A winter fan favourite and a summer surprise.
Incredible, lift-accessed tree skiing in deep powder, some of the best groomers in the country and a distinctly Japanese-yet-foreigner-friendly vibe make it such that almost everyone who has had the fortune to visit Rusutsu Ski Resort in Hokkaido has simply loved their winter stay.
Less well known is its summer appeal with four golf courses, a theme park and many great restaurants serving up the region’s best fresh cuisine.
Approximately 30 minutes from Niseko, Rusutsu is a destination for a dedicated holiday in its own right with the standard of accommodations and restaurants continually improving. For owners, it’s an untapped resort with many property and land opportunities coming online now for buyers looking to access a resort market which will definitely grow.
The list of reasons to visit Rusutsu for a winter ski trip goes on and on and on.
Firstly, the snow! Rusutsu boasts as much annual snowfall as many other Japanese resorts but what separates it from most is the well-designed chairlift network that caters perfectly to groups of skiers and riders with differing ability levels and desires. Split over two ‘sides’ (East being larger and more varied, and West which is smaller but ski-in ski-out to the Rusutsu Resort Hotel and Vale Rusutsu hotel) the resort is designed in such a way that after disembarking any of the upper mountain lifts, skiers can make their choice of steep and deep tree runs, wide open and perfectly groomed pistes, or something in between. And in almost all locations in the resort, these runs funnel down to the same place on the base.
At the base, there are many cafeteria style day-lodge restaurants. While this may not bring images of fine dining and luxury to your mind, rest assured that the food served within is absolutely perfect for a day on the ski hill. Hot bowls of ramen, in-Japan-only ‘omu-rice’ dishes and a katsu curry that is arguably the best in south-west Hokkaido. All yours to enjoy (with a cold beer of course) amongst the throngs of snow-lovers having the best day of their life.
There are higher end restaurants available in the hotels of Rusutsu, more catered towards the post-skiing dinner crowd. And a bunch of good, independently-operated bars and restaurants in the village too, such as Rodeo Drive and Rusutsu Sakaba.
On a clear day at the top of Rusutsu’s Mt Isola, 360 degree views of the Hokkaido landscape are simply breathtaking. Mt Yotei to one side, Lake Toya to the other. Mountain ranges carved across the horizon to your right, the Sea of Japan in the distance to your left. Insta worthy photo moments abound before you even begin the downhill slide!
Finally, Rusutsu is typically less busy and you’re less likely to queue for the lifts as you are in other nearby resorts. A queue may gather at the West side gondola base at the start of the day (especially if it has snowed overnight!) but the aforementioned, well-designed lift network helps quickly disperse skiers across the mountain, preventing queues nearly all the time throughout the day.
Rusutsu has genuine summer appeal with two main drawcards – 72 holes of golf and a fun, quirky theme park with some thrilling rides.
Rusutsu boasts four golf courses – Tower, Izumikawa, River and Wood. Each course presents its own unique scenery and challenges, with Tower being most open so best for beginners, and River and Wood being tighter so more technically demanding.
Golfers from around Japan and from mainland Asia visit Rusutsu in significant numbers in summer, creating a buzz in the resort throughout the green season. By comparison to elsewhere in the world, golf in Hokkaido is affordable, with 18 holes on a good course, including cart hire, often available for less than $100USD per person.
For families, the Rusutsu Resort Amusement Park on the East side of the resort offers days of summer fun. Roller coasters, thrill rides, children’s play areas, food stalls and more cater to kids of any age and a huge swimming pool with waterslide keeps them cool (note: this is temporarily closed for COVID reasons).
Combine the above with the simple beauty and relaxation that comes with a summer break in Hokkaido nature and you can quickly see why Rusutsu is becoming more and more popular for tourists across all four seasons.
Historically, Rusutsu Resort and almost all surrounding land has been held by the owning company. The Rusutsu Resort Hotel is a quirky Japanese hotel featuring a shopping arcade and dancing mascots on the East side of the resort. The Westin Rusutsu, a quality franchise hotel on the West side was awarded Japan’s Best Ski Hotel at the 2019 World Ski Awards and these two hotels have been the main accommodation options in years past. Both these hotels are operated by Rusutsu Resort and opportunities for investors have been very few and far between.
BUT all of this is changing with the arrival of the brand-new, NISADE-built and managed Vale Rusutsu now sitting ski-in ski-out on the East mountain side. A range of units within the Vale Rusutsu are available for purchase, including Penthouse options… the first opportunity to own privately within the boundaries of Rusutsu Resort.
Detached resort homes in the Rusutsu area are also on the market and land opportunities abound for those looking to build their own dream property in an evolving, growing resort market with nearly boundless scope for future success.
Properties for sale in Rusutsu
Sekkei House Rusutsu
- 155.96 sqm
Rusutsu House-Build Site
- 237 sqm
The Vale Rusutsu - 1 Bedroom Type 3
- 51.32 sqm
Rusutsu Chalet 8
- 4 +
- 265.9 sqm
The Vale Rusutsu One Bedroom
- 48.14 sqm
Rusutsu Kuma & Koguma Houses
- 188 sqm
Rusutsu Risu House
- 145.74 sqm
Rusutsu Shika House
- 163 sqm