3-Day Mountain Getaway to Niseko, Japan
Niseko is the cutest ski town you will ever visit. After a short flight from Japan's main island, find yourself eating the best food a ski mountain can offer. From dumplings to sushi to ramen, you'll be sure to fuel up in style. Niseko is home of the fluffiest snow, onsens with a view and fun nightlife. Warm up after a particularly freezing day of skiing by drinking warm sake and soaking in your hotel's onsen.
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Where to stay
Mountain lodge in Niseko with mountain views and a fireside lounge.
The Vale Niseko
Ski-in, ski-out hotel in Niseko comprised of suites with luxury amenities.
Design-forward boutique ski-in, ski-out hotel at the foot of Niseko Mountain Resort.
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Day 1: Go skiing & explore the town
Wake up, eat breakfast and head to Rhythm Ski & Snowboard Shop. They have a coffee bar inside, so order some espresso while you get fitted for boots. No need to bring your own skis or snowboard. Rhythm has all of the bells and whistles. You’re likely to rent the same gear you have at home. You can even check ahead and reserve if you’d like.
After you rent your gear you'll need to get tickets. Even if you have an IKON pass, you need to get a temporary ticket from the ticket counter. There are a few on the base of Grand Hirafu.
Spend the day on the mountain. For lunch make your way to the backside. They have fun beer towers to warm you up and their lunch service includes fresh ramen. Can you name anything better when its snowing?!
After your first day of *hopefully* knee deep power, head to your hotel and relax. If your hotel has an onsen spend as much time as possible soaking in the relaxing vibes and take in the view.
Bundle up and head out to explore the town. It gets dark really early (around 4pm) and has sub zero temps. Snow shoes, beanies gloves and appropriate winter gear is essential here.
Make a reservation at The Barn for dinner. Located in downtown Hirafu. Walk around town before dinner and check out shops, bars and the quaint houses buried in snow.
You'll likely be exhausted after dinner and tomorrow's your first full day on the mountain. Go to your hotel, get some rest and take it easy!
Day 2: Another day on the slopes
Wake up early and hit the slopes. Check to see when the gondola starts spinning. If it snowed over night you will definitely want to be one of the first in line. On your way to the lifts, grab some coffee at local shops or food trucks.
If you found great trees and powder yesterday, amazing! Go check out new snow or go with what you know. You can't go wrong. Spend the day with your friends on the mountain. Go to Hana 1 Cafe for dumplings, coffee and or ramen.
Head back to the hotel. Onsen. Layer up. Head to Bay Gyu for après - a speakeasy that has a small little refrigerator as its front door. Once you go inside you're in a cozy little bar with amazing cocktails and Japanese whiskey sure to warm you up. Their hot toddy's are to die for!
Go to Freddie's for dinner. A casual, fun BBQ spot that will fill you up after a day of skiing. Freddie's livens up with a DJ and fun crowd and has excellent beer on tap.
Day 3: Enjoy après after a day of skiing
Depending on the snow and how you're feeling take the morning easy or head to the gondola first thing. An onsen first thing could feel great on day three.
Spend the third day on the mountain with your powder friends. Whenever you get tired head to après right away. Yes, in your ski gear! Part of the fun of après. Blo*Blo is a cozy bar with gyoza and cocktails or head straight to Wild Bill's happy hour from 3pm to 5:30pm daily.
Head to the hotel, shower, warm up and head out to A Bu Cha 2 for dinner - a classic hot pot restaurant for dinner.
After dinner go back to Wild Bill's. The DJ and crowds start rolling in around 10pm. Loosen up on the dance floor and make friends with the locals or Aussies that are sure to have taken over the place by now.
Other restaurants & bars that I enjoy in Niseko:
Milk Kobo for dessert.
Ezo Seafoods Niseko.
Snow Beer Park - food trucks in Hirafu village.
Bo-yo-so - closest to Chairlift No.1.
Tips for traveling to Niseko
Fly into Japan. Niseko is a short flight north of Japan.
I highly recommend organizing a shuttle with your hotel or a company to pick you up when you land. You’ll land sea level at a tiny airport and drive up the mountain - about an hour and a half. Having this organized is key after a long travel day.
You'll likely land late. Check in with the hotel and get to bed! Coordinate arrival time with your hotel so they can leave food for you if you land in the wee hours.
You'll want to stay in Hirafu village. This is the central location in Niseko with the best restaurants, bars and walking distance to the lifts.
Need to Know
For more travel inspiration, check out my guide to Lake Tahoe: 3 Days like a Local in Lake Tahoe.
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