暮らしの情報

Information for Foreign Residents

Living

 

People who move into the town are required to register the start of water usage. In addition, residents are also required to register when they finish utilizing the town water supply, at which stage a settlement payment is required. Please report all water-related issues to the Water and Sewage Division of the Niseko Town Council. Water and sewage bills are charged every other month (odd months). Utilization of water services is measured using a water meter. Payment for this service can be made by cash at a designated financial institution or by direct transfer to the Town Council account.

Water and sewage rates (monthly)

Type Basic rate Excess charge
Amount of water Rate Amount of water Charge
General use (water) Up to 10m³ 1,670 yen For every additional 1m³ 150 yen
Business use (water) Up to 20m³ 3,030 yen For every additional 1m³ 150 yen
General use (sewage) Up to 10m³ 1,670 yen For every additional 1m³ 150 yen
Business use (sewage) Up to 20m³ 3,030 yen For every additional 1m³ 150 yen



Electricity

Hokkaido Electric Power Co., Inc. supplies power in Niseko Town. The voltage is 100V or 200V, the frequency is 50Hz and the outlet jack point is type A. When you start to use electricity, please ensure that you fill in the details on the postcard that is at your residence or place of business (this is a prepaid postcard). When you have completed filling in the details, post this back to the Hokkaido Electric Power Co. When you have finished using the electricity and wish to terminate your contract with the power company, contact the Hokkaido Electric Power Co. Inc. Financial settlement and payments can be made at designated financial institutions by cash or by direct payment (if this service is set up).

■When starting use of electricity
Please ensure that you flip the switches on the main breaker board. There should be a main switch and individual switches for each section of the dwelling or commercial premises.

■If the lights go out during use
This is probably due to excessive use of electricity (exceeding the designated wattage of your property). Turn off the appliances in use and flip the breaker switches again.

Gas and kerosene

Bottled propane gas is used in the town. When starting or stopping the use of gas, please contact your landlord. To purchase gas and kerosene, please contact a local fuel supplier.

Local fuel suppliers
Maruwa Nosan Co., Ltd. Tel. 0136-44-2136
JA Youtei Niseko Gas Station Tel. 0136-44-2025
Donan Air Water Energy Co., Ltd. Niseko Service Center
Tel. 0136-44-2633
Kitanihon Nenryo Co. Ltd. Niseko Branch Tel. 0136-44-3369
Hinoura Nenryo Shoji Tel. 0136-44-2551

Waste

When disposing of rubbish, please ensure to follow the rules for its disposal. Separate waste into burnables, non-burnables, organic waste, recyclables, bulk waste and other waste, and put the rubbish out at one of the waste collection points located in each district of the town before 8:00AM on collection days. Burnables, non-burnables and organic waste must be put into designated prepaid plastic bags. Please purchase these bags at retailers in Niseko Town. (Niseko Town bags are different from Kutchan Town bags.) Opaque black bags cannot be used for waste collection.
From March 2015 the burnable waste categories will change. Disposable nappies (diapers), feminine hygiene products, and pet toilet sanitary sheets will fall under the new category of "sanitary waste".
Click the following link for an illustrated guide to garbage separation and disposal in Niseko Town
Garbage Separation and Disposal (PDF; English-language)

 

■Waste that is not collected by the town
Hazardous waste including wheels and tires of cars and motorcycles, old batteries, waste oil, cans with paint in them, agrichemicals, propane cylinders, drums, household kerosene talks, fire extinguishers and agricultural machinery are not collected by the town. Please ask retailers of these products or special collection agents to arrange for their disposal.

■Home Appliance Recycling Act
TVs, refrigerators, washing machines and air conditioners cannot be put out as waste by law. It is also prohibited to put out PCs (main units and monitors) as waste as per the Act for the Promotion of the Effective Utilization of Resources. Ask manufacturers and distributors to collect them for recycling (this is a charged service)

Domestic waste - collection days vary between different districts in the town

Classification and type Frequency Disposal method Charge Notes
Burnables Once a week Designated Niseko garbage bag (purchased from stores in Niseko) Charged -
Nonburnables Once a month -
Organic waste Twice a week -
Cans Once a week Transparent bag Free Steel/aluminum
Glass bottles Beverage bottles, etc.
Tetra packs Tied with string Tetra packs that are not coated in aluminum
Cardboard -
Plastic "PET" bottles Transparent bag -
Styrofoam and foam trays Made of polystyrene foam
Plastic containers and packaging -
Paper containers and packaging -
Newspapers and leaflets White paper bag Newspapers and leaflets can be mixed
Magazines -
Mixed paper -
Hazardous waste (items including mercury) Once a month (last recyclables collection day of the month) Transparent bag Flourescent tubes/mercury thermometers
Other waste (dry-cell batteries, lighters) Dry-cell batteries/lighters
Bulk (large) waste As needed - Charged Individual collection by licensed private collecters



Housing

There are houses, apartments and boarding houses in the town for rent and it is common practice to use a real estate agent to help find a place to live. The size of housing units in Japan is expressed by combinations of the initial letters of the living room (L), dining room (D) and kitchen (K), such as 2LDK and 3DK, and the size of each room is shown by the number of tatami mats. Once suitable accommodation is found, a rental contract is made. To cancel the contract, as a general rule, notice must be given to the landlord one month in advance. When moving in or out, it is necessary to make arrangements or settle payments for electricity, gas and water services. For municipal housing, please contact the Town Council. There are some Japanese practices regarding rental agreements which you may be unfamiliar with. Please see the descriptions for these practices below.

■Rent (yachin)
This is the monthly room charge. A full month's rent may be required even if the tenant moves in mid-month.

■Security deposit (shikikin)
This is money (usually equivalent to one or two months' rent) provided to the landlord as security for rental payments. This money is returned to the tenant when the contract is cancelled. However, if there is rent in arrears or if the property is damaged, this money will be appropriated to cover the amount of rent or the repair cost owed.

■Key money (reikin)
This money is given to the landlord upon signing the contract as a "token of thanks". This is not returned to the tenant if the contract is canceled.

■Agent's commission (chukairyou)
This is the fee paid to the real estate agent. The commission is usually equivalent to one month's rent.

■Management fee (Kanrihi)
This is to be paid together with the rent to the landlord each month. This fee is for maintenance and management costs and also covers public areas of an apartment building.

Snow clearing (josetsu)

Due to the high snowfall in Niseko Town in winter, all public roads in the district are periodically cleared of snow (public roads are divided into three classifications: municipal roads, prefectural roads, and national highways). However, all private roads and access ways are up to the individual to clear. Please ensure that you follow the rules in place for disposal of snow cleared from and around your property.

Pets

When people move to Niseko Town with a dog or get a new dog, they must register their pet with the Niseko Town Council. In Japan, pet dogs 91 days or older are obliged to be registered and must be vaccinated against rabies once a year. A notice that the annual rabies vaccination is due is sent to registered dog owners. If you have a new dog or if you have forgotten to have your dog vaccinated, please take it to the nearest veterinarian for vaccination as soon as possible. Please note that the town requires pet owners to register the death of their dog with the Town Council and also register when they move to or from Niseko Town.

Pet registration

Handling fee
Dog registration 3,000 yen (once in its life)
Issuance of a rabies vaccination completed tag 550 yen
Reissuance of a dog license 1,600 yen
Reissuance of a rabies vaccination completed tag 340 yen

*If you have a new dog, your dog dies or you move into or out of Niseko Town, you have to go through the above procedures

Financial institutions and post offices

In Niseko town here are two financial institutions (opening hours 9AM-3PM) and one post office (opening hours 9AM-4PM), Opening a bank account requires a piece of identification such as residence card and personal seal (inkan). It is advisable to make a cash card when opening an account. This card allows for the use of an ATM for the withdrawal, deposit and transfer of money. ATMs are installed in financial institutions as well as convenience stores. Be advised that ATMs at Japanese banks do not operate 24/7 (hours are 8:40AM to 6PM, weekdays only) and ATMs at convenience stores charge service fees. In Niseko Town, the only 24/7 ATM is at the 7/11. Post offices provide general postal services as well as EMS (Express Mail Service) and SAL (Surface Air Lifted) services along with banking, remittance and insurance services.

■Domestic and international parcel delivery services
Courier companies deliver goods domestically in Japan as well as overseas. Customers can take parcels to these companies or call companies to come and collect their parcel directly (this service is referred to as takkyuubin).

Media

TV, radio, newspapers and satellite broadcasting (including CS) are available in Niseko Town. All households that own TVs are required to make a contract with NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) and pay a license fee.

■TV stations (7)
NHK General TV
NHK Educational TV
UHB: Hokkaido Cultural Broadcasting
HBC: Hokkaido Broadcasting
STV: Sapporo Television Broadcasting
HTB: Hokkaido Television Broadcasting
TVH: Television Hokkaido Broadcasting

■Radio stations (AM: 4; FM: 3)
NHK Radio1 567 KHz
NHK Radio2 747 KHz
STV 1440 KHz
HBC 1287 KHz
NHK-FM 78.9 MHz
FM Hokkaido 80.4 MHz
FM North Wave 82.5 MHz
Radio Niseko 76.2 MHz

*Information from the Town Council is available via public relations magazines, community FM, community association circulars and email messages, etc.

■Newspapers
Hokkaido Shimbun Honma Shoten Tel. 0136-44-2455
Yomiuri Shimbun Niseko Sales Agent Tel. 0136-44-3328
*English newspapers are available at newsagents.

■Satellite broadcasting
A satellite dish and a special tuner are necessary to receive satellite broadcasting. Pat-TV programs are also available through communication satellite broadcasting (CS).

Telephones and internet

There is a well-established communication system that supports various types of telecommunication devices, ranging from cell phones to IP phones. An optical fiber network is installed in the area, allowing for the use of ultra-high speed internet communication services.

■Domestic calls
Area code + subscriber's (the area code is unnecessary if it is a local call)

■Overseas calls
Access code + country code + area code (minus the first digit) + subscriber's number

■(Access codes)
KDDI = 01
SOFTBANK TELECOM = 0061
NTT Communications = 0033

■Cell phones
The contract requires sign-up fees, a charge for the telephone unit and a resident's card for identification purposes.

■Subscribed telephone
This is a fixed telephone used at companies and in homes. The contract requires costs for installation and a document verifying your identity (resident's card, passport, etc.)

■Public phones
In addition to green public phones, gray public phones that enable data communications are also available in the town. Coins (10 or 100 yen) and telephone cards can be used, and the telephone cares are available at automatic vending machines and convenience stores.

■International calls from a public phone
A public phone that allows international calls is located in front of the JR Niseko Station (Grey Phone). Prepaid international phone cards can be purchased from accommodation providers and convenience stores in the town.

■IP phones
Many internet providers offer IP phone services. Please ask the relevant providers for information.

■Internet
A contract with an internet service provider is necessary to use the internet. Services vary depending on the provider. Please as the relevant providers for information.

■Community groups
In Niseko Town, each district has its own community group. Members of the district join these groups and assist each other in many ways. These groups distribute important information provided by the town and ensure that communication with the district's residents is effectively undertaken. The groups have regular social meetings and there are inter-community group events. Joining your local community group is a good way to become a true Niseko citizen and is highly recommended. For more information, please ask a resident of the area in which you are residing.

Public transportation

Trasportation in Niseko Town is comprised of train, bus and taxi services. See below for information on how to use the various types of transportation.

■Train service, train station
JR Niseko Station is located in the centre of town on the Hakodate line. In the station there is an electronic display showing information in Japanese and English. The trains leave from two platforms and are bound for either Otaru/Sapporo or Oshamambe/Hakodate. A round trip discount and a membership discount apply for young people aged between 13 and 25 years. Further information is available on the JR website in Japanese and English.

Buy a ticket at an automatic ticket machine or at the counter of the station. Show the ticket to a station employee to get a stamp or pass through an automatic ticket gate. Check your train on the electronic display and go to the platform. Ride your train to the destination station, and when you get off, give the ticket to a station employee or pass through an automatic ticket gate.

■Taxi
When using a taxi, raise your hand to flag town the taxi or call the taxi company in advance and make a reservation. Telephone reservations are recommended, especially in the busier seasons of the year. For further information, please contact the taxi company in your town.

Niseko Taxi Tel. 0136-44-2635

Get into the car on the left hand side when the automatic door opens, and tell the driver your destination. Pay the fare displayed on the meter upon arrival (there is no requirement for tipping in Japan). Some drivers do not speak English, so speak slowly and clearly and if in doubt get a Japanese speaker to assist you.

■Demand bus

What is a demand bus?
A demand bus is a new type of bus that, unlike a regular route bus, responds to phone reservations rather than travelling a fixed route. The bus works by accepting phone reservations. Passengers indicate where and when they plan to board and disembark and the bus picks passengers up directly at their location and takes them to their destination. Usually multiple reservations will be made at once, resulting in multiple passengers riding at one time. The bus will then take a route that is most convenient for everyone on board.

Operation details (fares, etc.)
Fare: 200 yen per ride (multiple ride tickets are planned)
Pre-school children are free, and children (middle-school age and younger), persons carrying proof of disabled/physically disabled or rehabilitating status, and senior citizens receiving care are half price (100 yen)

Operation method: Regional transportation in the form of a demand bus (Article 4 of the Road Service Transport Act)
Service system: Door to door service (transportation from passengers' houses, etc to the station, hospital, etc.)
Hours of operation: 8AM-7PM every day, including holidays

Reservations: 8AM-6PM. It is possible to reserve your trip up to a week ahead of time.
Area of operation: within town limits (not including the Goshiki hot springs area, however Konbu Station and the areas around Konbu hot springs and hospital are included.)
*However, we cannot do trips within Rankoshi o r Konbu.

*On weekdays only we will allow early reservations for customers in the southwestern direction in order to make the morning 7:36 departure at the JR Niseko station. Please make these early reservations two days in advance. .
Please make these early reservations two days in advance.

 Vehicle information: "One box type" (10 pasengers possible), 2 cars running all week, including weekends.

Riding the demand bus
1) Call the reservation enter (0136-43-2200)
2) Tell the operator your name, location, departure time and destination. The operator will let you know what times are available for your trip and you can choose your time from a list of options. Once your time has been decided, your reservation is complete.
3) The demand bus will arrive at the time you reserved, so please wait at the spot you reserved it at (in front of your house, etc.)
4) Once the bus has arrived, please board quickly.
→In the event that there are other reservations, you will ride with other passengers.
5) After arriving at your destination, pay the driver when you disembark.

 Riding the demand bus 

Things to know before you make a reservation

  • If you already know the time beforehand, you may book your return trip at the same time.
  • If multiple people are boarding and disembarking at the same time, please have a representative of the group indicate how many people are riding and make a group reservation.
  • Riding solo is also possible with the demand bus. In the event that there are no overlapping reservations, you will be taken directly to your destination.
  • If you make any changes to your reservation (if you change the time, place, number of people etc.) please call the reservation center at least 45 minutes in advance.


When boarding the demand bus

  • As you will generally be riding alongside others, please mind your manners while on the demand bus. Food, drink and smoking are not permitted.
  • In the event that the traffic situation results in a detour, the demand bus may be late.
  • Please be sure to wait at your boarding point at your reserved time. If you are late, the bus will most likely leave without you.


Riding the school bus

Service is one bus in the morning (to school) and three buses in the afternoon (from school). There are no school bus services on weekends, holidays, or during summer/winter/spring vacations. Service may also be cancelled due to school events or temporary school closures.

  • Regular passengers may also ride the school bus.
  • The school bus is free to ride.
  • Passengers may only board at designated bus stops.
  • Students at the international school as well as high school students may also ride.

 

Driving

Driving a car in Japan requires a Japanese Driver's License or an International Driver's License (valid for one year from the date of issue). International Licenses must be issues by a member country of the Geneva convention. In Japan, drivers must be 18 years or older to drive a motor vehicle and 16 years or older to ride a motorcycle. A Japanese Driver's License is renewed every three to five years, and this renewal process must take place within a month of the driver's birthday (before or after). Details of the venues and times that a license can be renewed are listed on the postcard that is sent out by the authorities advising renewal of a license.

■Exchanging an overseas driver's license for a Japanese license
People with a German, French, Swiss or Taiwanese Driver's License who have a Japanese translation of the license can drive for a year in Japan (check with your embassy: some conditions apply). After a year you must exchange your license for a Japanese license, and some requirements must be met, including undergoing an examination. License exchange procedures take place at the Sapporo Driver's License Examination Centre. A new license is not issued on the same day unless the application is completed in the morning. Licensed cannot be posted out. The documents required to make the exchange are as follows:

  • Your driver's license from your country of origin and its Japanese translation
  • Residency card
  • Passport
  • Two photographs (3cm x 2.4 cm) and a handling fee (4,150 yen for passenger cars)
  • Personal seal (signature acceptable)


Sapporo Driver's License Examination Center Akebono 5-4, Teine-ku, Sapporo Tel. 011-683-5770

■Traffic safety
Obey the three traffic rules of fastening a seatbelt, avoiding drunk driving and driving below the speed limits. A fine is imposed on violators, and a notice of a fine or demerit is added to their license. Keep in mind that the standards for drunk driving are very strict in comparison with some other countries. There is blood alcohol allowance level is zero; even one drink can get you a drunk driving sentence. Road conditions in Hokkaido vary between summer and winter. Change summer tires over to winter tires before the onset of winter, and adjust your driving to the conditions of the season. Even with winter tires fitted and following safe driving procedures it is easy to slip on the roads. It is vital that you apply brakes lightly and use engine braking techniques to avoid dangerous, heavy or sudden breaking.

Inquiries

Regarding water and sewage: Inquiries: Niseko Town Council Tel. 0136-44-2121 Management Section, Water and Sewage Division

Regarding waste: Niseko Town Council Tel. 0136-44-2121 Life Environment Section, Citizen's Life Division

Regarding housing, snow clearing: Niseko Town Council Tel. 0136-44-2121 Building Division, Civil Services Division

Regarding pets and registration: Niseko Town Council Tel. 0136-44-2121 Life Environment Section, Citizens Life Division

Regarding the demand bus: Niseko Town Council Tel. 0136-44-2121 Planning & Environment Division, Administration & Planning Section

For inquiries in English: Niseko Town Council Tel. 0136-44-2121 Email: kikaku@town.niseko.lg.jp Planning and Environment Division

Water and sewage

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ニセコ町

北海道ニセコ町

〒048-1595北海道虻田郡ニセコ町字富士見47番地
TEL:0136-44-2121(代表) FAX:0136-44-3500
法人番号: 5000020013951

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