Hokkaido: How much I spent snowboarding in Niseko, and how you can do it under RM 5,300

To date, I have made 3 trips to Niseko, Hokkaido for snowboarding, i.e. 2016, 2017 and 2019.

Check out my previous post on Ultimate guide to snowboarding / skiing in in Niseko.

In this post, I’ll share with my cost breakdown, and some tips, hopefully to help you budget and plan your next Niseko snowboarding trip !

Basis & Assumptions

I have assumed an average inflation of 3% per annum (loosely from Bank Negara), to adjust for time value of money.

Currency exchange is assumed at 0.038 RM/MYR.

All cost numbers shown are in Malaysian Ringgit (RM), and for 1 (one) person. 

Total Cost & Breakdown

4D 3N Niseko, RM 5,300


For all 3 trips, I flew Air Asia because of the convenience, i.e. the only airline that flies direct Kuala Lumpur to Chitose.

  • 2016, return trip with baggage fees, RM 1,309 MOD
  • 2017
  • 2019, return trip with baggage fees, RM 1,134 MOD

Again, inflation has no impact on airfare ! The key (and I reiterate) is to buy your air tickets early! I bought them at least 9 months in advance. It also helps with advance planning with regards to accommodation, equipment rental, and lessons, which all have significant cost saving if booked earlier.

Tip: Use a good airfare comparison website. My favourite is Kayak.com. You can check out my previous post on how I best use Kayak.com for my travel plans. 

Bus fare

From Chitose airport, you need to arrange for a bus to Niseko ski resorts, which is about 2.5 hours ride.

There are a few tour bus operators running this route. We always use White Liner (Tip: Book online with Goodsports for 10% discount).

Round trip costs 7,200 yen (RM 274) after 10% discount.

Equipment rental

For the last 3 trips, I have rented my gears from Goodsports. This also saves me on excess / oversized baggage charges.

Tip: Pre-book your gears as early as you can to get a good discount. For my recent trip, we managed to get 30% discount, and ended up paying about 15,000 yen (USD 135) for 3 days of rental (snowboard, ski suit, and helmet). 


You want to book your accommodation early, for better rates, especially during peak seasons (January and February).

If you read my previous post on Ultimate guide to snowboarding / skiing in in Niseko, you will know that I prefer staying in Grand Hirafu, as there are more options. And that, there are two sections, i.e. Upper Grand Hirafu and Lower Grand Hirafu.

For my previous trips,

  • 2016 and 2017, Downtown lodge, Lower Grand Hirafu (closed for business), 19,000 yen MOD
  • 2019, Gondola chalet, Upper Grand Hirafu, 27,000 yen MOD

Gondola chalet was considered a luxury upgrade for us.

Other recommendations,

  • M Lodge, Upper Grand Hirafu, from 25,000 yen
  • Chalet Ivy, Upper Grand Hirafu, from 31,000 yen


For food, I usually budget about 8,000 yen (70 USD) a day, and this is considered a luxury budget. Some food prices example,

  • Ramen = 1,000 yen
  • Snow crab ramen = 2,000 yen
  • Hokkaido curry soup (Tsubara Tsubara) = from 1,400 yen
  • Izakaya = 2,000 to 3,000 yen per person depending on how much you order
  • Premium seafood (Ezo Seafoods), really depends on what you order, we always order the Omakase (chef recommendation) and gave the chef a budget, e.g. 5,000 yen per person

As a minimum, you should be able to get by with 3,000 yen a day, if you have Ramen for 3 meals !


I hope my simple guide gives you a head start to planning your next Niseko trip. Sharing with you my simple budget calculator for your Niseko trip planning. Excel file in link. The default is set for an example 3 nights stay under RM 5,300 (inclusive of airfare).

I look forward to hearing you share your experience! Drop a comment below!

If you enjoy this post on how to budget your next trip, check out my previous post on how to budget your Europe trip !

31 thoughts on “Hokkaido: How much I spent snowboarding in Niseko, and how you can do it under RM 5,300

  1. Love how detailed your post is! Always find it useful to see prices for future planning. Hoping to visit Japan next year. And omg soo want to try the snow crab ramen and Hokkaido curry 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a wonderfully detailed post! I’ve always worried that Japan is too expensive and love seeing these types of posts that tell me otherwise.

      Added to the bucketlist 😍

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice, complete and concise. Exactly how I like a guide to read! Accommodation and air are usually always the biggest part of the budget, but you are right that inflation typically doesn’t impact airfare. I like that you have been three times and can truly present a good representation of how to budge for a trip to Niseko. I’ve never been snowboarding before!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Which ever way you look at it, skiing and snowboarding is expensive! Some really useful tips here though, especially with regard to booking early. We bought our ski passes for next year in April! the price doubles from September. I have not yet been to Hokkaido, but my daughter is working there as a ski instructor next season. Had we not already committed to the season on Colorado we would be heading out there, firmly clutching this very useful guide!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You must love this area for snowboarding if you have returned 3 times. That kind of makes you an expert in planning and providing tips. I haven’t been to Japan, nor snowboarding, but remember seeing the Olympic events and the mountains looked amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love Niseko, but last time I visited I couldn’t ski…Now I’d LOVE to go back and zoom down the slopes in the powder! 😀

    It’s interesting that you managed to buy flights so early and get a discount. I often find flights *more* expensive if when I book too early. I once saved $2000 by booking a month later (from Canada to NZ.) I normally find the best deals around 2 months before we leave.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Airasia is a budget airline so it rarely gets cheaper nearer to date (especially popular routes like Japan). But yes I agree with you that mainstream airlines, you sometimes get better deals nearer to your travel date ! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I always like to see cost breakdowns when reading travel guides. Thanks for sharing so much detail! Sounds like all three were fun trips!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. WOW … such extraordinary detail and even an excel document to go with it? Next time I want to see a Powerpoint and spread sheets. LOL. Seriously this is very useful info. And I am now putting snow crab ramen on my budget eating list.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Reading a cost breakdown post gives a real picture of how much we will be spending while on the trip. I always look out for such articles when visiting a new place. Thanks for your honest tips and suggestions. This will help a great deal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Japan has so much to offer ! Culture, colours, sceneries, and of course food !! If you are a foodie like me, you’ll be having the time of your life =)


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