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Average Cost of Rent for an Apartment in Niseko

As part of our series of reports on Niseko real estate, we present some data on average rent prices for apartments in Niseko.

Niseko is the name for a region of Japan that includes several cities; a small city one that is actually called Niseko Town, the largest town in the area is Kutchan (and has the most apartments), and a third small town called Rankoshi. The general area around these towns might also be included in what is considered “Niseko.”

While it is part of The Niseko Story that Niseko is internationally famous (which is true), the actual population of Niseko is small and very seasonal, and because of that, the inventory of available apartments in Niseko is also small, and finding an apartment can be more difficult than most cities in Hokkaido.

For help with buying real estate in Niseko or renting a Niseko apartment, contact us. We have a network of agents and other business contacts in real estate. Our service is free and we’re happy to help.

Average Rent in Niseko

There are a few challenges as we try to provide statistics about rent prices in Niseko. To begin with, Niseko caters almost exclusively to tourists and investors, neither of which typically rent apartments. And while Niseko has some appeal as a year-round destination, the primary interest in Niseko for visitors (and therefore, for many of the local business that support them) is the snow season. As there is not much consistent, year-round demand for housing, there is not a lot of inventory. Niseko has fewer apartments than other cities, and “rentable units in Niseko” might include more atypical options beyond standard apartments.

Because of the short, but very popular winter snow season in Niseko, there is high demand in winter, and prices are higher. And there is low demand in the “green season” (the rest of the year). It is likely easier to book an apartment in the off-season, but for most people, there is less reason to visit (and less opportunity to work) when the snow is gone.

For the purposes of a general estimate, you can assume an average price of something like ¥80,000 – ¥100,000 per month (~$700 USD, as of 2023) for a one or two bedroom apartment.

We’ll provide more examples and some comparisons to other local markets below.

Niseko Apartments – How Many Bedrooms?

When we talk about “average rent prices” for other cites, we would typically mention that the size of the apartment (and other factors) can have a big impact on the price of rent for an apartment in Niseko. That is true in the Niseko region also, but the lack of standard stock of apartments in Niseko means that prices are even more difficult to estimate.

Yes, you will generally pay more for a bigger apartment. But the type of unit and location might have an even greater impact in Niseko versus other cites, as apartments are less common, and “rentable units” might include more rental houses (many of them designed for tourists) and other non-standard apartment units.

Average Rent for a One-Room or “Studio” Apartment in Niseko

A one room apartment in Niseko (“1R” or a “one room mansion”, what we would call a studio in the West) might cost about ¥50,000 (~$350 USD, as of 2023) per month. If you can find a studio apartment in Niseko, it will be small, you will likely not have many choices to choose from, but it will be 40-50% less expensive than a 1LDK or larger unit.

For comparison, for a small studio apartment in Sapporo (a “one room mansion”, as they say in Japan), you might pay closer to ¥35,000 (~$250 USD, as of 2023) per month. That means Niseko studio apartment rent is approximately 40% higher than similar apartments in Sapporo.

Average Rent for a One Bedroom Apartment in Niseko

Based on our internal research and conversations with local Niseko real estate agents, the average price for a 1LDK in Niseko is ¥60,000 – ¥100,000 (or $700 USD, as of 2023) per month. As inventory is very limited, some agents will recommend a budget of ¥100,000 per month.

For comparison, the small coastal city of Otaru is somewhat near Niseko, and the price to rent an apartment in Otaru is closer to ¥49,000, which is 20% to 50% of the price you might pay in Niseko (and in Otaru, you would have many more choices of location and quality of the unit). 1LDKs in Sapporo rent at rates similar to Otaru, but with thousands of more units on the market, you’d save money and have infinitely more choice if Sapporo were your destination.

The typical lease in most of Japan is two years. For a seasonal place like Niseko, those kinds of leases may be less common. For many short-term visits (including renting an apartment in Niseko for the winter season), visitors are more likely to find a better range of furnished apartments in Sapporo. While short-term furnished rental units in Niseko are available, they would likely be used for tourists, renting for the night or a few days, and at much high prices than would be considered reasonable for a typical apartment rental.

Average Rent for a Two+ Bedroom Apartment in Niseko

As for rental prices for 2LDK or 3LDK units in Niseko, expect fewer choices and higher rental prices. The quality and location will vary dramatically, but the average price might be ¥60,000 to ¥150,000 per month. A conservative budget might be ¥120,000 (or $850 USD, as of 2023) per month.

Again, for comparison, a proper city like Sapporo would have a very large supply of these kinds of units, and the average rent for a 2LDK in Sapporo would be ¥60,000 to ¥80,000 ($570 USD, as of 2023) per month. For these kinds of units, Sapporo would be about half the price of Niseko.

Houses for Rent in Niseko

As for houses for rent in Niseko, similar challenges apply, but detached houses in Niseko are likely a more common type of unit than in the cites. Niseko is sparsely populated, and has more undeveloped land, and more land that is hard to access, so lower cost for land in Niseko could mean more single-family dwellings than in Sapporo or other high-demand areas.

As there are too many factors that influence price in this category, we won’t offer estimates. While an average price to rent a house in Niseko might be possible to calculate, actual available units for rent would be above and below that number, and wildly different levels of quality (from old, rustic cabins to brand new custom homes), many of them so remote they would only have appeal for certain lifestyles.

A “home for rent” in Niseko might be marketed toward a local worker, or someone that wants a year-round stay in Niseko, but more likely would be for tourists and visitors during the ski season. And as Niseko has a reputation as a resort, some of those units would be high-end “ski cabins,” and would have extremely high rent during peak season.

In our work offering consulting on real estate in Niseko, we talk to a lot of would-be investors, that want to buy land, build housing, use that housing occasionally, and then rent those properties out to subsidize their costs at other times. Those properties are often intended to be listed on the “Airbnb” market in Niseko. And while peak season doesn’t last long, the possibility of high rental fees during those times means many of these units would be impractical for typical renters.

To rent a home in Niseko, a local agent would be very useful. For introductions to real estate brokers in Niseko, contact us.

The Location of Rental Units in Niseko

We began this article talking about how what locals or visitors might call “Niseko” can include a wide range of territory around the small towns of Niseko and Kutchan. Most units that were designed for year-round and long-term rental are likely in those towns. Those towns would also have the most to offer in terms of services like groceries, restaurants and access to train stations that could take you to Otaru, or all the way through to Sapporo.

And while those towns are more likely to have available units, they would also be the top choices for tourists with bigger budgets, for better access to the same resources. To avoid peak rental prices, more “local” residents might find some choices outside of the main towns.

However, any units outside of those towns would be much more difficult to access in winter. The snow makes transportation difficult, and potentially dangerous in the winter months. Some roads may have limited or no snow removal, making some locations inaccessible at times.

All of these factors make it difficult for modest budgets to finding rental accommodations that aren’t designed (and priced) for tourists.

Real Estate Agents in Niseko

We specialize in making personalized, one-to-one introductions to real estate agents.

While finding an affordable apartment in Niseko can be a challenge, in some cases a local Niseko agent can help you find available units and to make specific recommendations about where to live. For introductions and recommendations about Niseko real estate companies, contact us, we are happy to help.

We can provide prescreened Niseko real estate brokers that speak your language. Our service is free to you.

We work for you, not the real estate companies.

We provide person-to-person introductions to prescreened agents that help you sell, buy, lease, or rent property in Hokkaido. We search our custom database to connect you to real estate professionals that speak your language, address your needs and are available now to help you find what you want.

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For More Information:

— Our Profile on the Niseko Region
— Some details on the Cost of housing in Niseko
— A comparison of the Average Cost of Land in Niseko (vs land in Sapporo)
Niseko Population, by Year
— Estimates of Foreigners Living in Niseko
Renting an Apartment in Sapporo
Buying Property in Hokkaido as a Foreigner
— Find Lawyers in Hokkaido
— Our Taxes in Japan page

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