Posted on June 27th, 2009 No comments
One of the more popular summer tour destinations in Niseko is Milk Kobo in Higashiyama,(on the road to Niseko Hilton).
Using fresh milk from their own farm, Milk Kobo’s goal is to provide “safe and tasty produce with a smile.”
Milk Kobo is well known in Japan for its delicious ice-cream, yoghurt drink, puddings, cakes and my personal favourite, choux creme.
In the main building you can buy freshly made ice-cream, choux creme and cakes. There is a small cafe and a couple of shops selling glassware and local produce. In summer there are scenic fields of flowers and it’s a great spot to photograph Mt Youtei.
For those with a sweet tooth coming to ski Niseko in winter, you will be happy to know that Milk Kobo is open year round 10am-6pm.
Posted on June 25th, 2009 1 comment
The Niseko View Plaza, located on route 5 just outside of Niseko town is a Michi no Eki (Road Sation). There are around 900 of these road side rest areas in Japan.
Local governments often use Michi no Eki to represent and promote tourism. Michi no Eki range from restrooms only to those with shops selling local specialties. Some Michi no Eki even have camping grounds, hot spring, parks and a wide range of services. Interestingly most do not have gas stations.
The Niseko View Plaza Michi no Eki offers some of the freshest and best value locally grown vegetables in the Niseko area. Much cheaper prices than you’ll find anywhere else in the area.
To get there from Hirafu village, drive along route 343 until you get to the T intersection past the flashing lights going to Hilton Niseko village. Turn left at the T Intersection, go over the big bridge, through Niseko town. Then you’ll see a service station called Hokuren on your right. The Niseko view plaza is right opposite this service station.
We visited the plaza last weekend and got a weeks worth of veggies, here are some photos of what was on offer.
Posted on June 18th, 2009 No comments
Within 5 minutes walk from the center of Niseko Hirafu village is the start of Hirafu’s hiking course. The trail leads to the Niseko village Hilton hotel and takes 30 minutes one way. So a 1 hour hike both ways. It is a relatively easy hike, no long climbs. It has been recently improved with multiple bridges and board walks.
The entrance from the Hirafu village side is opposite the sunsports center 200 meters up a steep gravel road. From Seicomart go right through the traffic lights, you’ll see Sunsports 300meters on your left. If you’re driving you can park here.
Throughout the trail are trees with tags showing the tree name in Japanese and English. A lot of bird life can be heard and seen. At one point you can see Hirafu’s center 4 lift and popular Onne ski run.
Further along are glimpses of Mt.Yotei. Near the end, the trail runs parallel along the Niseko village golf course. You can see fairways and the odd golf cart going by.
If you’re staying in Hirafu and would like to see Niseko’s native bush up close, the Hirafu hiking course is nearby and suitable for people of all ages.
Overall an easily accessible and fun little hike.
Posted on June 4th, 2009 No comments
The Niseko Hanazono trail has to be my favorite trail in the Niseko resort area. Fairly long, about 6-7 km’s. Challenging climbs for the first 2km’s. Bit of a slug but laced with a few fun downhill sections, some nice views and a creek crossing. We rode it last weekend, a bit of snow leftover but should be all gone within a week.
After about 2km’s is a small lake called Kagaminuma or Mirror lake. Nice place to take a breather and get ready for the real fun, the long variable downhill run.
Once past the lake there is one small 50 meter uphill climb, then an 800 meter steepish downhill section with some slightly sketchy traverses. Then comes the best part. A long 3-4km’s of trail on a small decline, no tight corners. Get some speed up and pump and carve the corners, no need for breaking. Sweet.
The trail finishes at the entrance of the Hanazono Tokyu Resort golf course. The trail is actually intended for hikers so look out for them. Generally you may come across a small group of hikers on the first half of the trail, especially on weekends. From the lake onwards hikers are rarely seen.
You can find directions to Hanazono trail on this link directions to Hanazono trail
Posted on June 3rd, 2009 No comments
For visitors to the Niseko resort area hoping to get in some mountain biking while on holiday. The good news is Niseko has some great trails and plenty more to come. This is thanks to a small group of local mountain bikers. Driven by their passion for the sport and area, this core group of locals are building new cross country and downhill courses. In turn helping make Niseko a true year round resort.
If you’re here on a Wednesday come join the locals for the weekly downhill jam. Meeting place is 200 meters from the Seicomart, at the Sunsports carpark. Come around 17:30 and do a few runs with the crew.
* For information on mountain bike trails in Niseko and more, check out this handy site Nisekomtb.com
* If you want to rent a decent mountain bike try local Niseko Hirafu bike shop Groove Cycles