Niseko is located in the Hokkaido Prefecture, which is known throughout Asia for its beautiful scenery and ski resorts. Niseko is a popular destination for travelers hoping to hit the slopes or relax in hot springs that look like they came out of a fairy tale. The area has also become quite popular for its cuisine, thanks in no small part to publicity drummed up by foodie shows and renowned Michelin-starred chefs.
Primarily known for skiing and snowboarding, Niseko has six resorts built around Mt. Yotei, a dormant volcano. Since the weather in Hokkaido is cooler than most of Japan, the ski season is comparatively longer than other areas of Japan; it can begin as early as November and last until as late as May. Four of the six ski areas (Grand Hirafu, Hanazono, Niseko Village, and Annupuri) are connected and allow visitors to travel between the areas on Niseko United’s All Mountain Pass. The price of the All Mountain Pass varies depending on the age of the skier and the season. Generally, adults can purchase a pass for 4,000 yen per day and children can get the pass for 3,000 yen per day. All the resorts offer equipment rentals, so there’s no need to bring equipment. Visitors should check the Niseko United website to see a full price list, since multi-day passes often come with a discount. The activities of Niseko’s many ski resorts aren’t just limited to skiing; guests can also rent snowmobiles, go on reindeer sled rides, and experts can even try out heli-skiing.
Japan is well known for its many natural hot springs (“onsen” in Japanese), and Niseko is no exception. Most of the onsen areas are relatively cheap, ranging from 500 to 1,000 yen for adults and 300 to 700 yen for children. Hilton Niseko Village has a particularly spectacular view of Mt. Yotei, as does Makkari Onsen. Almost all of the onsen feature incredibly serene, natural settings. Some onsen baths even offer private onsen experiences or rooms with personal onsen tubs. Onsen visitors should keep in mind that tattoos are still considered to be taboo in Japan, and they may be denied entry if their tattoos are visible.
One of Niseko’s main industries is agriculture, so guests have plenty of opportunities to eat at restaurants showcasing the area’s produce. The Niseko area attracts a wide range of international visitors, so it’s not surprising that it has some of the most varied food options in Japan. The legendary Kamimura offers guests French cuisine from a Michelin-starred chef. The menu of Kamimura is always changing based on the season and the chef’s prerogative. They usually offer two menus in the evening, the early bird special for 8,000 yen per person and the chef’s selection for 15,000 yen. The area also has restaurants featuring Hokkaido wagyu beef and Niseko’s own take on ramen. Niseko is guaranteed to have something for everyone’s tastes and budgets.