My nephew, Matt, ringing the bell at Hanazono Niseko ski resort
Most people don’t associate Asia with skiing! When you think of going skiing, Aspen, Vail, Zermatt, the Alps, pop into your mind. But, in a little town in the northern island of Hokkaido, Japan, Asia has it’s own little skiing paradise called Niseko.
Getting to Niseko from Hong Kong is quite easy, it’s a 3 ½ hour plane ride to Sapporo, then a 2 ½ hours ride either in a rented car or a shuttle bus. Everyone speaks English in Niseko as it was “founded” by Australian ski bums who would flock here during the Australian summer months. The skiing is fabulous – powder snow everywhere, 38 lifts and 48 kms of ski runs, but without the long queues! The Apres ski of Niseko is also wonderful – there are a multitude of hot springs (Onsens) to choose from where you can soak your weary limbs or if that doesn’t suit your fancy, you can find a quaint café to sit at or have a drink at a bar and play some pool. The dinner scene is also worth a note as one can definitely eat very well. The list of restaurants are too many to list, but it is safe to say there is something for everyone from fusion and French to a surreal German-Swiss house serving mouthwatering sandwiches and “heavy on the hips” cakes! And of course , you cannot overlook the comfort food of a great bowl of Japanese ramen.
So, if you find yourself in Asia and are looking for some winter fun Niseko should be at the top of your list. We are going again this Christmas and I can’t wait!
About the author:
Haj Wilcox is my younger sister who lives in Hong Kong with her husband, Raphael, and two boys, Zach and Matt. While Hong Kong serves as a home base, the family spends a good amount of their time traveling to all four corners of the globe.