Niseko

Hiking options in Niseko are endless, whether you enjoy hiking trails in the summer or you are looking for a bottomless powder experience in the depths of winter. We recently went for a mix of the two, hiking Mt Weiss in the last week of April. Weiss is a smaller mountain to the north west of Mt Annupuri which is home to the Hirafu, Hanazono, Niseko Village and Annupuri ski fields.
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.
Across the world the Niseko area has become famous for it's incredible snow and fantastic resorts but there is more to Niseko than just amazing skiing. In the summer time golf is a pastime enjoyed by locals and tourists a like and for good reason. Niseko is home to a great number of fantastic courses and spring through autumn the opportunities to play a wide variety of courses abound. 
Restaurant options in Niseko keep getting better and better every year. The range of places and different foods to try is fantastic, whether you are looking for a quick bite on the street from one of the food carts in the middle village or you are ready to be seated for a full degustation at Michelin starred Kamimura. The choices can almost be daunting so if you're looking for a quick go to and you'd like to try a quintessential Hokkaido comfort food, look no further than a hearty bowl of soup curry.
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.
Foxes are a common site here in Hokkaido and can often be spotted in the early morning or evening and it's not uncommon to hear their eirie howl or scream at night. The character below was spotted from the spare room window early one April morning. Upon realising he was in front of the lense this little red fur ball became coy and camera shy and after a fleeting moment of curiosity bounded off into the snow covered brush faster than you can say Bunce and Bean.
Have you ever seen the sun rise across Mt Yotei, Niseko's very own volcano? If you've visited the area the 1,898m snow covered peak is a pretty hard to miss! That said with the snow we get in Niseko it is not unusual for it to be in the clouds for weeks on end. Any avid skiers or boarders upon seeing Yotei for the first time can't help but wonder what it would be like to ski down it.
In the light of uncertainty surrounding the current global situation Holiday Niseko would like to offer our future guests an extended flexible cancellation policy.
Holiday Niseko is currently offering a money back guarantee on bookings made after March 25th 2020, with a refund given on cancellations made before July 1st, 2020 (*conditions apply).
After a short fuel stop in town I continued on around the south side of Lake Toya, stopping only to take photos of active volcanic vents steaming from the top of Showa-Shinzan and other views of Lake Toya. The Eastern side of Toya has one of my favourite campsites in Hokkaido. The Nakatoya campground is a wonderful place to relax by the lakeside with a very convenient onsen located on site, and well stocked camp store.
March 10th, 2020 -  Was the first day this year that was a balmy 9C and warm enough for all of the ice and snow on the roads to melt giving me my first opportunity to go for a cruise. My first thought was to take a short ride close to home to make sure everything on the bike was still in working order. A quick 40 minute ride around the base of Mt. Yotei was all I had in mind...