Dubbed as the “Aspen of the East,” Niseko is proving to be Asia’s precious hidden gem. Known for its powder-quality snow and being the top ski destination in the region, Niseko is definitely the place to be in the winter season.
With so much to do, see, and explore, here are the top 5 reasons why you should spend the winter in Niseko, Japan.
1. The Snow has Pristine Powder-Like Quality
Niseko is known for having a daily snowfall of feather-light, powder-quality snow during the winter season. During the peak days of winter, snow can reach up to 15 meters high from the ground, creating the perfect slopes for skiing, snowboarding, and many other winter sports and activities.
Whether you’re up for a day of athleticism on the slopes or you simply want to make a snowman, Niseko’s powder-soft snow will surely make the perfect winter wonderland.
2. Jampacked with Adventures and Activities
The list goes on and on and on in terms of adventures and activities to do in Niseko. From simply skiing to snowboarding, to snowmobile explorations – you name it, you can do it in Niseko. Snow rafting? Check. Reindeer sledding? Yep. Snowshoe walks? You betcha. Any sport that you can do in snow, you can do it here.
And although the main pull for most visitors is indeed the snow, there are plenty of other activities to do here aside from making a snow angel or donning your full gear to ski. You can hire a helicopter to explore the landscape and fly over Mount Yotei; or visit the cool bars on Hirafu for Niseko’s bustling nightlife.
There’s plenty to do and plenty to see so you’ll never run out of adventures and activities to enjoy with your family and loved ones.
3. The Variety of Trails
Niseko features 30 ski lifts and 3 gondolas. And although there are three major resorts, people can pretty much ski between them, so you can have the opportunity to enjoy all trails if you wanted to. The longest one is 5,600 meters down the mountain while the shorter ones are perfect for beginners or just about anyone.
There’s plenty of trails for every kind of skier – whether you’ve never tried it before or if you’re a world champion, you can have the time of your life at any of Niseko’s trails.
4. The Relaxing Onsen Hot Springs
Thermally heated, these onsen hot springs are the perfect way to end a day out on the slopes. Imagine dipping in a hot spring with Mount Yotei, snow-capped mountains, and the vast snow-covered landscape right before you – now that’s an experience you can’t have on an ordinary day anywhere else in the world.
Onsen hot springs are more than just for revitalizing and rejuvenating the body, they’re also a Japanese tradition that supports well-being and healing.
5. The Food
Niseko’s food scene has been gaining popularity for years now and it’s only getting better and bigger. Restaurants and eateries use only the freshest catches and the freshest ingredients sourced from neighboring towns and islands, so fresh is definitely the word to describe the cuisine in Niseko.
One of the most popular eateries is Rakuichi Soba, run by soba master Tatsuru Rai, which is a 12-seat eatery featured by Anthony Bourdain in one of his shows. Since being featured, the eatery has gained worldwide fame and has had a cult-like following.
Another popular restaurant is Ezo Seafoods, one of the best places to eat seafood in Niseko. Covering 2 floors, the restaurant features signature dishes such as freshly shucked Akkeshi oysters and soy braised rockfish.
But Japanese food is not all you’ll find in Niseko – a good number of Italian, Thai, Korean, Indonesian, and French restaurants can be found all over – all contributing to Niseko’s bustling food scene.
Magnificent snow, all the winter activities you can think of, incredible trails, hot springs for healing, and some of the best food in the world, Niseko is hands down, the winter wonderland destination in Asia.