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See & Do | Japan

Powder Chasers Paradise Words by Michelle Gross

One mountain comprised of four major resort areas including Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village, Annupuri and Hanazono

Once a secret escape for Asia’s die hard powder seeker set, today, Niseko Village on Japan’s northern-most island of Hokkaido, has been garnering international attention due the abundance of fresh snow, gourmet eateries, and a vibrant après ski scene. With an average snowfall of 50-feet per year and more than 2,000 acres of skiable terrain, Niseko is not only considered the powder capital of the world, but with a variety of Michelin-rated restaurants, brewpubs and a thriving onsen culture, whether you’re on or off the slopes, Niseko is quickly becoming a cultural destination worth visiting in its own right.

Where to Stay

Set at the base of Niseko Village, Kasara Niseko Village Townhouse is a collection of high end luxury townhouses great for groups or families. Equipped with a full kitchen and heated storage area for winter gear, accommodations are designed to reflect their natural surroundings while providing all the traditional Japanese style bells and whistles. Part of the YTL Hotel group, guests of Kasara also receive complimentary access to enjoy the onsen at neighboring Green Leaf and Hilton hotels. Neatly nestled along Annupuri mountain and with direct views of Mt. Yotei in the distance, The Green Leaf Niseko Village is a charming ski in ski out resort with a beautiful outdoor hot spring and an excellent buffet at their on-site restaurant, Goshiki, available for breakfast lunch and dinner.

Where to Eat & Drink

Snow may be the main attraction in Niseko, however the area is dotted with an array of excellent food and après ski bars to choose from. Don’t miss Soba master Tatsuru Rai’s, Rakuichi Soba, for some of the most sought after noodles in town (if not the world.) For dinner post up at a local Izakaya for fresh seafood, Japanese style barbeque, and whatever you do, don’t miss Takahashi Farm Milk Kobo for some freshly baked cream puffs and homemade ice cream. Après ski is a way of life in Niseko and there’s no better place than Bar Gyu where you’ll enter through a refrigerator door into a warm and cozy hideaway serving up some of Niseko’s best craft cocktails and beer.

Other Snow-loving Activities

Snowmobiling, cat skiing, and guided snowshoe tours are popular wintertime activities in Niseko and can be booked with Essentialist’s travel designers. If you’re interested in exploring the area beyond Niseko, book a tour or take a drive to Otaru, a historic canal side town known for their freshly caught seafood and beautiful hand-blown glasswork.

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