So you’ve booked your accommodation in Niseko and you’re all geared up for the slopes. Oh yes, oh-yes, OH YES, you’re going to ride that scenic gondola, jump off ski lifts, and whiz through the pistes.
But, what if we told you, there’s more to the Niseko experience that that precious #JaPow?
That’s right, gather your elders and button up your rosy cheeked cherubs, here are (only) a dozen activities you can do together as a family!
#1 Learn how to make soba noodles
Take a break from the snow and experience traditional Japanese soba making! Soba noodles are made of buckwheat and are delicious both hot and cold. Learn the art of mixing and kneading Soba noodles in the comfort of your own winter home-away-from-home.
Location: Your property of choice. Check availability and rates with our Nomad Trip Curators at [email protected]
Cost: From JPY 12,500 per person.
#2 Get in with the cool kids at Niseko Kid’s Club
Mini Luxe Nomads deserve more than regular babysitting. At the Niseko Kid’s Club your little ones will be introduced to snow and taught practical skills like putting on their snow gear in a fun environment. They will also learn about Hokkaido and Japanese culture via art and music. These cool kids also head outdoors for snow play, tubing and sledding and go on adventures such as tree trekking!
Location: AYA Niseko and Hanazono 308
Cost: Little Bugs (ages 12 – 35 months) from JPY 12,000 for 3 hours and Forest Animals (ages 3 – 6 years) from JPY 9,000 for 3 hours. Full day programmes available.
#3 Go on a snowmobile adventure
You don’t have to train your glutes to take in the local scenery. Jump on a snowmobile for a tour over snowfields and through the striking snow-covered trees overlooking Kutchan and the surrounding valley. Don’t forget your neck warmers, gloves, and goggles!
Also, whip around in a snow raft. Sit in a rubber boat that’s being towed by a snowmobile swerving left and right, hopping up and down bumps and pistes. It’s almost like your own personal roller coaster.
Location: Hanazono or Kutchan at the base of Mount Yotei
Cost: Differs per location. Rates start from JPY 8,500 for 30 minutes on a single-seater to JPY 20,000 per hour for a tandem snowmobile.
Other things to note: Operates from 7 December 2019 – 31 March 2020 from 9AM to 3PM.
#4 Stroll along the Otaru Canal
Approximately an hour and twenty minutes from Niseko, Otaru is the picturesque port town of Hokkaido with an interesting history. The canal twists throughout and is flanked by quaint ageing warehouses that once-upon-a-time was a hotspot for international trade and craft production.
Other things to note: Don’t forget to swing by the Sankaku Fish Market for lunch to taste some of the world’s best sushi or swing by the Nikka Yoichi Whiskey Distillery. Both places operate between 9AM to 5PM. Just ask our Concierge Team to arrange a day tour for you.
#5 Take a turn at the Music Box Museum
Housed in a building built in 1912 and heralded by a 5.5-meter clock tower that chimes hourly and plays music every 15-minutes, this museum houses more than 25,000 ancient and modern music boxes. The museum showcases mechanical instruments from as early as the 1600s with exhibits on the delicate and exquisite craftsmanship of music boxes.
Other things to note: The museum operates from 9AM to 6PM daily. You can arrange a day tour here.
#6 Embark on a culinary adventure with HOKKAIDian Homestead
Will work for food. Especially if it’s HOKKAIDian Homestead’s immersive dining adventure workshop! Have the family experience preparing raw seafood and delectable Japanese desserts with top quality ingredients that come directly from farmers and fishermen with Ian and Bastien. Unless you prefer to venture out to Date, Hokkaido, the team will now come to you!
Location: HOKKAIDian Homestead, Date or the lovely kitchen that comes with your Niseko accommodation
Cost: JPY 23,800 per person adult, JPY 15,000 per child (ages 6 – 12)
Additional things to note: The minimum spend is JPY 190,400 for 8 adults. Children only count once this has been met. Raw seafood is only to be handled by those ages 12 and above but the team are happy to prepare separate menus for younger children. You would need about 3.5 – 4 hours to enjoy this experience.
#7 Build a snowman
What’s a winter holiday with the kids without at least one snowman? Pack a little snow between your hands and keep on adding snow until it’s too heavy and then start rolling it into a giant ball. Repeat, add in some pebbles for eyes, and twigs for hands. Sling some snowballs at each other while you’re at it!
Pro tip: Build the snowman on a flat space under some shade—less sunlight means your new winter buddy melts (a little) slower.
#8 Spend some time snow tubing
Here’s a fun and easy activity that everyone can enjoy. Snuggle into your inflated donut and slide down the hillside! Hanazono Tube Park even has a magic carpet that transports you and the kids back up the hill so you can whisk down again. Snow tubing is great for everyone aged three and up.
There are also toboggans and sleds that are great introductions to toddlers who are a tad too young to join in the fun at ski school.
Cost: JPY 2,500 per person.
Other things to note: Operates between 9AM – 4PM until 7 April 2020 depending on the weather. Pre-booking is not required.
#9 Make ice cream
Some things know no season, and when better to make ice cream than during winter! Less chance for accidental drips right? Takashi Farm Milk Kobo offers workshops for visitors who would like to learn how to make ice cream, or simply experience that dairy farm life. Stop by the cafe for fresh cream puffs, cakes, yoghurt, cheese, and more on your way back. You can burn the calories off on the ski slopes.
Other things to note: The milk farm operates from 9AM to 6PM daily. You can arrange a day tour here.
#10 Try an onsen a day
Niseko has some spectacular indoor and outdoor boutique onsens. The oldest hotspring has been open since 1899! You’ll have your choice from old school, natural, and traditional hot springs, to sleek, minimalist, and modern options, both indoors and outdoors. Do you really need a reason to soak in mineral-rich, geothermal water that (may) cure aches and stimulate deep healing?
Other things to note: Our Concierge Team can arrange private onsen tours for you. You can stop by the public Yuki Chi Chibu Onsen or experience other traditional onsens.
Cost: From JPY 3,500 to JPY 8,500 per adult.
Other things to note: Total duration is three hours for 3 – 6 persons. Drinks and more at additional cost.
#11 Join a snowshoe tour
Looking for a new way to explore the great outdoors at Niseko? Strap on a pair of snowshoes and wander out—with a guide of course! A snowshoe tour gives you the unique experience of trekking through the wintry landscape at your own pace. If you really want to up the game, surprise the children with a night tour instead. Experience hiking under stars or with soft snow fluttering down onto your cheeks. It’s great for children ages six and up.
Location: Lake Hangetsu
Cost: From JPY 8,000 per person for a group tour. Group tours need a minimum of 2 persons to run. Private tours for up to 4 persons cost JPY 35,000.
#12 Stay for a festival
The annual Sapporo Snow Festival attracts over two million visitors with hundreds of beautiful snow statues and ice sculptures every February. Otaru also has its own Snow Light Path Festival which finds the snow-covered town alight with glittering lanterns.
#13 Dine in with the family
Niseko Gourmet offers private chef services in the comfort of your own chalet or apartel. Choose 6 to 8 dishes from the menu and enjoy family time in front of the fireplace while the chef whips up your gourmet meal for you.