Niseko

Camping opportunities in Hokkaido abound with fantastic campsites within an easy drive from Niseko.
Every season in Niseko offers something special, with cherry blossoms in the spring, festivals through the summer and the emotive colours of the Autumn. Summer is of course one of the best times.
Last month we took a look the Toyoura / Okishi area to the south of Niseko and before this Kamoenai which is a stop on the way to the tip of the stunning Shakotan Peninsular. Shakotan is a fantastic place to visit well known for its crystal clear blue waters, delicious sea urchin, onsens, sunsets and much more. The trip is easily done in a day and from Hirafu can be approached from either the east or west side.
In the last look at the seaside adventures close to Niseko we headed north west to Kamoenai, this time around we head south west to the Toyoura District and the beaches around Okishi and Rebun. Here we are greeted by long sandy beaches and a sea speckled with sunshine and fishing buoys that mark the oyster and scallop farms stretching accross Uchiura Bay.
When people think of Niseko, they usually imagine incredible powder skiing, hot ramen and snowy vistas. Contrastingly few people associate Niseko with the ocean but surprisingly our snowy mountain town is just a 45 minute drive to closest coast and not much further to 7 distinctly different coastal areas including Toyoura, Shakotan, Otaru, Minato, Kamoenai, Noboribetsu and Shimamaki.
Sakura is the Japanese word for cherry blossom. You may heard this in the media recently because the people of Tokyo have not been able to attend the annual cherry blossom or Hanami celebrations due to Covid-19. Here in Hokkaido cherry blossom viewing and revelry comes later, this year it is forecast for April 20th but from around mid February there is another sought after sakura in Hokkaido too, the Sakura Masu or Cherry Salmon.
Lake Toya is a more developed area than Shikotsu. It takes 40-50 minutes to get there from Niseko.  On Toya's south east side are several large hotels as well as Volcanic Mt.Usu which closed down the  area when it erupted in 2000.  Toya hosted the G8 summit last year at the exclusive 5 star Windsor hotel. In July and August there is a fireworks display every night that can be seen from all sides of the Lake.