The local currency in Japan is the Japanese Yen (¥). Japan is still very much a cash society. We recommend carrying enough cash for the day in case card is not accepted.
Most accommodation, snow sports lessons and rentals in Niseko will accept credit cards. Pre-book the essentials to save the hassle of carrying excess cash and wasting holiday time looking for an ATM.
Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, so you can feel a little more at ease carrying cash.
Health & Medical
There is no need for vaccinations in Japan.
Travel Insurance, on the other hand, is a necessity. Snow sports are a risky activity and you want to make sure you are covered in the case of a medical emergency, no matter how big or small. Each insurance policy is different. We strongly advise that you check your insurance policy to determine whether you are covered off-piste or out of resort boundaries.
There is an international medical centre, Niseko International Clinic (NIC), located in East Hirafu. The closest bus stop is Midtown Niseko. The nearest hospital is the Kutchan Hospital located in the local nearby town Kutchan. An English speaking physiotherapist, Niseko Physio, is located in the centre of Hirafu.
Hirafu provides all your grocery shopping needs for a short holiday in Niseko. There are two convenience stores, Seicomart & Lawson, where you can shop for all your basic needs. In addition, you can find a one-stop-shop for all your food, toiletry and international food & alchohol needs at the Sapporo Drug Store located in Hirafu 188 on the main street heading up to the Hirafu Welcome Center.
If you are looking for more, or simply want a true Japanese experience, head into Kutchan to the larger supermarkets. Lucky, Co-op & MaxValu provide all your grocery needs. Lucky also has a ¥100 store for all those goodies you didn't know you needed!
TIP: We recommend allowing double the normal time for shopping as you try to decipher what it is your buying. Welcome your new best friend - Google Translate. We guarantee it is an entertaining experience.
Yes, it’s true! Niseko, in particular Grand Hirafu has arguably the best night skiing in the world. From mid December until March, you can experience amazing night skiing under the bright Niseko lights. This is a must-do experience and can offer some of the best skiing of your trip. The majority of the lower mountain is lit up and it is not uncommon to be riding untracked powder this late in the day. During night skiing operations, lifts are open until 8:30pm every night.
Checked Baggage Allowance
Be careful with checked baggage allowances when flying to Japan. Airline staff can be very unsympathetic in the case your bag has gained a few kilograms since its last weigh in.
Luggage forwarding services are offered in most Japanese airports and accommodation providers. Luggage can be sent to your destination or airport before and/or after your trip to save carting around heavy, awkward luggage. Prices are very reasonable and your luggage will usually arrive the same or following day. Prices start from around ¥2,000. Check out Yamato for more details.
This is perfect if you’re planning on checking out any cities or places where snow gear won't be needed.
Alternatively, most Japan Rail (JR) stations offer lockers for luggage storage. These are coin operated and start from ¥300.