Niseko has certainly arrived and is now part of an elite circle. The Hokkaido ski resort is no longer the quiet farming village that Japan has known for decades. This 2018, the snow-covered village when winter is at its peak, and famed for the japow, has joined the Mountain Collective listing, a report said.
The grouping, according to Men’s Journal, is composed of the select skiing destinations around the world, and leading the pack are winter villages from the North and South Americas, France, Australia and New Zealand. The list is limited to mere 20 names and Niseko is the latest addition.
The Japanese ski resort’s inclusion to the Mountain Collective is not unforeseen. In recent years, Niseko gradually gained popularity as visitors spread word of the nearly immaculate powdery snow that is the japow, which during the peak months of January through March covers the landscape by up to 50-feet. And it helped that the province is easy to access – for instance, flights coming in from Tokyo last but an hour and half.
Admiring its current state, Niseko indeed is far removed from its former self and visitors will find that the once peaceful and slow-grinding village is now bustling with exciting activities, likewise offering almost unlimited fun possibilities. Below are just a few of Niseko’s best attractions that never fail to lure in local and foreign tourists alike.
The Pure Snow Experience
Winter in Niseko is best experienced by skiing and snowboarding around the sprawling grounds and slopes of Mt. Annupuri. The silver town (during the winter season) of Niseko Village is an obvious option, as well as the resorts under the umbrella of resort operator Niseko United. As per the same report by Men’s Journal: “Niseko’s backcountry offers endless opportunities to ski untracked powder.”
For a night-time flavour of the same serving, the go-to place is Hirafu to get a taste of floodlit night skiing, which the report described as “an especially ethereal experience when snowing.”
Experiencing Japan is utterly incomplete absent the sumptuous adventure of biting into the local cuisine, which in Niseko has its own distinct flavour. The menu includes “hard-core top ramen-eating … and whiskey-drinking,” but likely the best picks are “steamy bowls of crab ramen and chicken katsu curry,” that can be relished while admiring a stunning vista of Mount Yōtei.
In Niseko in fact, feasting on the local food is integral with the chief activity of skiing or just enjoying the snow.
Niseko boasts of several Onsen spots, which are geothermal hot springs believed by locals to relieved body pains and inflammation. Take note that when heading to any Onsen, it will be mostly a communal practice, meaning the chance is high one will be required to bathe with other people in the nude. This is part of tradition and is practiced mainly for hygienic purposes.
And speaking of which, showering is strictly required prior to entering an Onsen, and after which another rinsing but not before letting the spring minerals to pierce through the skin.
Booking a place in Niseko is simply a non-issue. Choices are aplenty and they include the boutique-type Hilton Tower and the soon-to-rise Ritz-Carlton Reserve. The latter will be open its doors adding 50 more rooms to the constantly expanding accommodation options within Niseko.
If, however, the preference gravitates to the more relaxed mode of lodging but with no compromise on quality, style and affordability, one of the best picks out there has to be the Snow Dog Village. The property is a collection of apartments that were designed for optimal experience of the ski slopes of Mount Yōtei.
Snow Dog features unit sizes built to meet the specific requirements by would-be buyers, who can expect an outstanding investment value that promises of hefty returns. Unit price starts at US$275,218.