The quaint yet beautiful town of Niseko is well-loved for many reasons including its powdery-white snow during the winter season. But did you know that there is more to this ski resort town come summertime? As soon as the snow melts, Niseko transforms from a snowy playground into a lush green landscape with breathtaking scenery, delicious produce, a string of festivities and plenty of exciting outdoor activities – all waiting to be discovered.
While we can only dream of that summer trip while waiting through this pandemic, we have collated seven reasons for you to fall in love more and consider this charming destination on your future summer holiday.
Explore a Different Hokkaido
As Japan’s largest island, Hokkaido has thriving biodiversity underlined with geothermal activity evident with its natural hot springs and rugged volcanoes. Summer is the best time to visit the prefecture to relish in its natural beauty. The ‘Lavender Farms of Furano‘ are surreal to gaze at, as everything is bathed in a delicate purple. It serves as a perfect backdrop for your next holiday selfie while enjoying the flowers’ sweet and calming scent. While there, enjoy a lavender sundae cone as you cross through the maze of lilac-colored fields. Equally enchanting is the ‘Blue Pond of Biei,’ another popular spot in Hokkaido, which continuously intrigues tourists with its vivid hues changing in every season.
Indulge in Fresh-Tasting Produce
Your trip would never be complete without tasting the fine cuisine that Niseko has to offer. As an agricultural town, it is bountiful with harvest both from its lands and waters. Its nearby towns of Yoichi and Niki are known for their prized produce, such as cherries and watermelon, the quintessential fruits in every summer dining table. Niseko also grows one of the world’s best potatoes. These spuds are highly revered in this town that a festival (Kutchan Jaga Matsuri) is celebrated in its honor. Gengis Khan, a grilling culture close to the natives’ hearts, features mutton and a wide array of fresh seasonal vegetables that is typical during summertime. This versatile meal could be done both indoors and outdoors and is best enjoyed with either a glass of wine or an ice-cold beer.
Participate in Fascinating Summer Festivals
Summers in Japan are plentiful in festivals and are a defining experience for most tourists. You’ll be glad to know that Niseko’s summer calendar is full of activities that everyone can participate in and enjoy. The “Niko Niko Festival” is held annually at the Niseko Village featuring local and regional delicacies that tourists could savor while enjoying a breathtaking firework display and live music performances. For health buffs and sports enthusiasts, the “Niseko Marathon Festival” and the “Hanazono Hill Climb” are exciting events that will test your body and endurance. Some unique festivals are also celebrated in this region, with the annual “Kutchan Potato Festival,” given the region’s reputation for producing stellar quality potatoes, and the “Niseko Star Fres,” the town’s yearly astronomy and star-gazing event.
Embrace the Beauty of Niseko’s “Green Season”
Part of Niseko’s appeal is attributed to nature. Its “Green Season” is one of the region’s unique features, as the last flakes of snow from winter finally melt, and an explosion of verdant greens paints much of its landscape come summertime. The hot season is a perfect time for exploring the outdoors, and hiking in Niseko’s national parks is a joy to experience. Fukidashi Park is home to Niseko’s largest spring and is famous for the crisp and refreshing taste of its spring water. Mt. Yotei, or “Sheep-Hoof Mountain,” provides challenging trails for hiking and trekking for thrill-seekers that would take 5 hours to complete. But the steep and arduous climb is all worth it as you reach the summit and marvel at Niseko’s enchanting beauty.
Enjoy Niseko’s Crisp and Dry Weather
While people flock to Niseko to enjoy its immaculate white snow during winter, its summers render an entirely different side for most tourists. Its pleasant weather conditions are perfect as you cycle through the streets of this sleepy town. Plan a hike and explore Niseko’s national parks as you cool down and take a sip of its deliciously refreshing spring waters while taking a break to adore the lush greeneries surrounding you. The drier conditions also make it an opportune time to visit some of the most breathtaking coastal towns and villages in Japan. Shakotan, west of Sapporo, is home to a trifecta of capes – Kamui, Ogon and Shakotan. The entire peninsula offers stunning panoramic views of the rugged coast and the Sea of Japan. Shimamui, also found in Shakotan, is known for being the best source of the freshest uni (sea urchin) during the summer season.
Channel Your Adventurous Side in Niseko’s Exciting Summer Activities
Thrill-seekers would be delighted by the numerous outdoor summer activities that are available in Niseko. The Shiribetsu River is home to crystal clear waters and is regarded as one of the cleanest rivers in the world. While it provides the perfect fishing spot for aficionados, white-water rafting is an alternative experience for those looking for an adrenaline rush. Those who prefer a more relaxing sport can visit the Niseko Village Golf Course hailed as one of the country’s top golf courses. Golfers can bask in the inviting warmth of Niseko’s Green Season with the majestic views of Mt. Yotei as their backdrop. After a long day of golfing, fishing, and hiking, Niseko’s onsen bath provides soothing relief for your weary body. This traditional Japanese bathing culture is perfect for those who would like to participate in the nation’s unique custom.
Get the Best Deals on Bookings
With all these convincing reasons that Niseko has to offer, travelers would be even more surprised to find out that they can get the best deals during summer. As the influx of ski tourists fluctuates from the most popular winter season to the off-peak spring season, so does the pricing on accommodation. Summer deals and promotions will allow you to funnel your savings into booking more fun and exciting activities during your visit – or perhaps a fancier place to stay. The warmer months also see generally fewer crowds in establishments and streets.
Summer in Niseko offers great value, a more laid-back atmosphere and plenty to experience that make this destination so much more than a winter wonderland.