Niseko has been a very successful resort in Hokkaido from the powder snow that falls for skiers and boarders.
But it has been also crowded and many have been looking for an alternative place to stay in Hokkaido.
I personally think Otaru, a city in between Sapporo and Niseko could be the alternative, and today I want to talk about why.
Kiroro Resort was developed by Yamaha and now is owned and run by a Thai property group Property Perfect.
Due to higher elevation, Kiroro actually has more stable powder snow throughout the year.
Niseko isn't the only snowy place in Hokkaido!
The slopes are more exciting in Niseko, but the backcountry has been an exceptional option for those who are experienced and would hire the right people to guide you.
The resort only has Sheraton, Tribute Portfolio, and Yu Kiroro, but more options to stay are being built for the next 1o years.
If you have been to Niseko, I'm sure you are aware of such an inconvenience to access Niseko.
2.5 hours away from the airport, all buses and taxi services are fully booked in peak season.
Otaru Chikko Station is the only station that has a direct bus to Kiroro Station, but this station is accessible by the Airport Rapid train from Chitose and Sapporo Station.
Grand Park Hotel Otaru is linked to Otaru Chikko Station inside a shopping mall, Wing Bay Otaru.
I know a few Japanese that are from Tokyo that stay in this hotel the whole winter season to "commute" to Kiroro Resort on a good ski day.
Another point about Niseko is the restaurants are becoming very expensive.
Taxis are impossible to hire unless you book well in advance.
In contrast, I am always surprised by how good the food tastes in Otaru and how cheap it all is.
You will be wondering, "When in the world is my taxi coming to pick me up?" in Niseko,
but the taxi drivers are the ones wondering, " When in the world will I get a customer?" in Otaru.
One thing about Otaru that might be uncomfortable for guests from overseas is that Otaru doesn't have many people speaking English.
I know quite a few guests in Niseko complaining about how crowded and expensive it is there,
but they also say that they feel at ease having the town being English speaking during their stay.
So Otaru has to catch up on this part.
But I am sure this could be solved within a few years.
We hope this information promotes more international guests to come to Otaru.
Currently, we only have a bus service from Otaru Chikko Station to Kiroro.
But the people in Otaru are hoping that there will also be a bus from Otaru Station to Kiroro.
The Otaru city government hasn't recognized the full potential demand of the city and the resorts, so we Helping Dragon hope to bridge this to happen!
The Otaru government will act to promote English speaking workers to come if we have more English demand, so we hope that Otaru becomes an international town like Niseko!
If you need more help or information about this area, please let us know and we will try to answer them as much as possible!
Please do not hesitate to ask us for help to make your stay in Japan better☺️