A Little About Japan & It’s Culture

Welcome to Niseko, Japan’s premier ski destination, where pristine snow meets breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural experiences. This comprehensive guide is designed to help you navigate the wonders of Niseko, from its world-class ski slopes to its unique cultural offerings. Whether you’re a seasoned skier or a first-time visitor, Niseko promises an unforgettable journey filled with adventure, relaxation, and discovery.

Traveling through Japan is a truly unique experience. With a mix of modern and traditional architecture, the sites of Japan are wide and varied. A population of kind and disciplined people living in a culture of highly developed technology and precision makes Japan a breathtaking place to visit. With one of the lowest crime rates in the world, you feel very safe traveling throughout the country.



126.8 million


Japanese Yen ¥ (exchange rate)


$4.872 trillion (USD)


Shinto and Buddhism

In Japan, people greet each other by bowing. When bowing to someone of higher social status, a deeper, longer bow indicates respect. Conversely, a small head nod is casual and informal. However, most Japanese do not expect foreigners to know proper bowing rules so a nod of the head is usually sufficient. It is also common to bow to express thanks, to apologize, to make a request, or to ask someone a favor.

When businessmen meet for the first time, they exchange Meishi (business cards). It is customary to take the Meishi with two hands while bowing. It is considered rude to take it and put it straight into your pocket. Observe it for a minute and make a polite comment about the card.

When entering a Japanese house, outdoor shoes are always replaced by slippers at the doorway (genkan). Slippers are provided by the host.

Before eating it is customary to say “Itadaki-masu” which can be translated to ‘Bon Appetit’. The saying “Gochiso-samadeshita” is said after your meal which indicates you have finished eating. Unlike Western culture, when eating noodles such as soba or ramen, it is accepted to slurp loudly. It is encouraged as it is said to enhance the meal’s flavor. However, it is considered bad manners to burp. Blowing your nose in public, and especially at the table, is considered bad manners.

When catching a train throughout Japan, it is considered rude and inconsiderate to talk on your mobile phone while in the carriage. Also, there are silent carriages and lady carriages on many trains, please be aware of which carriage you enter and abide by the correct practice.


The Japanese Government is very strict with customers so please double check all rules and regulations, so you are not bringing any prohibited items into the country.

The table below outlines the amount of items allowed into Japan by one Adult. For futher information about rules and regulations please got to the Japanese Customs website at

Alcoholic Beverages3 bottlesA bottle contains approximately 760cc
Tobacco Products
Cigars100 cigarsIf a visitor brings in more than one kind of tobacco product, the total allowance is 500 grams.
Cigarettes400 cigarettes
Other kinds of tobacco500 grams
Perfume2 ounces 
Others200,000yenThe total overseas market value of all articles other than the above items must be under 200,000yen. Any item whose overseas market value is under 10,000yen is free of duty and/or tax and is not included in the calculation of the total over seas market value of all articles. There is no duty-free allowance for articles having a market value of more than 200,000yen each or each set.

Communication & Electricity


Mobile Phone – 3G/4G Mobile phones are the only phones that will work with the Japanese system however pay phones and hire mobile phones are available throughout Hokkaido.
There are three major phone stores in Kutchan that can help you with mobile phone operation.


+81 (0)136-21-5616


+81 (0)136-21-2588


+81 (0)136-21-6868

Travel Sim – There are several options about sim cards in Japan. SoftBank gives the option of renting sim cards for as low as ¥105 a day but please note that the actual cost of the call/msg can get quite expensive. Sims cards are available from most major airports (Including New Chitose Airport). Sim cards from outside Japan:
Data Sim cards from New Chitose Airport:  Prepaid LTE SIM (So-net)
LOCATION: New Chitose Airport 2F International Arrival Lobby
HOURS OF OPERATION: 7 days a week, 6:30 to 22:30
RETAIL FORMAT: Vending Machine
Mobile WiFi Rental from New Chitose Airport:  WiFi routers and mobile phones for rental. Sim Card sales.
LOCATION: New Chitose Airport 2F International Arrival Lobby
LOCATION: New Chitose Airport 1F Domestic Arrival Lobby
RETAIL FORMAT: Store front with Staff
HOURS OF OPERATION: Domestic – 7 days a week, 8:00 to 19:30 International – 7 days a week, 8:00 to 20:00

Public Pay Phones

Public telephones using coins and prepaid cards are very common throughout Japan. Prepaid cards are readily available at convenience stores, kiosks and in some places vending machines. For domestic calls use the green and grey public phones. Directory Assistance can be contacted by dialing 104 (toll call) and ask for an English speaker.

Prepaid Cards

Two of the most popular cards are Brastel and Kazak. Both are available in many locations throughout Niseko and Hirafu.


Ramat Niseko and Snowgums have FREE wi-fi access. There are also many other HOT-SPOTS around the village including A-Bu-Cha, Grandpapa, Java Bar, Downtown Café and Curry Goya.

Walkie Talkies

Only Japanese 2-way radios are allowed on the slopes. Ski patrol are very strict on this so unless they comply with Japanese frequencies please don’t bring any from home.


In Japan the electricity is supplied at 100V AC 50Hz. The wall sockets are two pronged with vertical plugs. A converter is needed to operate international appliances. It is recommended to buy converters in your home country as there is normally a larger range and stock is more readily available.


Niseko is a predominantly cash-based society and as such we would recommend bringing an appropriate amount of Japanese Yen with you to eliminate any hassles. For current Japanese Yen exchange rates, please go to

NO International cards are accepted by ATMs in Hanazono, Niseko Village, or Annupuri to get cash out. There are only a few spots to get cash out in the area so please bring an appropriate amount of Japanese yen.

There are a few ATM locations throughout Niseko. However, these are not always operational:

Hirafu Upper Village at Supermarket & Deli in SHIKI Niseko is open 7 am – 9 pm & accepts VISA, Mastercard, American Express, JCB, China Union Pay, and cards with PLUS or Cirrus logos (no non-rectangular shaped cards).

Kutchan Post Office is open weekdays 8:45 am – 7 pm, weekends 9 am -5 pm & accepts Visa, Visa Electron, Plus, MasterCard, Maestro, Cirrus, American Express, Diners Club, JCB, China UnionPay

Kutchan 7-Eleven is open all day/night and accepts VISA, Mastercard, American Express, JCB, China Union Pay, and cards with PLUS or Cirrus logos (no non-rectangular shaped cards).

Please note most restaurants, bars, and shops will not take credit cards. However lift passes, ski hire and ski lessons can be purchased with a credit card.

Foreign Currency Exchange – Most major currencies can be exchanged in Niseko at either Hokkaido Tracks in Hirafu, Hilton Niseko Village in Niseko Village, or at the main post office or Hokuyo Bank in Kutchan.


Japan experiences summer in the middle of the year, June through August, and winter at the end of the year, December through February due to its location in the Northern hemisphere.

Stretching over 1500km north to south there are 6 main climate zones in Japan. Hokkaido, where Niseko is located, is the northernmost zone and has a temperate climate with long, cold winters and cool summers.



With average January temperatures between -12°C and -4°C, Niseko becomes blanketed in white powder snow. Snow usually starts falling in mid-November and by mid-December international and Japanese guests are beginning to arrive for the start of the snow season. Precipitation is fairly heavy and the islands usually develop deep snow banks in the winter. The season is at a ski-able level until early May.


Argued by many to be the best season as the weather is warm and the rainy season hasn’t started. The flowers start to bloom and the famous cherry blossoms are a sight to see. Spring also houses Gold Week (end April – early May) where the Japanese pack up and head on vacation for 5-7 days. Niseko is a popular destination as it is still ski-able and some summer activities are commencing.


The average summer temperature in Hokkaido ranges from 17 to 22 °C and as the island is not normally affected by the rainy season and relentless humidity of the south, summer attracts a vast number of tourists from all over Japan to rent our ski lodges. With summer weather in the mid 20’s activities such as white water rafting, horse riding, adventure mountain-biking and golf are very popular.


With the change of the season you can experience a cool chill throughout the months leading up to winter.

HEALTH & Safety

Insurance – Health care provided in Japan is first class. However it can be very expensive for the international travellers.

Medical insurance, which is usually included in travel insurance, is recommended as extreme health issues can cost above $100,000 if evacuation or hospitalisation is required. Please make sure that your travel insurance covers all medicals!

Medications – The medication may be different in Japan, please don’t forget to bring it with you but you must adhere to the Japanese Customs in doing so.

Japan has fairly strict rules regarding certain types of medicines particularly stimulant medications. View the Japanese customs website for customs information (Japanese Customs) and contact your local Japanese embassy before your holiday if you have any specific questions regarding certain medications.

Warm clothes – Please make sure that you bring warm clothes in winter as temperatures in Niseko can range from 6°C to about -7°C during the months of November to December and as low as -23°C (with wind chill) throughout the rest of the season.

Beanies, gloves, thermal clothes and sock as well as a fleece neck warmer or facemask are essential.


Accommodation Options

Niseko offers a range of accommodations to suit every preference and budget. From luxurious lodges to affordable options like Ramat Niseko, you’ll find amenities and services designed to make your stay comfortable and convenient. Explore our wonderful accommodation options and book your perfect stay at Ramat Niseko.

Language Tips

How are you?Gen-ki-des-ka
Thnak you very muchAri-ga-tou-go-zai-masu
You’re welcomeDou-ta-shi-ma-shite
Can you speak English?Eigo o ha-na-su koto ga de-kiru
Can you please help me?Wa-ta-shi o ta-su-ke-te-ku-dasai
Where is the train station?De-n-sha no eki wa doko-des-ka
Where is the taxi rank?Ta-ku-shi nori-ba wa do-ko-des-ka
One more drink pleaseMou ip-pon ku-da-sai