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Niseko Autumn Journey Information • Simply One Cookbook


Uncover the enchanting autumn treasures of Niseko, savor the delectable flavors of Hokkaido’s native delicacies, and indulge within the opulence of its luxurious inns.

Autumn Leaves at Hangetsu Lake with Mt Yotei in the background

Niseko is famend as one in all Japan’s best ski resorts, combining conventional Japanese tradition with modern luxurious. Whereas many guests search to expertise the powder snow in winter, Niseko is usually left untouched throughout the low season. From scenic autumn drives to meals festivals, there’s a lot to do in Niseko apart from snowboarding and snowboarding.

From late September to round mid-October, crimson reds and golden yellows sweep throughout Niseko, making it an exquisite spot to view koyo (紅葉), or autumn foliage.

Shinsen Numa people walking along the boardwalk

I’ll delve extra into Niseko throughout winter in a separate put up. On this information, I need to present you why visiting throughout the remainder of the yr is worth it. So, let’s dive into the motion!

Niseko includes a number of areas, together with Annupuri, Hirafu, Hanazono, and Niseko City, with the neighboring Kutchan city shut by.

The city is characterised by the towering Mount Yotei (1,898 meters), also referred to as the Mount Fuji of Hokkaido.

Mt Yotei at sunrise

The principle attraction is undoubtedly the abundance of high-quality and constant powder snow in winter. Niseko was domestically referred to as a hotspot for winter sports activities and started to achieve worldwide recognition within the Nineteen Nineties. As extra vacationers flocked to the realm to expertise the powder, there was a surge in infrastructure and architectural developments to maintain up with the demand, making it the posh ski resort it’s immediately.

Mount Annupuri with autumn leaves

The world was initially widespread with Australians, but it surely now attracts folks from all all over the world. Hirafu is the hotspot the place winter sports activities lovers can benefit from the close by slopes on Mount Niseko Annupuri and expertise the thriving nightlife.

Mt Yotei and Hirafu view

These days, the inflow of tourists and excessive demand has brought about lodging costs to skyrocket, making it inaccessible for some. 

You could find numerous new buildings being constructed across the space.

Nonetheless, throughout the low season, there are only a few vacationers, permitting you to get pleasure from all of those luxuries at greater than half the fee.

Downtown Hirafu

Learn how to get to Niseko

Automotive

There are two routes to succeed in Niseko from Sapporo. The primary entails touring south in direction of Jozankei, by way of Nakayama Move to Makkari City, a surprising scenic drive taking roughly one hour and 45 minutes.

The choice possibility is to drive as much as Otaru after which down into Niseko. This selection takes roughly one hour and half-hour. It may be a good selection if you wish to make a cease and revel in a few of Otaru’s points of interest and seafood.

I all the time want driving by way of Nakayama Move as a result of I like driving by way of the mountains.

Straight road leading to Mt Yotei

Practice

To get to Niseko from Sapporo Station, take the Hakodate Line – Niseko Liner Speedy heading in direction of Kutchan. The journey takes roughly 2 hours and 20 minutes, with a one-way price of two,100 yen. In sure conditions, you would possibly want to change trains at Otaru Station.

It’s price noting {that a} Shinkansen line is presently underneath development, with plans for completion set for 2031!

Bus

Ranging from the clock tower, located simply south of Sapporo Station, you may catch the Chuo Bus heading in direction of Niseko Ikoi no Yujuku Iroha. The journey takes slightly below three hours and the fare is 2,130 yen.

The general public transportation within the Niseko space is proscribed, which could pose challenges in reaching the precise areas I’ll spotlight on this put up.

ICOR Niseko

After a one-and-a-half-hour automotive journey from Sapporo, I looked for a spot to take a break. In Niseko, there are quite a few trendy, fashionable, and modern buildings, one in all which is ICOR Niseko, designed by Go Hasegawa.

ICOR is a magnificence care model that “incorporates the snow-melted spring water of Mount Yotei and the pure blessings of Hokkaido nurtured by its stunning water.” 

The inside showcases a wide selection of their magnificence merchandise, some completely accessible on the Niseko retailer. Adjoining to this, there’s a café providing beauty-conscious snacks and drinks.

ICOR Cosmetic products

Whereas the concrete construction stands in distinction to the encompassing nature, the incorporation of picket beams and columns, together with its curved form, helps harmonize it with Niseko’s pure setting.

Utilizing netting as partitions, the design permits guests to relish the cool breeze, the sound of close by trickling water from the river, and the melodies of singing birds, seamlessly mixing the shop with nature. On clearer days, the netting is eliminated, enabling a whole immersion in Niseko’s pure magnificence from the café.

Prune Juice and ice cafe latte

Prune juice and ice cafe latte.

Niseko Michi-no-Eki

Shut by ICOR is Niseko’s michi-no-eki, referred to as roadside stations. You could find these all throughout Japan and infrequently promote native merchandise, meals, and drinks. 

Within the free house, you may get pleasure from small takeout retailers, and a farmer’s market promoting produce from native producers in Niseko.

Pumpkins on a barrel at Niseko roadside station

Once I went, the entire market was filled with potatoes, which Niseko is known for. The plentiful land and wealthy soil due to the plentiful powder snow, which brings vitamins to the soil. Throughout winter, the rising potatoes are additionally buried underneath all of the snow, which helps activate the enzymes making them even sweeter.

I picked up a field of Kita Akari potatoes which can be distinctive for his or her candy style. Aren’t they wonderful?

Across the Michi-no-eki, you can too discover a gelato store, bakery, an natural cafe, and plenty of extra.

Hozuki Udon

It was time for some lunch and a good friend dwelling in Niseko advisable Hozuki Udon. It’s a small and comfy restaurant situated on the base of Mount Yotei. 

Hozuki Udon shop exterior

One of many advisable dishes is the Toriten (rooster tempura) Bukkake Udon for simply 950 yen (6.50 USD). You’ll be able to pay 100 yen (0.70 USD) for a bigger measurement. 

What a discount it was. The toriten was crispy, juicy within the center, and coated in a candy, salty, and sticky sauce. The chilly udon noodles got here with a housemade dashi broth, shishito pepper and carrot tempura, grated daikon radish, ginger, and a few scallions.

Chicken tempura bukake udon

The udon had the proper chew, with every noodle wrapped within the scrumptious dashi broth. The addition of the daikon radish and ginger gave an additional kick.

I’ve to say, Hozuki Udon was one of many best-valued and engaging udon dishes I’ve ever had in Japan!

Sprout

What higher strategy to finish a meal than with a espresso? 

Round 5 minutes down the highway from Hozuki Udon is Kutchan City. You’ll have the ability to discover numerous retailers, supermarkets, and eating places, one in all which is Sprout. For these coming by prepare, it’s proper subsequent to Kutchan Station.

Subsequent to it’s a small natural store, promoting quite a lot of spices, herbs, nuts, and an entire host of different components. Niseko has a excessive inhabitants of foreigners and also you’ll discover many eating places and retailers catered to them. You could find many several types of cuisines and components that you simply usually can’t discover in Sapporo.

Inside of an organic shop

Anyway, I picked up my espresso from Sprout and made my method.

Shinsen Numa Marsh

The subsequent cease was Shinen Numa Marsh to get a glimpse of Niseko’s autumn leaves. The marsh is one in all many within the space however is undoubtedly probably the most picturesque. Its title interprets to ‘mystical marsh’ in Japanese, and folklore says that Gods and forest hermits reside right here.

The drive as much as the marsh takes you deep into Niseko’s mountains, the place you may benefit from the picturesque panorama. 

There was a small relaxation home at Goshiki Onsen, the place you may admire the encompassing surroundings.

The drive then takes you alongside the Niseko Panorama Line and up into the mountains, revealing vantage factors down into the city.

The doorway to Shinsen Numa Marsh and log cabin, the place you may calm down with meals and drinks.

Shinsen Numa wooden building

On one aspect, yow will discover an observatory looking over Iwanai Metropolis and the Sea of Japan.

On the opposite aspect, you’ll discover the doorway to the marsh.

Shinsen Numa entrance sign

There’s a slim picket path resulting in the marsh, which takes round 10 minutes. 

Shinsen Numa wooden pathway lined with autumn leaves

It then opens as much as the dream-like wetlands. With nothing however the sound of the cool autumn breeze, the sound of chirping birds, and the creek of the boardwalk as you make your strategy to the top of the marsh.

It was the proper time to see all the colourful autumn colours.

Shinsen Numa people walking along the boardwalk

On the finish of the marsh is a picket signal for taking footage and some benches to calm down.

Shinsen numa Marsh sign with autumn leaves

Through the stroll again, the skies cleared up and was greeted with warming autumn climate.

Niseko Takahashi Dairy Farm MILK KOBO

One in every of Niseko’s hottest spots is Takahashi Dairy Farm MILK KOBO. In 1970, Mamoru Takahashi began dairy farming and rapidly grew to become profitable. Nonetheless, in 1990, milk costs plummeted, placing Takahashi’s enterprise in jeopardy. Numerous gallons of milk had been wasted. As a substitute of closing the enterprise, he banded collectively along with his household and began Milk Kobo.

Niseko Takahashi Dairy Farm MILK KOBO ice cream shop

They began by making ice lotions and choux cream puffs, which had been an on the spot hit. Daily, Milk Kobo gained reputation and into the thriving farm it’s immediately.

You could find the ice cream store, which sells tender serve, gelato, and every kind of dairy merchandise from cheese to yogurt drinks.

There’s a cake and chocolate store, a vegetable store, and a craft store, in addition to two completely different eating places.

Niseko Takahashi Dairy Farm MILK KOBO baumkuchen and chocolate store exterior

The primary is Prativo, a recent produce buffet and the opposite is Mandriano, a pizza restaurant with a built-in cheese manufacturing facility.

Across the grounds, you may benefit from the seasonal flowers, the hay bale, and the tractor photograph spot, all underneath the watchful eye of Mount Yotei.

Hangetsu Lake and Niseko Autumn Meals Competition

Sadly, I didn’t have the time to go to Hangetsu Lake however it’s one other widespread spot to admire the autumn leaves. Hangetsu means “Half Moon” lake, due to its crescent form. 

Surrounded by a dense forest, the volcanic lake is ideal for a fast hike and having fun with the view of Mount Yotei. Listed below are some footage from after I went a number of years in the past.

Additionally, in mid-September, there’s the Niseko Autumn Meals Competition. Over a dozen of Niseko’s best eating places come collectively to create a energetic competition, utilizing the autumn harvest, full with music and dancing.

Niseko Autumn Food Festival Staff

Enjoyable truth, I labored in Niseko and helped on the competition in 2018! 

You too can journey a gondola up Mount Niseko Annupuri, providing a panoramic view of the complete Niseko space and Mount Yotei. Sadly, after I was there, they weren’t working because of robust winds.

For thrill-seekers, there are a number of journey facilities the place you may get pleasure from actions resembling mountaineering, mountain biking, and rafting down the Shiribetsu River.

Setsu Niseko

Round Hirafu, yow will discover numerous inns, condominiums, and lodges to remain at. One of many explanation why I like visiting Niseko within the low season is that every one of those inns are significantly cheaper than in winter, with fewer folks so you may benefit from the peaceable nature.

Setsu Niseko is likely one of the newer inns that mixes modern structure with Japanese custom. 

The room got here outfitted with its personal kitchen, fridge, and washer, making it a implausible spot for a protracted keep. 

From the balcony, I had an undisturbed view of Mount Yotei so I might benefit from the nighttime view and stars.

Mt Yotei at night with starry sky

The room has no bathtub as they encourage you to benefit from the onsen. On the time of reservation or check-in, you can too reserve one complimentary use of the personal onsen.

Private onsen

Meals Choices Close by Setsu Niseko

There are a number of eating places to get pleasure from resembling Ramen Afuri, a well-liked ramen store yow will discover in Tokyo. Or Tempura Araki, the sister store of the 2 Michelin-star eating places in Sapporo.

Afuri restaurant exterior

I made a decision to go for méli mélo, a European-style restaurant utilizing regionally sourced produce.

The inside of the restaurant is intimate and trendy, with glass home windows working down the aspect revealing a glimpse of Mount Yotei.

You could find some native crafted gins in addition to iconic whisky’s. After a protracted day touring, there was no higher strategy to calm down than with a regionally brewed beer. For dinner, I had deep-fried Niseko potatoes, backyard salad, braised oxtail ragu pasta, and Hokkaido wagyu rump steak with horseradish and kale.

Within the morning, I awoke early to see the solar rise slowly behind Mount Yotei.

The buffet breakfast, held at méli mélo, had a number of Japanese and Western kinds.

It was top-of-the-line breakfast buffets I’ve had in Japan.

Setsu Niseko has all the pieces you want for a protracted and cozy keep—from a completely outfitted gymnasium, a soothing lounge, and a courtyard the place you may benefit from the autumn leaves.

The general resort expertise was implausible. The inside of the foyer, rooms, and eating places was trendy and smooth. The meals, the stress-free onsens, and the magical views of Mount Yotei had been unforgettable. The room and breakfast price an affordable 36,400 yen (240 USD).

So, that was my autumn journey to Niseko! There’s much more to discover, and I like to recommend staying there for a few days. Whether or not you exit mountain climbing or calm down at your resort and soak within the onsens, Niseko is a implausible getaway from cities like Sapporo and Hakodate.

I’ll have a winter information out, displaying you ways the realm transforms right into a winter wonderland for all skiers and snowboarders. Keep tuned!

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