Getting To Niseko And Pension Woody Note
Getting to Niseko and Pension Woody Note requires first getting to Hokkaido. From that starting point you have to travel to Hirafu either arriving directly at Woody Note or at the Hirafu Welcome Center. As we explain, Niseko is not really Niseko, so Hirafu is where you are heading.
Free Transfers from the Hirafu Welcome Center to Woody Note
On arrival at the Hirafu Welcome Center please call Toshio Shimatani on (0136 23 0177) and you will be transferred to Woody Note.
Getting To Hokkaido
You can fly directly into Hokkaido from overseas landing at the Chitose International Airport (Sapporo). There are a surprising large number of international airlines flying directly to Chitose from:
Bangkok; Beijing; Busan; Daegu; Hangzhou; Hong Kong; Honolulu; Kaohsiung; Kuala Lumpur; Nanjing; Seoul; Shanghai; Singapore; Taipei; Tianjin and Y-Sakhalinsk. Many of us however fly in from other destinations within Japan (Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya) for example.
From the Chitose International Airport to Hirafu you have a choice of bus, train, limousine or hire car.
If you are traveling from Honshu the options apart from flying are the Hokkaido Shinkansen which travels from Tokyo to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto (4 Hours 15 Minutes) or the slower normal train. From Hakodate travel to Sapporo JR (3 Hours 30 Minutes) and then to Otaru and onward to Kutchan. From Kutchan take either a cab to Woody Note (suggested) or the bus to the Hirafu Welcome Center.
If traveling from Chitose to Niseko by train you can buy tickets for the entire trip at the Chitose International Airport JR Station. CARE your destination, as explained in 'Niseko Is Not Niseko', is KUTCHAN not Niseko. Your tickets will be Chitose to Otaru via Sapporo with a change of train required in Otaru bound for Kutchan.
There are a number of car ferries from Honshu to Hokkaido. Google Maps shows the routes, so if you are traveling in Honshu by car or would just like to take a ferry to Hokkaido that is definitely an option. The ferries dock at Hakodate and Otaru. The drive to Hirafu from either of these destinations is straight forward.
Getting To Niseko From Chitose (Sapporo) International Airport
Your options are bus, train, limousine or hire car.
Bus - There are two local bus services from the Chitose International Airport, Chuo Bus and Donan Bus, plus two Winter Only bus services provided by Resort Liner and Whiteliner. The Resort Liner and Whiteliner buses are express from Chitose to the Hirafu Welcome Center. The websites of Resort Liner & Whiteliner are easy to navigate.
Train - The train from Chitose International Airport is to Otaru. At Otaru a change of train is required to Kutchan. Tickets for the entire journey may be purchased at Chitose International Airport JR Station.
NISEKO IS NOT NISEKO
There is more than one Niseko:
- Niseko - the internationally recognised name for the area surrounding the Niseko United Ski Resorts
- Niseko Town - the actual hamlet of Niseko situated on Route 66
- Niseko Village - the Hilton Hotel complex situated at Higashiyama
When people refer to Niseko they almost always mean Hirafu! Niseko is a generic name for the ski area that encompasses the Niseko United Ski Resorts of Annupuri, Hanazono, Higashiyama and Hirafu. There are also three additional ski areas close by: Moiwa; Chisenupuri; and Weiss. The actual hamlet of Niseko-Town is on Route 66, some way from the Niseko United Ski Resorts. You may also find web-sites referring to Niseko-Village (Higashiyama) renamed Niseko-Village by the Hilton Hotel chain. Niseko Village is a self contained, read mostly isolated destination and is neither Hirafu nor Niseko-Town. Hirafu is the center of the action so be careful when looking for accommodation. Kutchan is your train destination when traveling to Niseko. There is a train station at Niseko but your train station is Kutchan because not all trains stop at Niseko and transport from the Niseko Train Station is limited. Go to our Google Map Insert and you will get a better idea. If you refer to the Footer on this page you will note that the address makes no mention of Niseko. Don't be alarmed everyone understands the Niseko is the International generic name for where we are. For the Japanese it is Kutchan-Cho.
If you stay in Hirafu for more than a few days you will almost certainly visit the nearby town of Kutchan with its excellent restaurants, well appointed Hospital and three large supermarkets. There are two bus companies servicing the Hirafu/Kutchan route, plus a free Night Bus.