeper around the base.

Niseko Ace Family Construction Begins 2017

Welcome Relief

Congestion on the Family run has only been getting worse over the last decade with new larger premium accommodations going up as well as more ski schools competing for space on the run – not to mention the groups of Japanese school kids on school snow trips that regularly clog the run in peak periods. and all of the other accommodation operators have petitioned the resort to replace this lift for many years. The fact that it is finally getting this much needed upgrade is a great relief to us all – particularly for guests staying in ski in / ski out accommodations like Alpen Ridge, The Vale Niseko and Aya Niseko.

Hopefully this is a signal that the resort is taking infrastructure development more seriously now especially given the number of large hotel-style developments underway in the upper village, like Skye Niseko and the Maples.

New Dream Lift at Niseko Annupuri

The announcement of the upgrade follows last week’s news from Niseko Annupuri that they’ll be installing a new beginner quad lift. Read the original Japanese announcement. The Dream Quad Lift #1 will carry guests from the base of Annupuri half-way up the main beginner course, the Junior Course, dropping guests off just in front of the Niseko Northern Resort Annupuri. The new lift will result in easier access to restaurants and facilities.

Niseko Annupuri Ski Resort Updated Course Map 2017

Boon for Beginners

We expect the new lift will be a boon to beginners riding at Annupuri given that navigating the upper end of the Junior Course was more than a little challenging. Beginners that used to spend most of their day riding around the base and walking back up the slopes will have access to more terrain and longer runs without tiring themselves out. The new lift is also designed to run at slower speeds near the base stations to make it easier and safer for beginners to get on and off the lift.

The announcement also indicated that there may also be some work undertaken to widen areas around the new lift but no specifics were mentioned. Given how many people use the narrower Junior Course to traverse to the base, rather than ride down the much steeper Dynamic Course, we can only hope that they’ll be giving the top part of this course some of the widening treatment as well.

Kamui Niseko, Annupuri

Annupuri Village Growing in Popularity

With a large number of new condominiums and chalets popping up in the Annupuri village, including the luxury 5 star Kamui Niseko condominiums completed last December, we imagine that that the new lift will result in Annupuri village becoming a more popular destination in the Niseko area for customers that enjoy the quieter village style and love the kind of wide open powder and tree runs on offer on that part of the mountain.

8am Tue 16, Jul 2019
Current Temp
20 °C
Min Temp
20 °C
Max Temp
20 °C
wind direction
Wind Speed
10 KM/H
0 mm
73 %

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