Niseko

The 2020/21 winter for better or worse is going to be a bit different to usual in Niseko with unfortunately little or no international tourism possible, at least for the moment. Due to the subsequent decrease in customers there have been some changes made to the lift operations and opening dates.
So you've booked your accommodation and plane tickets and are looking forward to your upcoming Niseko experience and perhaps your first experience of Japan! With tickets booked to Chitose Airport all that remains is getting to Hirafu, where most likely your accommodation will be. From Chitose there are 3 main methods of transportation. A coach bus service, a private transfer or the train. All of these options have their merits and of course their pit falls too, more on these below.
If you have been to Niseko and stayed in Hirafu chances are pretty good you've been to the Burton Store. It is located on the ground floor of the Odin Place building located at the Hirafu Intersection. The store has been open for the last 5 years and it's patronage growing in leaps and bounds from season to season. For those who don't know The Burton Store is a snowboard shop selling Burton hard and soft goods with everything you need to outfit yourself for your time in Niseko.
If you are looking for a large comfortable home away from home in the Hirafu Village within walking distance of the lifts and close to some fantastic restaurants look no further than Ise. This large 3 story, 4 bedroom concrete villa has all the comforts you could wish for split over 3 spacious levels with the open plan living, dining and kitchen set on the second floor.


 
One of the most popular day trips from Niseko is Otaru, a seaside city famous for fresh seafood, its architecture, a charming canal and sea views. Otaru lies just a one hour drive east of Niseko and draws visitors winter through summer. From Niseko there are a couple of different routes, one which takes the newly formed Yoichi IC expressway or the other over Keinashi Toge passing very popular Kiroro Ski Resort.
Holiday Niseko have properties in Hirafu and surrounds to suit every taste and every budget wether you are looking for a cozy studio for two or a spacious villa for the whole family. One great option that comes somewhere between is Ikigai, a beautiful 3 bedroom stand alone home in St Moritz just a couple of minutes drive from the base of the Ace Family Chair. Ikigai stands out from the crowd with modern spacious interiors and views of Mount Yotei.
Getting to Niseko is easy and there are a number of convenient ways to do so to suit every budget and itinerary. Once you have made it to Japan you need to get your self to Hokkaido, the easiest and usually most cost effective way to do so is to fly to Chitose Airport. The majority of Japanese airports have direct flights to Chitose and there are many direct international routes too, the finer details below.
The Niseko Local Rules have been in place since 1999 and have helped to put Niseko on the map as one of the ultimate powder destinations in the world. The implementation of the rules were at the time of their inception ground breaking in Japan, opening up back country and off piste terrain that had previously been off limits. 
After what has seemed like an eternity, the possibility of international travel has finally begun to show promise with talk of select borders opening accross the world. If that wasn't enough to get you fizzing about a potential ski holiday the news that the majority of Southern Hemisphere ski fileds will be opening this winter is very exciting indeed.
Tucked just below Niseko Vilage on the Higashiyama side of the tracks is a couple of hidden local gems, Milk Kobo and Prativo Restaurant. Milk Kobo not surprisingly is a bakery and icecream shop specialising in dairy based delights. The crowd favorites are their delicious cream puffs or shou-cremes, a delicious puff of delicate sweet pastry filled with a not too sweet creme custard that leaves you hanging on every bite.