Many of you already know it, some have been there, many talk about it and too many people would like to go!
I’m talking about Hokkaido, an island in Japan in the far north. The island is located almost on the border with Siberia and over the years it has become the Mecca of powder. Thanks to the Siberian currents that bring cold and snow, in fact, on this island in January and February it snows a lot.
In this article I try to answer some curiosities and questions about our short but intense journey and to illustrate our itinerary.
Day 1: Street Kart in Tokyo
Day 2: Niseko Night Ski
The next day we flew to Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido Prefecture, in 1 hour. There we met our friend Pascal.
We decided to rent a motorhome through Arigato Campervan. It was actually like in a slightly larger car as the bathroom didn’t work and we didn’t even have water. That is why we parked in the supermarket parking lots in the evening to make ourselves more comfortable. In any case, no one blinked when entering dirty dishes in 7Eleven.
Day 3: Freeride in Niseko
The next day we spent it on the slopes in Niseko. One of our former colleagues from the ski school, Björn, has lived there for years and that’s why we let him guide us for some freeride.
The best part of the day was definitely putting your skis on your shoulder, going up the volcano, and then going down the opposite side.
The worst? Losing the GoPro under three meters of powder!
On our return we went to an On-sen in Niseko, the so-called Japanese baths. It is definitely worth experiencing and reading about this Japanese tradition.
Another thing that I recommend is a Japanese whiskey in the so-called Fridge Bar. The owner of this bar had thrown the fridge on the street because he was annoyed of the fact that the bar was not that popular. Since then, the refrigerator has become a door.
Day 4: Skitouring on Mt. Shiribetsu
We start with a simple route that is about half an hour away from Niseko but has beautiful snow.
You reach this volcano after about 500 m through a magical forest. We don’t think we can reach the summit as it is quite windy and instead … I’ll take home a summit and a frozen nose!
What a satisfaction!
Day 5: freeride in Rusutsu
Today we stay in the same area and go skiing in Rusutsu, the second most important resort in the area of Sapporo.
Personally, I liked it a lot more than Niseko: there were fewer people and therefore the snow was better.
We ski until 1 p.m. and then go hunting for souvenirs in the Rusutsu Resort & Convention Center, a very nice resorts up in the mountains. The goal is to stay fit for the next day of hiking on Mount Yotei.
I recommend this resort for families with children as it is a real fun resort. There are several shops, bars and restaurants, playrooms, an area for children with real animals, the ski school, a climbing hall, a swimming pool … and certainly everything else that a dream hotel should have.
Dinner at the Izakaya Tanpopo Restaurant, the best restaurant of the whole vacation.
Day 6: Mt. Yotei
You have to be lucky to climb the top of this volcano, the locals say. Sometimes the weather doesn’t allow it, sometimes people get too tired. Pascal and Andrea were successful and even on a sunny day.