Lonely Planet's Best Asian Destination for 2016

Lonely Planet praises Hokkaido's amazing year-round beauty, food, and opportunity for adventure!

Lonely Planet writer Simon Richmond provides a bit of perspective on why Hokkaido was named the number one "Best in Asia" destination, and of his own personal love for the destination having lived in Japan for many years himself. For more about Simon Richmond, please see his personal site and full bio here.

Just as Simon notes, Hokkaido is an amazing year-round travel destination that is loaded with beautiful nature to explore and exciting adventures to be had. While it might not be the first image of Japan that comes to mind for many, it is a destination you don't want to miss out! It is true, we are known for amazingly light and dry powder snow, but spring, summer, and autumn are all equally worth experiencing!

The video was particularly enjoyable for us here at Experience Niseko as just about everything that Simon touches on can be done here in the Niseko area. Hokkaido really is full of amazing landscapes, like Mt Yotei, and seemingly endless amounts of nature. Simon briefly notes that Hokkaido is covered with national parks, 6 nation-wide and 5 prefecture-wide to be exact, and the Niseko area falls into the Shikotsuko-Toya National Park.

Here in Niseko, you can really do all the activities Simon notes and many more that he doesn't! Of course we have skiing and snowboarding in winter, white water rafting on the Shiribetsu River, mountain biking down Mt Annupuri, fishing along the Shiribetsu (or at Saison Club), and more onsen than you could go to in the span of a week! These are just a few of those touched on in the Lonely Planet's video.

Hokkaido food is renowned both nationally and internationally. Seafood is without a doubt the most famous of items on the Hokkaido menu, but there are so many other unique dishes that make up the Hokkaido palate. Niseko has really grown into a hot destination for the gourmet over the last ten years, and with fine restaurants like An Dining, Snow Castle, and the Michelin Starred Kamimura, it is easy to see why.

Nationally, Hokkaido is known for its top quality dairy products and for there is no better place to go than Milk Kobo. Jingisukan or Genghis Khan is another well-known Hokkaido specialty and both the Niseko Loft Club and Niseko Soan are fine locations to dig in. Last but not least, a somewhat lesser known Hokkaido specialty is soup curry. To cross off this specialty, you need not go further than Tsubara Tsubara in the Izumikyo area down from the Hirafu village.

Of course, you can't forget the local favourites like hand-made ice cream at Saison Club or the uniquely niseko creamy potato ramen at Niseko Ramen Kazahana!

If you've read any of our Niseko Summer Guides, you'll know just how much more there is to Niseko, Hokkaido than epic powder snow. If you are planning a trip to Hokkaido this year or next, make sure you write Niseko into your travel plans–you surely won't regret it!