Set against the backdrop of Mt. Yotei – an active volcano which is so similar to Mt. Fuji it is known as Ezo Fuji – the Niseko region is a feast for the eyes. In winter, the champagne powder snow and pristine ski slopes attract skiers and snowboarders from all over the world, and in summer visitors are drawn by the wide open countryside, farm-fresh produce and summer sporting activities.
Niseko should not be overlooked as a summer holiday destination. Less humid than the rest of Japan, the region attracts a large number of people from the mainland. With three National Parks in and around the area, there is more than enough to satisfy even the long-term visitor. Whether looking for action and adventure or the opportunity to quietly explore this beautiful Japanese region, a wide range of activities is available.
Visitors can lace up their hiking shoes and trek through unspoiled countryside in search of some of Hokkaido’s famed inhabitants such as the elusive ‘momonga’ (flying squirrel), look for some of the island’s unique plant life, rent a mountain bike, spend a day fishing, tour the summer backcountry or explore the region’s rivers by canoe or raft.
There are also many indoor activities and it’s worth visiting the museums and breweries or taking part in hands-on activities such as cooking or craftwork. Many people are keen to discover more about their host country and participate in Japanese tea-ceremonies, karate or try the Japanese taiko drums. Those looking for more of an adrenaline rush should try some of the exciting outdoor activities offered by the various outdoor adventure centres. The area is well-known for rafting – especially during the early spring when the rivers are swollen by meltwater, mountain biking and paragliding.
Many operators have qualified guides who speak English and have an in-depth knowledge of the area. If you don’t have access to you own vehicle and wish to explore further afield then try some of the tours offered by local operators. Some of the more interesting tours could take you sea-kayaking on the Japan Sea (Shakotan), to historic towns, onsen and, though slightly further away, to museums which teach visitors about Hokkiado’s indigenous people – the Ainu. Please see the Summer Activities and other pages to learn more about the region’s summer offerings