Niseko: The Established Japanese Ski Spot Sharpening Up Its Act

Niseko: The Established Japanese Ski Spot Sharpening Up Its Act

With its open-powder bowls, exceptional tree runs and sweeping views of Mount Yōtei, Niseko might just be our favourite place to hit the piste. Join us as we explore the Japanese town’s new spa hotel, coolest slopeside bars and award-winning menus


Niseko, Japan.

Why now?

Ready to explore one of the best ski destinations on the planet
but unsure which Japanese resort to make tracks to? Look no further
than the town of Niseko. A well-established Japanese ski hotspot, thanks to its 30 runs, 3
gondolas and 30 lifts, plus guaranteed snowfall, it is being
discovered by a new generation of skiers, largely due to the
arrival of the sparkling new Setsu Niseko hotel. The 2022-opened stay’s 190
guest rooms impress with their Japandi-style interiors – all crisp
linens, clean lines and pale woods. But it’s the spa that truly
makes it a crashpad like no other, with treatments including herbal
healing practices and full-body programmes that promise to soothe
post-piste muscles.

Don’t miss

Between chairlift-hopping, carve out an afternoon to visit the
Shu Ogawara Museum of Art. There, a
light-filled gallery space sees a collection of beautiful works by
local artist Ogawara, who spent much of his career in Niseko. The
building, which was purposefully designed to melt into its
surrounding landscape, makes every part of the three-hour road trip

Niseko, Japan Snowboards
Niseko Japan, Cafe

A rack of snowboards and skis, left, and a dazzling
slopeside view.

Where to stay?

It’s got to be the new Setsu Niseko hotel. Located in a prime
position, just a short stroll from the vibrant Main Street, it
serves as an ideal base for those looking to enjoy the town’s
cultural delights while having a calming oasis to return to. The
real showstopper, however (aside from the spa treatments, brought
to life through a collaboration with award-winning skincare brand
Lapidem Tokyo), is the dining offering, comprising five dazzling
in-house destination restaurants. Michelin-starred chefs plate up
fresh and seasonally sourced seafood in a contemporary chop house;
all-day gastros showcase European-inspired classics; and a
traditional Japanese eatery offers forkfuls of mouthwatering ramen.
The cherry on the cake? An in-house ski rental service sees an
attentive team sorting lift passes and tailored lessons for

Where to go for dinner?

Few things are more satisfying than tearing off your helmet and
settling down for a feast in some snow-buried bothie, but there’s
also much to be said for heading back to base, scrubbing up and
indulging in a cosy dining space. The Barn by
, designed to reflect a traditional Hokkaido farmhouse,
dishes up bistro-style cuisine in a setting characterised by high,
wooden ceilings, floor-to-roof windows and enormous communal
tables. Snag the soul-warming tartiflette – all creamy potatoes,
smoked bacon and onion topped with nutty Reblochon cheese –
alongside an extra-large serving of fries, too, obvs. There’s also
a top-notch veggie menu on standby.

And for a drink…

If there’s one thing more important than ensuring you’ve buckled
up your ski boots correctly, it’s hunting down the hottest après
spots. When it comes to securing an Aperol, visitors to Niseko are
spoilt for choice. There’s the speakeasy-style Bar Gyu+, where a
quirky entrance necessitates crawling through a fridge door, and
the Powder Room, the resort’s first-ever nightclub, where
killer cocktails are served and DJs take to the decks. Also check
out Niseko
, whose craft ales are renowned among local circles as
some of the best in Japan.

Setsu Niseko, Lounge
Setsu Niseko, Afuri

Setsu Niseko lobby bar, left, and sharing plates from their
in-house Afuri restaraunt.

Who to take with you?

That friend who enjoys the après scene just as much as a trip to
the onsen. There’s an abundance of ultra-Zen wellness experiences
here, from hot springs and holistic spas to treatments spanning
sound-healing and hot-stone therapies. We can think of no better
destination for a post-piste recharge.

Essentials to pack

Stylish footwear that we can bounce through the snow in? We’d
never heard of it – until we stumbled upon these gorgeous Isabel Marant shearling snow boots, crafted
with a quilted padded shell and rubber sole. Treat your tootsies to
the ultimate level of warmth and comfort.

How to get there

With no airlines flying direct from the UK to Niseko, we suggest
flying from London Heathrow to Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport. From
there, it’s just under a two-hour drive to Niseko’s powdery

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