Niseko is one of the best ski destinations on the planet and many travellers prefer to make a ski trip to Japan a family affair. But is there anything for the kids to do in Niseko besides waiting for the parents get enough of the slopes? You bet! Here are some ideas for things to do in Niseko with kids.
Being surrounded by all that snow is bound to leave you kids asking where’s Santa. Luckily, you can introduce your kid to the next best thing in Niseko – Santa’s reindeers are in town! Reindeer sledding is available in Niseko Village, with prices starting at JPY 2,000 (USD $18) for children below 12. Ki Niseko hotel offers FREE reindeer rides around Christmas time.
Snowshoeing & Cross-Country Skiing
If skiing down a mountainside seems a little extreme, why not introduce your kids to some calmer winter sports while in Niseko? Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are great ways to explore the great outdoors in Niseko at your kids’ own pace. Niseko Adventure Centre or NAC offers snowshoeing tours where kids aged 6 and up are welcomed to join in. Both private and group tours are available, with prices for group tours starting at JPY 5,000 (USD $45) for children and JPY 8,000 (USD $73) for adults.
Building a Snowman
What’s a winter holiday with the kids without at least one snowman? There’s a great patch of snow close to Gondola Chalets where kids can play and build a whole snow family if they feel like it. Some accommodation in Niseko offer snowball makers and sleds free for the guests’ use. If not, you can also pick them up at convenience stores like Seicomart and Lawson.
The most obvious option for kid-friendly activities in Niseko is of course to get your kids skiing as well. Niseko Village has a ski school for kids aged between 1-6 years. Niseko Kids Snow School also includes a day care centre where kids can take a break once they’ve had enough of the snow. Prices start at JPY 7,000 (USD $70) for a 2.5-hour afternoon class for kids aged between 3-6.
Tic Tac Program
Niseko International Snowsports School (NISS) offers a fun Tic Tac ski school for the youngest snow bunnies. The program is designed for kids aged between 3-6 and as group sized are limited to five kids per instructor, each participant gets plenty of one-on-one guidance and no one feels left behind.
The Tic Tac Program is a fun-filled mix of ski lessons and fun activities. Snack and hot chocolate breaks as well as a scheduled lunch break are an essential part of the experience! Prices start at JPY ¥15,000 (USD $132) for the first day, with reduced rates available for multiple day bookings. The program is extremely popular and booking ahead is essential.
The Yuki Program is a ski and snowboarding school for older children, aged between 7-14. The class sizes are limited to seven kids per instructor and each skier gets personalised feedback from the experienced instructors. There are different levels available according to your child’s level of experience and skills. A Yuki Freeride Program is also available for experienced skiers and snowboarders.
Lunch is an essential part of the program and in 2017, NISS will introduce a “Healthy Lunch for Active Kids” initiative. This salad bar lunch is designed to promote a healthy lifestyle for kids taking part in the Yuki Program. The program is priced at JPY ¥15,000 (USD $132) for the first day, with reduced rates available for multiple day bookings.
Snowmobiling is a fun way to explore Niseko with the family. Hanazono Snowmobiles offers guided tours and a fun Rabbit Course that’s perfect for kids and absolute beginners to the sport. The Rabbit Course is a 30-minute course covering the expanse of a golf course. For a more thrilling ride, the 60-minute Panorama Course offers great views of Niseko.
Kids aged seven and up can ride tandem with a guardian, while kids aged 13 and up can already ride solo. Prices start at JPY ¥7,500 (USD $66) for a single rider for a 30-minute ride on the Rabbit Course.
If you’re looking for a fun and easy activity that everyone can enjoy, snow tubing is perfect. Slide down the hill and let Hanazano Tube Park’s magic carpets take you back up, saving you and the kids the trouble of lugging the gear back up the hill. Snow tubing is available for everyone aged three years and up, with prices starting at JPY ¥2,500 (USD $22) per person for a one-hour session.
Life in Niseko doesn’t have to be just about the snow and there are fun indoor activities available for the kids as well. One of our favourites is the colourful playground located inside JoJo’s Restaurant at NAC. Spanning three floors, this indoor playground offers hours of fun for the kids while the grownups sit down with a hearty burger… or perhaps a nice glass of wine? The Kids Garden is priced at JPY 500 (USD $4.50) per person and is only available for JoJo’s customers.
If all else fails… Day Care Centres in Niseko
Let’s face it – sometimes parents just need a little me-time away from the kids. If you’re dying to do some skiing without the kids, Niseko offers some great options for supervised day care. AYA Niseko’s Kid’s Club offers child care services and fun supervised activities for kids aged between 1-6 years old. The club has plenty of room for fun and games and can host up to 31 kids. Niseko Kid’s Club has two groups: Little Bugs for kids aged 12-36 months and Forest Animals for kids between 3-6 six years old. Parents can choose between morning, afternoon and full day care.