Heading to Niseko this coming winter season is the perfect thing to do as the world-famous ski resort town remains fully operational and completely safe following the earthquake that hit Hokkaido, Japan earlier this September. Niseko survived the tremor “relatively unscathed,” according to reports.
Amidst the expected disturbances and temporary inconveniences that were seen in the Hokkaido prefecture, where Niseko is located, in the immediate aftermath of the quake, authorities reported that the emerging winter holiday destination “did not suffer any serious damage.”
“We have not experienced many problems,” Shunichiro Kawauchi recently told The Japan Times. Kawauchi serves as spokesperson for the Niseko Resort Tourist Association, the publication said.
Niseko, in fact, saw the restoration of most of its essential utility services shortly after the earthquake shook a large part of Hokkaido, which is Japan’s northernmost island. “Electric power was back just one day after the quake,” the local tourism official stated.
Business As Usual In Niseko
Per the first-hand accounts shared by Kawauchi, there were no disruptions at all in Niseko due to the natural disaster, and this as reports indicated that Hokkaido is set to absorb tens of billions in damages in the aftermath of the September earthquake.
The prefecture’s tourism sector alone is estimated to suffer losses that will run up to $260 million. The Japan Times said Hokkaido has been plagued by “widespread hotel cancellations following disaster.” However, the situation in Niseko appears to be a glaring exception when compared to the general picture that is seen in Hokkaido.
One tourism operator, for instance, has insisted that the earthquake hardly made a dent on Niseko’s flourishing business operations. In an interview, Luke Sandalls told the Japanese publication that “he has not received any cancellations from foreign tourists and that its hotels and cottages have been operating as usual.”
Sandalls said the town was ready to deal with any kind of emergency situation, recalling that when the earthquake hit the back-up power generators kicked in, thus cushioning the impact of the disaster. The same scenario seems to be in play in similar establishments around Niseko.
Fending Off Rumours
It helped too that the earthquake hit at a time that Niseko is now on its off-season period. Summer has just ended and the town is in preparation for the coming winter, which is expected to be in full swing beginning in October or November.
At present, the more pressing concern for Niseko is to fight off the unfounded talks in social media that the resort town is threatened by the supposed instability of the Hokkaido Electric Power nuclear plant, which is just 30 kilometres away from Niseko.
Kawauchi has assured that the power plant was not damaged at all by the earthquake.
As if to prove that there is no slowing down of business in Niseko, the tourism official said the town is set for the Halloween festivities that will happen on October 6 with the streets now flooded by orange pumpkins contributed by local farmers.
“I want to deliver the message to people outside of Hokkaido that Niseko is safe and ready to welcome guests for upcoming winter season holiday events,” Kawauchi declared.