Although the biggest attraction in Niseko is it’s skiing, after some time on the slopes, you’ll be feeling a bit stiff and sore. If you’re looking for some time off from the physical toll skiing takes on your body, there is some great sightseeing and attractions nearby. Although there’s nothing wrong with sipping sake by the fire, it’s great to get out there and experience some of Japan’s unique culture and ancient history. Niseko attractions range from natural and geothermal attractions to historical, cultural and hands-on attractions.
No visit to Japan is complete without experiencing the traditional onsen hot spring baths and a soak in one of these is also the perfect remedy for sore muscles. Many resorts feature their own onsite onsens and there are also public onsens dotted around the village. The Konu and Annuprui areas feature a large concentration of onsens and there are a number of shuttle services to get there.
Aside from snowball throwing, there are also a lot of child-friendly activities available included dedicated snow parks with kids toys. For older children (and adventurous adults) there’s also indoor rock-climbing, dog sledding, zip lining, snow mobiling and snow rafting. You’ll find many of these activities on offer in Hirafu, Annupuru and Hanazono.
If you’re visiting in early February you’re in for a treat as this is when the Sapporo Snow Festival comes to town. Visitors love to see the huge statues and incredibly detailed sculptures, all created from ice. Other popular Niseko attractions include day trips to the seaside town of Otaru, Lake Toya and Mount Usu.
Otaru is an interesting place offering quirky Japanese shops, historic canals, a seafood market and the novelty of seeing snow at sea level. Visitors can catch the train from Kutchan taking an hour to an hour and a half to reach Otaru, which is easily explored on foot. Day trips to Lake Toya are also popular, with this natural attraction conveniently located just 45 minutes from Niseko. A volcanic caldera lake, Lake Toya is well worth a visit and is associated with the very active volcano of Mount Usu, which last erupted in 2000. There are a number of onsens in this geothermal region as well as a museum highlighting fascinating information about the lake and mountain.