Niseko (ニセコ) – is this Japan?

Niseko located on the northern island of Hokkaido, Japan, is fabled for is powder snow. Its the only place in Japan that I’m aware of where English is the primary language and Japanese are the minority.  During ski season, Niseko attracts visitors from around Asia especially Australia – which is on summer break, and China.  Although many times it may not seem like you’re in Japan, the good food and natural hot springs quickly remind you where you are.  In the summer, Niseko attracts more visitor from within Japan.

We arrived in Niesko by train. From Tokyo, it was a comfy ride on the bullet train (Shinkansen) to the southern tip of Hokkaido.  From Hakodate (新函館北斗), we took an express train to Oshamambe (長万部) and then a local train to Kutchan (倶知安), the gateway to Niseko.

Oshamambe and Kutchan are small stations and lack escalators or elevators. So its quite a sight seeing the horde of foreign visitors struggling up and down the overpass stairs with their big suit cases and ski equipment while feeling the same pain.

A monster blizzard hit Hokkaido the day before our departure, causing all planes and trans to be cancelled.  On the day of our departure, we were able to catch a train in the blizzard to Oshamambe but the train to Hakodate got canceled. Fortunately we were able to grab a taxi to Hakodate and make it to Tokyo for dinner.

This entry was posted in Hokkaido, Japan, Photography, ski trips, trains and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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