Known for its breathtaking natural wonders, sophisticated resorts, and relaxing ambiance, Niseko is one of the most well-known outdoor lifestyle destinations in the world. It is located in Hokkaido, two hours away from Sapporo, the prefecture’s largest city.
Furthermore, Niseko is famous for its ski resorts and villages that offer some of the Japan’s best ski facilities, making it one of the most popular choices for snow sports enthusiasts.
However, not everyone who visits Niseko is interested in its slopes and runs. The winter destination is also well-beloved by families, groups of friends, and high-profile individuals looking for a luxurious getaway.
Check out this list of must-try activities in Niseko that goes beyond skiing.
Relax In An Onsen
The Niseko Grand Hotel open-air garden pool and onsen. Photo: SkiJapan
Vacations are about rejuvenation and taking a break from your hectic daily lives. When in Niseko, the perfect way to level up the relaxation is by visiting an onsen – a natural hot spring produced by volcanic mountains. Onsens provide a sanctuary for travelers looking to unwind after a long day exploring the destination. It also welcomes individuals looking to soothe ailments.
Niseko Grand Hotel offers one of the biggest open-air garden pools in Niseko. On the other hand, Hilton Niseko Village Onsen has an upper-level indoor bath that boasts scenic mountain views of Mt Yotei. Other famous onsen establishments in the area are Green Leaf Hotel Onsen, Yugokorotei Onsen, and Niseko Goshiki Onsen.
Indulge in Niseko’s Best Gastronomy Finds
Sessa Hotpot main dish and side dishes. Photo: Experience Niseko
No holiday is complete without an epic food trip. Luckily, Niseko is home to several Japanese izakayas that serve authentic ramen, sushi, hotpot, teppanyaki, and sashimi, using the freshest local ingredients from the Hokkaido region. Some must-try Japanese restaurants in Niseko are Asahikawa, Ramen Tozanken, Sessa HotpotYang Shu Ten, Sushi Nagi, HirafuZaka, and Izakaya Sakae.
For international flavors, you can check out Olivio for trattoria-style Italian staples, Bistro Re Arbor for Italian-French-Japanese flavor fusion, Long Tan for Chinese favorites, and Taj Mahal Kutchan for authentic Indian cuisines.
Another notable food establishment in Niseko is Takahashi Farm, also known as the “Milk Kobo,” to try their famous soft-serve ice cream, choux creme, cheese tarts, and soufflé.
Clothing for sale in one of the Grand Hirafu Mountain Center shops. Photo: Niseko’s Essential Guide
Niseko has a collection of shops where you can find the latest must-haves in winter fashion, sports gear, unique souvenirs, and even artwork. Check Rhythm Japan, The Vale Snowsports, The Ski Project, iGate Ikeuchi, and Grand Hirafu Mountain Center Shop for high-quality winter clothing and sports gear. Meanwhile, those looking for unique souvenirs and fun trinkets to commemorate their trip head to the Hotel Niseko Alpen Shop and Yukara Niseko.
Snowshoe tour and exploration in Niseko. Photo: Skye Niseko
Beyond the slopes, Niseko is also a paradise that offers a plethora of sights and activities that are perfect for everyone. For example, you can visit Niseko’s adventure parks in Hanazono, Hirafu, and Niseko Village to enjoy forest tree treks, zip lines, and high-rope courses. These adventure parks are also a great go-to if you’re visiting Niseko during the summer.
On the other hand, you can also immerse yourself in the great outdoors and visit some of Niseko’s best sightseeing locations, like Mt. Yotei, Shiribetsu River, Half Moon Lake, Oyunuma Pond, Lanlan Park, and Niseko View Plaza.
During summer, Niseko also offers a variety of fun outdoor activities like camping, canyoning, cycling, fishing, golfing, hiking, kayaking, gondola-riding, and rafting. Art lovers can also check out several museums in the area, such as the Shu Ogawara Museum of Art and the Somoza Gallery.
Try Other Snow Activities
Kids sliding down the snow at the Niseko Grand Hirafu Kids Park. Photo: Niseko Tourism
If you’re a nature lover who would love to take tranquil walks and wander around, you can join a snowshoe tour where you can immerse yourself in the breathtaking sights of Niseko’s lush, snowy forests. Another fun ski alternative is exploring the slopes aboard a snowmobile – the perfect choice for adventure lovers and sports enthusiasts looking for a more relaxed yet equally thrilling venture.
On the other hand, families traveling with kids can try snow tubing and snow rafting, which involves gliding down gentle slopes using inflatable tubes or rafts.
Outside and inside Bar Gyu+ at night. Photo: Bar Gyu+
The fun in Niseko does not stop once the sun sets. At nighttime, it transforms into a vibrant hub where you can drink with your friends, dance the night away, and have an overall jolly good time. When talking about nightlife in Niseko, you should not miss Bar Gyu+, one of the most popular speakeasies in the area. It is the oldest bar in Niseko and is known as the “fridge door bar” because of its iconic entrance from an old soda vending machine.
Another famous bar in Niseko is Toshiro’s Bar, located inside the Niseko Prince Hotel Hirafutei. It opened its doors in 2014 and has become one of Niseko’s most-loved hangout spots because of its extensive list of cocktails, cozy ambiance, and the distinct presence of classic Japanese hospitality.
Niseko is a haven of high-end accommodations. Many of its lodges offer the best facilities for you to enjoy throughout your stay. However, to maximize your staycation experience, consider renting a luxury chalet in Niseko..
Depending on the chalet you rent out, these luxury vacation homes may offer many entertainment options and amenities accessible for guests, such as playing in the games room, cinema screens for movie marathons, living rooms for hanging out, and a sauna or hot tub for relaxing. These amenities will be enough to keep anyone satisfied with their staycation.
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