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How is it out there - January 2020

2020

The conditions here in Niseko are almost back to normal with a solid 30cm of snow falling on January 17th on top of a base that had seen consistent top up for the week proceeding, big days and big smiles all around. This took us to a solid 4.5 meter base, not bad!

The piste has been great for a few weeks now but the lower elevation backcountry spots have been suffering a little with a fair amount of vegetation still poking through. However for those willing to hike a little further than usual the rewards have been fantastic.

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A hiking trail from the peak of Mt Annupuri
The familiar walk out from the peak of Mount Annupuri

Likewise it has taken longer than usual for Ski Patrol to open up the peak gates but the good news is the gates are now open and new lines continue to open up with every new snow fall.

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The view from the top of Mt Shiribetsu
The view alone worth the hike

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Lake Toya from Mount Shiribetsu, Niseko
Incredible lines there for the taking

 

 

 

 


Meet The Team

2019

Holiday Niseko has grown from year to year in terms of it's staff, it's customer base and it's quality of service.

We are proud to have staff from across the globe from Taiwan to Ireland making for a diverse and well rounded team.

For 2019 /20 our seasonal staff are made up of 9 resort hosts, 4 front desk staff, 2 concierge staff and 4 cleaners who join the permanent 11 strong managment and administration team and 37 local cleaning staff. 

You can find out more about the Holiday Niseko team and their roles here.

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Holiday Niseko staff in standing infront of office
Meet the Holiday Niseko team 2019 /20!

Holiday Niseko are also proud to have a further specialist guest service division,  Rider (Black Labrador), Tyler (Golden Retriever) and Tui (Shiba) whose main responsibiliies include frolicking in the snow, warming their owners feet on cold days and bringing smiles to our customers faces!

If you're inetersted or know some one who might be interested in joining the Holiday Niseko team please feel free to get in touch (res@holidayniseko.com) otherwise we'll look forwadr to meeting you on your next trip to Niseko!

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Dog wit stick in mouth
Sticks and snow what more does a dog need!

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Dog in the mountains of Niseko
Tyler the Golden Retriever making short work of a back country hike.

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Shiba dog with Mt Annupuri in the back ground
Tui the Shiba at home in the snow


How is it out there?

2019

Have you been wonderng how the season is progressing over here?

It has taken a while to get here but like it or not we are now well and truly back in the grip of winter. The slow start has been a surprise for for many but even on one of what I would have thought was one of the worst days, a customer I spoke to told me " it's not quite the same as last year but still a whole lot better than skiing back home!" 

While we've had to wait for the best skiing, the beautiful snowy scenes Niseko is famous for have still greeted us from week to week and with them smiling faces and kids dusting themslves with snowballs. Today the village has a festive feel and its looking like Christmas tomorrow will be as white as Santas beard.

As you  can see from the forecast below the snow is set to keep coming and it is looking like another incredible New Year here in Niseko.

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Snow forecast for Christmas
It's snowing hard right now and looks to continue through the week

Since the report below, we've had 40cm of new snow, more terrian has opened up and more lifts are running!

 

Thanks for reading, have a great Christams and we wish you a healthy, snowy and propsperous new year!

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A Tori gate surrounded by snowy trees
A snowy mid December scene just outside of Hirafu.

 

 

 

 

 


Opening day 2019 /20

2019

Like the future the weather is a notoriuously hard thing to predict and with it ski resort opening days too.

We were eagerly awaiting Hirafu's opening day that was scheduled for November 23rd but this has unfortunately been postponed. The new opening date has yet to be announced but we are hoping it won't be too far away.

Although the resort hasn't opened there have been plenty of snowy mornings and even fresh tracks for those keen to hike. Check out these snippets from the last week or so.

With more snow in the forecast fingers crossed we'll be riding the chair before you can say dogs in the snow!

If you are looking for an awesome deal on accommodation it is a great time to book. If you would like to make a booking or you have any questions please free to contact us anytime (res@holidayniseko.com).

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View of Mt Yotei from Grand Hirafu
Great turns for those who wanted to earn them!

Niseko - A winter adventure paradise

2019

Are you looking to come to Niseko but not wanting to ski everyday or perhaps you're only here for just a couple of days and are looking to experience what else the area has to offer. Take a look at what we have below and this is just the beginning, Niseko is fast becoming the ultimate winter adventure destination!

Snowshoeing

If you aren't going to be skiing but would like a quintessential Niseko experience one fantastic activity to try is Snowshoeing. Snowshoeing gets you out in the beautiful serene surroundings that have made Niseko famous, is great exercise and can be enjoyed by the whole family. Imagine treking through your own private snow globe with exquisite views and a delightful silence that can only be experienced in such an environment. 

 

Snowbikes

Looking for something a little more high octane and adrenaline fuelled? If you can ride a dirt bike then this one is for you! Niseko Snowbike Adventures delivers a high speed, powder coated experience you will never forget. With access to 100km2 of rideable terrain Niseko Snowbikes will have you shaking in your boots. With their base in Kanbetsu just 15 minutes from Hirafu you wil be shredding the Yamanshi range with varied elevations of 500m - 1300m, fresh terrain guaranteed!

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A snow bike does a deep turn in powder snow
The ultimate powder filled high octane adventure

 

NAC Adventure Park

If you are looking for something slightly slower paced but with a touch of excitement the NAC Adventure Park might be just what you are looking for. Experience tree top views and the expertly designed ropes course that will challenge your confidence and head for heights! The NAC Adventure Park is located right beside the Ace Family Chair so if you are staying in Hirafu it is right on your doorstep and the experience can be arranged on the day.

 

Snowtubing at Hanazono

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A family enjoys snow tubing
A little less adventurous and lots of fun for the whole family!

If you and the kids are taking a day off skiing and looking for something to do that is a little less challenging than one of the activities above why not try snowtubing at the Hanazono, no experience or special equipment required! Super fun for the kids and the adults too and you don't even need to walk to the starting point as the dedicated majic carpets will whisk you up to the top of the slope again and again, yeee haaa!

If you are interested in taking part in any of the activities above get in touch with Holiday Niseko today and we can help you arrange these activities and more. (res@holidayniseko.com)

 

 


Niseko in colour

2019

The Autumn is a quieter season in Niseko and a fantastic time to visit. The weather is settled, the village uncrowded and there is still plenty to see and do. One thing that can't be missed are the stunning colours of Autumn with stunning post card- esque views every where you look.

It is a great time to explore the area on foot with hiking trails galore and if you want to cover a little more ground it is still warm enough to cycle one of the many routes in the area including a number of recently completed mountian bike trails. Many enjoy golf at this time of year too, with still days and beautiful surrounds making every hole a pleasure.

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Mt Yotei with snow on peak and fall colours in the foreground
Picturesque still clear days personify Autumn in Niseko

The last golf course in Niseko to close its gates is Fukui which usually finishes up the season around the 2nd week of November, weather dendent. If you are happy to drive a little further Date will be open until the around end November.

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Maple leaves in full autumn colour
Beautiful autumn colours just a short drive from Hirafu

Above the Kyogoku Fukidashi park is a beautiful place to enjoy the fall coulurs and has an unsuspecting stall that serves fantastic coffee. They say a picture is worth a thousand words so enough said and below a glimpse of how stunning the area is looking this year

If you are looking to visit Niseko in Autumn or of course this winter get in touch today and one of our agents can provide you with suggestions for accommodation and helpful advice. (res@holidayniseko.com)

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The St Moritz bridge with Hirafu ski area in the back ground
The amazing colour contrast between winter and autumn

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Kyougoku park with water features and stunning fall colours
October is a fantastic time to visit the Niseko area.

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Yellowing leaves colour a tree above a water feature.
Serene scenes near Niseko

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The Niseko landscape in autumn colurs
An stunning patch work of colour accentuates Niseko's landscape

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An autumnal scene with fall colours and a bridge across a river
A romantic walk in the park?

 


Hokkaido's last frontier?

2019

For back country and mountaineering enthusiasts Mt Rishiri in the far north of Hokkaido may be the ultimate adventure.

Mt Rishiri juts up from Rishiri Island, stands at 1,700 meters and is an impressive sight during the winter or summer. The island sits just to the west of Wakanai Hokkaido's northern most city, a 5 hour drive from Sapporo. The island is then accessed by ferry which takes around 2 hours. During the summer Rishiri and neighbouring Rebun Island are popular tourist destinations known of course for mountaineering and hiking but also for wildflowers, onsens, fishing and sea kayaking. There are an abundance of pension style accommodations on the island and the delicious seafod served in many is a draw card in itself.

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A snow covered Rishiri Island from the air
Rishiri island is an incredible adventure any time of the year.

The skaible terrain on Mt Rishiri is mini Alaska esque with an abundance of steep pitches and couloirs and ocean views to boot. These are captured beautifully in the video by Toshiya Watanabe below, most definitely the stuff back country dreams are made of.

Anyone looking for more information on tours on Mt Rishiri may be best served by the following link https://en.activityjapan.com/publish/plan/16074

 

 

 


Food, glorious, convenient food

2019

If you've been to Niseko before you've undoubtedly uncovered the delights of the conveneince stores. There are now 3 to choose from here in Hirafu, a 7/11 at the eatsern side opposite My Ecolodge and moving in from there Lawson begins it's reign with a new store freshly opened in the newly developed Mid Town. Now both these are a little out of the way unless you are either staying in Izumkyou, My Eco Lodge or Mid Town but moving further into the village the original Lawson we all love is still there and offers not only a host of extra convenient treats but also one of the greatest Yotei selfie spots in the village. 

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Lawson convenience store wit Mt Yotei in the background
Fried chicken followed by instagram greatness

Back into the heart of Hirafu we find old faithful Seicomart. The orange and white beacon in the night serving the hungry masses their tuna onegirri's (riceballs), Asahi Super Dry and of course the ever popular katsu curry (pork cutlet curry).

So which convenience store to choose? By default most will choose Seicomart due to it's central location but if you are looking for a little more try Lawson just a couple of minutes down the road, less ques, a better selection and don't forget that selfie spot!

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Fired chicken stand in convenience store
Here you will be met by at least 5 kinds of fried chicken and of course never under estimate a hashbrown

Lawson also just happens to serve ¥200 double espresso latte's that aren't quite Green Farm Cafe pedrigree but aren't bad for price!  Other notable products that you don't want to miss are of course the fried chicken, curry maans (steamed curry buns) and if you're feeling a little dusty after a night out try a bottle of Pocari Sweat, if you can get past the name, this refereshing beverage is about as close as you can get to a saline drip and will have back on track in no time. If you want a serious hangover cure go straight to the topshelf, a tall Lemon Strong will get you there even quicker (disclaimer, not recommended before hitting the slopes!).

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Rows of beverages in a convenience store
Lawson has much more than just the beer essentials

All of the convenience stores will aslo have your staples, milk, eggs, bread, noodles, beer, instant coffee, jam etc plus a host of surprisingly good  and healthy takeaway food options mixed in with a few surprises you may never be able to identify. If they haven't sold out Lawson also carry Iphone chords, international adapters, data cards and all of the convenience stores in the village have international ATM's that usually work with major credit cards and cards maked with Cirrus/ Maestro.

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A row of rice balls in a convenience store
Don't miss these and be sure to follow the numbers or meet rice ball doom

Lawson is just a couple of minutes walk from some of Holiday Niseko's favourite properties La Plagne, Ezo Yuki and Ruby Chalet which are all fantastic options for your next trip to Niseko.

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Mount Yotei view from Lawson convenience store
Great fried chicken, great views


Powder Hound Guide - Part 3

2019

Take me to powder heaven, take me to Gate 11!

The Niseko gate system has allowed terrain to be opened up to the public that never has been before and one of the most recent additions to this is Gate 11 or Mizuno Sawa.

Gate 11 provides some of the steepest pitches on the mountain, open bowls, epic trees and an awesome natural halfpipe to finish things off at the bottom.

So where is this chosen land? The terrain belongs to Niseko Village but it can also be easily accessed from Hirafu or Annupuri.

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A skier makes a deep turn in powder snow
Turns like these are there for the taking! p Masafumi Obuchi

From Hirafu the quickest way to Gate 11 is to take the gondola or Ace quad up and then head to the King Hooded Quad #3. From here head skiers right and head to accross the hill so that you end up at the top of the Niseko Gondola. Snowboarders you might need to one foot at somepoint along the way.

Now head straight down the groomed face to the base of a little rope tow that will pull you up 50 meters to the entry point of Gate 11. There is usually someone in the hut at the top checking (very loosely) to see if everyone has their avy gear. As this is a controlled gate, from it you are entering the back country so having the right equipment and knowledge is essential.

If you are coming from Niseko Village you simply take the Gondola up and from the top head skiiers right and point it toward the rope tow.

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The Niseko United Trail map
The Niseko United Trail map

Once you go past the man in the box walk or skate accross the cat track and you'll soon find yourself at the top of the bowl. From here head far left (but not past the boundary rope) for some nicely gladed trees that eventually funnel right back into the main gulley.

Alternatively take a line straight down and left to a couple of fun windlips and then head straight down the gulley for some steep open turns. You can also head skiiers right and accross onto the ridge toward Country Road Chair where you will find a mixture of tight trees and open pitches with plenty of fun stuff amongst the two.

Gate 11 is a must do for any Niseko powder hound and undoubtedly some of the funnest and more challenging terrain anywhere in the area.

 


The crystal clear waters of Kyougoku

2019

Just a 20 minute drive from Hirafu is a small town named Kyogoku which sits at the foot of Mt Moiwa on the north eatsern side.

This quaint farming town was founded by Takanori Kyōgoku (1858-1928) and first settled back in 1897. The main attraction today is Fukidashi Park which winter or summer is well worth a visit.

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A small man made lake wit trees and grass verge
Serene scenes just 20 minutes from Hirafu

The park is home to a large natural spring which is recognised as one of the top 100 spring waters in Japan. The spring feeds into two small man made lakes which are adorned with maple trees, a walk way, rolling grass verges,manicured trees and even have some rainbow trout swimming in them.

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Water runs under a bridge with leafy surrounds
Don't forget to to take some of this beauty home!

Water bottles can be purchased on site and visitors from near a far flock to collect it and for good reason, it is delicious!

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A waterfall with green moss and stakes in foreground
The areas natural spring cascades through rock and moss

There are two sides to the park, one of which is on route 478 and has a number of food stalls selling fried potatoe treats and ice creams. This side is also home to a childrens playgrough and amphitheatre / stage as well as a michi no eki or road station names Meisui-no-Sato Kyogoku where you will find fresh produce and souvenirs.

Cross the bridge from here and a quaint row of shops lines the road selling fresh produce and delcious coffee. It is from this side you can access the spring water taps and water fall area.

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A line of small shops
Fresh fruit and vegetables and delicious coffee

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a pergola beside a small lake
A pergola perfect for enjoying a caramel macchiato

 

 

 




Hokkaido Government Travel agent Licence No. 3-613
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