Trips FAQ

Trips FAQ

The following outlines Rhythm Japan’s FAQ for Trips by Rhythm Rides.

TRAVEL

We have thought about everything for your trip while in Japan; however, your flights to Sapporo Chitose Airport will need to be arranged by yourself.

Unfortunately, we are unable to make flight reservations for you. .

Niseko is just 68 miles from Sapporo’s New Chitose International Airport (CTS) and is accessible with direct flights via Tokyo (Haneda Airport AND Narita Airport) or via Osaka (Kansai Airport.)

 

Direct non-stop flights to Sapporo’s New Chitose International Airport are also available from Sydney, Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Malaysia.

 

If you need to connect via Tokyo or Osaka we would recommend squeezing in a few days in Japan’s famous cities at the beginning or end of your trip if you can!

We need to receive your flight information for your arrival and departure as soon as possible. This will be needed to enable us to book your private transfer and to arrange a relaxed and smooth arrival in Niseko.

Sure! We are stoked to provide unforgettable private trips for all kinds of travellers. For families, friends, couples and as well people who are travelling on their own. Please note that we cannot provide a discount for solo-travellers on some services like accommodation, private transfers, or lessons while others can be adjusted accordingly.

 

If you are travelling on your own but you don’t want to have a private experience or you would like to join a group to make your holiday even more fun, you might be interested in a travel experience hosted by evo Trips 

Please reach out to our Trips team to request a customised quote here.

Private transfers from Sapporo’s New Chitose International Airport to your Niseko accommodation are included in all of our Trips products. This includes a private car and driver that will meet you in the airport arrival hall and bring you directly to your accommodation here in Niseko. 

To ensure that the car has enough space for your luggage you are required to share details with us regarding the amount of luggage you’re travelling with ahead of your Trip.

If you would like to self-transfer to Niseko on your own, there are several options:

  • Charter bus from Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport to the Hirafu Welcome Centre.
  • Train from Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport to Kutchan train station (with a changeover in Otaru). From here you can then take a private taxi to your accommodation.
  • Private rental car

Yes absolutely! Renting a car is a great way to travel around the area and make the most of your time in Niseko. Please note that we are currently not offering any support with car rental services, and this must be arranged independently. 

As parking is limited in Niseko, please inform us when booking if you intend to rent a car during your trip and we can recommend accommodation that has suitable parking. 

We recommend that you arrive at Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport by 1pm latest to give yourself enough travel time to Niseko. Depending on your transfer type, it can take anywhere from 2.5 hours (by private car) to 4 hours (by JR train) to arrive at Niseko. Please be aware that winter weather conditions can also impact travel duration. Therefore, it is important to plan accordingly and give yourself plenty of time to make your way to Niseko. 

 

Below we have summarised approximate travel times to make your flight planning a bit easier: 

  • From Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT) and Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND) to Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport (CTS): 1 hour 30 minutes. 
  • From Osaka Kansai Airport (KIX) to Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport (CTS): 2 hours. 
  • From Nagoya’s Chubu Airport (NGO) to Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport (CTS): 1 hour 40 minutes. 

 

Now that you’ve arrived at Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport around midday, you have plenty of time to transfer to Niseko and get ready for your first day riding with us! This includes checking into your hotel and picking up any ski and snowboard rental equipment. Please note that most of our accommodations are available to check-in new guests from 3pm onwards.

The day is finally here! Prior to your Trip our team will have been in touch to confirm your arrival time at Sapporo Chitose Airport, and will have shared your transfer details with you. Please inform us if you are facing any significant delays and we will pass this information onto your private transfer.


  • Private Transfer pick up 

Once you’ve landed and collected your luggage, head out into the arrival hall. If you’ve booked a private transfer your driver will be waiting – look out for a sign with your booking name on it! The journey time to Niseko in a private vehicle is about 2 hours 30 minutes, however, in the winter when the weather conditions are changeable, it may take longer. Your driver will drop you directly to your hotel door.


  • Charter Bus pick up with the Hokkaido Resort Liner

If you’re travelling to Niseko on a group charter bus, once you have collected your luggage head to the bus charter counter in the arrivals terminal. 

 

Arriving at the International Terminal

If you are landing at the Sapporo New Chitose Airport International Terminal, the meeting location for your pickup is the Hokkaido Resort Liner International Terminal tour desk. For further information on where to find the desk click here. The front desk team will then direct you to your bus at the specified departure time. It’s important to arrive at the bus stop 20 minutes before departure.

 

Arriving at the Domestic Terminal

If you are flying from elsewhere in Japan to Sapporo New Chitose Airport, the meeting location for your pickup is the Hokkaido Resort Liner domestic terminal tour desk. For further information on where to find the desk click here. The front desk team will then direct you to your bus at the specified departure time. It’s important to arrive at the bus stop 20 minutes before departure.

 

As the transfer heads directly to Niseko, the travel time is also roughly 2 hours and 30 minutes. You will be dropped off at the Hirafu Welcome Center and your hotel shuttle service will meet you there to make the final five-minute journey to your hotel to get checked in. The specific timetables for the shuttle services will be sent to you via email. 

 

If you are renting equipment with Rhythm, once you’ve settled in, please inform your hotel’s concierge team that you would like to arrange a pick up. Our driver service will pick you up from your accommodation and bring you to our  Rhythm Hirafu Store to collect your rental gear after 3 pm. If you time it well, it may even be happy hour at our own in-store Rhythm & Beans cafe and bar, specialising in espresso martinis, to help you through your long day travelling.


For our guests staying at Setsu Niseko, you can make the most of our Rhythm Setsu rental store within the hotel. The team will be ready to get you fitted for your rental equipment after 3 pm. 

Japan is known for their time keeping but unfortunately, there are occasionally flight delays. If you’re in the unlucky position to have your flight delayed or cancelled, please contact our Trips team directly and let them know as soon as possible. 

 

Our team will then do their best to rearrange your transfer and will keep in contact with you until the situation is resolved and you’re on your way to Niseko without further delay. Please note that in specific situations or in the event we do not receive information early enough (e.g. when your driver is already waiting for you) we may not be able to reschedule your transfer without additional charges.

 

We always recommend having travel insurance to support you with any financial losses that might occur due to a cancellation, delayed or cancelled flights, and cases of lost luggage.

Absolutely! Medical and travel insurance is essential whenever travelling abroad but especially on a ski trip. We recommend taking out a comprehensive policy that will cover you for all eventualities during your trip.

 

Whilst in Japan you will be responsible for any medical expenses incurred should you become unwell or have an accident during your trip. We strongly recommend that you have comprehensive travel insurance that specifically covers snowsports activities – this can often be omitted from standard policies. If you are booked onto our JaPOW Experience then in addition to snowsports you must also ensure that off-piste and backcountry skiing/snowboarding are covered. Depending on your provider this may be an add-on.

 

Please see medical facilities in the Niseko area under ‘Other’.

Niseko is home to health facilities offering exceptional service in English. This includes Niseko International Clinic and Niseko Physio that are both conveniently centrally located. 

 

In the event of you not being able to participate in your Rhythm Rides products please find more information below in “Cancellations”.

It’s departure day already? By this time our team will have been in touch to confirm your flight times from Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport and will ensure you’re aware of your private transfer time and details.

LIFT PASSES

Yes, we can remove the cost of your lift passes from your packages. Please get in touch with our team before you make the final payment.

If you wish to only visit resorts where you can use an IKON or an EPIC pass, then please get in touch and our team can discuss how this can work with your Trip. We can then exclude the cost of lift passes from your booking for the days you’re covered by your IKON or EPIC passes. 

 

Once here, if you and your guide decide to visit another resort not covered by your IKON or EPIC pass, then the passes will need to be purchased by yourselves on the day. 

The IKON pass includes days at Niseko United, you can find out more here.

The EPIC pass includes days at Rusutsu Resort, you can find out more here.

Currently, Rhythm does not have priority lift lanes in Niseko United. Adding our “Explorer Upgrade” to your guiding booking will give you the flexibility and freedom to explore nearby resorts that are less busy.

ON SNOW EXPERIENCE

To maximise your on-snow experience and safety, our group sizes are limited to a certain number of guests per instructor/guide. 

 

Product Type

Guests (maximum number of guests)

Private Lessons: ski and snowboard

6

Resort Guiding

6

Lift Accessed Backcountry

5

Backcountry Touring

5

If you’re looking to add more guests to your group, let our Trips team know! 

Take a look at our skills guide, using that you should be able to give us a rough idea of your level. Don’t stress if you are unsure though, our Trips team will be more than happy to have a chat with you to understand where you’re at with your skiing or snowboarding.

It is important to know that your instructor or guide will always pay the most attention to the person with the least experience or the youngest participant. To ensure the safety of each group we have level recommendations which can be seen below under What trip would best suit my ability level?” 


  • Private Lessons with different level of abilities

There can be no more than two ability levels in difference between lesson participants. For example levels two and three could take a lesson together, but levels three and five could not.


  • Resort Guiding with different levels of abilities

We recommend Resort Guiding products for guests with a Level 4 and above. Please note that some terrain, especially steeper terrain and tree runs, will not be accessible for lower levels. 


  • Lift accessed backcountry and backcountry touring with different level of abilities

We require our guests going out in the backcountry to be a level 5 or above. Those riders are able to ride in most of the terrain with confidence.

If you are not a strong intermediate rider, your guide will be limited in where we can take you. Your on-snow experience will instead focus on building your powder skills in less challenging terrain.

Our Niseko Progression Program, Ultimate Family Trip,  and Learn to Ride Taster all have a standard minimum age requirement of 7 years old. To join our JaPOW Experience and the Multi Resort Tour the minimum age requirement is 14 years old, as we will be entering backcountry terrain.

If you do have children under this age, please contact our team who will be stoked to talk you through the options for your young shredders!

Our epic Kids Week Program operates from Monday through Friday. Participation for our young shredders begins promptly on Monday morning!

 

Monday morning attendance is required for everyone as it is during this time our team will conduct a safety lap with all of the children, ensure they’re allocated to the correct group for their level and explain how the program will run over the course of the week. Unfortunately, we’re unable to accommodate any exceptions to this rule.

Of course, we are passionate about getting children out on the snow young! Please see our recommendations for each age below.

  • Ages 6 and under 

Please inquire about options with our trips team.

  • Ages 7+

The Learn to Ride Taster

The Ultimate Family Trip

The Multi Resort Tour

The Progression Program

  • Ages 14 + 

The JaPOW Experience

Don’t forget, all our packages are fully customisable! If you’re not sure what is best suited to your family based on your preferences and goals, then please get in touch with our team directly.

We are passionate about introducing children to skiing and snowboarding young. However, due to the physical and developmental differences between children under the age of 7 and adults we are unable to cater to a combined lesson.


  • Children aged 6 and under

In order for children under the age of 7 to thrive while learning to ski and snowboard, we recommend that children ages 5 and 6 join each other in a lesson, while children ages 3 and 4 need to be supervised 1-on-1 in a private learning environment.


  • Children aged 3 and under

At the moment we do not provide lessons or childcare services for children under the age of 3. 

 

When booking, please let our Trips team know if you have any children younger than 7 travelling with you, we are more than happy to customise your trip to meet the needs of your family.



Of course! The mountain is more fun with friends. We can add additional people to your lesson/guide until the maximum number of guests for each lesson or guided tour is reached. Once the maximum group number is reached, we will then need to add another instructor and/or guide to accommodate your group size. 

 

Adding guests to your private booking is also dependent on their age, level of ability and discipline. This ensures that your group will have the best possible on-snow experience with us.

Trips have been designed and developed to suit every style and level of rider. You can view a summary of who our Trips are suitable for below.

 

Trips

Ability level

Discipline

Recommended age

Learn to Ride Taster

Level 1-3

Ski or Snowboard

7 years +

The Ultimate Family Trip 

All abilities

Ski or Snowboard

7 years – 14 years 

Multi Resort Tour

Level 4 +

Mixed

7 years +

Niseko Progression Program

Level 4 +

Ski or Snowboard

7 years +

The JaPOW experience

Level 5 +

Mixed

14 years +*

 

*Please note that for all of the backcountry products it is required that each participant under the age of 18 years must be accompanied by an adult.  If you want to book the JaPOW Experience with your kids under 14 years old please reach out to our tips team to inquire about options.

  • The JaPOW Experience. This Trip is most suited to mixed discipled groups, who are all of a similar age and ability level, and interested in exploring the backcountry.
  • Multi Resort Tour. This Trip is well suited to mixed discipline groups, who are all of a similar age and ability level, and interested in exploring a range of resorts.
  • The Ultimate Family Trip. On this Trip the children will have the choice of either skiing or snowboarding, and as they’re joining group sessions they do not need to choose the same. For the resort guiding as a family, it is no problem for the parents and children to be a mixed group of skiers and boarders.

Yes, they sure can. We will adjust the pricing of your package to remove all on-snow costs for your partner.

If you are focused on riding pow but still need a few pointers to stay afloat, we’ve got you covered. Not only do our guides know the area like they’re locals but they are all also highly-qualified instructors. 

 

We can tailor your Trip to your goals to make the most of your time on the slopes. When you’re booking be sure to give us an accurate idea of your ability level using our skills guide so that we can link you up with the perfect guide. 



Our JaPOW Experience, Multi Resort Tour, Niseko Progression Program and Learn to Ride Taster bookings are all private. Therefore, the instructor or guide is exclusively yours for all of your time with them.

 

During the Ultimate Family Trip the children will join our Kids Week program, which is a premium group lesson where your children will be with the same children (six max per group) and instructor for all five days. However, the resort guiding on the final day of the Ultimate Family Trip is private.

Our team are all friendly, passionate, fully-qualified snowsports instructors who are all stoked to share their love for Hokkaido and the mountains with you.

All of our Rhythm Rides guides are first and foremost instructors! Our guided products are led by expertly trained, experienced guides, all of whom have a background in teaching snowsports. Many, if not all of them, have spent many winters chasing the Hokkaido powder, with some even staying here year-round.

What does this mean for you? It means not only are you receiving a knowledgeable guide, who is passionate about showing you the safest and most fun ways to experience Hokkaido’s resorts and backcountry, but you also have someone who can provide you with further training and instruction in your chosen discipline. 

You will! Your instructor/guide is core to your experience on your Trip and they will be with you for every on-snow day. In certain cases, we may recommend that additional instructors or guides be included in your booking.

Your guide will be with you for the whole day. A standard day is 6-hours of on-snow lessons or guiding and an additional 30-minute designated lunch break. 

Depending on where you choose to break for lunch, your instructor or guide may take a break separately and meet you back there at a specific time. If you would like them to join you for lunch, let them know!

All our trips are totally customisable, however, the level of flexibility will depend on the trip you have booked. If you are looking to maximise your time in Niseko with your JaPOW, Multi Resort Tour or Progression Program when looking for the best powder, we recommend adding the full flexibility option to your trip. This will provide you with a private vehicle every day of your experience with us providing limitless opportunities of exploring the Niseko area. 


Saying that, we will always do our best to accommodate your requests and if you are comfortable with any additional fees to cover lift passes and transport then we will do our best to make it happen!

Yes, our JaPOW trips and Multi Resort Tour are designed to be a full-day and completely flexible depending on your group’s preferences and needs. Typically we would recommend starting between 8:30-10 am to make the most of your day, maybe even earlier if you’re heading out into the BC and hunting for the best pow!

Our Niseko Progression Program and Learn to Ride Taster include morning lessons with a 9 am start time. The children’s group lessons included in the Ultimate Family Trip also begin at 9 am. These times are fixed following our lesson operations. 

All of our hotel partners include a complimentary shuttle service to the resort which you will be able to take to meet your instructor or guide at the beginning of each day. 

On days you will be visiting neighbouring resorts outside Niseko, you will be picked up directly from your hotel for a private transfer to the resort.

Accommodation

All of our accommodation partners have been chosen because they are reputable and trusted operators in Niseko. We’re happy to make a recommendation based on your budget, room type, and location preferences. 

If you would like to discuss our accommodation options which would be best suited for you then please get in touch with our Trips team.

The shuttle bus timetables vary depending on your hotel. You will be provided with the specific timetables upon your arrival in Niseko, however, most services are running at least every 30 minutes during peak season.

All of our partners offer check-in from 3 pm. If you arrive earlier and want to check in, this will be at the discretion of their front desk team. If check-in isn’t possible, your hotel will be able to hold your luggage, allowing you the freedom to explore locally, and pe

Setsu and Chatrium are both located right in the heart of Hirafu, perfect for exploring the restaurants and bars that the resort has to offer. Just be sure to get a good night’s sleep so you’re feeling fresh on the mountain!

Breakfast is included in our Setsu and Always Niseko packages. 

  • Setsu – daily breakfast at their in-house restaurant, Méli Mélo. 
  • Always Niseko – daily breakfast at their in-house restaurant, Element

Of course, we’re not surprised you want to stay longer! All our Trips are fully customisable and if you would like to book additional nights at your accommodation, guiding or lift tickets, these can all be arranged by our team.

Rentals

This depends on the product types you have selected.

Learn to Rides Taster:

  • Standard ski/board equipment rental 
  • Safety gear – helmet, and wrist guards for those snowboarding 
  • Outerwear – snow jacket and pants
  • Starter pack – new goggles, gloves and a balaclava to take home with you!

 

Check out our Gear Checklist to ensure you’ve got everything you need for your epic time in Niseko.

 

JaPOW Experience, Multi Resort Tour, Progression Program and the Ultimate Family Trip:

  • Premium ski or snowboard equipment rental. You will have the choice of top-of-the-line equipment that can be swapped each day to suit the conditions and your progression.

Sure! You can add any additional equipment directly to your booking.

We are ready to fit you for your rental equipment from 3 pm on. If you arrive a bit earlier you can grab yourself a coffee from our Rhythm & Beans in-store cafe and explore our Rhythm Hirafu shop.

Yes of course! For our JaPOW touring experience bookings, backcountry gear including touring skis and splitboards will be needed to access backcountry terrain with us. If you have any questions about our backcountry rental gear please reach out to our Trips team. 

Yes, avalanche safety equipment is included in your JaPOW experience booking with all Lift Access Backcountry Guiding. We provide all guests with an avi pack, a backpack that includes a shovel, probe and transceiver. You are also welcome to bring your own avalanche safety equipment, if doing so, please let our Trips team know in advance.

Yes, avalanche safety equipment is included in your JaPOW experience booking with all Lift Access Backcountry Guiding. We provide all guests with an avi pack, a backpack that includes a shovel, probe and transceiver. You are also welcome to bring your own avalanche safety equipment, if doing so, please let our Trips team know in advance.

PAYMENTS

Online payment

 

Payment via card will be processed by Flywire – the payment platform is used for all online payment transactions with Rhythm Japan. 

 

You can view the Flywire terms and conditions here.

 

Bank transfer

 

Payment can be made via international electronic funds transfer in Japanese Yen to Rhythm Japan’s bank account. 

Customers are responsible for any bank transfer fees incurred. If you would like to pay via bank transfer please contact our team.

Bookings made more than 70 days ahead of arrival date

 

  • Deposit – 20% of the total balance is due within 48 hours of the booking confirmation.

 

  • Final payment – the remaining balance must be paid at least 70 days prior to your trip departure date. 

 

Bookings made less than 70 days ahead of arrival date

 

  • Full payment – 100% of the booking total is due within 48 hours of the booking confirmation.

 

Your booking is secured once we have verified the payment of your deposit via online payment or bank transfer.

 

All prices are in Japanese Yen and are inclusive of a 10% Japanese consumption tax and 2% accommodation tax (where applicable).

Cancellations and Amendments

We always recommend having travel insurance to support you with any financial losses that might occur due to a cancellation, delayed or cancelled flight or lost luggage.

 

If the cancellation is made more than 70 days ahead of your arrival time the 20% deposit will be withheld. If the remaining full balance that is due at least 70 days before arrival has already been received, this will be refunded.

 

The 20% deposit will be withheld for cancellations that are made less than 70 days ahead of your arrival date. We will then endeavour to provide a refund on portions of your Trip according to their individual cancellation policies if they allow, however within 70 days we can not guarantee any portion of your Trip can be refunded.

Please see our Rhythm Trips Terms and Conditions for further questions.

What if I get sick or injured before I arrive in Niseko?

We are unable to provide full refunds or reschedules of your trip within 70 days of your tour departure if you or a member of your party is unable to travel due to illness or injury. 


For further details please see our cancellation policy here.

Accidents can happen on the mountain. Therefore we require all of our Trips guests to have travel insurance that covers on-snow injuries and accidents. If you are entering any backcountry zones on our JaPOW Experiences or the Multi Resort Tour your policy needs to cover skiing out of resort boundaries. We recommend reading the Niseko Rules before you arrive.

 

If you get injured on the mountain, your instructor/guide will inform the Mountain Ski Patrol immediately. They will then ensure you are transported safely and swiftly to the most appropriate treatment centre.

 

By providing us with a medical certificate within 48 hours of any injury occurring we can offer a refund of your rental products and the Rides element of your booking if no one from your group is able to attend.

Lesson and guiding products are not dependent on the specific guests attending, and therefore we are not able to provide partial refunds if certain guests are unable to attend.

Our tours are fully customisable, however changes to your party will need to be reviewed by our team to ensure that we are still able to deliver the experience we promise from our Trips. Limitations will be based on the discipline, ability, and the age of those joining the group. 

Unfortunately, our tours are not able to be refunded or partially refunded once they have begun if you need to finish early for any reason.

We are incredibly lucky that Hokkaido receives arguably the best snow in the world! That does mean that the weather is often extremely cold, snowy and windy and then sometimes even rain towards the end of the season. The good news is that this does not mean that your lesson can not go ahead. We will generally run our lessons every day providing the lifts appropriate for your level are operating.

Other

Niseko is home to health facilities offering services in English. This includes Niseko International Clinic and Niseko Physio which are both conveniently centrally located.

Depending on what you’re craving, Niseko has something for everyone, no matter your taste or budget! From luxurious Michelin-star restaurants serving some of the best Japanese cuisine outside of Tokyo, to the local food trucks cooking up food from all corners of the world, the options are endless. 

 

For more information about local cuisine and restaurants, check out the Niseko Wine and Dine Guide.

 

We recommend you make your restaurant reservations as early as possible prior to arriving in Niseko. Most restaurants open up their reservations at the beginning of November, and they book up quickly!

We are able to offer recommendations of some awesome places to dine during your stay. However, all reservations will need to be made directly or you can check with your hotel concierge if they can assist.


If you have more questions about our Rhythm Rides products please see our FAQ’s here.

Contact us: If you have any questions regarding the above terms and conditions, please contact us at trips@rhythmjapan.com

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