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Getting Here and Around
Niseko is really a collection of villages near the town of Kutchan, a 2½-hour drive from New Chitose Airport. From November to May public buses go from the airport to the Niseko ski resorts almost hourly. In July and August, Chuo Bus Company has two buses a day. A one-way trip costs ¥2,300.
From Sapporo you can drive to the Niseko area in two hours, up and over Nakayama Pass. Trains from Sapporo to Kutchan depart hourly; the trip takes two hours and costs ¥1,790. You will probably have to switch trains in Otaru. From Kutchan seven trains a day go to the Hirafu and Niseko villages at the heart of the scenic area. Hotels and pensions pick up guests at these two stations. Travelers with no pickup arranged should go to Niseko Station because Hirafu is tiny and deserted once the train has gone (although there is a one-person hot-spring bath carved out of a tree trunk in a little building on the platform). In ski season there are shuttle buses connecting Kutchan, the villages, and the lift stations. Out of season public transport is limited and car hires make sense. Nippon Rental Car and Mazda Rent-A-Car 9–5 are both a five-minute walk from Niseko Station.
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