Hokkaido Winter Tales: Niseko

CRUNCH goes the powder snow as I walk to one of the world’s best ski slopes in Niseko, Hokkaido. Ski and snowboard enthusiasts seem to agree that the snow here is made of 10% water and 90% love or maybe it’s just pure magic. Once we entered this winter wonderland, I knew it would be hard leaving this place!

Morning view onto Mt Yotei

Staying in a warm lodge, skiing or snowboarding, soaking in a hot spring open air bath and having warming Japanese food are the best things to do in Niseko. Starting with snowboarding, we booked an instructor and explored the slopes in Annupuri, the most beginner-friendly snow area, according to our French snowboarding teacher. Luckily it wasn’t busy at all on these slopes and we didn’t have to queue. Niseko is also home to one of the coolest snow gear rental shops (Rhythm) with more Australian than Japanese staff, and stylish après-ski bars and restaurants in it‘s main town Hirafu. The snowboarding was incredible powder and it just wouldn’t stop snowing for the whole four days we were there!

A snowy drive to Annupuri Snow Resort

Be careful not to get caught driving in a snowstorm as visibility is near 0… “Turn left” may no longer be possible with icy roads and blocked entrance driveways. We seeked shelter in the nearest 7-11 and waited it out.

Outside a snowy onsen in Mikkari, just a 18 minute drive from Niseko

In Niseko, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to hot springs. From sulphur mud baths, to mixed gender onsen and beautiful hot springs in the snowy countryside a bit further out.

Hirafu, Niseko’s main town

Before you’re ready to call it a night, recharge in one of the many cosy restaurants with great offering lots of different kinds of cuisines from Japanese nabe to Indian curry.

If you’re looking for a snowy winter destination in Japan where you can relax and be adventurous, or you wonder where the best snow in Japan may be – Niseko is your place to be!

– Her

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