Shiribeshi Region’s official capital, Kutchan is a convenient gateway for Niseko United Ski Resort (Hirafu, Hanazono, Village and Annupuri) There are no special attractions around the town of Kutchan, however you will see the region’s symbolic mountain of Yotei-zan from various scenic points.
Tourist Information Kutchan i-Center (倶知安観光案内所): Inside JR Kutchan Station / 9am-7pm / www.niseko.co.jp
01 LOCAL HISTORY
倶知安風土館 / N6E7 / 9am-5pm / Closed Tue / ¥200
The area’s main museum gives a history and nature of Niseko. Among the displays are old livingware, ski gear and railway collection. It is about 2.5km northeast of Kutchan Station. If you take a Kimobetsu-bound bus from the train station, get off at Shirakaba Danchi (白樺団地: 5min) and then a 5-minute walk.
02 ART MUSEUM
Shu Ogawara Museum of Art
小川原脩記念美術館 / N6E7 / 9am-5pm / Closed Tue / ¥500 incl Kutchan Fudokan
Right opposite the Kutchan Fudokan, this art museum has a paintings of local artist Shu Ogawara (1911-2002) with a Yotei-zan view. A ticket is also valid for the Fudokan.
大佛寺: Tel 0136-22-1039 / 100 Asahi / FREE
On the south side of Asahigaoka Park, this temple has 178 ceiling painting drawn in 1918. You will need to by appointment or ask for a tourist office.
TRAIN: Kutchan Station is the main gateway of Niseko United ski resort on the JR Hakodate Line, its transport hub of this area. From Sapporo (2hrs) and New Chitose Airport (2.5hrs), mostly require a change at Otaru (70min). There is a direct rapid train from Sapporo departing at evening.
There are four local trains from Oshamanbe to Kutchan (1.5hrs), which connects with the limited express trains from Hakodate.
BUS: Chuo Bus operates three highway buses Kosoku Niseko-go (高速ニセコ号) daily run between Sapporo Station and Ikoi-no-Yuyado Iroha (いこいの湯宿いろは) in Niseko Annupuri (3hrs), via Otaru Station, Yoichi Station Crossroads and Kutchan Crossroads (倶知安十字街). IC cards, such as Sapica and Suica, are available.
For Niseko United ski resort, local bus schedule will change in summer and winter. From JR Kutchan Station, daily Chuo or Donan buses run to the following destinations:
Hirafu Intersection (16min)
Hirafu Welcome Center (18min)
Hilton Niseko Village (34min)
There are no regular local buses to Annupuri ski area from and to Kutchan Station.