This is Day 4 at Niseko of the 8-Day Hokkaido Itinerary. You may come from…
–Hokkaido Self-Drive Preplanning
–Day 1 at Noboribetsu
–Days 2 and 3 at Lake Toya and Hakodate
-The information of the food mentioned in this itinerary can be found at What to Eat at Niseko Hokkaido.
Ok, here’s a brief introduction to Niseko before I give the itinerary away. This introduction is important because it helps you decide if you want to skip Niseko. (But we had lots of fun here, so I highly encourage you to go.)
Niseko is known as a skiing town for their powdery snow. It is rated the second snowiest resort in the world. If you want to ski, you’ll have to plan 3 to 5 days here during mid December to mid March. Most people stay at Grand Hirafu area. More info on skiing here.
In summer, there are activities like water rafting, cycling, and hiking, but most shops will be closed since they cater mostly for winter.
We went in early Nov, and even though we didn’t ski, Niseko is still amazing. There are many things to do. Throughly enjoyed it. Here’s the itinerary:
9 a.m. Start your 3-hour drive from Hakodate to Niseko.
12.30 p.m. Hopefully you can reach Niseko at 12.30pm and catch the lunch semi-buffet at Prativo. It’s highly recommended because it serves fresh produce found in Hokkaido, so you can get a sample of the local food.
After that, cam-whore around the building for a while like we did. You’ll have Mount Moiwa in the background. Mount Moiwa is known as the Mount Fuji of Hokkaido and it is magnificent and awe-inspiring.
When you feel like you have taken enough photos, explore the other buildings before Prativo. In particular, Milk Kobo. (Their farm is next door and they produce their milk products like puffs and award-winning yogurt.)
So don’t eat so much for the buffet and leave some stomach space for the puffs. Screw that. Eat as much as you want for the buffet and then buy the milk products for your tea. There are also some activities at Milk Kobo as such ice-cream making. Visit their website for more info.
After you have explored this area, there are many farms you can visit. We visited a cheese farm, which was meh. There are also some quirky shops at Hirafu (you’ll have to drive there) including:
–Cocoroya: Japanese knickknacks
–Gift Shop Niseko: Ainu artworks by indigenous people in Hokkaido
–Lucky Kutchan supermarket: they sell more than groceries, they have clothes and accessories. Within the supermarket, there is a 100-yen shop.
–More shops here.
4 p.m: Check into your hotel and visit your (usually free) hotel onsen for a quick dip. We stayed at Hilton Niseko. Niseko Tourism Board uses Hilton’s onsen photo as their cover photo (see above)… so yea, it was pretty amazing to see Mount Moiwa amidst all the coniferous trees in the snow.
We also managed a quick snowball fight and a stroll in the park beside our hotel Hilton.
7 p.m.: Dinner. We wanted to go to Bang Bang but they were closed, so we went to a local izakaya recommended by the hotel staff, 居酒屋 次郎長 Izakaya Jirouchou, which was fantastic. Remember don’t drink and drive. Have a designated driver.
8.30 a.m.: Take a quick onsen bath at your hotel. Enjoy your hotel facilities.
10 a.m.: Check out of the hotel and drive out for breakfast. We had a great meal at Graubunden.
You may be interested in…
–10 Must-Eat Food in Hokkaido
–Four Fish Markets in Southern Hokkaido: Hakodate, Otaru, and Sapporo
–Otaru Rakuten らく天: Fantastic Izakaya with a Michelin Bib Gourmand
–Tour at Nikka Whisky Distillery Hokkaido: Free Shots of Whisky Here!
Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.