5 Reasons to Visit Niseko This January

Here’s a taste of what you can do and see this month during “Japanuary” in Niseko, with our top 5 reasons why a January trip should be on your new year wish list.

#1 It's the start of Peak Powder Season

The House Of Powder In The Backcountry With Jenny Jones 5 Powder Spray

January/ February are peak powder months in Niseko!

Niseko is famous for its incredible snow, and it's currently powdery, soft, light and in no shortage. We've had over 3.5 metres of snowfall this season so far, and that number is only going to keep rising as we move further into January.

#2 Night riding makes a grand return to all four Niseko United Resorts


Night riding is back in all four Niseko United Resorts, available until 7:00PM each night in January!

During January, the Niseko United Resorts open a number of lifts and switch on the lights for Niseko's famous night skiing.

Night riding provides all of us snow lovers even more time on the slopes. There are generally less crowds during the night which means less time waiting in lift lines and more space to explore and practice your skills.

Night skiing is available every night (weather dependent). See a detailed list below.

Resort Lifts In Operation For Night RidingTime
Annupuri Jumbo Quad Lift #14:30PM - 7:30PM
Niseko VillageCommunity Chair, Bonzai Chair4:00PM - 7:00PM
Grand HirafuAce Family Quad Lift, Ace Quad Lift #2 (Center 4)4:00PM - 7:00PM
HanazonoHanazono Symphony Gondola4:00PM - 7:00PM

#3 Hirafu village is alive and filled with energy!

Hirafu Village Winter Night Low Res

Upper and Lower Hirafu is packed with must-see eateries, bars and shops for any budget.

The return of international guests for the first time in three years means that Hirafu is buzzing with energy and excitement. There are plenty of new places to eat, drink, shop and relax up a storm! No matter what you're into, there's something for everyone in Hirafu!

Make sure to take a peek at our 2022/23 Eats Guide to read all about the hottest eateries around town for any budget.

You can also view our 2022/23 Resort Map, to plan out your must-see spots for your January visit.

#4 Chinese New Year Celebrations for the Year of the Rabbit

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Niseko is one of the most popular destinations for the Lunar New Year in Japan. Expect to see busy streets, live performances and many celebrations.

2023 marks the beginning of the Year of the Rabbit in the Chinese Zodiac. The rabbit is regarded as the luckiest out of all the twelve animals, symbolising mercy, elegance, and beauty in Chinese culture.

Don't miss out on experiencing a traditional Lion Performance, there are a few planned at local hotels in Upper Hirafu on Sunday 22 January, 2023.

Skye Niseko: Lion Dance Performance 3:00PM - 3:15PM on Sunday 22 January.

Ki Niseko: Lion Dance Performance 5:00PM - 5:15PM on Sunday 22 January.

#5 See the first of Hokkaido's World-Famous Snow Festivals

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Chitose and Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival is back from January 28 – February 23, 2023.

The biggest snow festival is the Sapporo Snow Festival which kicks off the first weekend of February, so you can always extend your stay into Feb a little to catch this world-famous event making a comeback to its full scale for the first time in 3 years.

Kicking off a mammoth month of winter festivals is the Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival, starting during the final weekend in January.

A fun day out for the whole family and a feast for all the senses, experience the amazing ice sculptures which in the evenings are illuminated in a rainbow of colours.


Still need some convincing? Make sure to check out this amazing Niseko edit from a few years back. We hope to see you on the slopes soon!