Your Guide To A Niseko Summer
Each new month in Niseko brings unique activities, different weather and vibrant atmospheres. No matter when you visit, there will be excitement waiting!
Depending on the timing of your visit you could try one of the two major activities available; the first half of April often still has plenty of snow leftover for spring skiing with discounted lift passes.
The later part of April is best for rafting on the mighty Shiribetsu River flowing through the Niseko area. The surface has defrosted, and snow from the mountains has melted and trickled down into the river to flood the banks and raise the water level much higher than normal. An action-packed ride down the rapids in an inflatable raft should be the first thing on your list in April. Rafting at any other time will be much gentler and require you to paddle, but this month you can get tossed down the river without much effort!
Niseko Adventure Centre (NAC) will be your guide through the rapids
As the snow disappears, spring introduces beautiful flowers to the region. Beginning with sakura season in Japan’s Golden Week in early May. Due to the cooler weather, the cherry blossom bloom lasts longer than in other parts of the country. Flower gardens pop up around the town, and the fresh floral scent of spring fills the air.
Our recommendation is Mr Mishima’s Garden in Kutchan where the ground is covered in pink and white shibazakura flowers. Although it is privately owned, Mr Mishima opens it for tourists to visit free of charge. A visit here will ensure your colourful photos will be perfectly framed with the snow-capped Mount Yotei in the background.
There is a parking lot near the garden, however it is undetermined whether it will be open this summer. As an alternative, we recommend parking in Asahigaoka Park behind Kutchan station. This park also has a walking trail if you would like to have a longer excursion. From Asahigaoka Park to Mr Mishima's Garden, the walk is around 10 minutes.
Mr Mishima's shibazakura garden in Kutchan Town
If you plan to visit this month it would be the time to try out cycling, or some hiking or trekking if you prefer something a little quieter. The weather is not too hot and the roads are not busy with summer road trip traffic yet. Niseko hosts a selection of group rides for all cyclist levels and bike rentals are popular. The snow has also cleared from the slopes for your hike up Mount Annupuri, or one of the many tracks in the area for bushwalks, hikes and bird-watching.
The potato and asparagus fields start to bloom in June and you can discover why summer is affectionately called the “green season” as every landscape turns lush green dotted with colourful flowers.
Experience breathtaking views as you explore the rugged terrain of the Hokkaido wilderness
The temperatures in Niseko are reaching the summer highs this month marking the best season for water activities. Plan a fun day out with a kayak, SUP, ducky, canoe, or a raft on the Shiribetsu River - one of the cleanest rivers in Japan. There are packages available including on-site lunches, and the instructors are well-trained and great with children too.
The warm weather is great for tasting some unique seasonal flavours of ice cream or try Milk Kobo for the best classic Hokkaido milk ice cream in the area, and you can see their impressive sunflower field while you’re there.
July is also a period of long sunny days meaning you could get in a full 18 holes of golf and still have time for a yakiniku barbecue dinner before the sun sets.
Try out a SUP on the tranquil Shiribetsu River
For adrenaline junkies, August is the time for downhill mountain biking when the rains have created a bit of mud to slide in. Whether you are a beginner or experienced rider there is a track suitable for everyone. Rent a mountain bike, ride the gondola up into the clouds and then gun it all the way back down at full speed!
If that thought is terrifying, then simply ditch the bike and ride the gondola on a clear day to take in a spectacular view while you relax on a sofa bed at the Niseko Siesta outdoor lounge.
The middle of summer is the best time for a road trip and from Niseko there are many options for a scenic day trip drive such as Shinsen Marsh, Fukidashi Park, Makkari Shrine, or Goshiki Onsen. August also hosts the Kutchan Jaga festival with lively parades and festivities to celebrate the humble potato and you will surely taste some delicious snacks too!
Get the blood pumping with a ride down Mt Annupuri on a mountain bike
September’s theme in Niseko is trail running as the temperatures have dropped just enough that you aren’t running in the fiercest sun. The NAC Trail Run and Niseko Marathon both take place in September and this year the Niseko Classic cycling race has been postponed to mid-September so it’ll be fitness overload this month – definitely bring your sportswear!
Fruit picking is also a common activity for visitors this month as there are many orchards nearby in Yoichi and Niki. September offers at least 5 different fruit varieties ready to pick including grapes, plums and peaches. Some orchards also offer fresh juices and desserts made with their produce.
Between September 16-19 the Autumn Food Festival will take place in Hirafu. Many stalls will be set up with mouthwatering dishes prepared with local ingredients, and a variety of drinks. Each day brings a selection of live performers to entertain you as you eat and make the most of your time in Niseko.
Register and ride in the Niseko Classic in September 2021
As the cold weather begins to descend on Niseko once again, this is the month for treating yourself to a relaxing autumn getaway in nature. The energetic crowds have departed for the summer and now the peace of Niseko is all yours.
Watch the leaves change colour to the reddish hues on a nature walk, soak in an onsen or mud bath and be pampered with a massage. The Niseko golf season will generally run until the end of October, and some other activities such as horse riding, rafting or kayaking can still go ahead even in the cooler weather.
Halloween welcomes pumpkin decorations around the town, and if you are here at the time you shouldn't miss the Niseko town train station! The building itself resembles a European mountain lodge and the orange pumpkin display makes for a festive background to take your costume photos.
Pamper yourself with an onsen bath followed by a massage at AYA SPA
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