A ski holiday can be tough on your body and you will probably want a day or two to relax, or maybe you have non skiers in your party and you want to take some time off to explore the beautiful area around Hokkaido Prefecture & Niseko? Here are some ideas for a day away from the slopes.
Day trip to Otaru
If you have a spare day during your ski trip to Niseko then a day trip to the city of Otaru is definitely worth a visit and is a real change of scenery. Once a major trade and fishing port with many of the historical buildings and warehouses standing today as beautiful reminders of the past and now house popular bars and restaurants. Otaru is famous for delicious sushi, locally brewed beer, ice cream, glasswork, music boxes, sake distilleries and antique shopping. Take a walk or a ride along the cities main attraction-Otaru Canal and be sure to stop by the Steam Clock on the hour.
If you are advanced on the slopes, looking to head away from the lifts and want to be rewarded with possibly some of the best snow conditions of your life then we highly recommend a backcountry tour.
There are several highly qualified, knowledgeable operators in Niseko who will take you on some epic runs whilst keeping you safe. You’ll get to ride some unique terrain in some of the driest and deepest snow on earth in total privacy.
Give your skis or board a rest (and legs) and have a go at snowmobiling, a fantastic alternative to enjoying Niseko’s powder snow. Get taught the mechanics and safety procedures before heading out to the resort’s snowy playground. After your introduction and you are comfortable you are free to ride. Tours usually offer 60 minutes of riding.
Single riders must be 13 years or over and generally children must be at least 7 years old and a minimum of 120 cm tall to ride tandem with an adult 18 years or older.
Enjoy visiting the many fantastic onsens throughout Hirfau and Niseko Villages. Most hotels have an onsen free for use for hotel guests, however if you’re not staying at the property you can usually still make use of their facilities with a small fee (usually around 1,000 Yen per adult).
The onsens are a great place to visit after a long day on the slopes. The hot spring water aids your recovery and relieves stress on your well worked muscles.
Some recommended onsens to visit; Niseko Prince Hotel Hirafutei Onsen, Ki Niseko Onsen, Green Leaf Hotel Onsen, Hilton Niseko Village Onsen, Yugokorotei Onsen, and Hotel Kanronomori Onsen. There’s plenty more amazing onsens to visit. Ask your friendly accommodation staff for their local recommendations.
Tip: Look to take your own towels to avoid paying additional fees.
Day trip to Rusutsu Ski Resort
Located just 40 minutes from Niseko, Rusutsu features the same quantities of snowfall without the crowds. Rusutsu features a variety of terrain for all abilities, but it’s powder and perfectly gladed tree runs are its major draw card.
To get to Rusutsu you can take the shuttle bus from Hirafu Welcome Centre. There’s also an option to have a transport and lift pass package for your convenience.