36 Hours in Niseko

Sublime skiing, snowboarding and “snow-surfing” are only part of the story in this Japanese resort. Culinary adventures abound, local whiskey flows and hot springs are the perfect après-ski option.

Comments: 24

  1. 21 new coal plants this year. Don’t visit climate criminals.

  2. @Jack Jardine. Exactly, don't visit climate criminals and start with Canada then, we are with Australia the largest "mining operation" in the history of humanities, for deforestation we are second right after Brazil, clear cuts are everywhere, oil sands, natural gas, one of highest percentage of cars per capita, tens of thousands exhausted and abandoned oil wells in Alberta, BC, and Saskatchewan polluting soil and water, a public transportation system which will be considered a shame in any emerging economies, no public transportation beside airplane if you need to travel west of Ontario, or connecting the lower mainland in BC with exotic places like Kamploops, Kelowna, PG (Prince George), and I could go on and on and on talking about pesticides, OGM, no meaningful labels on foods, care products and so on and on and on, or we can talk about urban waste management sending our killer garbage to countries with no voice, or worst dumping it in the ocean. So Mr. Jack Jardine, before pointing finger to others lets understand what's going on in our country first!

  3. Yeah, like Canada. Oil sands. New pipeline to the Salish Sea.

  4. @Jack 600 Throwing our hands up by saying 'there are too many issues, so why even start to address any of them' isn't going to get us anywhere. Bottom line here - there is alot of energy involved by traveling across the world, and then taking a motorized chair lift up and down a mountain. That's alot of generated carbon. It may be an inconvenient truth, but people have to start considering the carbon implications of their actions. And take your energy efficient car to get there.

  5. Japanese seafood cuisine is one of the two without equal in the world (the other, in my opinion, is French). Pity that Kamimura's Website lists only prices, but no menu of dishes offered.

  6. Love these travel pieces, but needs more pictures!

  7. A well written and researched article. I went to many of these places when I was in Niseko. I've traveled to many countries chasing snow but the quality and the quantity of the powder in Niseko is glorious and without equal. Powder runs through the hardwood glades with the volcano looming in the background is unbeatable. The Japanese snowboard culture is strong, proud and unique. The Japanese have a beautiful, fluid surflike style that's very fun to watch. I found the local shredders very approachable and happy to share their mountain with visitors. Gentemstick is the most beautiful snowboard shop on the planet. There is no equal to his craftsmanship and style. He's an artisan of the highest quality and an endearing host. The Onsens are incredible and uniquely Japanese and the best way to end a long day on the mountain. The local uni from the cold waters of Hokkaido is the best on earth. The snow crab ramen in the lodge at Hanazono is easily the best slopeside meal I've ever had. And at $14 it's a great deal. If you like to ride powder and want to experience wonderful Japanese culture and hospitality, Niseko is a must. Just don't tell too many people.

  8. Yes, but what is the skiing like?

  9. @Raymond Masleck Epic powder (they get dumped on late Jan through early March), but if you're a big mountain skier then it may not be for you. For steeps, etc., I'd pick JH (or Whistler in your neck of the woods) any day of the week over Niseko. But there's nice ski touring in the area and if you want to shell out for helicopter/snocat skiing, then you may well find some of the most memorable deep snow of your life (skiing pillows, knee to waist deep, out there is something I'll never forget).

  10. You know, with climate change and everything, maybe consider a less-carbon-footprint involved vacation? As much as NYTimes reports on climate change and wealth-gap issues, the travel section sure seems to cater to those who don't care or just casually ignore either issue when it applies to them.

  11. One-person chairlift. No foot rest. Lonely ride up. How very Mad River Glen-ish. Quaint?

  12. @ex-skier Just for the record, the single chair at Mad River Glen has a foot rest, if you're really concerned about such things. And, you can have a brief conversation with the attendant at the mid station as you pass by. He plays some great music, too. Ski It If you Can! RAR

  13. We went to Niseko and the surrounding area in the off season and the summer outdoor activities are stellar as well. We rented bikes and biked the circumference of Mt Yotei on quaint country roads and stopped at the Milk Kodo, noodle shops, hot springs, and an ostrich sanctuary along the way. We went to onsen, watched the stars, and hiked a lot. The fish in Hokkaido was the best we had in Japan, hands down.

  14. The journalist skied or just enjoyed the view and the food? The chairs look like antiques and the picture of the snow and the skier does not look very appealing.

  15. It’s terrible. Don’t go. Very overrated, no steeps, full of drunk, rude, profane Australians, overcrowded, and accommodation is overpriced.

  16. @Mick Spot on. Beware the thoughtlessly rude Australian tourists. They have destroyed every nearby cultural destination, almost on a similar scale to American tourists - just with some added alcohol and profanity.

  17. I skied Niseko in 1984. I was living and working in Aomori (northern tip of Honshu) and in those days you had to take a ferry over to Hokkaido. It was pretty much us and the locals crossing over. When I told people back home that I had gone skiing, the response was usually, "Oh, you can ski in Japan?" How times have changed.

  18. I skied Niseko in 1984. I was living and working in Aomori (northern tip of Honshu) at the time. In those days, you had to take a ferry to Hokkaido and the ship was all locals. When I told people back home that I had gone skiing, the response was usually, "Oh, you can ski in Japan?" It was our secret treasure. How times have changed.

  19. My 29 year old son, a Colorado skier and rock climber, got back yesterday after a 10 day trip there and the nearby areas. He and his friends had an amazingly incredible experience. Only one of the days dis they take chairlifts. He found the skiing experience to be unique and fantastic. And I got plenty of food porn photos- he said the quality and freshness of the fish he ate daily was the best he has ever eaten. And inexpensive. So for him it was a fantastic experience.

  20. Would have to agree that, apart from the amazing views of Mt Yotai, this place is WAY over rated. First, it’s tiny! Small mountain with very few expert or advanced runs, no skiable bowl areas, short runs and limited steeps. As for the incredible snow this place is supposed to have....I am in Niseko as I read this article which was published a few days ago. The article couldn’t be further from the truth if compared to the current snow conditions -right now, working with hard icy crud or slush depending on the temps - dirt patches in some areas - sheer ice in others. Snow is, of course, unpredictable but we have experienced none of the famous powder the article presents so be forewarned! Fog and heavy cloud conditions can limit visibility to 10 feet at times. Accommodations in town are expensive and just “ok” - a bit dorm like here at the Ki Niseko hotel. Food in Niseko is a so-so mixture of bad Japanese, expensive try hard foodie and mediocre western style food options. Japanese culture pretty much blotted out here. Apres activity seems non-existent. All Australians we met were pleasant however! Proceed with caution.

  21. Understand that this is a very bad snow season in Japan — and unusual—. I was there two years ago at this time and there was a 45 foot base and it snowed literally every moment we were there for 7 straight days— . Snow by its nature is unpredictable so I am sorry for your off snow year. Most of the skiing we did was off piste and at the numerous resorts surrounding Niseko . As to the town we thought it was a bit like our resorts before they were over commercialized— .

  22. I was for years a photo editor at a travel magazine and I would have been thrilled to run that photo that opened the story. Great editing decision. And how lucky to have someone in red ski pants just happen to float past...

  23. Having been to Niseko last year...the hassle of getting there, only stay for only 36 hours seems insane.