High country: where to go, what to do and where to eat in Niseko
The pleasures of Niseko Village extend far beyond the winter months, into the season where the sun shines brightest and the rolling landscape brims with life and colour.
You don’t have to be artistically inclined to appreciate the riot of summer colours that explodes across the plains surrounding Niseko Village every year. From mid-april onwards, it is impossible not to stare in awe at the delicate wildflowers and rare alpine plants carpeting the 462-hectare Japanese mountain resort. There are reddish-purple rhododendrons in abundance, great swathes of white and yellow chinguruma flowers, rows of towering sunflowers, and perhaps most breathtaking of all, whole blankets of bright pink moss phlox.
Staying at Niseko Village during the region’s warmer months is an exploration of all the senses. Whether you make the serene interiors of The Green Leaf Niseko Village or the chic, modern Hilton Niseko Village your home, the scenic base of the 1,308m-tall Mount Niseko Annupuri is yours to traverse to your heart’s delight. Those seeking the ultimate mountain sanctuary can take refuge in one of eight richly furnished, two-storey townhouses at Kasara Niseko Village Townhouse.
Keen golfers will relish the opportunity to conquer the 6,845-yard Niseko Village Golf Course, while those who enjoy a challenge can head for the undulating, rolling fairways of Niseko Golf Course, designed by Arnold Palmer, and primed for par 72 action merely 20 minutes away by car. Seekers of a different sort of green should venture forth into the area’s great outdoors, where paths for biking, running, gentle walking and hardcore trekking abound.
You will certainly be fully deserving of a soothing soak in Wakka Spa’s Hinoki cedar wood bath at Hilton Niseko Village if you manage the six-hour hike to the top of Mount Yotei, an inactive stratovolcano that punctuates the skyline of Niseko Valley. If that is too daunting a prospect, a 1.4km pulley-mounted tour on the country’s longest zip line or a round of horseback riding and tree trekking at the Pure at Niseko Village nature activity centre will kickstart the adrenaline in your system.
Young visitors with oodles of energy to spare can go wild at Niseko Village’s Pure Action and Pure Adventure inflated activity park, catch the wind over some kite-flying, and work on their
A 1.4KM PULLEY-MOUNTED TOUR ON THE COUNTRY’S LONGEST ZIP LINE WILL KICK-START THE ADRENALINE IN YOUR SYSTEM.
putting skills at the Snag golf course. Leave enough time to chase the stunning views that the terrain offers: a 10-minute ride on the Annupuri summer gondola to a 1,000m-high observation deck will leave a lasting impression on your family’s vacation memories. On a clear, temperate summer’s day, you’ll even be able to spot Funkawan Bay and the Pacific Ocean.
If you have the nerve for it, a hot air balloon ride can be the crowning glory of your trip to Niseko Village, providing a bird’s eye view of the mountain range some 30m below. Once you are safely back on solid ground, embrace the gifts of the terroir by sampling the seasonal delicacies in the village. Stalks of tender asparagus, ripe and juicy melons, and pearlescent sweetcorn (slathered with Hokkaido’s famously creamy butter) will have you wishing that summer at Niseko could last forever.
For more information, visit www.niseko-village.com
Tree trekking allows thrillseekers to traverse along the treetops with a safety harness using zip lines, ropes, hanging bridges and nets, while a hot-air balloon ride affords a panoramic bird’s-eye view of the Niseko mountain range and Mount Yotei.