Which should we work in Hakuba or Niseko

Hi All!

Been searching the net for information about Hakuba and Niseko. My partner and I are planning on working a season there, we’re both in our 20’s, and i’m an advanced snowboarder, whereas she is an intermediate.

I’ve seen some forums, but they are dated now almost 7+ years, and places could have drastically changed in that time. So just wanted to get a refresh of information.

We are looking at working there in the 2020/2021 season, so its a while away, we’ve been to Hakuba two years ago (March 2017) - and loved it. We were lucky enough to have a small dump the day we arrived.

What we loved:
- staying right near happo one - with access to multiple ski fields
- good bars and food (although most were closed due to it being end of the season)
- the terrain
- how close it is to Tokyo
- the heritage of the place
- not a lot of western people
- and excited to be there

What we wanted more off:
- village life/night-life/snow apres culture
- a car to get around (not that we will get one, it was just hassle travelling)

We have heard that the village life in Niseko is much better (not that we are nightlife people), but we are worried about a few things, is it too westernised, is it too crowded (we hate lines at ski lifts like in Perisher Australia’s front valley), should we aim to visit Tokyo and other places after our work finishes, or do one day/two day trips from Hakuba. I’m a massive fan of offpiste riding as well (next to zero knowledge about avalanche safety), although recently i’ve been moving more towards the park.

We’ll be fairly dependent on getting a pre-organised job before arriving, as we’ll be coming from europe, so job availability is pretty important. I’m considering going for my level 1 APSI (instructor badge) this year at Thredbo, which might open up some more options for my self. My partner doesn’t feel confident in doing that as well - she’ll probably aim for hospitality.

We are basically looking for your pro’s and con’s of both areas. The more you want to write down the better. Comparisons, graphs, charts, mind maps, video blogs, diaries, whatever, we’ll take all the information you have! If you have any suggestions or places or business feel free to let us know smile

thanks in advance smile


Hey, I cant comment on Niseko but I have worked two season in Hakuba. I’m surprised you didn’t think there were a lot of Western people as its basically little Australia LOL

Once you have your working visas and international driving licences you shouldn’t find it too hard to find a job in Hakuba. Facebook groups are your friend and just googling businesses in the area and finding their email addresses and emailing them is also a good way to go.

Japan is unlike many other ski destinations. You should get so much more ride time there than you would in other Countries. I am doing a season in Canada this year and I am a little worried because in Japan i basically went boarding every single day for 3 months. I only didn’t go if i really needed a rest day grin

Working at a lodge will often give you access to a vehicle too so that helps a lot, especially to get those fresh tracks on powder days and Echoland is also a good place to stay in Hakuba.

The pay isn’t great over there but I never struggled with money there and even managed to save some.I travelled around Japan for 2 weeks before arriving in Hakuba and it was incredible so i defo recommend doing that before or after your trip. Japan is a magical place.

Hakuba has 10 mountains on the season pass so you will have access to alot more terrain than you would have in Niseko. The weather at one can be windy and lifts may stop running and at another its perfectly fine so you have a lot of options. Some mountains also get more snow than others due to their altitude and facing. Some are great for their park, some have better food, some have smaller lift lines etc so its good to have all those options.

Also I believe the setup is a little different in Niseko. Most Hakuba jobs will come with accommodation but I believe in Niseko you have to pay for your accommodation (it may be susidised) with a lot of jobs and also a lot of staff live outside Niseko village in Kutchan which is an 18 min bus ride.

Hopefully someone can reply to you on Niseko because I know people that did a season there and loved it. I would love to myself but I used my visa on Hakuba .Also having already visited Hakuba it might be nice for you guys to try a season in Niseko.

You will no doubt have an epic season wherever you choose.