Kiroro Ski Resort (キロロスキー場, Kiroro Skījō) is a large snow resort located just outside of Otaru and not far from Sapporo and Niseko. Its location near the Sea of Japan provides the resort with regular, huge quantities of light powder snow, even by Hokkaido's voluminous standards.
Kiroro features a variety of terrain among its 22 courses with difficulties evenly spread between beginner, intermediate and advanced. In addition to long, groomed and ungroomed runs, the resort also has several in-bounds, forested off-piste areas which offer access to the resort's deepest snow. Four separate gates offer access to side and backcountry for groups that submit climbing plans at the main lodge.
The main complex at the base of the resort is quite developed and includes several restaurants, shops and onsen. Here, families can sign up for activities ranging from snowmobile rides to snow tubing to winter Segway rides, as well as a children's snow park. While the resort is not located in a town or village, the resort offers self-contained entertainment and accommodation options at its two large, upscale hotels.
Two companies, Chuo Bus and Resort Liner, run buses between central Sapporo and Kiroro Ski Resort between early December and early April. The trip takes between 80 and 120 minutes depending on where in Sapporo you embark/disembark, and roundtrip tickets cost 1540 or 3500 yen, respectively for each company. Reservations are required and can be made via Kiroro's official website.
Alternatively, the resort can be reached by car from central Sapporo in about 70 minutes. Winter driving skills are required.
Two companies, Chuo Bus and Hokkaido Heart Bus, run buses between central Otaru and Kiroro Ski Resort between early December and early April. The trip takes about 50 minutes and roundtrip tickets cost 930 or 700 yen, respectively for each company. Reservations are required and can be made via Kiroro's official website.
Alternatively, the resort can also be reached by car from central Otaru in about 45 minutes. Winter driving skills are required.